Volume II, Issue 3, 2011
PAUL RICOEUR’S HERMENEUTICS BETWEEN EPISTEMOLOGY AND ONTOLOGY (pages 335-345)
ABSTRACT: The aim of our text is to explore the ties of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics with ontology and epistemology. We have to admit that (1) for Ricoeur, at the beginning of his work, hermeneutics (as one can find it in Le conflit des interprétations) was never a main topic (hermeneutics, as hermeneutic intelligence, was always a solution to a certain problem and never a problem in itself), and (2) that when hermeneutics becomes a main topic (as one can find it in Du texte à l'action), the purpose of Ricoeur is to suggest a renew ontological hermeneutics, beyond Heidegger and Gadamer, but still tied with his non-hermeneutic intents. Our thesis is that Ricoeur’s latest hermeneutics, beyond his epistemological status, can be regarded as ontology. Of course, one cannot find a direct ontology, as we can find it in Heidegger or Gadamer, but one can find what we can call a reversed ontology, an ontology which does not start from the centre of the human experience of understanding but outside of it. In other words, we are going to show that not even his late hermeneutics (the critical moment), better known as textual hermeneutics, is not per se an epistemological hermeneutics beyond its declared intention as being one.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION TO THE TWO ENVELOPE PROBLEM (pages 347-357)
ABSTRACT: Various proposals have been made for solving The Two Envelope Problem. But even though the problem itself is easily stated and quite simple, the proposed solutions have not been. Some involve calculus, some involve considerations about infinite values, and some are complicated in other ways. Moreover, there is not yet any one solution that is widely accepted as correct. In addition to being notable for its simplicity and its lack of a generally agreed-upon solution, The Two Envelope Problem is also notable because it demonstrates that something that has been taken to be a fundamental principle of decision theory is false. The main purpose of this paper is to propose and defend a simple solution to The Two Envelope Problem. But I also want to make a start on the project of figuring out how the relevant fundamental principle of decision theory should be revised.
THE CASE FOR RATIONAL UNIQUENESS (pages 359-373)
ABSTRACT: The Uniqueness Thesis, or rational uniqueness, claims that a body of evidence severely constrains one’s doxastic options. In particular, it claims that for any body of evidence E and proposition P, E justifies at most one doxastic attitude toward P. In this paper I defend this formulation of the uniqueness thesis and examine the case for its truth. I begin by clarifying my formulation of the Uniqueness Thesis and examining its close relationship to evidentialism. I proceed to give some motivation for this strong epistemic claim and to defend it from several recent objections in the literature. In particular I look at objections to the Uniqueness Thesis coming from considerations of rational disagreement (can’t reasonable people disagree?), the breadth of doxastic attitudes (can’t what is justified by the evidence encompass more than one doxastic attitude?), borderline cases and caution (can’t it be rational to be cautious and suspend judgment even when the evidence slightly supports belief?), vagueness (doesn’t the vagueness of justification spell trouble for the Uniqueness Thesis?), and degrees of belief (doesn’t a finegrained doxastic picture present additional problems for the Uniqueness Thesis?).
“LEBENDIGE FORMEN.” ZU ERNST CASSIRERS KONZEPT DER “FORMWISSENSCHAFT” (pages 375-393)
ABSTRACT: The following text analyses the essays Cassirer made in his published articles and in his manuscripts of the exile period in order to dismiss the possibility of a unique science based on the physical causality (Wiener Kreis) and thus to assert the autonomy and specificity of the Kulturwissenschaft. In the same time, it guards against the identification of cultural knowledge and historical knowledge (Windelband, Rickert). The specific way to build concepts within the Kulturwissenschaftentargets the objective relation between the Particular and the General and is to be found in the consideration of the form or style based on the experience of the expression (Ausdruckserleben). History or biology offers fruitful analogies to the understanding of the concepts or methods of Kulturwissenschaft.
SKEPTICISM AND VARIETIES OF TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT (pages 395-411)
ABSTRACT: Transcendental arguments have been described as disclosing the necessary conditions of the possibility of phenomena as diverse as experience, self-knowledge and language. Although many theorists saw them as powerful means to combat varieties of skepticism, this optimism gradually waned as many such arguments turned out, on examination, to deliver much less than was originally thought. In this paper, I distinguish between two species of transcendental arguments claiming that they do not actually constitute distinct forms of reasoning by showing how they collapse into more familiar inferences. I then turn to the question of their epistemic potentials which I argue to be a function of both their types as well as their targets. Finally, these claims are reinforced by uncovering links between certain recent claims about the efficacy of transcendental arguments and the so-called Moore’s paradox.
A PEACE PLAN FOR THE SCIENCE WARS (pages 413-422)
ABSTRACT: In what has become known as the ‘Science Wars,’ two sides have emerged. Some philosophers of science have claimed that, because science is a social practice, it is hopelessly infected with political bias. Others have claimed that science is a special kind of practice, structurally immune to bias. They are both right, because they are referring to different things when they use the word ‘science.’ The second group is referring the method of theory selection, as practiced by scientists in the laboratory, while the first group is referring to the ongoing social practice of science, of which theory choice is a part. The scientific method of theory choice, when practiced correctly, is resistant to bias, while the socially embedded practice is particularly sensitive to political forces, and so is subject to bias.
ON EPISTEMIC ABSTEMIOUSNESS: A REPLY TO BUNDY (pages 425-428)
ABSTRACT: In the previous issue of Logos & Episteme, Alex Bundy defends epistemic abstemiousness and criticizes our tales of epistemic abstention to martyrdom and conversion. Here we will briefly reply to Bundy’s criticisms and then diagnose what we think the trouble is with the going versions of epistemic abstemiousness.
RECOVERING RESPONSIBILITY (pages 429-454)
ABSTRACT: This paper defends the epistemological importance of ‘diachronic’ or crosstemporal evaluation of epistemic agents against an interesting dilemma posed for this view in Trent Dougherty’s recent paper “Reducing Responsibility.” This is primarily a debate between evidentialists and character epistemologists, and key issues of contention that the paper treats include the divergent functions of synchronic and diachronic (longitudinal) evaluations of agents and their beliefs, the nature and sources of epistemic normativity, and the advantages versus the costs of the evidentialists’ reductionism about sources of epistemic normativity.
NO SUICIDE FOR PRESENTISTS: A RESPONSE TO HALES (pages 455-464)
ABSTRACT: Steven Hales constructs a novel argument against the possibility of presentist time travel called the suicide machine argument. Hales argues that if presentism were true, then time travel would result in the annihilation of the time traveler. But such a consequence is not time travel, therefore presentism cannot allow for the possibility of time travel. This paper argues that in order for the suicide machine argument to succeed, it must make (at least) one of two assumptions, each of which beg the question. The argument must either assume that the sequence of moments is invariant, or that time travel through time requires distinct, co-instantiated moments. Because the former disjunct assumes that presentist time travel is impossible and the latter assumes that presentism is impossible, the suicide machine argument fails.