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Bob Beddor
National University of Singapore
  1. New Work For Certainty.Bob Beddor - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (8).
    This paper argues that we should assign certainty a central place in epistemology. While epistemic certainty played an important role in the history of epistemology, recent epistemology has tended to dismiss certainty as an unattainable ideal, focusing its attention on knowledge instead. I argue that this is a mistake. Attending to certainty attributions in the wild suggests that much of our everyday knowledge qualifies, in appropriate contexts, as certain. After developing a semantics for certainty ascriptions, I put certainty to explanatory (...)
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  2. Certainty in Action.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    When is it permissible to rely on a proposition in practical reasoning? Standard answers to this question face serious challenges. This paper uses these challenges to motivate a certainty norm of practical reasoning. This norm holds that one is permitted to rely on p in practical reasoning if and only if p is epistemically certain. After developing and defending this norm, I consider its broader implications. Taking a certainty norm seriously calls into question traditional assumptions about the importance of belief (...)
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  3. Process Reliabilism's Troubles with Defeat.Bob Beddor - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):145-159.
    One attractive feature of process reliabilism is its reductive potential: it promises to explain justification in entirely non-epistemic terms. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of epistemic defeat poses a serious challenge for process reliabilism’s reductive ambitions. The standard process reliabilist analysis of defeat is the ‘Alternative Reliable Process Account’ (ARP). According to ARP, whether S’s belief is defeated depends on whether S has certain reliable processes available to her which, if they had been used, would have resulted (...)
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  4. Fallibility for Expressivists.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    Quasi-realists face the challenge of providing a plausible analysis of acknowledgments of moral fallibility (e.g., "I believe that lying is wrong, but I might be mistaken"). This paper develops a new analysis of these acknowledgments, according to which they express moral uncertainty. After advertising the advantages of this analysis, I take up the question of how to understand moral uncertainty in expressivist terms.
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  5. Relativism and Expressivism.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - In Martin Kusch (ed.), Routledge Handbook to Relativism. Routledge.
    Relativism and expressivism offer two different semantic frameworks for grappling with a similar cluster of issues. What is the difference between these two frameworks? Should they be viewed as rivals? If so, how should we choose between them? This chapter sheds light on these questions. After providing an overview of relativism and expressivism, I discuss three potential choice points: their relation to truth conditional semantics, their pictures of belief and communication, and their explanations of disagreement.
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  6. A Solution to the Many Attitudes Problem.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    According to noncognitivism, normative beliefs are just desire-like attitudes. While noncognitivists have devoted great effort to explaining the nature of normative belief, they have said little about all of the other attitudes we take towards normative matters. Many of us desire to do the right thing. We sometimes wonder whether our conduct is morally permissible; we hope that it is, and occasionally fear that it is not. This gives rise to what Schroeder calls the 'Many Attitudes Problem': the problem of (...)
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  7.  97
    Might Do Better: Flexible Relativism and the QUD.Bob Beddor & Andy Egan - 2018 - Semantics and Pragmatics 11.
    The past decade has seen a protracted debate over the semantics of epistemic modals. According to contextualists, epistemic modals quantify over the possibilities compatible with some contextually determined group’s information. Relativists often object that contextualism fails to do justice to the way we assess utterances containing epistemic modals for truth or falsity. However, recent empirical work seems to cast doubt on the relativist’s claim, suggesting that ordinary speakers’ judgments about epistemic modals are more closely in line with contextualism than relativism (...)
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  8. Modal Virtue Epistemology.Bob Beddor & Carlotta Pavese - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (1):61-79.
    This essay defends a novel form of virtue epistemology: Modal Virtue Epistemology. It borrows from traditional virtue epistemology the idea that knowledge is a type of skillful performance. But it goes on to understand skillfulness in purely modal terms — that is, in terms of success across a range of counterfactual scenarios. We argue that this approach offers a promising way of synthesizing virtue epistemology with a modal account of knowledge, according to which knowledge is safe belief. In particular, we (...)
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  9.  46
    Reasons for Reliabilism.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - In Mona Simion & Jessica Brown (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford University Press.
    One leading approach to justification comes from the reliabilist tradition, which maintains that a belief is justified provided that it is reliably formed. Another comes from the ‘Reasons First’ tradition, which claims that a belief is justified provided that it is based on reasons that support it. These two approaches are typically developed in isolation from each other; this essay motivates and defends a synthesis. On the view proposed here, justification is understood in terms of an agent’s reasons for belief, (...)
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  10. Noncognitivism and Epistemic Evaluations.Bob Beddor - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    This paper develops a new challenge for moral noncognitivism. In brief, the challenge is this: Beliefs — both moral and non-moral — are epistemically evaluable, whereas desires are not. It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of differences in the functional roles of beliefs and desires. However, this explanation stands in tension with noncognitivism, which maintains that moral beliefs have a desire-like functional role. After critically reviewing some initial responses to the challenge, I suggest a solution, which involves (...)
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  11. Justification as Faultlessness.Bob Beddor - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):901-926.
    According to deontological approaches to justification, we can analyze justification in deontic terms. In this paper, I try to advance the discussion of deontological approaches by applying recent insights in the semantics of deontic modals. Specifically, I use the distinction between weak necessity modals and strong necessity modals to make progress on a question that has received surprisingly little discussion in the literature, namely: ‘What’s the best version of a deontological approach?’ The two most obvious hypotheses are the Permissive View, (...)
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  12. The Toxin and the Dogmatist.Bob Beddor - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):727-740.
    According to the dogmatist, knowing p makes it rational to disregard future evidence against p. The standard response to the dogmatist holds that knowledge is defeasible: acquiring evidence against something you know undermines your knowledge. However, this response leaves a residual puzzle, according to which knowledge makes it rational to intend to disregard future counterevidence. I argue that we can resolve this residual puzzle by turning to an unlikely source: Kavka’s toxin puzzle. One lesson of the toxin puzzle is that (...)
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