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Christopher Willard-Kyle
University of Glasgow
  1. The Knowledge Norm for Inquiry.Christopher Willard-Kyle - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    A growing number of epistemologists have endorsed the Ignorance Norm for Inquiry. Roughly, this norm says that one shouldn’t inquire into a question unless one is ignorant of its answer. I argue that, in addition to ignorance, proper inquiry requires a certain kind of knowledge. Roughly, one shouldn’t inquire into a question unless one knows it has a true answer. I call this the Knowledge Norm for Inquiry. Proper inquiry walks a fine line, holding knowledge that there’s an answer in (...)
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  2. Being in a Position to Know is the Norm of Assertion.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):328-352.
    This paper defends a new norm of assertion: Assert that p only if you are in a position to know that p. We test the norm by judging its performance in explaining three phenomena that appear jointly inexplicable at first: Moorean paradoxes, lottery propositions, and selfless assertions. The norm succeeds by tethering unassertability to unknowability while untethering belief from assertion. The PtK‐norm foregrounds the public nature of assertion as a practice that can be other‐regarding, allowing asserters to act in the (...)
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  3. Valuable Ignorance: Delayed Epistemic Gratification.Christopher Willard-Kyle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    A long line of epistemologists including Sosa (2021), Feldman (2002), and Chisholm (1977) have argued that, at least for a certain class of questions that we take up, we should (or should aim to) close inquiry iff by closing inquiry we would meet a unique epistemic standard. I argue that no epistemic norm of this general form is true: there is not a single epistemic standard that demarcates the boundary between inquiries we are forbidden and obligated to close. In short, (...)
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  4. Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses: 1) Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. (...)
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  5. Against the Doctrine of Infallibility.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa082.
    According to the doctrine of infallibility, one is permitted to believe p if one knows that necessarily, one would be right if one believed that p. This plausible principle—made famous in Descartes’ cogito—is false. There are some self-fulfilling, higher-order propositions one can’t be wrong about but shouldn’t believe anyway: believing them would immediately make one's overall doxastic state worse.
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  6. P, but You Don’T Know That P.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14667-14690.
    Unlike first-person Moorean sentences, it’s not always awkward to assert, “p, but you don’t know that p.” This can seem puzzling: after all, one can never get one’s audience to know the asserted content by speaking thus. Nevertheless, such assertions can be conversationally useful, for instance, by helping speaker and addressee agree on where to disagree. I will argue that such assertions also make trouble for the growing family of views about the norm of assertion that what licenses proper assertion (...)
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  7. Do Great Minds Really Think Alike?Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2017 - Synthese 194 (3).
    Recently, a number of epistemologists (notably Feldman [2007], [2009] and White [2005], [2013]) have argued for the rational uniqueness thesis, the principle that any set of evidence permits only one rationally acceptable attitude toward a given proposition. In contrast, this paper argues for extreme rational permissivism, the view that two agents with the same evidence may sometimes arrive at contradictory beliefs rationally. This paper identifies different versions of uniqueness and permissivism that vary in strength and range, argues that evidential peers (...)
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  8. Abraham, Isaac, and the Toxin: A Kavkan Reading of the Binding of Isaac.Christopher Willard-Kyle - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-17.
    I argue that the story of God’s commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac can be read as a variant of Kavka’s (1983) Toxin Puzzle. On this reading, Abraham has no reason to kill Isaac, only reason to intend to kill Isaac. On one version of the Kavkan reading, it’s impossible for Abraham, thus situated, to form the intention to kill Isaac. This would make the binding an impossible story: I explore the ethical and theological consequences of reading the story in this (...)
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  9.  28
    All Things Wise and Wonderful by E. Janet Warren. [REVIEW]Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 73 (4):237–239.
    Review of All Things Wise and Wonderful by E. Janet Warren.
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  10. Rational Uniqueness and Religious Disagreement.Christopher Willard-Kyle - manuscript
    This paper argues for extreme rational permissivism—the view that agents with identical evidence can rationally believe contradictory hypotheses—and a mild version of steadfastness. Agents can rationally come to different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence because their way of weighing the theoretic virtues may differ substantially. Nevertheless, in the face of disagreement, agents face considerable pressure to reduce their confidence. Indeed, I argue that agents often ought to reduce their confidence in the higher-order propositions that they know or (...)
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