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What Else Justification Could Be1

Noûs 44 (1):10-31 (2010)

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  1. Cut-Off Points for the Rational Believer.Lina Maria Lissia - manuscript
    I show that the Lottery Paradox is just a (probabilistic) 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 students of the Sorites, ought to play a key role in the debate on Kyburg’s puzzle.
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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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  • 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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  • Coherence and Deontology.Ram Neta - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):284-304.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The Normality of Error.Sam Carter & Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    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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  • Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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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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  • Causal Models and the Relevant Alternatives Theory of Knowledge.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    One approach to knowledge, termed the relevant alternatives theory, stipulates that a belief amounts to knowledge if one can eliminate all relevant alternatives to the belief in the epistemic situation. This paper uses causal graphical models to formalize the relevant alternatives approach to knowledge. On this theory, an epistemic situation is encoded through the causal relationships between propositions, which determine which alternatives are relevant and irrelevant. This formalization entails that statistical evidence is not sufficient for knowledge, provides a simple way (...)
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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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  • When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?Martin Smith - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1193-1218.
    There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. (...)
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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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  • Varieties of Risk.Philip A. Ebert, Martin Smith & Ian Durbach - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):432-455.
    The notion of risk plays a central role in economics, finance, health, psychology, law and elsewhere, and is prevalent in managing challenges and resources in day-to-day life. In recent work, Duncan Pritchard (2015, 2016) has argued against the orthodox probabilistic conception of risk on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how probable it is, and in favour of a modal conception on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how modally close it is. (...)
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  • Statistics and suspension.Wolfgang Freitag & Alexandra Zinke - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2877-2880.
    It has recently been argued that some cases of naked statistical evidence license a high credence, but not an outright belief. If this is correct, there cannot be an unconditional bridge principle from credence to outright belief. We show that at least one prominent putative counterexample to such a bridge principle is based on a mistake, by demonstrating that the statistical evidence falls short not only of licensing rational belief, but also of justifying a high credence.
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  • Modal Virtue Epistemology.Bob Beddor & Carlotta Pavese - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (1):61-79.
    This essay defends a novel form of virtue epistemology: Modal Virtue Epistemology. It borrows from traditional virtue epistemology the idea that knowledge is a type of skillful performance. But it goes on to understand skillfulness in purely modal terms — that is, in terms of success across a range of counterfactual scenarios. We argue that this approach offers a promising way of synthesizing virtue epistemology with a modal account of knowledge, according to which knowledge is safe belief. In particular, we (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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 Without Credence.J. Adam Carter, Benjamin W. Jarvis & Katherine Rubin - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8):2323-2351.
    One of the deepest ideological divides in contemporary epistemology concerns the relative importance of belief versus credence. A prominent consideration in favor of credence-based epistemology is the ease with which it appears to account for rational action. In contrast, cases with risky payoff structures threaten to break the link between rational belief and rational action. This threat poses a challenge to traditional epistemology, which maintains the theoretical prominence of belief. The core problem, we suggest, is that belief may not be (...)
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  • Evidentialism and Moral Encroachment.Georgi Gardiner - 2018 - In McCain Kevin (ed.), Believing in Accordance with the Evidence. Springer Verlag.
    Moral encroachment holds that the epistemic justification of a belief can be affected by moral factors. If the belief might wrong a person or group more evidence is required to justify the belief. Moral encroachment thereby opposes evidentialism, and kindred views, which holds that epistemic justification is determined solely by factors pertaining to evidence and truth. In this essay I explain how beliefs such as ‘that woman is probably an administrative assistant’—based on the evidence that most women employees at the (...)
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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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  • Does Luck Exclude Knowledge or Certainty?Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2387-2397.
    A popular account of luck, with a firm basis in common sense, holds that a necessary condition for an event to be lucky, is that it was suitably improbable. It has recently been proposed that this improbability condition is best understood in epistemic terms. Two different versions of this proposal have been advanced. According to my own proposal :361–377, 2010), whether an event is lucky for some agent depends on whether the agent was in a position to know that the (...)
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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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  • Normal Knowledge: Toward an Explanation-Based Theory of Knowledge.Andrew Peet & Eli Pitcovski - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (3):141-157.
    In this paper we argue that knowledge is characteristically safe true belief. We argue that an adequate approach to epistemic luck must not be indexed to methods of belief formation, but rather to explanations for belief. This shift is problematic for several prominent approaches to the theory of knowledge, including virtue reliabilism and proper functionalism (as normally conceived). The view that knowledge is characteristically safe true belief is better able to accommodate the shift in question.
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  • Justificação, Probabilidade E Independência.André Neiva & Tatiane Marks - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (2):207-230.
    Epistemic justification has been widely accepted as both a gradational and relational notion. Given those properties, a natural thought is to take degrees of epistemic justification to be probabilities. In this paper, we present a simple Bayesian framework for justification. In the first part, after putting the model in an evidentialist form, we distinguish different senses of “being evidence for” and “confirming”. Next, we argue that this conception should accommodate the two relevant kinds of qualitative confirmation or evidential support. In (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Knowledge and Other Norms for Assertion, Action, and Belief: A Teleological Account.Neil Mehta - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):681-705.
    Here I advance a unified account of the structure of the epistemic normativity of assertion, action, and belief. According to my Teleological Account, all of these are epistemically successful just in case they fulfill the primary aim of knowledgeability, an aim which in turn generates a host of secondary epistemic norms. The central features of the Teleological Account are these: it is compact in its reliance on a single central explanatory posit, knowledge-centered in its insistence that knowledge sets the fundamental (...)
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  • Revisionary Epistemology.Davide Fassio & Robin McKenna - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):755-779.
    What is knowledge? What should knowledge be like? Call an epistemological project that sets out to answer the first question ‘descriptive’ and a project that sets out to answer the second question ‘normative’. If the answers to these two questions don’t coincide—if what knowledge should be like differs from what knowledge is like—there is room for a third project we call ‘revisionary’. A revisionary project starts by arguing that what knowledge should be differs from what knowledge is. It then proposes (...)
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  • Probability and Scepticism.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - In Dylan Dodd Elia Zardini (ed.), Scepticism and Perceptual Justification. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-86.
    If we add as an extra premise that the agent does know H, then it is possible for her to know E — H, we get the conclusion that the agent does not really know H. But even without that closure premise, or something like it, the conclusion seems quite dramatic. One possible response to the argument, floated by both Descartes and Hume, is to accept the conclusion and embrace scepticism. We cannot know anything that goes beyond our evidence, so (...)
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  • Lottery Judgments: A Philosophical and Experimental Study.Philip A. Ebert, Martin Smith & Ian Durbach - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (1):110-138.
    In this paper, we present the results of two surveys that investigate subjects’ judgments about what can be known or justifiably believed about lottery outcomes on the basis of statistical evidence, testimonial evidence, and “mixed” evidence, while considering possible anchoring and priming effects. We discuss these results in light of seven distinct hypotheses that capture various claims made by philosophers about lay people’s lottery judgments. We conclude by summarizing the main findings, pointing to future research, and comparing our findings to (...)
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  • What is Good Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:153-174.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Believing Things Unknown.Aidan McGlynn - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):385-407.
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  • Leslie on Generics.Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2493-2512.
    This paper offers three objections to Leslie’s recent and already influential theory of generics :375–403, 2007a, Philos Rev 117:1–47, 2008): her proposed metaphysical truth-conditions are subject to systematic counter-examples, the proposed disquotational semantics fails, and there is evidence that generics do not express cognitively primitive generalisations.
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  • Epistemic Closure Under Deductive Inference: What is It and Can We Afford It?Assaf Sharon & Levi Spectre - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2731-2748.
    The idea that knowledge can be extended by inference from what is known seems highly plausible. Yet, as shown by familiar preface paradox and lottery-type cases, the possibility of aggregating uncertainty casts doubt on its tenability. We show that these considerations go much further than previously recognized and significantly restrict the kinds of closure ordinary theories of knowledge can endorse. Meeting the challenge of uncertainty aggregation requires either the restriction of knowledge-extending inferences to single premises, or eliminating epistemic uncertainty in (...)
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  • Legal Burdens of Proof and Statistical Evidence.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In James Chase & David Coady (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Applied Epistemology. Routledge.
    In order to perform certain actions – such as incarcerating a person or revoking parental rights – the state must establish certain facts to a particular standard of proof. These standards – such as preponderance of evidence and beyond reasonable doubt – are often interpreted as likelihoods or epistemic confidences. Many theorists construe them numerically; beyond reasonable doubt, for example, is often construed as 90 to 95% confidence in the guilt of the defendant. -/- A family of influential cases suggests (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Basic Knowledge First.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2017 - Episteme 14 (3):343-361.
    An infuential twenty-first century philosophical project posits a central role for knowledge: knowledge is more fundamental than epistemic states like belief and justification. So-called “knowledge first” theorists find support for this thought in identifying central theoretical roles for knowledge. I argue that a similar methodology supports a privileged role for more specific category of basic knowledge. Some of the roles that knowledge first theorists have posited for knowledge generally are better suited for basic knowledge.
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  • Lotteries, Possibility and Skepticism.Daniel Immerman - 2015 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 12:51-67.
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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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  • 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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