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Epistemology without guidance

Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196 (2021)

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  1. Do we really need a knowledge-based decision theory?Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7031-7059.
    The paper investigates what type of motivation can be given for adopting a knowledge-based decision theory. KBDT seems to have several advantages over competing theories of rationality. It is commonly argued that this theory would naturally fit with the intuitive idea that being rational is doing what we take to be best given what we know, an idea often supported by appeal to ordinary folk appraisals. Moreover, KBDT seems to strike a perfect balance between the problematic extremes of subjectivist and (...)
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  • Scepticism and Implicit Bias.Jennifer Saul - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (37):243-263.
    Saul_Jennifer, Scepticism and Implicit Bias.
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  • The Norm of Belief.John Gibbons - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    John Gibbons presents an original account of epistemic normativity. Belief seems to come with a built-in set of standards or norms. One task is to say where these standards come from. But the more basic task is to say what those standards are. In some sense, beliefs are supposed to be true. Perhaps they’re supposed to constitute knowledge. And in some sense, they really ought to be reasonable. Which, if any of these is the fundamental norm of belief? The book (...)
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  • Without Justification.Jonathan Sutton - 2007 - MIT Press.
    An argument that takes issue with the contemporary epistemological consensus that justification is distinct from knowledge, proposing instead that justified belief simply is knowledge, and arguing in detail that a belief is justified when ...
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  • Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action.Maria Alvarez - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    Understanding human beings and their distinctive rational and volitional capacities requires a clear account of such things as reasons, desires, emotions, and motives, and how they combine to produce and explain human behaviour. Maria Alvarez presents a fresh and incisive study of these concepts, centred on reasons and their role in human agency.
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  • Evidentialism: Essays in Epistemology.Earl Conee & Richard Feldman - 2004 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This book is a collection of essays, mostly jointly authored, that support and apply evidentialism.
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  • Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious.Timothy D. Wilson - 2002 - Harvard University Press.
    This is not your psychoanalyst's unconscious.
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  • Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Michael Huemer (ed.) - 2001 - Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
    This book develops and defends a version of direct realism: the thesis that perception gives us direct awareness, and non-inferential knowledge, of the external..
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  • Epistemology and Cognition.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
    So argues a leading epistemologist in this work of fundamental importance to philosophical thinking.
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  • Reason and Belief.Brand Blanshard - 1974 - Yale University Press.
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  • Belief's Own Ethics.Jonathan Eric Adler - 2002 - MIT Press.
    In this book Jonathan Adler offers a strengthened version of evidentialism, arguing that the ethics of belief should be rooted in the concept of belief--that...
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  • The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
    For many epistemologists, and for many philosophers more broadly, it is axiomatic that rationality requires you to take the doxastic attitudes that your evidence supports. Yet there is also another current in our talk about rationality. On this usage, rationality is a matter of the right kind of coherence between one's mental attitudes. Surprisingly little work in epistemology is explicitly devoted to answering the question of how these two currents of talk are related. But many implicitly assume that evidence -responsiveness (...)
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  • Very Improbable Knowing.Timothy Williamson - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):971-999.
    Improbable knowing is knowing something even though it is almost certain on one’s evidence at the time that one does not know that thing. Once probabilities on the agent’s evidence are introduced into epistemic logic in a very natural way, it is easy to construct models of improbable knowing, some of which have realistic interpretations, for instance concerning agents like us with limited powers of perceptual discrimination. Improbable knowing is an extreme case of failure of the KK principle, that is, (...)
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  • Response to Cohen, Comesaña, Goodman, Nagel, and Weatherson on Gettier Cases in Epistemic Logic.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (1):77-96.
    The five commentators on my paper ‘Gettier Cases in Epistemic Logic’ (GCEL) demonstrate how fruitful the topic can be. Especially in Brian Weatherson's contribution, and to some extent in those of Jennifer Nagel and Jeremy Goodman, much of the material constitutes valuable development and refinement of ideas in GCEL, rather than criticism. In response, I draw some threads together, and answer objections, mainly those in the papers by Stewart Cohen and Juan Comesaña and by Goodman.
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  • Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.
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  • The Value of Rationality. [REVIEW]Ralph Wedgwood - 2019 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 73 (1):153-157.
    This is a review, by Sebastian Schmidt, of Ralph Wedgwood's The Value of Rationality (Oxford University Press, 2017).
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  • Internalism Explained.Ralph Wedgwood - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2):349-369.
    According to epistemological internalism, the rationality of a belief supervenes purely on "internal facts" about the thinker's mind. But what are "internal facts"? Why does the rationality of a belief supervene on them? The standard answers are unacceptable. This paper proposes new answers. "Internal facts" are facts about the thinker's nonfactive mental states. The rationality of a belief supervenes on such internal facts because we need rules of belief revision that we can follow directly, not by means of following any (...)
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  • Two Arguments for Evidentialism.Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):805-818.
    Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence for p. Pragmatists hold that pragmatic considerations – incentives for believing – can also be reasons to believe. Nishi Shah, Thomas Kelly and others have argued for evidentialism on the grounds that incentives for belief fail a ‘reasoning constraint’ on reasons: roughly, reasons must be considerations we can reason from, but we cannot reason from incentives to belief. In the first half of the paper, I show that this (...)
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  • Reasons and Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (3):214-235.
    Many philosophers accept a response constraint on normative reasons: that p is a reason for you to φ only if you are able to φ for the reason that p. This constraint offers a natural way to cash out the familiar and intuitive thought that reasons must be able to guide us, and has been put to work as a premise in a range of influential arguments in ethics and epistemology. However, the constraint requires interpretation and faces putative counter-examples due (...)
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  • The Measure of Knowledge.Nick Treanor - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):577-601.
    What is it to know more? By what metric should the quantity of one's knowledge be measured? I start by examining and arguing against a very natural approach to the measure of knowledge, one on which how much is a matter of how many. I then turn to the quasi-spatial notion of counterfactual distance and show how a model that appeals to distance avoids the problems that plague appeals to cardinality. But such a model faces fatal problems of its own. (...)
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  • The Best Argument for 'Ought Implies Can' Is a Better Argument Against 'Ought Implies Can'.Brian Talbot - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    To argue that “ought” implies “can,” one can appeal to general principles or to intuitions about specific cases. One general truism that seems to show that “ought” implies “can” is that obligations must be able to guide action, and putative obligations that are unfulfillable are unable to do so. This paper argues that obligations that are unfulfillable can still guide action, and that moral theories which reject the principle that “ought” implies “can” are actually better able to account for how (...)
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  • Stick to what you know.Jonathan Sutton - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):359–396.
    I will be arguing that a subject’s belief that p is justified if and only if he knows that p: justification is knowledge. I will start by describing two broad classes of allegedly justified beliefs that do not constitute knowledge and which, hence, cannot be what they are often taken to be if my view is correct. It is far from clear what my view is until I say a lot more about the relevant concept or concepts of justification that (...)
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  • Explaining doxastic transparency: aim, norm, or function?Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3453-3476.
    I argue that explanations of doxastic transparency which go via an appeal to an aim or norm of belief are problematic. I offer a new explanation which appeals to a biological function of our mechanisms for belief production. I begin by characterizing the phenomenon, and then move to the teleological and normative accounts of belief, advertised by their proponents as able to give an explanation of it. I argue that, at the very least, both accounts face serious difficulties in this (...)
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  • The No Guidance Argument.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2013 - Theoria 79 (1):279-283.
    In a recent article, I criticized Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss's so-called “no guidance argument” against the truth norm for belief, for conflating the conditions under which that norm recommends belief with the psychological state one must be in to apply the norm. In response, Glüer and Wikforss have offered a new formulation of the no guidance argument, which makes it apparent that no such conflation is made. However, their new formulation of the argument presupposes a much too narrow understanding (...)
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  • Normativity without Cartesian privilege.Amia Srinivasan - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):273-299.
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  • Are We Luminous?Amia Srinivasan - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):294-319.
    Since its appearance over a decade ago, Timothy Williamson's anti-luminosity argument has come under sustained attack. Defenders of the luminous overwhelmingly object to the argument's use of a certain margin-for-error premise. Williamson himself claims that the premise follows easily from a safety condition on knowledge together with his description of the thought experiment. But luminists argue that this is not so: the margin-for-error premise either requires an implausible interpretation of the safety requirement on knowledge, or it requires other equally implausible (...)
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  • Using moral principles to guide decisions.Holly M. Smith - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):369-386.
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  • Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism Is True and What It Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief.Miriam Schoenfield - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):193-218.
    In this paper, I begin by defending permissivism: the claim that, sometimes, there is more than one way to rationally respond to a given body of evidence. Then I argue that, if we accept permissivism, certain worries that arise as a result of learning that our beliefs were caused by the communities we grew up in, the schools we went to, or other irrelevant influences dissipate. The basic strategy is as follows: First, I try to pinpoint what makes irrelevant influences (...)
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  • Having reasons.Mark Schroeder - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (1):57 - 71.
    What is it to have a reason? According to one common idea, the "Factoring Account", you have a reason to do A when there is a reason for you to do A which you have--which is somehow in your possession or grasp. In this paper, I argue that this common idea is false. But though my arguments are based on the practical case, the implications of this are likely to be greatest in epistemology: for the pitfalls we fall into when (...)
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  • Epistemic norms.John L. Pollock - 1987 - Synthese 71 (1):61 - 95.
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  • Treating something as a reason for action.Ram Neta - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):684-699.
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  • We Have No Positive Epistemic Duties.Mark T. Nelson - 2010 - Mind 119 (473):83-102.
    In ethics, it is commonly supposed that we have both positive duties and negative duties, things we ought to do and things we ought not to do. Given the many parallels between ethics and epistemology, we might suppose that the same is true in epistemology, and that we have both positive epistemic duties and negative epistemic duties. I argue that this is false; that is, that we have negative epistemic duties, but no positive ones. There are things that we ought (...)
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  • Agents' abilities.Alfred R. Mele - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):447–470.
    Claims about agents’ abilities—practical abilities—are common in theliterature on free will, moral responsibility, moral obligation, personalautonomy, weakness of will, and related topics. These claims typicallyignore differences among various kinds or levels of practical ability. Inthis article, using ‘A’ as an action variable, I distinguish among threekinds or levels: simple ability toA; ability toAintentionally; and a morereliable kind of ability toAassociated with promising toA. I believe thatattention to them will foster progress on the topics I mentioned. Substan-tiating that belief—by making progress (...)
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  • The Normativity of Rationality, by Benjamin Kiesewetter.Conor McHugh - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1245-1253.
    _ The Normativity of Rationality _, by KiesewetterBenjamin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii + 314.
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  • Précis zu Determined by Reasons: A Competence Account of Acting for a Normative Reason.Susanne Mantel - 2018 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 72 (3):410-415.
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  • Acting for the Right Reasons, Abilities, and Obligation.Errol Lord - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 10.
    Objectivists about obligation hold that obligations are determined by all of the normatively relevant facts. Perspectivalists, on the other hand, hold that only facts within one’s perspective can determine what we are obligated to do. This chapter argues for a perspectivalist view. It argues that what you are obligated to do is determined by the normative reasons you possess. This view is anchored in the thought that our obligations have to be action-guiding in a certain sense—we have to be able (...)
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  • XV—The Russellian Retreat.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):293-320.
    Belief does aim at the truth. When our beliefs do not fit the facts, they cannot do what they are supposed to do, because they cannot provide us with reasons. We cannot plausibly deny that a truth norm is among the norms that govern belief. What we should not say is that the truth norm is the fundamental epistemic norm. In this paper, I shall argue that knowledge is the norm of belief and that the truth norm has a derivative (...)
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  • Being More Realistic About Reasons: On Rationality and Reasons Perspectivism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):605-627.
    This paper looks at whether it is possible to unify the requirements of rationality with the demands of normative reasons. It might seem impossible to do because one depends upon the agent’s perspective and the other upon features of the situation. Enter Reasons Perspectivism. Reasons perspectivists think they can show that rationality does consist in responding correctly to reasons by placing epistemic constraints on these reasons. They think that if normative reasons are subject to the right epistemic constraints, rational requirements (...)
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  • Unreasonable Knowledge.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):1-21.
    It is common orthodoxy among internalists and externalists alike that knowledge is lost or defeated in situations involving misleading evidence of a suitable kind. But making sense of defeat has seemed to present a particular challenge for those who reject an internalist justification condition on knowledge. My main aim here is to argue that externalists ought to take seriously a view on which knowledge can be retained even in the face of strong seemingly defeating evidence. As an instructive example, I (...)
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  • Guidance, epistemic filters, and non‐accidental ought‐doing.Maria Lasonen‐Aarnio - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):172-183.
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  • Rationality, Justification, and the Internalism/Externalism Debate.Harold Langsam - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):79-101.
    In this paper, I argue that what underlies internalism about justification is a rationalist conception of justification, not a deontological conception of justification, and I argue for the plausibility of this rationalist conception of justification. The rationalist conception of justification is the view that a justified belief is a belief that is held in a rational way; since we exercise our rationality through conscious deliberation, the rationalist conception holds that a belief is justified iff a relevant possible instance of conscious (...)
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  • The Uniqueness Thesis.Matthew Kopec & Michael G. Titelbaum - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (4):189-200.
    The Uniqueness Thesis holds, roughly speaking, that there is a unique rational response to any particular body of evidence. We first sketch some varieties of Uniqueness that appear in the literature. We then discuss some popular views that conflict with Uniqueness and others that require Uniqueness to be true. We then examine some arguments that have been presented in its favor and discuss why permissivists find them unconvincing. Last, we present some purported counterexamples that have been raised against Uniqueness and (...)
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  • Impossible Obligations are not Necessarily Deliberatively Pointless.Christopher Jay - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):381-389.
    Many philosophers accept that ought implies can (OIC), but it is not obvious that we have a good argument for that principle. I consider one sort of argument for it, which seems to be a development of an Aristotelian idea about practical deliberation and which is endorsed by, amongst others, R. M. Hare and James Griffin. After briefly rehearsing some well-known objections to that sort of argument (which is based on the supposed pointlessness of impossible obligations), I present a further (...)
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  • How knowledge works.John Hyman - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (197):433-451.
    I shall be mainly concerned with the question ‘What is personal propositional knowledge?’. This question is obviously quite narrowly focused, in three respects. In the first place, there is impersonal as well as personal knowledge. Second, a distinction is often drawn between propositional knowledge and practical knowledge. And third, as well as asking what knowledge is, it is also possible to ask whether and how knowledge of various kinds can be acquired: causal knowledge, a priori knowledge, moral knowledge, and so (...)
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  • Uniqueness, Rationality, and the Norm of Belief.Nick Hughes - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):57-75.
    I argue that it is epistemically permissible to believe that P when it is epistemically rational to believe that P. Unlike previous defenses of this claim, this argument is not vulnerable to the claim that permissibility is being confused with excusability.
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  • No Excuses: Against the Knowledge Norm of Belief.Nick Hughes - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):157-166.
    Recently it has been increasingly popular to argue that knowledge is the norm of belief. I present an argument against this view. The argument trades on the epistemic situation of the subject in the bad case. Notably, unlike with other superficially similar arguments against knowledge norms, knowledge normers preferred strategy of appealing to the distinction between permissibility and excusability cannot help them to rebut this argument.
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  • Luminosity Failure, Normative Guidance and the Principle ‘Ought-Implies-Can’.Nick Hughes - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (4):439-457.
    It is widely thought that moral obligations are necessarily guidance giving. This supposed fact has been put to service in defence of the ‘ought-implies-can’ principle according to which one cannot be morally obligated to do the impossible, since impossible-to-satisfy obligations would not give guidance. It is argued here that the supposed fact is no such thing; moral obligations are not necessarily guiding giving, and so the ‘guidance argument’ for ought-implies-can fails. This is the result of no non-trivial condition being ‘luminous’.
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  • Is knowledge the ability to ϕ for the reason that p?Nick Hughes - 2014 - Episteme 11 (4):457-462.
    Hyman (1999, 2006) argues that knowledge is best conceived as a kind of ability: S knows that p iff S can φ for the reason that p. Hyman motivates this thesis by appealing to Gettier cases. I argue that it is counterexampled by a certain kind of Gettier case where the fact that p is a cause of the subject’s belief that p. One can φ for the reason that p even if one does not know that p. So knowledge (...)
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  • Guidance, Obligations and Ability: A Close Look at the Action Guidance Argument for Ought-Implies-Can.Nick Hughes - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (1):73-85.
    It is often argued that the requirement that moral obligations be ‘action guiding’ motivates the claim that one can be obligated to ϕ only if one can ϕ. I argue that even on its most plausible interpretation, this argument fails, since the reasoning behind it leads to the absurd conclusion that one is permitted to ϕ if one cannot ϕ.
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  • Epistemic Feedback Loops (Or: How Not to Get Evidence).Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Epistemologists spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should respond to our evidence. They spend far less time thinking about the ways that evidence can be acquired in the first place. This is an oversight. Some ways of acquiring evidence are better than others. Many normative epistemologies struggle to accommodate this fact. In this article I develop one that can and does. I identify a phenomenon – epistemic feedback loops – in which evidence acquisition has gone awry, (...)
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