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Knowledge and Its Limits

Philosophy 76 (297):460-464 (2000)

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  1. Responsibility for Collective Epistemic Harms.Will Fleisher & Dunja Seselja - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Discussion of epistemic responsibility typically focuses on belief formation and actions leading to it. Similarly, accounts of collective epistemic responsibility have addressed the issue of collective belief formation and associated actions. However, there has been little discussion of collective responsibility for preventing epistemic harms, particularly those preventable only by the collective action of an unorganized group. We propose an account of collective epistemic responsibility which fills this gap. Building on Hindriks' (2019) account of collective moral responsibility, we introduce the Epistemic (...)
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  • Two Norms of Intention: A Vindication of Williamson’s Knowledge-Action Analogy.Frank Hofmann - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (4):1-10.
    According to an important analogy between knowledge and action, as proposed by Timothy Williamson, intention aims at action just as belief aims at knowledge. This paper investigates the analogy and discusses three difficulties that it has to face. The key is to distinguish between two different norms of intention and to see that the knowledge-action analogy is concerned with one of them only, namely, the realization norm: one ought to intentionally act if one intends to act in a certain way. (...)
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  • Where Tracking Loses Traction.Mitchell Barrington - forthcoming - Episteme:1-14.
    Tracking theories see knowledge as a relation between a subject’s belief and the truth, where the former is responsive to the latter. This relationship involves causation in virtue of a sensitivity condition, which is constrained by an adherence condition. The result is what I call a stable causal relationship between a fact and a subject’s belief in that fact. I argue that when we apprehend the precise role of causation in the theory, previously obscured problems pour out. This paper presents (...)
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  • Vulnerability in Social Epistemic Networks.Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, Bettina Speckmann & Mark Alfano - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (5):1-23.
    Social epistemologists should be well-equipped to explain and evaluate the growing vulnerabilities associated with filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization in social media. However, almost all social epistemology has been built for social contexts that involve merely a speaker-hearer dyad. Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization all presuppose much larger and more complex network structures. In this paper, we lay the groundwork for a properly social epistemology that gives the role and structure of networks their due. In particular, (...)
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  • Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):57-72.
    ABSTRACTWe have no reason to believe that reasons do not exist. Contra Bart Streumer’s recent proposal, this has nothing to do with our incapacity to believe this error theory. Rather, it is because if we know that if a proposition is true, we have no reason to believe it, then we have no reason to believe this proposition. From a different angle: if we know that we have at best misleading reasons to believe a proposition, then we have no reason (...)
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  • Knowing Is Not Enough.Martin Montminy - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (2):286-295.
    I consider the rule of assertion according to which knowledge is sufficient for epistemically proper assertion. I examine a counterexample to this rule recently proposed by Jennifer Lackey. I present three responses to this counterexample. The first two, I argue, highlight some flaws in the counterexample. But the third response fails. The lessons I draw from examining these three responses allow me to propose two counterexamples to the sufficiency rule that are similar to Lackey’s but avoid its problems.
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  • Sensuous Experience, Phenomenal Presence, and Perceptual Availability.Christopher Frey - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (2):237-254.
    I argue that an experience’s sensuous elements play an ineliminable role in our being intentionally directed upon an entity through perception. More specifically, I argue that whenever we appreciate a sensuous element in experience, we appreciate an intrinsic and irreducibly phenomenal aspect of experience that I call phenomenal presence – an aspect of experience that I show is central to its presentational character – and that the appreciation of phenomenal presence is necessary for perceptual intentionality. If an experience is to (...)
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  • Saving Sensitivity.Brett Topey - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):177-196.
    Sensitivity has sometimes been thought to be a highly epistemologically significant property, serving as a proxy for a kind of responsiveness to the facts that ensure that the truth of our beliefs isn’t just a lucky coincidence. But it's an imperfect proxy: there are various well-known cases in which sensitivity-based anti-luck conditions return the wrong verdicts. And as a result of these failures, contemporary theorists often dismiss such conditions out of hand. I show here, though, that a sensitivity-based understanding of (...)
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  • The Epistemic Role of Consciousness.Tony Cheng - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):238-240.
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  • Probabilistic Proofs, Lottery Propositions, and Mathematical Knowledge.Yacin Hamami - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):77-89.
    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. This 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 proposition (...)
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  • Against Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
    Mereological nihilism says that there do not exist (in the fundamental sense) any objects with proper parts. A reason to accept it is that we can thereby eliminate 'part' from fundamental ideology. Many purported reasons to reject it - based on common sense, perception, and the possibility of gunk, for example - are weak. A more powerful reason is that composite objects seem needed for spacetime physics; but sets suffice instead.
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  • Updating for Externalists.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):487-516.
    The externalist says that your evidence could fail to tell you what evidence you do or not do have. In that case, it could be rational for you to be uncertain about what your evidence is. This is a kind of uncertainty which orthodox Bayesian epistemology has difficulty modeling. For, if externalism is correct, then the orthodox Bayesian learning norms of conditionalization and reflection are inconsistent with each other. I recommend that an externalist Bayesian reject conditionalization. In its stead, I (...)
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  • Not Much Higher-Order Vagueness in Williamson’s ’Logic of Clarity’.Nasim Mahoozi & Thomas Mormann - manuscript
    This paper deals with higher-order vagueness in Williamson's 'logic of clarity'. Its aim is to prove that for 'fixed margin models' (W,d,α ,[ ]) the notion of higher-order vagueness collapses to second-order vagueness. First, it is shown that fixed margin models can be reformulated in terms of similarity structures (W,~). The relation ~ is assumed to be reflexive and symmetric, but not necessarily transitive. Then, it is shown that the structures (W,~) come along with naturally defined maps h and s (...)
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  • The Subject of Experience.Galen Strawson - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Does the self exist? If so, what is its nature? How long do selves last? Galen Strawson draws on literature and psychology as well as philosophy to discuss various ways we experience having or being a self. He argues that it is legitimate to say that there is such a thing as the self, distinct from the human being.
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  • A Tale of Two Epistemologies?Alan Hájek & Hanti Lin - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (2):207-232.
    So-called “traditional epistemology” and “Bayesian epistemology” share a word, but it may often seem that the enterprises hardly share a subject matter. They differ in their central concepts. They differ in their main concerns. They differ in their main theoretical moves. And they often differ in their methodology. However, in the last decade or so, there have been a number of attempts to build bridges between the two epistemologies. Indeed, many would say that there is just one branch of philosophy (...)
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  • On Epistemic Conceptions of Meaning: Use, Meaning and Normativity.Daniel Whiting - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):416-434.
    A number of prominent philosophers advance the following ideas: (1) Meaning is use. (2) Meaning is an intrinsically normative notion. Call (1) the use thesis, hereafter UT, and (2) the normativity thesis, hereafter NT. They come together in the view that for a linguistic expression to have meaning is for there to be certain proprieties governing its employment.1 These ideas are often associated with a third.
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  • Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity.Olivia Sultanescu - 2021 - In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184.
    This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s (...)
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  • The Analysis of Knowledge.Brian C. Barnett - 2021 - In Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology. Rebus Community. pp. Chapter 1.
    According to the traditional analysis of propositional knowledge (which derives from Plato's account in the Meno and Theaetetus), knowledge is justified true belief. This chapter develops the traditional analysis, introduces the famous Gettier and lottery problems, and provides an overview of prospective solutions. In closing, I briefly comment on the value of conceptual analysis, note how it has shaped the field, and assess the state of post-Gettier epistemology.
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  • Living on the Edge: Against Epistemic Permissivism.Ginger Schultheis - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):863-879.
    Epistemic Permissivists face a special problem about the relationship between our first- and higher-order attitudes. They claim that rationality often permits a range of doxastic responses to the evidence. Given plausible assumptions about the relationship between your first- and higher-order attitudes, it can't be rational to adopt a credence on the edge of that range. But Permissivism says that, for some such range, any credence in that range is rational. Permissivism, in its traditional form, cannot be right. I consider some (...)
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  • Outline of a Logic of Knowledge of Acquaintance.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuseppe Spolaore - 2019 - Analysis 79 (1):52-61.
    The verb ‘to know’ can be used both in ascriptions of propositional knowledge and ascriptions of knowledge of acquaintance. In the formal epistemology literature, the former use of ‘know’ has attracted considerable attention, while the latter is typically regarded as derivative. This attitude may be unsatisfactory for those philosophers who, like Russell, are not willing to think of knowledge of acquaintance as a subsidiary or dependent kind of knowledge. In this paper we outline a logic of knowledge of acquaintance in (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2021 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational intuition; and (...)
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  • Conceptions of Scientific Progress in Scientific Practice: An Empirical Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2375-2394.
    The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate over the nature of scientific progress in philosophy of science by taking a quantitative, corpus-based approach. By employing the methods of data science and corpus linguistics, the following philosophical accounts of scientific progress are tested empirically: the semantic account of scientific progress, the epistemic account of scientific progress, and the noetic account of scientific progress. Overall, the results of this quantitative, corpus-based study lend some empirical support to the epistemic (...)
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  • Facts, Factives, and Contrafactives.Richard Holton - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):245-266.
    Frege begins his discussion of factives in ‘On Sense and Reference’ with an example of a purported contrafactive, that is, a verb that entails, or presupposes, the falsity of the complement sentence. But the verb he cites, ‘wähnen’, is now obsolete, and native speakers are sceptical about whether it really was a contrafactive. Despite the profusion of factive verbs, there are no clear examples of contrafactive propositional attitude verbs in English, French or German. This paper attempts to give an explanation (...)
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  • 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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  • Extreme Betting.Javier González de Prado Salas - 2019 - Ratio 32 (1):32-41.
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  • What's the Point of Authors?Joshua Habgood-Coote - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Who should be the author(s) of an academic paper? This question is becoming increasingly pressing, due to the increasing prevalence and scale of scientific collaboration, and the corresponding diversity of authorship practices in different disciplines and subdisciplines. This paper addresses the conceptual issues underlying authorship, with an eye to ameliorating authorship practices. The first part of the paper distinguishes five roles played by authorship attributions: allocating credit, constructing a speaker, enabling credibility judgements, supporting accountability, and creating an intellectual marketplace. The (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality and Absolute Decidability.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the nature of mathematical modality, and to the applications of the latter to unrestricted quantification and absolute decidability. Rather than countenancing the interpretational type of mathematical modality as a primitive, I argue that the interpretational type of mathematical modality is a species of epistemic modality. I argue, then, that the framework of two-dimensional semantics ought to be applied to the mathematical setting. The framework permits of a formally precise account of the (...)
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  • What is (In)Coherence?Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13:184-206.
    Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...)
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  • Reasons as Evidence.Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:215-42.
    In this paper, we argue for a particular informative and unified analysis of normative reasons. According to this analysis, a fact F is a reason to act in a certain way just in case it is evidence that one ought to act in that way. Similarly, F is a reason to believe a certain proposition just in case it is evidence for the truth of this proposition. Putting the relatively uncontroversial claim about reasons for belief to one side, we present (...)
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  • Wittgensteinian Epistemology and Cartesian Skepticism.Nicola Claudio Salvatore - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):53-80.
    In this paper, I present and criticize a number of influential anti-skeptical strategies inspired by Wittgenstein’s remarks on ‘hinges’. Furthermore, I argue that, following Wittgen- stein’s analogy between ‘hinges’ and ‘rules of grammar’, we should be able to get rid of Cartesian skeptical scenarios as nonsensical, even if apparently intelligible, combinations of signs.
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  • Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • Probing the Mind of God: Divine Beliefs and Credences.Elizabeth Jackson & Justin Mooney - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    Although much has been written about divine knowledge, and some on divine beliefs, virtually nothing has been written about divine credences. In this essay we comparatively assess four views on divine credences: (1) God has only beliefs, not credences; (2) God has both beliefs and credences; (3) God has only credences, not beliefs; and (4) God has neither credences nor beliefs, only knowledge. We weigh the costs and benefits of these four views and draw connections to current discussions in philosophical (...)
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  • XIII—Self‐Knowledge, Transparency, and Self‐Authorship.Sacha Golob - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (3_pt_3):235-253.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 115, Issue 3pt3, Page 235-253, December 2015.
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  • No Epistemic Norm or Aim Needed.Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini - 2020 - Episteme:1-16.
    Many agree that one cannot consciously form a belief just because one wants to. And many also agree this is a puzzling component of our conscious belief-forming processes. I will look at three views on how to make sense of this puzzle and show that they all fail in some way. I then offer a simpler explanation that avoids all the pitfalls of those views, which is based instead on an analysis of our conscious reasoning combined with a commonly accepted (...)
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  • Bayesianism and Self-Doubt.Darren Bradley - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2225-2243.
    How should we respond to evidence when our evidence indicates that we are rationally impaired? I will defend a novel answer based on the analogy between self-doubt and memory loss. To believe that one is now impaired and previously was not is to believe that one’s epistemic position has deteriorated. Memory loss is also a form of epistemic deterioration. I argue that agents who suffer from epistemic deterioration should return to the priors they had at an earlier time. I develop (...)
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  • An Expressivist Solution to Moorean Paradoxes.Wolfgang Freitag & Nadja-Mira Yolcu - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5001-5024.
    The paper analyzes the nature and scope of Moore’s paradox, articulates the desiderata of a successful solution and claims that psychological expressivism best meets these desiderata. After a brief discussion of prominent responses to Moore’s paradox, the paper offers a solution based on a theory of expressive acts: a Moorean utterance is absurd because the speaker expresses mental states with conflicting contents in commissive versions of the paradox and conflicting states of mind in omissive versions. The paper presents a theory (...)
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  • Realism, Reliability, and Epistemic Possibility: On Modally Interpreting the Benacerraf–Field Challenge.Brett Topey - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):4415-4436.
    A Benacerraf–Field challenge is an argument intended to show that common realist theories of a given domain are untenable: such theories make it impossible to explain how we’ve arrived at the truth in that domain, and insofar as a theory makes our reliability in a domain inexplicable, we must either reject that theory or give up the relevant beliefs. But there’s no consensus about what would count here as a satisfactory explanation of our reliability. It’s sometimes suggested that giving such (...)
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  • Knowledge is Closed Under Analytic Content.Samuel Z. Elgin - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5339-5353.
    I am concerned with epistemic closure—the phenomenon in which some knowledge requires other knowledge. In particular, I defend a version of the closure principle in terms of analyticity; if an agent S knows that p is true and that q is an analytic part of p, then S knows that q. After targeting the relevant notion of analyticity, I argue that this principle accommodates intuitive cases and possesses the theoretical resources to avoid the preface paradox.
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  • The Epistemic Significance of Modal Factors.Lilith Newton - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):227-248.
    This paper evaluates whether and to what extent modal constraints on knowledge or the semantics of ‘knows’, which make essential reference to what goes on in other possible worlds, can be considered non-epistemic factors with epistemic significance. This is best understood as the question whether modal factors are non-truth-relevant factors that make the difference between true belief and knowledge, or to whether a true belief falls under the extension of ‘knowledge’ in a context, where a factor is truth-relevant with respect (...)
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  • Emotions, Evidence, and Safety.Christina H. Dietz - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2027-2050.
    This paper explores two ways that emotions can facilitate knowledge. First, emotions can play an evidential role with respect to belief formation. Second, emotions can be knowledge-conducive without being evidential by securing the safety of belief.
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  • The Conceptual Nature of Imaginative Content.Margherita Arcangeli - 2020 - Synthese (1-2).
    Imagination is widely thought to come in two varieties: perception-like and belief-like imagination. What precisely sets them apart, however, is not settled. More needs to be said about the features that make one variety perception-like and the other belief-like. One common, although typically implicit, view is that they mimic their counterparts along the conceptuality dimension: while the content of belief-like imagination is fully conceptual, the content of perception-like imagination is fully non-conceptual. Such a view, however, is not sufficiently motivated in (...)
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  • Anti-Luck Epistemology and Pragmatic Encroachment.Duncan Pritchard - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):715-729.
    A distinctive approach to the theory of knowledge is described, known as anti-luck epistemology. The goal of the paper is to consider whether there are specific features of this proposal that entails that it is committed to pragmatic encroachment, such that whether one counts as having knowledge significantly depends on non-epistemic factors. In particular, the plausibility of the following idea is explored: that since pragmatic factors play an essential role when it comes to the notion of luck, then according to (...)
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  • A Working Hypothesis for the Logic of Radical Ignorance.Vincenzo Fano & Pierluigi Graziani - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):601-616.
    The Dunning–Kruger effect focuses our attention on the notion of invisibility of ignorance, i.e., the ignorance of ignorance. Such a phenomenon is not only important for everyday life, but also, above all, for some philosophical disciplines, such as epistemology of sciences. When someone tries to understand formally the phenomenon of ignorance of ignorance, they usually end up with a nested epistemic operator highly resistant to proper regimentation. In this paper, we argue that to understand adequately the ignorance of ignorance phenomenon (...)
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  • Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    In order for a reason to justify an action or attitude it must be one that is possessed by an agent. Knowledge-centric views of possession ground our possession of reasons, at least partially, either in our knowledge of them or in our being in a position to know them. On virtually all accounts, knowing P is some kind of non-accidental true belief that P. This entails that knowing P is a kind of non-accidental true representation that P. I outline a (...)
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  • Assertion, Action, and Context.Robin McKenna & Michael Hannon - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):731-743.
    A common objection to both contextualism and relativism about knowledge ascriptions is that they threaten knowledge norms of assertion and action. Consequently, if there is good reason to accept knowledge norms of assertion or action, there is good reason to reject both contextualism and relativism. In this paper we argue that neither contextualism nor relativism threaten knowledge norms of assertion or action.
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  • Belief, Credence, and Moral Encroachment.Elizabeth Jackson & James Fritz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1387–1408.
    Radical moral encroachment is the view that belief itself is morally evaluable, and that some moral properties of belief itself make a difference to epistemic rationality. To date, almost all proponents of radical moral encroachment hold to an asymmetry thesis: the moral encroaches on rational belief, but not on rational credence. In this paper, we argue against the asymmetry thesis; we show that, insofar as one accepts the most prominent arguments for radical moral encroachment on belief, one should likewise accept (...)
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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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  • Introduction.Daniel Star - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  • Epistemology Without Guidance.Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Epistemologists often appeal to the idea that a normative theory must provide useful, usable, guidance to argue for one normative epistemology over another. I argue that this is a mistake. Guidance considerations have no role to play in theory choice in epistemology. I show how this has implications for debates about the possibility and scope of epistemic dilemmas, the legitimacy of idealisation in Bayesian Epistemology, Uniqueness vs. Permissivism, sharp vs. mushy credences, and internalism vs. externalism.
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  • Against Overconfidence: Arguing for the Accessibility of Memorial Justification.Jonathan Egeland - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):1-21.
    In this article, I argue that access internalism should replace preservationism, which has been called “a received view” in the epistemology of memory, as the standard position about memorial justification. My strategy for doing so is two-pronged. First, I argue that the considerations which motivate preservationism also support access internalism. Preservationism is mainly motivated by its ability to answer the explanatory challenges posed by the problem of stored belief and the problem of forgotten evidence. However, as I will demonstrate, access (...)
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