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Believing For a Reason

Erkenntnis 74 (3):383-397 (2011)

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  1. Unreliable Knowledge.John Turri - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):529-545.
    There is a virtual consensus in contemporary epistemology that knowledge must be reliably produced. Everyone, it seems, is a reliabilist about knowledge in that sense. I present and defend two arguments that unreliable knowledge is possible. My first argument proceeds from an observation about the nature of achievements, namely, that achievements can proceed from unreliable abilities. My second argument proceeds from an observation about the epistemic efficacy of explanatory inference, namely, that inference to the best explanation seems to produce knowledge, (...)
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  • An Infinitist Account of Doxastic Justification.John Turri - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):209-218.
    Any satisfactory epistemology must account for the distinction between propositional and doxastic justification. Can infinitism account for it? Proposals to date have been unsatisfactory. This paper advances a new infinitist account of the distinction. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 sets the stage. Section 2 presents Peter Klein's account. Section 3 raises a problem for Klein's account and suggests an improvement. Section 4 raises a further challenge. Sections 5 to 7 consider several unsuccessful attempts to meet the challenge. Section (...)
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  • An Infinitist Account of Doxastic Justification.John Turri - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):209-218.
    Any satisfactory epistemology must account for the distinction between propositional and doxastic justification. Can infinitism account for it? Proposals to date have been unsatisfactory. This paper advances a new infinitist account of the distinction. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 sets the stage. Section 2 presents Peter Klein's account. Section 3 raises a problem for Klein's account and suggests an improvement. Section 4 raises a further challenge. Sections 5 to 7 consider several unsuccessful attempts to meet the challenge. Section (...)
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  • Is Memory Merely Testimony From One's Former Self?David James Barnett - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (3):353-392.
    A natural view of testimony holds that a source's statements provide one with evidence about what the source believes, which in turn provides one with evidence about what is true. But some theorists have gone further and developed a broadly analogous view of memory. According to this view, which this essay calls the “diary model,” one's memory ordinarily serves as a means for one's present self to gain evidence about one's past judgments, and in turn about the truth. This essay (...)
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  • On Peter Klein's Concept of Arbitrariness.Coos Engelsma - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):192-200.
    According to Peter Klein, foundationalism fails because it allows a vicious form of arbitrariness. The present article critically discusses his concept of arbitrariness. It argues that the condition Klein takes to be necessary and sufficient for an epistemic item to be arbitrary is neither necessary nor sufficient. It also argues that Klein's concept of arbitrariness is not a concept of something that is obviously vicious. Even if Klein succeeds in establishing that foundationalism allows what he regards as arbitrariness, this does (...)
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  • Agency of Belief and Intention.A. Flowerree - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2763-2784.
    In this paper, I argue for a conditional parity thesis: if we are agents with respect to our intentions, we are agents with respect to our beliefs. In the final section, I motivate a categorical version of the parity thesis: we are agents with respect to belief and intention. My aim in this paper is to show that there is no unique challenge facing epistemic agency that is not also facing agency with respect to intention. My thesis is ambitious on (...)
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  • Doomed to Fail: The Sad Epistemological Fate.John Turri - 2012 - In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontological proofs today. Ontos Verlag. pp. 413-422.
    For beings like us, no ontological argument can possibly succeed. They are doomed to fail. The point of an ontological argument is to enable nonempirical knowledge of its conclusion, namely, that God exists. But no ontological argument could possibly enable us to know its conclusion nonempirically, and so must fail in that sense.
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  • Skepticism Motivated: On the Skeptical Import of Motivated Reasoning.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Empirical work on motivated reasoning suggests that our judgments are influenced to a surprising extent by our wants, desires and preferences (Kahan 2016; Lord, Ross, and Lepper 1979; Molden and Higgins 2012; Taber and Lodge 2006). How should we evaluate the epistemic status of beliefs formed through motivated reasoning? For example, are such beliefs epistemically justified? Are they candidates for knowledge? In liberal democracies, these questions are increasingly controversial as well as politically timely (Beebe et al. 2018; Lynch forthcoming, 2018; (...)
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  • Social Knowledge and Supervenience Revisited.Mark Povich - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):1033-1043.
    Bird’s Essays in Collective Epistemology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014) account of social knowledge denies that scientific social knowledge supervenes solely on the mental states of individuals. Lackey objects that SK cannot accommodate a knowledge-action principle and the role of group defeaters. I argue that Lackey’s knowledge-action principle is ambiguous. On one disambiguation, it is false; on the other, it is true but poses no threat to SK. Regarding group defeaters, I argue that there are at least two options available (...)
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  • Is Believing for a Normative Reason a Composite Condition?J. Cunningham - 2019 - Synthese 196 (9):3889-3910.
    Here is a surprisingly neglected question in contemporary epistemology: what is it for an agent to believe that p in response to a normative reason for them to believe that p? On one style of answer, believing for the normative reason that q factors into believing that p in the light of the apparent reason that q, where one can be in that kind of state even if q is false, in conjunction with further independent conditions such as q’s being (...)
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  • Motivierende Gründe: Aktuelle Probleme und Kontroversen.Jean Moritz Müller - 2019 - Information Philosophie 2019 (4):16-28.
    Dieser Forschungsbericht gibt einen Überblick über die aktuelle Debatte über motivierende Gründe in der Handlungs- und Erkenntnistheorie. Folgende drei Fragen werden schwerpunktmäßig behandelt: a) Was für eine Art von Entität sind motivierende Gründe? b) Welche Beziehung besteht zwischen einer Handlung oder Einstellung und ihren motivierenden Gründen? c) Welche kognitiven Bedingungen gelten für die Zuschreibung motivierender Gründe?
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  • Propositional Justification and Doxastic Justification.Paul Silva & Luis R. G. Oliveira - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton M. Littlejohn (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy Evidence. Routledge.
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  • Knowing How to Put Knowledge First in the Theory of Justification.Paul Silva - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4):393-412.
    I provide a novel knowledge-first account of justification that avoids the pitfalls of existing accounts while preserving the underlying insight of knowledge-first epistemologies: that knowledge comes first. The view I propose is, roughly, this: justification is grounded in our practical knowledge (know-how) concerning the acquisition of propositional knowledge (knowledge-that). I first refine my thesis in response to immediate objections. In subsequent sections I explain the various ways in which this thesis is theoretically superior to existing knowledge-first accounts of justification. The (...)
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  • The Basing Relation and the Impossibility of the Debasing Demon.Patrick Bondy & J. Adam Carter - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):203-216.
    Descartes' demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperiled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer thinks so. The "debasing demon" he imagines threatens knowledge not via the truth (...)
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  • Normative Reasons as Good Bases.Alex Gregory - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2291-2310.
    In this paper, I defend a new theory of normative reasons called reasons as good bases, according to which a normative reason to φ is something that is a good basis for φing. The idea is that the grounds on which we do things—bases—can be better or worse as things of their kind, and a normative reason—a good reason—is something that is just a good instance of such a ground. After introducing RGB, I clarify what it is to be a (...)
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  • Baseless Knowledge.Guido Melchior - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 17 (50):211-231.
    It is a commonly held view in contemporary epistemology that for having knowledge it is necessary to have an appropriately based belief, although numerous different views exist about when a belief’s base is appropriate. Broadly speaking, they all share the view that one can only have knowledge if the belief’s base is in some sense truth-related or tracking the truth. Baseless knowledge can then be defi ned as knowledge where the belief is acquired and sustained in a way that does (...)
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  • The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2013 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    My dissertation is a systematic defense of the claim that what it is to be rational is to correctly respond to the reasons you possess. The dissertation is split into two parts, each consisting of three chapters. In Part I--Coherence, Possession, and Correctly Responding--I argue that my view has important advantages over popular views in metaethics that tie rationality to coherence (ch. 2), defend a novel view of what it is to possess a reason (ch. 3), and defend a novel (...)
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  • The Place of Reasons in Epistemology.Kurt Sylvan & Ernest Sosa - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper considers the place of reasons in the metaphysics of epistemic normativity and defends a middle ground between two popular extremes in the literature. Against members of the ‘reasons first’ movement, we argue that reasons are not the sole fundamental constituents of epistemic normativity. We suggest instead that the virtue-theoretic property of competence is the key building block. To support this approach, we note that reasons must be possessed to play a role in the analysis of central epistemically normative (...)
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  • Deontological Evidentialism and Ought Implies Can.Luis Oliveira - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2567-2582.
    Deontological evidentialism is the claim that S ought to form or maintain S’s beliefs in accordance with S’s evidence. A promising argument for this view turns on the premise that consideration c is a normative reason for S to form or maintain a belief that p only if c is evidence that p is true. In this paper, I discuss the surprising relation between a recently influential argument for this key premise and the principle that ought implies can. I argue (...)
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  • Justified Group Belief is Evidentially Responsible Group Belief.Paul Silva - 2019 - Episteme 16 (3):262-281.
    ABSTRACTWhat conditions must be satisfied if a group is to count as having a justified belief? Jennifer Lackey has recently argued that any adequate account of group justification must be sensitive to both the evidence actually possessed by enough of a group's operative members as well as the evidence those members should have possessed. I first draw attention to a range of objections to Lackey's specific view of group justification and a range of concrete case intuitions any plausible view of (...)
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  • Agency and Reasons in Epistemology.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Ever since John Locke, philosophers have discussed the possibility of a normative epistemology: are there epistemic obligations binding the cognitive economy of belief and disbelief? Locke's influential answer was evidentialist: we have an epistemic obligation to believe in accordance with our evidence. In this dissertation, I place the contemporary literature on agency and reasons at the service of some such normative epistemology. I discuss the semantics of obligations, the connection between obligations and reasons to believe, the implausibility of Lockean evidentialism, (...)
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  • The Peculiar Case of Lehrer’s Lawyer.Kevin Wallbridge - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1615-1630.
    The peculiar case of Lehrer’s lawyer purports to describe a scenario in which a subject has a justified belief, indeed knowledge, despite the fact that their belief is not causally or counterfactually sustained by any good reasons for it. The case has proven controversial. While some agree with Lehrer’s assessment of the case, others disagree, leading to a schism among accounts of the basing relation. In this paper I aim to reconcile these camps and put simple causal and counterfactual accounts (...)
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  • How To Be Conservative: A Partial Defense of Epistemic Conservatism.Paul Silva - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):501-514.
    Conservatism about perceptual justification tells us that we cannot have perceptual justification to believe p unless we also have justification to believe that perceptual experiences are reliable. There are many ways to maintain this thesis, ways that have not been sufficiently appreciated. Most of these ways lead to at least one of two problems. The first is an over-intellectualization problem, whereas the second problem concerns the satisfaction of the epistemic basing requirement on justified belief. I argue that there is at (...)
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  • From Virtue Epistemology to Abilism: Theoretical and Empirical Developments.John Turri - forthcoming - In Tbd (ed.), TBD.
    I review several theoretical and empirical developments relevant to assessing contemporary virtue epistemology’s theory of knowledge. What emerges is a leaner theory of knowledge that is more empirically adequate, better captures the ordinary conception of knowledge, and is ripe for cross-fertilization with cognitive science. I call this view abilism. Along the way I identify several topics for future research.
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  • Moderate Epistemic Akrasia.Nicolás Lo Guercio - 2018 - Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 50 (148):69-97.
    Moderate epistemic akrasia is the state a subject is in when she believes that p and suspends judgment about whether her evidence supports p. In this article it is argued that, given a certain understanding of the attitude of suspension of judgment, moderate epistemic akrasia is doxastically irrational. The paper starts with a brief introduction that makes explicit some background notions and clarifies the dialectics of the debate. Second, the well-known distinction between propositional and doxastic rationality is introduced and some (...)
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  • Epistemic Reasons II: Basing.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (7):377-389.
    The paper is an opinionated tour of the literature on the reasons for which we hold beliefs and other doxastic attitudes, which I call ‘operative epistemic reasons’. After drawing some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of operative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states. I recommend a pluralist non-mentalist view that takes seriously the variety of operative epistemic reasons ascriptions and allows these reasons to be both propositions (...)
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  • Justification and Cognitive Algorithms.Luis Rosa - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):503-515.
    In this paper, we offer an alternative interpretation for the claim that ‘S is justified in believing that φ’. First, we present what seems to be a common way of interpreting this claim: as an attribution of propositional justification. According to this interpretation, being justified is just a matter of having confirming evidence. We present a type of case that does not fit well with the standard concept, where considerations about cognition are made relevant. The concept of cognitive algorithm is (...)
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  • The Problem of the Basing Relation.Ian Evans - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2943-2957.
    In days past, epistemologists expended a good deal of effort trying to analyze the basing relation—the relation between a belief and its basis. No satisfying account was offered, and the project was largely abandoned. Younger epistemologists, however, have begun to yearn for an adequate theory of basing. I aim to deliver one. After establishing some data and arguing that traditional accounts of basing are unsatisfying, I introduce a novel theory of the basing relation: the dispositional theory. It begins with the (...)
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  • What the Debasing Demon Teaches Us About Wisdom.Kevin McCain - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-10.
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  • Two Reasons Why Epistemic Reasons Are Not Object‐Given Reasons.Anthony Robert Booth - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):1-14.
    In this paper I discuss two claims; the first is the claim that state-given reasons for belief are of a radically different kind to object-given reasons for belief. The second is that, where this last claim is true, epistemic reasons are object-given reasons for belief (EOG). I argue that EOG has two implausible consequences: (i) that suspension of judgement can never be epistemically justified, and (ii) that the reason that epistemically justifies a belief that p can never be the reason (...)
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  • Reasons, Causes, and the Extended Mind Hypothesis.Daniel Pearlberg & Timothy Schroeder - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):41-57.
    In this paper we develop a novel argument against the extended mind hypothesis. Our argument constitutes an advance in the debate, insofar as we employ only premises that are acceptable to a coarse-grained functionalist, and we do not rely on functional disanalogies between putative examples of extended minds and ordinary human beings that are just a matter of fine detail or degree. Thus, we beg no questions against proponents of the extended mind hypothesis. Rather, our argument consists in making use (...)
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  • Epistemic Responsibility and Doxastic Agency.Conor McHugh - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):132-157.
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  • Four Varieties of Character-Based Virtue Epistemology.Jason Baehr - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (4):469-502.
    The terrain of character-based or “responsibilist” virtue epistemology has evolved dramatically over the last decade -- so much so that it is far from clear what, if anything, unifies the various views put forth in this area. In an attempt to bring some clarity to the overall thrust and structure of this movement, I develop a fourfold classification of character-based virtue epistemologies. I also offer a qualified assessmentof each approach, defending a certain account of the probable future of this burgeoning (...)
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  • Testimonial Reasons.David Matheson - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):757-774.
    In this paper I consider whether the reasons on which our testimonial beliefs are directly based—“testimonial reasons”—are basic reasons for belief. After laying out a Dretske-inspired psychologistic conception of reasons for belief in general and a corresponding conception of basic reasons for belief, I present a prima facie case against the basicality of testimonial reasons. I then respond to a challenge from Audi to this case. To the extent that my response is successful, the viability of an important kind of (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and Epistemic Basing Relations.Patrick Bondy - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):542-569.
    This article is about the epistemic basing relation, which is the relation that obtains between beliefs and the reasons for which they are held. We need an adequate account of the basing relation if we want to have a satisfactory account of doxastic justification, which we should want to have. To that end, this article aims to achieve two goals. The first is to show that a plausible account of the basing relation must invoke counterfactual concepts. The second is to (...)
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  • Truthy Psychologism About Evidence.Veli Mitova - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1105-1126.
    What sorts of things can be evidence for belief? Five answers have been defended in the recent literature on the ontology of evidence: propositions, facts, psychological states, factive psychological states, all of the above. Each of the first three views privileges a single role that the evidence plays in our doxastic lives, at the cost of occluding other important roles. The fifth view, pluralism, is a natural response to such dubious favouritism. If we want to be monists about evidence and (...)
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