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Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence

In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13 (forthcoming)

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  1. Science, Truth, and Democracy.Philip Kitcher - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher Philip Kitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image of the sciences--one (...)
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  • Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
    How should one react when one has a belief, but knows that other people—who have roughly the same evidence as one has, and seem roughly as likely to react to it correctly—disagree? This paper argues that the disagreement of other competent inquirers often requires one to be much less confident in one’s opinions than one would otherwise be.
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  • The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Duhem & Philip P. Wiener - 1955 - Science and Society 19 (1):85-87.
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  • When Rational Reasoners Reason Differently.Michael G. Titelbaum & Matthew Kopec - manuscript
    Different people reason differently, which means that sometimes they reach different conclusions from the same evidence. We maintain that this is not only natural, but rational. In this essay we explore the epistemology of that state of affairs. First we will canvass arguments for and against the claim that rational methods of reasoning must always reach the same conclusions from the same evidence. Then we will consider whether the acknowledgment that people have divergent rational reasoning methods should undermine one’s confidence (...)
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  • Disagreement, Evidence, and Agnosticism.Jason Decker - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):753-783.
    In this paper, I respond to recent attempts by philosophers to deny the existence of something that is both real and significant: reasonable disagreements between epistemic peers. In their arguments against the possibility of such disagreements, skeptical philosophers typically invoke one or more of the following: indifference reasoning , equal weight principles , and uniqueness theses . I take up each of these in turn, finding ample reason to resist them. The arguments for indifference reasoning and equal weight principles tend (...)
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  • Immoderately Rational.Sophie Horowitz - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):41-56.
    Believing rationally is epistemically valuable, or so we tend to think. It’s something we strive for in our own beliefs, and we criticize others for falling short of it. We theorize about rationality, in part, because we want to be rational. But why? I argue that how we answer this question depends on how permissive our theory of rationality is. Impermissive and extremely permissive views can give good answers; moderately permissive views cannot.
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  • Conciliationism and Uniqueness.Nathan Ballantyne & E. J. Coffman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):657-670.
    Two theses are central to recent work on the epistemology of disagreement: Conciliationism:?In a revealed peer disagreement over P, each thinker should give at least some weight to her peer's attitude. Uniqueness:?For any given proposition and total body of evidence, the evidence fully justifies exactly one level of confidence in the proposition. 1This paper is the product of full and equal collaboration between its authors. Does Conciliationism commit one to Uniqueness? Thomas Kelly 2010 has argued that it does. After some (...)
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  • Another Argument Against Uniqueness.Thomas Raleigh - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):327-346.
    I present an argument against the thesis of Uniqueness and in favour of Permissivism. Counterexamples to Uniqueness are provided, based on ‘Safespot’ propositions – i.e. a proposition that is guaranteed to be true provided the subject adopts a certain attitude towards it. The argument relies on a plausible principle: (roughly stated) If S knows that her believing p would be a true belief, then it is rationally permitted for S to believe p. One motivation for denying this principle – viz. (...)
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  • A Counterexample to the Uniqueness Thesis.Matthew Kopec - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):403-409.
    In this essay, I present a straightforward counterexample to the Uniqueness Thesis, which holds, roughly speaking, that there is a unique rational response to any particular body of evidence.
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  • Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
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  • Voluntary Belief on a Reasonable Basis.Philip J. Nickel - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):312-334.
    A person presented with adequate but not conclusive evidence for a proposition is in a position voluntarily to acquire a belief in that proposition, or to suspend judgment about it. The availability of doxastic options in such cases grounds a moderate form of doxastic voluntarism not based on practical motives, and therefore distinct from pragmatism. In such cases, belief-acquisition or suspension of judgment meets standard conditions on willing: it can express stable character traits of the agent, it can be responsive (...)
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  • Exercising Doxastic Freedom.Conor Mchugh - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):1-37.
    This paper defends the possibility of doxastic freedom, arguing that doxastic freedom should be modelled not on freedom of action but on freedom of intention. Freedom of action is exercised by agents like us, I argue, through voluntary control. This involves two conditions, intentions-reactivity and reasons-reactivity, that are not met in the case of doxastic states. Freedom of intention is central to our agency and to our moral responsibility, but is not exercised through voluntary control. I develop and defend an (...)
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  • Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Routledge.
    Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this book McCain offers (...)
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  • Why Is Belief Involuntary?Jonathan Bennett - 1990 - Analysis 50 (2):87 - 107.
    This paper will present a negative result—an account of my failure to explain why belief is involuntary. When I announced my question a year or so ahead of time, I had a vague idea of how it might be answered, but I cannot make it work out. Necessity, this time, has not given birth to invention. Still, my tussle with the question may contribute either towards getting it answered or showing that it cannot be answered because belief can be voluntary (...)
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  • Disagreement as Evidence: The Epistemology of Controversy.David Christensen - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):756-767.
    How much should your confidence in your beliefs be shaken when you learn that others – perhaps 'epistemic peers' who seem as well-qualified as you are – hold beliefs contrary to yours? This article describes motivations that push different philosophers towards opposite answers to this question. It identifies a key theoretical principle that divides current writers on the epistemology of disagreement. It then examines arguments bearing on that principle, and on the wider issue. It ends by describing some outstanding questions (...)
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  • Conciliation, Uniqueness and Rational Toxicity.David Christensen - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):584-603.
    Conciliationism holds that disagreement of apparent epistemic peers often substantially undermines rational confidence in our opinions. Uniqueness principles say that there is at most one maximally rational doxastic response to any given batch of total evidence. The two views are often thought to be tightly connected. This paper distinguishes two ways of motivating conciliationism, and two ways that conciliationism may be undermined by permissive accounts of rationality. It shows how conciliationism can flourish under certain strongly permissive accounts of rationality. This (...)
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  • Permissive Metaepistemology.David Thorstad - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):907-926.
    Recent objections to epistemic permissivism have a metaepistemic flavor. Impermissivists argue that their view best accounts for connections between rationality, planning and deference. Impermissivism is also taken to best explain the value of rational belief and normative assessment. These objections pose a series of metaepistemic explanatory challenges for permissivism. In this paper, I illustrate how permissivists might meet their explanatory burdens by developing two permissivist metaepistemic views which fare well against the explanatory challenges.
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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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  • Nominalism, Naturalism, Epistemic Relativism.Gideon Rosen - 2001 - Noûs 35 (s15):69 - 91.
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  • Dynamic Permissivism.Abelard Podgorski - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1923-1939.
    There has been considerable philosophical debate in recent years over a thesis called epistemic permissivism. According to the permissivist, it is possible for two agents to have the exact same total body of evidence and yet differ in their belief attitudes towards some proposition, without either being irrational. However, I argue, not enough attention has been paid to the distinction between different ways in which permissivism might be true. In this paper, I present a taxonomy of forms of epistemic permissivism (...)
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  • A Defense of the (Almost) Equal Weight View.Stewart Cohen - 2013 - In David Phiroze Christensen & Jennifer Lackey (eds.), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 98-117.
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  • Evidence Cannot Be Permissive.Roger White - 2013 - In Matthias Steup & John Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 312.
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  • Reasonable Religious Disagreements.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Louise Antony (ed.), Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life. Oxford University Press. pp. 194-214.
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  • Evidence Can Be Permissive.Thomas Kelly - 2013 - In Matthias Steup & John Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 298.
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  • Epistemic Permissiveness.Roger White - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459.
    A rational person doesn’t believe just anything. There are limits on what it is rational to believe. How wide are these limits? That’s the main question that interests me here. But a secondary question immediately arises: What factors impose these limits? A first stab is to say that one’s evidence determines what it is epistemically permissible for one to believe. Many will claim that there are further, non-evidentiary factors relevant to the epistemic rationality of belief. I will be ignoring the (...)
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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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  • Demystifying Underdetermination.Larry Laudan - 1990 - In C. Wade Savage (ed.), Scientific Theories. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 267-97.
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  • A Defense of Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2021 - Episteme 18 (2):313–327.
    Permissivism is the view that there are evidential situations that rationally permit more than one attitude toward a proposition. In this paper, I argue for Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism (IaBP): that there are evidential situations in which a single agent can rationally adopt more than one belief-attitude toward a proposition. I give two positive arguments for IaBP; the first involves epistemic supererogation and the second involves doubt. Then, I should how these arguments give intrapersonal permissivists a distinct response to the toggling (...)
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  • Epistemic Justification: Essays in the Theory of Knowledge.William P. Alston - 1989 - Cornell University Press.
    Introduction As the title indicates, the chief focus of this book is epistemic justification. But just what is epistemic justification and what is its place ...
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  • Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
    How should you take into account the opinions of an advisor? When you completely defer to the advisor's judgment, then you should treat the advisor as a guru. Roughly, that means you should believe what you expect she would believe, if supplied with your extra evidence. When the advisor is your own future self, the resulting principle amounts to a version of the Reflection Principle---a version amended to handle cases of information loss. When you count an advisor as an epistemic (...)
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  • Total Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemic Permissiveness.Katherine Rubin - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):12-38.
    This article explores the relationship between pragmatic encroachment and epistemic permissiveness. If the suggestion that all epistemic notions are interest-relative is viable , then it seems that a certain species of epistemic permissivism must be viable as well. For, if all epistemic notions are interest relative then, sometimes, parties in paradigmatic cases of shared evidence can be maximally rational in forming competing basic doxastic attitudes towards the same proposition. However, I argue that this total pragmatic encroachment is not tenable, and, (...)
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  • Reflective Equilibrium and Underdetermination in Epistemology.Jared Bates - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (32):45-64.
    The basic aim of Alvin Goldman’s approach to epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is naturalistic; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition aim to identify the naturalistic, nonnormative criteria on which justified belief supervenes (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). The basic method of Goldman’s epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is the reflective equilibrium test; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition are tested against our intuitions about cases of justified and unjustified belief (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). I will argue (...)
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  • Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
    In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that epistemologists should pay attention (...)
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  • The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem - 1954 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    This classic work in the philosophy of physical science is an incisive and readable account of the scientific method. Pierre Duhem was one of the great figures in French science, a devoted teacher, and a distinguished scholar of the history and philosophy of science. This book represents his most mature thought on a wide range of topics.
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  • The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement.Tom Kelly - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
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  • Deference and Uniqueness.Christopher Meacham - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):709-732.
    Deference principles are principles that describe when, and to what extent, it’s rational to defer to others. Recently, some authors have used such principles to argue for Evidential Uniqueness, the claim that for every batch of evidence, there’s a unique doxastic state that it’s permissible for subjects with that total evidence to have. This paper has two aims. The first aim is to assess these deference-based arguments for Evidential Uniqueness. I’ll show that these arguments only work given a particular kind (...)
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  • Underdetermination and Evidence.Alexander Bird - 2007 - In Bradley Monton (ed.), Images of Empiricism: Essays on Science and Stances, with a Reply From Bas C. Van Fraassen. Oxford University Press.
    I present an argument that encapsulates the view that theory is underdetermined by evidence. I show that if we accept Williamson's equation of evidence and knowledge, then this argument is question-begging. I examine ways of defenders of underdetermination may avoid this criticism. I also relate this argument and my critique to van Fraassen's constructive empiricism.
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  • The Case for Rational Uniqueness.Jonathan Matheson - 2011 - Logic and Episteme 2 (3):359-373.
    The Uniqueness Thesis, or rational uniqueness, claims that a body of evidence severely constrains one’s doxastic options. In particular, it claims that for any body of evidence E and proposition P, E justifies at most one doxastic attitude toward P. In this paper I defend this formulation of the uniqueness thesis and examine the case for its truth. I begin by clarifying my formulation of the Uniqueness Thesis and examining its close relationship to evidentialism. I proceed to give some motivation (...)
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  • Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination.Larry Laudan & Jarrett Leplin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (9):449.
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  • Probabilities Over Rich Languages, Testing and Randomness.Haim Gaifman & Marc Snir - 1982 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 47 (3):495-548.
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  • Evidentialism.Richard Feldman & Earl Conee - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (1):15 - 34.
    Evidentialism is a view about the conditions under which a person is epistemically justified in having a particular doxastic attitude toward a proposition. Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This is the traditional view of justification. It is now widely opposed. The essays included in this volume develop and defend the tradition.Evidentialism has many assets. In addition to providing an intuitively plausible account of epistemic justification, it helps to resolve the problem of the (...)
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  • Epistemic Value and the Jamesian Goals.Sophie Horowitz - 2017 - In Jeffrey Dunn Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij (ed.), Epistemic Consequentialism. Oxford University Press.
    William James famously tells us that there are two main goals for rational believers: believing truth and avoiding error. I argues that epistemic consequentialism—in particular its embodiment in epistemic utility theory—seems to be well positioned to explain how epistemic agents might permissibly weight these goals differently and adopt different credences as a result. After all, practical versions of consequentialism render it permissible for agents with different goals to act differently in the same situation. -/- Nevertheless, I argue that epistemic consequentialism (...)
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  • Evidential Symmetry and Mushy Credence.Roger White - 2009 - In T. Szabo Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 161-186.
    the symmetry of our evidential situation. If our confidence is best modeled by a standard probability function this means that we are to distribute our subjective probability or credence sharply and evenly over possibilities among which our evidence does not discriminate. Once thought to be the central principle of probabilistic reasoning by great..
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  • Evidential Symmetry and Mushy Credence.Roger White - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 3.
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  • Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination.Larry Laudan & Jarrett Leplin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (9):449-472.
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  • Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
    Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truth which are synthetic, or grounded in fact. The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. Both dogmas, I shall argue, are ill founded. One effect of abandoning them is, as (...)
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  • Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. V. Quine - 1951 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 202-220.
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  • On “Epistemic Permissiveness”.Anthony Brueckner & Alex Bundy - 2012 - Synthese 188 (2):165-177.
    In "Epistemic Permissiveness", Roger White presents several arguments against Extreme Permissivism, the view that there are possible cases where, given one's total evidence, it would be rational to either believe P, or to believe ~P. In this paper, we carefully reconstruct White's arguments and then argue that they do not succeed.
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  • Permissive Situations and Direct Doxastic Control.Blake Roeber - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):415-431.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement.Thomas Kelly - 2005 - In John Hawthorne & Tamar Gendler (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 167-196.
    Looking back on it, it seems almost incredible that so many equally educated, equally sincere compatriots and contemporaries, all drawing from the same limited stock of evidence, should have reached so many totally different conclusions---and always with complete certainty.
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