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The ontology of epistemic reasons

Noûs 43 (3):490-512 (2009)

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  1. Political Realism and Epistemic Constraints.Uğur Aytaç - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
    This article argues that Bernard Williams’ Critical Theory Principle (CTP) is in tension with his realist commitments, i.e., deriving political norms from practices that are inherent to political life. The Williamsian theory of legitimate state power is based on the central importance of the distinction between political rule and domination. Further, Williams supplements the normative force of his theory with the CTP, i.e., the principle that acceptance of a justification regarding power relations ought not to be created by the very (...)
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  • Confabulating Reasons.Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini & Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):189-201.
    In this paper, I will focus on a type of confabulation that emerges in relation to questions about mental attitudes whose causes we cannot introspectively access. I argue against two popular views that see confabulations as mainly offering a psychological story about ourselves. On these views, confabulations are the result of either a cause-tracking mechanism or a self-directed mindreading mechanism. In contrast, I propose the view that confabulations are mostly telling a normative story: they are arguments primarily offered to justify (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Perspective-Dependent?Davide Fassio - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3253-3283.
    This paper focuses on the relation between epistemic reasons and the subject’s epistemic perspective. It tackles the questions of whether epistemic reasons are dependent on the perspective of the subject they are reasons for, and if so, whether they are dependent on the actual or the potential perspective. It is argued that epistemic reasons are either independent or minimally dependent on the subject’s epistemic perspective. In particular, I provide three arguments supporting the conclusion that epistemic reasons are not dependent on (...)
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  • The Demon That Makes Us Go Mental: Mentalism Defended.Jonathan Egeland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3141-3158.
    Facts about justification are not brute facts. They are epistemic facts that depend upon more fundamental non-epistemic facts. Internalists about justification often argue for mentalism, which claims that facts about justification supervene upon one’s non-factive mental states, using Lehrer and Cohen’s :191–207, 1983) New Evil Demon Problem. The New Evil Demon Problem tells you to imagine yourself the victim of a Cartesian demon who deceives you about what the external world is like, and then asks whether you nevertheless have justification (...)
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  • Fallible Reasons on Behalf of Fallibilism.David Alexander - 2017 - Synthese 198 (5):3979-3998.
    In this paper I introduce a problem regarding whether there are good reasons to accept fallibilism about justified belief. According to this species of fallibilism, one can be justified in believing a proposition on the basis of reasons that do not justify certainty. Call such reasons “fallible reasons.” The problem is this: can one justifiably believe fallibilism on the basis of fallible reasons? To do so would seem to beg the question. If you are undecided as to whether you should (...)
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  • Experience and Justification: Revisiting McDowell’s Empiricism.Daniel Kalpokas - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):715-738.
    In this paper I try to defend McDowell’s empiricism from a certain objection made by Davidson, Stroud and Glüer. The objection states that experiences cannot be reasons because they are—as McDowell conceives them—inert. I argue that, even though there is something correct in the objection, that is not sufficient for rejecting the epistemological character that McDowell attributes to experiences. My strategy consists basically in showing that experiences involve a constitutive attitude of acceptance of their contents.
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  • Reasons for Belief and Normativity.Glüer-Pagin Kathrin & Wikforss Åsa - 2017 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
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  • Evidence and Knowledge.Clayton Littlejohn - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (2):241-262.
    According to Williamson, your evidence consists of all and only what you know (E = K). According to his critics, it doesn’t. While E = K calls for revision, the revisions it calls for are minor. E = K gets this much right. Only true propositions can constitute evidence and anything you know non-inferentially is part of your evidence. In this paper, I defend these two theses about evidence and its possession from Williamson’s critics who think we should break more (...)
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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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  • Truth Promoting Non-Evidential Reasons for Belief.Brian Talbot - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):599-618.
    Sometimes a belief that p promotes having true beliefs, whether or not p is true. This gives reasons to believe that p, but most epistemologists would deny that it gives epistemic reasons, or that these reasons can epistemically justify the belief that p. Call these reasons to believe “truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief.” This paper argues that three common views in epistemology, taken together, entail that reasons of this sort can epistemically justify beliefs. These three claims are: epistemic oughts (...)
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  • No Evidence is False.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (2):145-159.
    If evidence is propositional, is one’s evidence limited to true propositions or might false propositions constitute evidence? In this paper, I consider three recent attempts to show that there can be ‘false evidence,’ and argue that each of these attempts fails. The evidence for the thesis that evidence consists of truths is much stronger than the evidence offered in support of the theoretical assumptions that people have relied on to argue against this thesis. While I shall not defend the view (...)
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  • Problems for Mainstream Evidentialism.Tommaso Piazza - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):148-165.
    Evidentialism says that a subject S’s justification is entirely determined by S’s evidence. The plausibility of evidentialism depends on what kind of entities constitute a subject S’s evidence and what one takes the support relation to consist in. Conee and Feldman’s mainstream evidentialism incorporates a psychologist answer to and an explanationist answer to. ME naturally accommodates perceptual justification. However, it does not accommodate intuitive cases of inferential justification. In the second part of the paper, I consider and reject a reply (...)
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  • Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? (...)
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  • The Matter of Motivating Reasons.J. J. Cunningham - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-27.
    It is now standard in the literature on reasons and rationality to distinguish normative reasons from motivating reasons. Two issues have dominated philosophical theorising concerning the latter: (i) whether we should think of them as certain (non-factive) psychological states of the agent – the dispute over Psychologism; and (ii) whether we should say that the agent can Φ for the reason that p only if p – the dispute over Factivism. This paper first introduces a puzzle: these disputes look very (...)
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  • Experience and Reason.Fabian Dorsch - 2011 - Rero Doc.
    This collection brings together a selection of my recently published or forthcoming articles. What unites them is their common concern with one of the central ambitions of philosophy, namely to get clearer about our first-personal perspective onto the world and our minds. Three aspects of that perspective are of particular importance: consciousness, intentionality, and rationality. The collected essays address metaphysical and epistemological questions both concerning the nature of each of these aspects and concerning the various connections among them. More generally, (...)
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  • Everything is Self-Evident.Steven Diggin - forthcoming - Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology.
    Plausible probabilistic accounts of evidential support entail that every true proposition is evidence for itself. This paper defends this surprising principle against a series of recent objections from Jessica Brown. Specifically, the paper argues that: (i) explanationist accounts of evidential support convergently entail that every true proposition is self-evident, and (ii) it is often felicitous to cite a true proposition as evidence for itself, just not under that description. The paper also develops an objection involving the apparent impossibility of believing (...)
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  • Basic Factive Perceptual Reasons.Ian Schnee - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1103-1118.
    Many epistemologists have recently defended views on which all evidence is true or perceptual reasons are facts. On such views a common account of basic perceptual reasons is that the fact that one sees that p is one’s reason for believing that p. I argue that that account is wrong; rather, in the basic case the fact that p itself is one’s reason for believing that p. I show that my proposal is better motivated, solves a fundamental objection that the (...)
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  • Epistemic Reasons I: Normativity.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (7):364-376.
    This paper is an opinionated guide to the literature on normative epistemic reasons. After making some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of normative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states, and concluding that they are not mental states. In §3, I examine the distinction between normative epistemic reasons there are and normative epistemic reasons we possess. I offer a novel account of this distinction and argue that we (...)
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  • Suspending is Believing.Thomas Raleigh - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-26.
    A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one's evidence – and one's relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, (...)
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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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  • Worldly Reasons: An Ontological Inquiry Into Motivating Considerations and Normative Reasons.Susanne Mantel - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this article I advocate a worldly account of normative reasons according to which there is an ontological gap between these and the premises of practical thought, i.e. motivating considerations. While motivating considerations are individuated fine-grainedly, normative reasons should be classified as coarse-grained entities, e.g. as states of affairs, in order to explain certain necessary truths about them and to make sense of how we count and weigh them. As I briefly sketch, acting for normative reasons is nonetheless possible if (...)
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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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  • Reasons and Theoretical Rationality.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    A discussion of epistemic reasons, theoretical rationality, and the relationship between them. Discusses the ontology of reasons and evidence, the relationship between reasons (motivating, normative, possessed, apparent, genuine, etc.) and rationality, the relationship between epistemic reasons and evidence, the relationship between rationality, justification, and knowledge, and many other related topics.
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  • Deflationary Pluralism About Motivating Reasons.Daniel Fogal - 2018 - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge University Press.
    This paper takes a closer look at ordinary thought and talk about motivating reasons, in an effort to better understand how it works. This is an important first step in understanding whether—and if so, how—such thought and talk should inform or constrain our substantive theorizing. One of the upshots is that ordinary judgments about motivating reasons are at best a partial and defeasible guide to what really matters, and that so-called factualists, propositionalists, and statists are all partly right, as well (...)
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  • Arbitrary Foundations? On Klein’s Objection to Foundationalism.Coos Engelsma - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (4):389-408.
    This paper evaluates Peter Klein’s objection to foundationalism. According to Klein, foundationalism fails because it allows arbitrariness “at the base.” I first explain that this objection can be interpreted in two ways: either as targeting dialectical foundationalism or as targeting epistemic foundationalism. I then clarify Klein’s concept of arbitrariness. An assertion or belief is assumed to be arbitrary if and only if it lacks a reason that is “objectively and subjectively available.” Drawing on this notion, I evaluate Klein’s objection. I (...)
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  • Internalism and the Nature of Justification.Jonathan Egeland Harouny - 2020 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    There are many important dimensions of epistemic evaluation, one of which is justification. We don’t just evaluate beliefs for truth, reliability, accuracy, and knowledge, but also for justification. However, in the epistemological literature, there is much disagreement about the nature of justification and how it should be understood. One of the controversies that has separated the contemporary epistemological discourse into two opposing camps has to do with the internalism-externalism distinction. Whereas internalists defend certain core assumptions about justification from the pre-Gettier (...)
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  • Can Reasons Be Propositions? Against Dancy's Attack on Propositionalism.Attila Tanyi & Morganti Matteo - 2017 - Theoria 83 (3):185-205.
    The topic of this article is the ontology of practical reasons. We draw a critical comparison between two views. According to the first, practical reasons are states of affairs; according to the second, they are propositions. We first isolate and spell out in detail certain objections to the second view that can be found only in embryonic form in the literature – in particular, in the work of Jonathan Dancy. Next, we sketch possible ways in which one might respond to (...)
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  • On Williamson's Account of Propositional Evidence.Artūrs Logins - 2013 - Logique Et Analyse 56 (223):347-354.
    In this paper I examine Williamson’s (2000) claim that all evidence is propositional. I propose to reject this claim. I give two objections to two premises of Williamson’s argument. The first is a critique of Williamson’s claim that we choose between hypotheses on the basis of our evidence. The second objection is that Williamson’s claim that evidence is an explanandum of an hypothesis leads to counter-intuitive consequences and thus is not central to what evidence is, at least on an ordinary (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Knowledge, Blame, and Coherence.Marc-Kevin Daoust - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (4):493-503.
    Many philosophers have offered arguments in favor of the following three theses: A is epistemically permitted to believe P only if A is in a position to know that P, incoherent agents fail to satisfy the aforementioned knowledge norm of belief, and A’s apparent reasons are relevant to determining what A is blameworthy for believing. In this paper, I argue that the above three theses are jointly inconsistent. The main upshot of the paper is this: even if the knowledge norm (...)
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  • Evidence and its Limits.Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - In Conor McHugh Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press.
    On a standard view about reasons, evidence, and justification, there is justification for you to believe all and only what your evidence supports and the reasons that determine whether there is justification to believe are all just pieces of evidence. This view is mistaken about two things. It is mistaken about the rational role of evidence. It is also mistaken about the rational role of reasons. To show this, I present two basis problems for the standard view and argue that (...)
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  • Acting and Believing Under the Guise of Normative Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):409-430.
    In this paper, I defend an account of the reasons for which we act, believe, and so on for any Ф such that there can be reasons for which we Ф. Such reasons are standardly called motivating reasons. I argue that three dominant views of motivating reasons all fail to capture the ordinary concept of a motivating reason. I show this by drawing out three constraints on what motivating reasons must be, and demonstrating how each view fails to satisfy at (...)
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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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  • How and Why Knowledge is First.Clayton Littlejohn - 2017 - In A. Carter, E. Gordon & B. Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First. Oxford University Press. pp. 19-45.
    A defense of the idea that knowledge is first in the sense that there is nothing prior to knowledge that puts reasons or evidence in your possession. Includes a critical discussion of the idea that perception or perceptual experience might provide reasons and a defense of a knowledge-first approach to justified belief.
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  • Can Experience Fulfill the Many Roles of Evidence?Logan Paul Gage - 2018 - Quaestiones Disputatae 8 (2):87-111.
    It is still a live question in epistemology and philosophy of science as to what exactly evidence is. In my view, evidence consists in experiences called “seemings.” This view is a version of the phenomenal conception of evidence, the position that evidence consists in nonfactive mental states with propositional content. This conception is opposed by sense-data theorists, disjunctivists, and those who think evidence consists in physical objects or publicly observable states of affairs—call it the courtroom conception of evidence. Thomas Kelly (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Common Sense and Evidence: Some Neglected Arguments in Favour of E=K.Artūrs Logins - 2017 - Theoria 83 (2):120-137.
    In this article I focus on some unduly neglected common-sense considerations supporting the view that one's evidence is the propositions that one knows. I reply to two recent objections to these considerations.
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  • The Role of Memory in Agential Self-Knowledge.Ben Sorgiovanni - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):413-425.
    Agentialism about self-knowledge is the view that key to understanding our capacity for self-knowledge is appreciating the connection between that capacity and our identities as rational agents—as creatures for whom believing, intending, desiring, and so on are manifestations of a capacity to be responsive to reasons. This connection, agentialists maintain, consists in the fact that coming to know our own minds involves an exercise of our rational capacities in the service of answering the relevant first-order question. Agentialists face the task (...)
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  • Subjective Normativity and Action Guidance.Andrew Sepielli - 2012 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol. II. Oxford University Press.
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  • A Plea for Epistemic Excuses.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Fabian Dorsch Julien Dutant (ed.), The New Evil Demon Problem. Oxford University Press.
    The typical epistemology course begins with a discussion of the distinction between justification and knowledge and ends without any discussion of the distinction between justification and excuse. This is unfortunate. If we had a better understanding of the justification-excuse distinction, we would have a better understanding of the intuitions that shape the internalism-externalism debate. My aims in this paper are these. First, I will explain how the kinds of excuses that should interest epistemologists exculpate. Second, I will explain why the (...)
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  • Perception as a Propositional Attitude.Daniel Kalpokas - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.
    It is widely held that the content of perceptual experience is propositional in nature. However, in a well-known article, “Is Perception a Propositional Attitude?”, Crane has argued against this thesis. He therein assumes that experience has intentional content and indirectly argues that experience has non-propositional content by showing that from what he considers to be the main reasons in favour of “the propositional-attitude thesis”, it does not really follow that experience has propositional content. In this paper I shall discuss Crane’s (...)
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  • Experience and Evidence.Susanna Schellenberg - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):699-747.
    I argue that perceptual experience provides us with both phenomenal and factive evidence. To a first approximation, we can understand phenomenal evidence as determined by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we are experiencing. To a first approximation, we can understand factive evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed to be an accurate guide to the environment. I argue that the rational source of both phenomenal and (...)
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  • Knowledge and Normativity.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Markos Valaris & Stephen Hetherington (eds.), Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic.
    Abstract: On the standard story about knowledge, knowledge has a normative dimension by virtue of the fact that knowledge involves justification. On the standard story, justification is necessary but insufficient for knowledge. The additional conditions that distinguish knowledge from justified belief are normatively insignificant. In this chapter we will consider whether the concept of knowledge might be irrelevant to normative questions in epistemology. Some proponents of the standard story might think that it is, but we shall see that the concept (...)
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  • Having False Reasons.Juan Comesaña & Matthew McGrath - 2014 - In Clayton Littlejohn & John Turri (eds.), Epistemic Norms. Oxford University Press. pp. 59-80.
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  • Reasons and Oughts: An Explanation and Defence of Deontic Buck-Passing.Euan Hans Metz - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    This thesis is about what a normative reason is and how reasons relate to oughts. I argue that normative reasons are to be understood as relational properties of favouring or disfavouring. I then examine the question: What is the relation between reasons, so understood, and what we ought to do, believe, or feel? I argue that the relation is an explanatory one. We should explain what we ought to do in terms of reasons, and not the other way around. This (...)
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  • Evidence and Armchair Access.Clayton Mitchell Littlejohn - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):479-500.
    In this paper, I shall discuss a problem that arises when you try to combine an attractive account of what constitutes evidence with an independently plausible account of the kind of access we have to our evidence. According to E = K, our evidence consists of what we know. According to the principle of armchair access, we can know from the armchair what our evidence is. Combined, these claims entail that we can have armchair knowledge of the external world. Because (...)
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  • Percepción y mentes animales.Daniel E. Kalpokas - 2018 - Revista de Filosofía 43 (2):201-221.
    En este artículo propongo una variedad de conceptualismo contra la objeción no conceptualista de acuerdo con la cual los enfoques no conceptualistas no serían capaces de explicar apropiadamente la percepción animal. En primer lugar, sintetizo la posición de McDowell sobre las mentes animales. En segundo lugar, señalo algunos problemas conceptuales en ella. En tercer lugar, sugiero una extensión del conceptualismo al reino animal a fin de resolver las inconsistencias de McDowell y de acomodar cierta evidencia empírica acerca de algunas capacidades (...)
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  • Introduction [to Logos & Episteme, Special Issue: The Ethics of Belief].Patrick Bondy - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (4):397-404.
    This special issue collects five new essays on various topics relevant to the ethics of belief. They shed fresh light on important questions, and bring new arguments to bear on familiar topics of concern to most epistemologists, and indeed, to anyone interested in normative requirements on beliefs either for their own sake or because of the way such requirements bear on other domains of inquiry.
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  • Acting on a Ground : Reasons, Rational Motivation, and Explanation.Magnus Frei - 2016 - Dissertation, Fribourg
    When someone does something for a reason, what are the reasons for which she does what she does? What is her ‘motivating reason’, as it is sometimes put? The simple answer is: it depends on what is meant by ‘motivating reason’. Non-Psychologists hold that motivating reasons are what the agent believes. I have shown that given that we understand ‘motivating reasons’ as what I term 'grounds', this is quite correct, as what we believe is what plays the role of a (...)
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