Tracking Inferences Is not Enough: The Given as Tie-Breaker

Logos and Episteme 7 (2):129-135 (2016)
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Most inferentialists hope to bypass givenness by tracking the conditionals claimants are implicitly committed to. I argue that this approach is underdetermined because one can always construct parallel trees of conditionals. I illustrate this using the Müller-Lyer illusion and touching a table. In the former case, the lines are either even or uneven; in the latter case, a moving hand will either sweep through or be halted. For each possibility, we can rationally foresee consequents. However, I argue that, until and unless we benefit from what is given in experience, we cannot know whether to affirm the antecedents of those conditionals.
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