Volume III, Issue 4, 2012
TOWARD A SEMANTIC APPROACH IN EPISTEMOLOGY (pages 531-543)
ABSTRACT: Philosophers have recognized for some time the usefulness of semantic conceptions of truth and belief. That the third member of the knowledge triad, evidence, might also have a useful semantic version seems to have been overlooked. This paper corrects that omission by defining a semantic conception of evidence for science and mathematics and then developing a semantic conception of knowledge for these fields, arguably mankind’s most important knowledge repository. The goal is to demonstrate the advantages of having an answer to the more modest question “What is necessary and sufficient for introducing a knowledge predicate into scientific and mathematical languages?” – as contrasted with the ambitious Platonic question “What is knowledge?” After presenting the theory, the paper responds to a wide range of objections stemming from traditional philosophical concerns.
JUSTIFIED BELIEVING IS TRACKING YOUR EVIDENTIAL COMMITMENTS (pages 545-564)
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I give an account of the conditions for rationally changing your beliefs that respects three constraints; 1) that rational believing is a matter of respecting your evidence, 2) that evidence seems to have both objective and subjective features, and (3) that our set of beliefs seem to rationally commit us to certain propositions, regardless of the evidential support we have for these propositions. On the view I outline, rationally believing or giving up a belief is a matter of your inferences tracking your rational commitments, and that these rational commitments account for the evidence you must respect. These rational commitments are subjective in that they are relative to the totality of your beliefs, but also objective in the sense that what counts as a commitment is true for everyone everywhere.
WHAT I LEARNED IN THE LUNCH ROOM ABOUT ASSERTION AND PRACTICAL REASONING (pages 565-569)
ABSTRACT: It is increasingly argued that there is a single unified constitutive norm of both assertion and practical reasoning. The most common suggestion is that knowledge is this norm. If this is correct, then we would expect that a diagnosis of problematic assertions should manifest as problematic reasons for acting. Jennifer Lackey has recently argued that assertions epistemically grounded in isolated second-hand knowledge (ISHK) are unwarranted. I argue that decisions epistemically grounded in premises based on ISHK also seem inappropriate. I finish by suggesting that this finding has important implications for the debates regarding the norms of assertion and practical reasoning.
JUSTIFICATION AND THE UNIQUENESS THESIS (pages 571-577)
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I offer two counterexamples to the so-called ‘Uniqueness Thesis.’ As one of these examples rely on the thesis that it is possible for a justified belief to be based on an inconsistent body of evidence, I also offer reasons for this further thesis. On the assumption that doxastic justification entails propositional justification, the counterexamples seem to work.
QUANTUM VS. CLASSICAL LOGIC: THE REVISIONIST APPROACH (pages 579-590)
ABSTRACT: Quantum logic can be understood in two ways: as a study of the algebraic structures that appear in the context of the Hilbert space formalism of quantum mechanics; or as representing a non-classical logic in conflict with classical logic. My aim in this paper is to analyze the possibility to sustain, at least in principle, a revisionist approach to quantum logic, i.e. a position according to which quantum logic is ‘the real logic’ which should be adopted instead of classical logic.
CONTINGENCY AND TIME (pages 591-615)
ABSTRACT: In this article I offer an explanation of the need for contingent propositions in language. I argue that contingent propositions are required if and only if there is a need for propositions which can be both true and false in different circumstances. Indexical expressions enable the same proposition to be expressed in different contexts, thus allowing it to be both true and false. Examination of the different indexical expressions shows that temporal indexical expressions are the ones that do this. Furthermore, describing the change in the temporal A-determinations of past, present, or future, requires using contingent propositions. The conclusion of this article is that change in the temporal A-determinations is the explanation for the need for contingent propositions in language.
THE CONCILIATORY VIEW AND THE CHARGE OF WHOLESALE SKEPTICISM (pages 619-627)
ABSTRACT: If I reasonably think that you and I enjoy the same evidence as well as virtues and vices, then we are epistemic peers. What does rationality require of us should we disagree? According to the conciliatory view, I should become less confident in my belief upon finding out that you, whom I take to be my peer, disagree with me. Question: Does the conciliatory view lead to wholesale skepticism regarding areas of life where disagreement is rampant? After all, people focusing on the same arguments and possessing the same virtues commonly disagree over religion, politics, ethics, philosophy and other areas. David Christensen and Adam Elga have responded that conciliationism does not lead to wholesale skepticism. I argue that Christensen and Elga cannot avoid the charge of wholesale skepticism. But I also argue that if they could avoid skepticism, then the conciliatory view would become irrelevant since it would not inform us as to what rationality requires of us in every-day disagreement. Thus either way the conciliatory view is saddled with unintuitive consequences.
EPISTEMIC DISPOSITIONS. REPLY TO TURRI AND BRONNER (pages 629-636)
ABSTRACT: We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where their bearers fail to exist, and that contrast is relevant to disposition attributions.
SAVING SOSA’S SAFETY (pages 637-652)
ABSTRACT: My purpose in this paper is to (begin to) defend safety as a necessary condition on knowledge. First, I introduce Ernest Sosa’s (1999) safety condition. Second, I set up and grapple with Juan Comesaña’s recent putative counterexample to safety as a necessary condition on knowledge; Comesaña’s case forces us to consider Sosa’s updated (2002) safety condition. From such grappling a principled modification to Sosa’s (2002) safety condition emerges. Safety is safe from this, and like, attacks.
MOOREAN SENTENCES AND THE NORM OF ASSERTION (pages 653-658)
ABSTRACT: In this paper Timothy Williamson’s argument that the knowledge norm of assertion is the best explanation of the unassertability of Morrean sentences is challenged and an alternative account of the norm of assertion is defended.
PREEMPTING PARADOX (pages 659-662)
ABSTRACT: Charlie Pelling has recently argued that two leading accounts of the norm of assertion, the truth account and a version of the knowledge account, invite paradox and so must be false. Pelling’s arguments assume that an isolated utterance of the sentence “This assertion is improper” counts as making an assertion. I argue that this assumption is questionable.