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What Else Justification Could Be1

Noûs 44 (1):10-31 (2010)

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  1. Belief, Credence, and the Preface Paradox.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):549-562.
    ABSTRACTMany discussions of the ‘preface paradox’ assume that it is more troubling for deductive closure constraints on rational belief if outright belief is reducible to credence. I show that this is an error: we can generate the problem without assuming such reducibility. All that we need are some very weak normative assumptions about rational relationships between belief and credence. The only view that escapes my way of formulating the problem for the deductive closure constraint is in fact itself a reductive (...)
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  • Relevance and Risk: How the Relevant Alternatives Framework Models the Epistemology of Risk.Georgi Gardiner - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):481-511.
    The epistemology of risk examines how risks bear on epistemic properties. A common framework for examining the epistemology of risk holds that strength of evidential support is best modelled as numerical probability given the available evidence. In this essay I develop and motivate a rival ‘relevant alternatives’ framework for theorising about the epistemology of risk. I describe three loci for thinking about the epistemology of risk. The first locus concerns consequences of relying on a belief for action, where those consequences (...)
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  • Epistemic Feedback Loops (Or: How Not to Get Evidence).Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Epistemologists spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should respond to our evidence. They spend far less time thinking about the ways that evidence can be acquired in the first place. This is an oversight. Some ways of acquiring evidence are better than others. Many normative epistemologies struggle to accommodate this fact. In this article I develop one that can and does. I identify a phenomenon – epistemic feedback loops – in which evidence acquisition has gone awry, (...)
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  • Cut-Off Points for the Rational Believer.Lina Maria Lissia - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I show that the Lottery Paradox is just a version of the Sorites, and argue that this should modify our way of looking at the Paradox itself. In particular, I focus on what I call “the Cut-off Point Problem” and contend that this problem, well known by Sorites scholars, ought to play a key role in the debate on Kyburg’s puzzle. Very briefly, I show that, in the Lottery Paradox, the premises “ticket n°1 will lose”, “ticket n°2 will lose”… “ticket (...)
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  • A Causal Safety Criterion for Knowledge.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    Safety purports to explain why cases of accidentally true belief are not knowledge, addressing Gettier cases and cases of belief based on statistical evidence. However, numerous examples suggest that safety fails as a condition on knowledge: a belief can be safe even when one's evidence is clearly insufficient for knowledge and knowledge is compatible with the nearby possibility of error, a situation ruled out by the safety condition. In this paper, I argue for a new modal condition designed to capture (...)
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  • Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Banal Skepticism and the Errors of Doubt: On Ephecticism About Rape Accusations.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Midwest Studies in Philosophy.
    Ephecticism is the tendency towards suspension of belief. Epistemology often focuses on the error of believing when one ought to doubt. The converse error—doubting when one ought to believe—is relatively underexplored. This essay examines the errors of undue doubt. -/- I draw on the relevant alternatives framework to diagnose and remedy undue doubts about rape accusations. Doubters tend to invoke standards for belief that are too demanding, for example, and underestimate how farfetched uneliminated error possibilities are. They mistake seeing how (...)
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  • Normalcy, Justification, and the Easy-Defeat Problem.Marvin Backes - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2877-2895.
    Recent years have seen the rise of a new family of non-probabilistic accounts of epistemic justification. According to these views—we may call them Normalcy Views—a belief in P is justified only if, given the evidence, there exists no normal world in which S falsely beliefs that P. This paper aims to raise some trouble for this new approach to justification by arguing that Normalcy Views, while initially attractive, give rise to problematic accounts of epistemic defeat. As we will see, on (...)
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  • A Bitter Pill for Closure.Marvin Backes - 2019 - Synthese 196:3773-3787.
    The primary objective of this paper is to introduce a new epistemic paradox that puts pressure on the claim that justification is closed under multi premise deduction. The first part of the paper will consider two well-known paradoxes—the lottery and the preface paradox—and outline two popular strategies for solving the paradoxes without denying closure. The second part will introduce a new, structurally related, paradox that is immune to these closure-preserving solutions. I will call this paradox, The Paradox of the Pill. (...)
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  • Taking a Chance on KK.Jeremy Goodman & Bernhard Salow - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):183-196.
    Dorr et al. present a case that poses a challenge for a number of plausible principles about knowledge and objective chance. Implicit in their discussion is an interesting new argument against KK, the principle that anyone who knows p is in a position to know that they know p. We bring out this argument, and investigate possible responses for defenders of KK, establishing new connections between KK and various knowledge-chance principles.
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  • Against Belief Closure.Lina M. Lissia - manuscript
    I argue that we should solve the Lottery Paradox by denying that rational belief is closed under classical logic. To reach this conclusion, I build on my previous result that (a slight variant of) McGee’s election scenario is a lottery scenario (see Lissia 2019). Indeed, this result implies that the sensible ways to deal with McGee’s scenario are the same as the sensible ways to deal with the lottery scenario: we should either reject the Lockean Thesis or Belief Closure. After (...)
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  • Belief, Credence and Statistical Evidence.Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):500-527.
    According to the Rational Threshold View, a rational agent believes p if and only if her credence in p is equal to or greater than a certain threshold. One of the most serious challenges for this view is the problem of statistical evidence: statistical evidence is often not sufficient to make an outright belief rational, no matter how probable the target proposition is given such evidence. This indicates that rational belief is not as sensitive to statistical evidence as rational credence. (...)
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  • Transmission Failure Explained.Martin Smith - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):164-189.
    In this paper I draw attention to a peculiar epistemic feature exhibited by certain deductively valid inferences. Certain deductively valid inferences are unable to enhance the reliability of one's belief that the conclusion is true—in a sense that will be fully explained. As I shall show, this feature is demonstrably present in certain philosophically significant inferences—such as GE Moore's notorious 'proof' of the existence of the external world. I suggest that this peculiar epistemic feature might be correlated with the much (...)
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  • Justification is Potential Knowledge.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):184-206.
    This paper will articulate and defend a novel theory of epistemic justification; I characterize my view as the thesis that justification is potential knowledge . My project is an instance of the ‘knowledge-first’ programme, championed especially by Timothy Williamson. So I begin with a brief recapitulation of that programme.
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  • Entitlement and Evidence.Martin Smith - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):735-753.
    Entitlement is conceived as a kind of positive epistemic status, attaching to certain propositions, that involves no cognitive or intellectual accomplishment on the part of the beneficiary — a status that is in place by default. In this paper I will argue that the notion of entitlement — or something very like it — falls out of an idea that may at first blush seem rather disparate: that the evidential support relation can be understood as a kind of variably strict (...)
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  • Four Arguments for Denying That Lottery Beliefs Are Justified.Martin Smith - 2021 - In Douven, I. ed. Lotteries, Knowledge and Rational Belief: Essays on the Lottery Paradox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Cambridge:
    A ‘lottery belief’ is a belief that a particular ticket has lost a large, fair lottery, based on nothing more than the odds against it winning. The lottery paradox brings out a tension between the idea that lottery beliefs are justified and the idea that that one can always justifiably believe the deductive consequences of things that one justifiably believes – what is sometimes called the principle of closure. Many philosophers have treated the lottery paradox as an argument against the (...)
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  • The normality of error.Sam Carter & Simon Goldstein - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2509-2533.
    Formal models of appearance and reality have proved fruitful for investigating structural properties of perceptual knowledge. This paper applies the same approach to epistemic justification. Our central goal is to give a simple account of The Preface, in which justified belief fails to agglomerate. Following recent work by a number of authors, we understand knowledge in terms of normality. An agent knows p iff p is true throughout all relevant normal worlds. To model The Preface, we appeal to the normality (...)
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  • Lotteries, knowledge, and inconsistent belief: why you know your ticket will lose.Mylan Engel - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7891-7921.
    Suppose that I hold a ticket in a fair lottery and that I believe that my ticket will lose [L] on the basis of its extremely high probability of losing. What is the appropriate epistemic appraisal of me and my belief that L? Am I justified in believing that L? Do I know that L? While there is disagreement among epistemologists over whether or not I am justified in believing that L, there is widespread agreement that I do not know (...)
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  • Evidence, Risk, and Proof Paradoxes: Pessimism About the Epistemic Project.Giada Fratantonio - 2021 - International Journal of Evidence and Proof:online first.
    Why can testimony alone be enough for findings of liability? Why statistical evidence alone can’t? These questions underpin the “Proof Paradox” (Redmayne 2008, Enoch et al. 2012). Many epistemologists have attempted to explain this paradox from a purely epistemic perspective. I call it the “Epistemic Project”. In this paper, I take a step back from this recent trend. Stemming from considerations about the nature and role of standards of proof, I define three requirements that any successful account in line with (...)
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  • Higher Order Ignorance Inside the Margins.Sam Carter - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1789-1806.
    According to the KK-principle, knowledge iterates freely. It has been argued, notably in Greco, that accounts of knowledge which involve essential appeal to normality are particularly conducive to defence of the KK-principle. The present article evaluates the prospects for employing normality in this role. First, it is argued that the defence of the KK-principle depends upon an implausible assumption about the logical principles governing iterated normality claims. Once this assumption is dropped, counter-instances to the principle can be expected to arise. (...)
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  • The Rational Impermissibility of Accepting (Some) Racial Generalizations.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2415-2431.
    I argue that inferences from highly probabilifying racial generalizations are not solely objectionable because acting on such inferences would be problematic, or they violate a moral norm, but because they violate a distinctively epistemic norm. They involve accepting a proposition when, given the costs of a mistake, one is not adequately justified in doing so. First I sketch an account of the nature of adequate justification—practical adequacy with respect to eliminating the ~p possibilities from one’s epistemic statespace. Second, I argue (...)
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  • The Hardest Paradox for Closure.Martin Smith - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-26.
    According to the principle of Conjunction Closure, if one has justification for believing each of a set of propositions, one has justification for believing their conjunction. The lottery and preface paradoxes can both be seen as posing challenges for Closure, but leave open familiar strategies for preserving the principle. While this is all relatively well-trodden ground, a new Closure-challenging paradox has recently emerged, in two somewhat different forms, due to Marvin Backes (2019a) and Francesco Praolini (2019). This paradox synthesises elements (...)
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  • Fitting Anxiety and Prudent Anxiety.James Fritz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    Most agree that, in some special scenarios, prudence can speak against feeling a fitting emotion. Some go further, arguing that the tension between fittingness and prudence afflicts some emotions in a fairly general way. This paper goes even further: it argues that, when it comes to anxiety, the tension between fittingness and prudence is nearly inescapable. On any plausible theory, an enormous array of possible outcomes are both bad and epistemically uncertain in the right way to ground fitting anxiety. What’s (...)
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  • Consistency and Evidence.Nick Hughes - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):333-338.
    Williamson (2000) appeals to considerations about when it is natural to say that a hypothesis is consistent with one’s evidence in order to motivate the claim that all and only knowledge is evidence. It is argued here that the relevant considerations do not support this claim, and in fact conflict with it.
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  • Knowledge, Justification and Normative Coincidence1.Martin Smith - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):273-295.
    Say that two goals are normatively coincident just in case one cannot aim for one goal without automatically aiming for the other. While knowledge and justification are distinct epistemic goals, with distinct achievement conditions, this paper begins from the suggestion that they are nevertheless normatively coincident—aiming for knowledge and aiming for justification are one and the same activity. A number of surprising consequences follow from this—both specific consequences about how we can ascribe knowledge and justification in lottery cases and more (...)
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  • If You Don't Know That You Know, You Could Be Surprised.Eli Pitcovski & Levi Spectre - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Before the semester begins, a teacher tells his students: “There will be exactly one exam this semester. It will not take place on a day that is an immediate-successor of a day that you are currently in a position to know is not the exam-day”. Both the students and the teacher know – it is common knowledge – that no exam can be given on the first day of the semester. Since the teacher is truthful and reliable, it seems that (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Knowing Conditionals.Daniel Rothschild & Levi Spectre - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):473-478.
    We present a puzzle about knowledge, probability and conditionals. We show that in certain cases some basic and plausible principles governing our reasoning come into conflict. In particular, we show that there is a simple argument that a person may be in a position to know a conditional the consequent of which has a low probability conditional on its antecedent, contra Adams’ Thesis. We suggest that the puzzle motivates a very strong restriction on the inference of a conditional from a (...)
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  • Some Thoughts on the JK-Rule1.Martin Smith - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):791-802.
    In ‘The normative role of knowledge’ (2012), Declan Smithies defends a ‘JK-rule’ for belief: One has justification to believe that P iff one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know that P. Similar claims have been defended by others (Huemer, 2007, Reynolds, forthcoming). In this paper, I shall argue that the JK-rule is false. The standard and familiar way of arguing against putative rules for belief or assertion is, of course, to describe putative counterexamples. My (...)
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  • Believing Things Unknown.Aidan McGlynn - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):385-407.
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  • The Need for Justification.Jeanne Peijnenburg & David Atkinson - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):201-210.
    Some series can go on indefinitely, others cannot, and epistemologists want to know in which class to place epistemic chains. Is it sensible or nonsensical to speak of a proposition or belief that is justified by another proposition or belief, ad infinitum? In large part the answer depends on what we mean by “justification.” Epistemologists have failed to find a definition on which everybody agrees, and some have even advised us to stop looking altogether. In spite of this, the present (...)
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  • Coherence and Deontology.Ram Neta - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):284-304.
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  • Statistical Evidence, Sensitivity, and the Legal Value of Knowledge.David Enoch, Levi Spectre & Talia Fisher - 2012 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (3):197-224.
    The law views with suspicion statistical evidence, even evidence that is probabilistically on a par with direct, individual evidence that the law is in no way suspicious of. But it has proved remarkably hard to either justify this suspicion, or to debunk it. In this paper, we connect the discussion of statistical evidence to broader epistemological discussions of similar phenomena. We highlight Sensitivity – the requirement that a belief be counterfactually sensitive to the truth in a specific way – as (...)
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  • Simple Belief.John Collins - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4867-4885.
    We have reasons to want an epistemology of simple belief in addition to the Bayesian notion of belief which admits of degree. Accounts of simple belief which attempt to reduce it to the notion of credence all face difficulties. We argue that each conception captures an important aspect of our pre-theoretic thinking about epistemology; the differences between the two accounts of belief stem from two different conceptions of unlikelihood. On the one hand there is unlikelihood in the sense of improbability, (...)
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  • The Logic of Epistemic Justification.Martin Smith - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3857-3875.
    Theories of epistemic justification are commonly assessed by exploring their predictions about particular hypothetical cases – predictions as to whether justification is present or absent in this or that case. With a few exceptions, it is much less common for theories of epistemic justification to be assessed by exploring their predictions about logical principles. The exceptions are a handful of ‘closure’ principles, which have received a lot of attention, and which certain theories of justification are well known to invalidate. But (...)
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  • Intuitionistc Probability and the Bayesian Objection to Dogmatism.Martin Smith - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3997-4009.
    Given a few assumptions, the probability of a conjunction is raised, and the probability of its negation is lowered, by conditionalising upon one of the conjuncts. This simple result appears to bring Bayesian confirmation theory into tension with the prominent dogmatist view of perceptual justification – a tension often portrayed as a kind of ‘Bayesian objection’ to dogmatism. In a recent paper, David Jehle and Brian Weatherson observe that, while this crucial result holds within classical probability theory, it fails within (...)
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  • Possibility, Necessity and Probability: A Meditation on Underdetermination and Justification. [REVIEW]Elia Zardini - 2013 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):639-667.
    After providing some historical and systematic background, I introduce the structure of a very natural and influential sceptical underdetermination argument. The argument assumes that it is metaphysically possible for a deceived subject to have the same evidence that a non-deceived subject has, and tries to draw consequences about justification from that assumption of metaphysical possibility. I first variously object to the transition from the assumption to its supposed consequences. In the central part of the paper, I then critically consider some (...)
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  • Neuroprediction, Truth-Sensitivity, and the Law.Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (2):123-136.
    A recent argument by Nadelhoffer et al. defends a cautious optimism regarding the use of neuroprediction in relation to sentencing based, in part, on an assessment of the offender’s dangerousness. While this optimism may be warranted, Nadelhoffer et al.’s argument fails to justify it. Although neuropredictions provide individualized, non-statistical evidence they will often be problematic for the same reason that basing sentencing on statistical evidence is, to wit, that such predictions are insensitive to the offender’s dangerousness in relevant counterfactual situations (...)
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  • On What Inferentially Justifies What: The Vices of Reliabilism and Proper Functionalism.Chris Tucker - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3311-3328.
    We commonly say that some evidence supports a hypothesis or that some premise evidentially supports a conclusion. Both internalists and externalists attempt to analyze this notion of evidential support, and the primary purpose of this paper is to argue that reliabilist and proper functionalist accounts of this relation fail. Since evidential support is one component of inferential justification, the upshot of this failure is that their accounts of inferential justification also fail. In Sect. 2, I clarify the evidential support relation. (...)
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  • The Relationship Between Belief and Credence.Elizabeth G. Jackson - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (6):1–13.
    Sometimes epistemologists theorize about belief, a tripartite attitude on which one can believe, withhold belief, or disbelieve a proposition. In other cases, epistemologists theorize about credence, a fine-grained attitude that represents one’s subjective probability or confidence level toward a proposition. How do these two attitudes relate to each other? This article explores the relationship between belief and credence in two categories: descriptive and normative. It then explains the broader significance of the belief-credence connection and concludes with general lessons from the (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5073-5092.
    I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: cases of naked statistical evidence, lotteries, and hedged assertions. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to evidence. My view (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Faith.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (2):153-168.
    In this article, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that if faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence, faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
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  • Counterfactual Contamination.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Many defend the thesis that when someone knows p, they couldn’t easily have been wrong about p. But the notion of easy possibility in play is relatively undertheorized. One structural idea in the literature, the principle of Counterfactual Closure (CC), connects easy possibility with counterfactuals: if it easily could have happened that p, and if p were the case, then q would be the case, it follows that it easily could have happened that q. We first argue that while CC (...)
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  • Probabilistic Proofs, Lottery Propositions, and Mathematical Knowledge.Yacin Hamami - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    In mathematics, any form of probabilistic proof obtained through the application of a probabilistic method is not considered as a legitimate way of gaining mathematical knowledge. In a series of papers, Don Fallis has defended the thesis that there are no epistemic reasons justifying mathematicians’ rejection of probabilistic proofs. The present paper identifies such an epistemic reason. More specifically, it is argued here that if one adopts a conception of mathematical knowledge in which an epistemic subject can know a mathematical (...)
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  • Sensitivity, Causality, and Statistical Evidence in Courts of Law.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):102-112.
    Recent attempts to resolve the Paradox of the Gatecrasher rest on a now familiar distinction between individual and bare statistical evidence. This paper investigates two such approaches, the causal approach to individual evidence and a recently influential (and award-winning) modal account that explicates individual evidence in terms of Nozick's notion of sensitivity. This paper offers counterexamples to both approaches, explicates a problem concerning necessary truths for the sensitivity account, and argues that either view is implausibly committed to the impossibility of (...)
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  • Coin Trials.Martin Smith - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (5):726-741.
    According to the JUSTIFIED FAIR COINS principle, if I know that a coin is fair, and I lack justification for believing that it won’t be flipped, then I lack justification for believing that it won’t land tails. What this principle says, in effect, is that the only way to have justification for believing that a fair coin won’t land tails, is by having justification for believing that it won’t be flipped at all. Although this seems a plausible and innocuous principle, (...)
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  • How to Be an Infallibilist.Julien Dutant - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):148-171.
    When spelled out properly infallibilism is a viable and even attractive view. Because it has long been summary dismissed, however, we need a guide on how to properly spell it out. The guide has to fulfil four tasks. The first two concern the nature of knowledge: to argue that infallible belief is necessary, and that it is sufficient, for knowledge. The other two concern the norm of belief: to argue that knowledge is necessary, and that it is sufficient, for justified (...)
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  • Belief is Weak.John Hawthorne, Daniel Rothschild & Levi Spectre - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1393-1404.
    It is tempting to posit an intimate relationship between belief and assertion. The speech act of assertion seems like a way of transferring the speaker’s belief to his or her audience. If this is right, then you might think that the evidential warrant required for asserting a proposition is just the same as the warrant for believing it. We call this thesis entitlement equality. We argue here that entitlement equality is false, because our everyday notion of belief is unambiguously a (...)
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  • Two-State Solution to the Lottery Paradox.Artūrs Logins - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3465-3492.
    This paper elaborates a new solution to the lottery paradox, according to which the paradox arises only when we lump together two distinct states of being confident that p under one general label of ‘belief that p’. The two-state conjecture is defended on the basis of some recent work on gradable adjectives. The conjecture is supported by independent considerations from the impossibility of constructing the lottery paradox both for risk-tolerating states such as being afraid, hoping or hypothesizing, and for risk-averse, (...)
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  • Knowledge of Mathematics Without Proof.Alexander Paseau - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):775-799.
    Mathematicians do not claim to know a proposition unless they think they possess a proof of it. For all their confidence in the truth of a proposition with weighty non-deductive support, they maintain that, strictly speaking, the proposition remains unknown until such time as someone has proved it. This article challenges this conception of knowledge, which is quasi-universal within mathematics. We present four arguments to the effect that non-deductive evidence can yield knowledge of a mathematical proposition. We also show that (...)
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  • Epistemology and the Law: Why There is No Epistemic Mileage in Legal Cases.Marvin Backes - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2759-2778.
    The primary aim of this paper is to defend the Lockean View—the view that a belief is epistemically justified iff it is highly probable—against a new family of objections. According to these objections, broadly speaking, the Lockean View ought to be abandoned because it is incompatible with, or difficult to square with, our judgments surrounding certain legal cases. I distinguish and explore three different versions of these objections—The Conviction Argument, the Argument from Assertion and Practical Reasoning, and the Comparative Probabilities (...)
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