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Martin Smith
University of Edinburgh
Martin Smith
University of Liverpool
  1. When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?Martin Smith - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1193-1218.
    There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. (...)
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  2. What Else Justification Could Be.Martin Smith - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):10 - 31.
    According to a captivating picture, epistemic justification is essentially a matter of epistemic or evidential likelihood. While certain problems for this view are well known, it is motivated by a very natural thought – if justification can fall short of epistemic certainty, then what else could it possibly be? In this paper I shall develop an alternative way of thinking about epistemic justification. On this conception, the difference between justification and likelihood turns out to be akin to the more widely (...)
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  3. Between Probability and Certainty: What Justifies Belief.Martin Smith - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This book explores a question central to philosophy--namely, what does it take for a belief to be justified or rational? According to a widespread view, whether one has justification for believing a proposition is determined by how probable that proposition is, given one's evidence. In this book this view is rejected and replaced with another: in order for one to have justification for believing a proposition, one's evidence must normically support it--roughly, one's evidence must make the falsity of that proposition (...)
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  4. Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
    Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species (...)
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  5. Some Thoughts on the JK-Rule1.Martin Smith - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):791-802.
    In ‘The normative role of knowledge’ (2012), Declan Smithies defends a ‘JK-rule’ for belief: One has justification to believe that P iff one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know that P. Similar claims have been defended by others (Huemer, 2007, Reynolds, forthcoming). In this paper, I shall argue that the JK-rule is false. The standard and familiar way of arguing against putative rules for belief or assertion is, of course, to describe putative counterexamples. My (...)
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  6. The Cost of Treating Knowledge as a Mental State.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In A. Carter, E. Gordon & B. Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First, Approaches to Epistemology and Mind. Oxford University Press.
    My concern in this paper is with the claim that knowledge is a mental state – a claim that Williamson places front and centre in Knowledge and Its Limits. While I am not by any means convinced that the claim is false, I do think it carries certain costs that have not been widely appreciated. One source of resistance to this claim derives from internalism about the mental – the view, roughly speaking, that one’s mental states are determined by one’s (...)
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  7. The Epistemology of Religion.Martin Smith - 2014 - Analysis 74 (1):135-147.
    The epistemology of religion is the branch of epistemology concerned with the rationality, the justificatory status and the knowledge status of religious beliefs – most often the belief in the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and loving God as conceived by the major monotheistic religions. While other sorts of religious beliefs – such as belief in an afterlife or in disembodied spirits or in the occurrence of miracles – have also been the focus of considerable attention from epistemologists, I shall (...)
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  8. A Generalised Lottery Paradox for Infinite Probability Spaces.Martin Smith - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):821-831.
    Many epistemologists have responded to the lottery paradox by proposing formal rules according to which high probability defeasibly warrants acceptance. Douven and Williamson ([2006]) present an ingenious argument purporting to show that such rules invariably trivialise, in that they reduce to the claim that a probability of 1 warrants acceptance. Douven and Williamson’s argument does, however, rest upon significant assumptions—among them a relatively strong structural assumption to the effect that the underlying probability space is both finite and uniform . In (...)
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  9. Knowledge, Justification and Normative Coincidence1.Martin Smith - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):273-295.
    Say that two goals are normatively coincident just in case one cannot aim for one goal without automatically aiming for the other. While knowledge and justification are distinct epistemic goals, with distinct achievement conditions, this paper begins from the suggestion that they are nevertheless normatively coincident—aiming for knowledge and aiming for justification are one and the same activity. A number of surprising consequences follow from this—both specific consequences about how we can ascribe knowledge and justification in lottery cases and more (...)
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  10. Intuitionistc Probability and the Bayesian Objection to Dogmatism.Martin Smith - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3997-4009.
    Given a few assumptions, the probability of a conjunction is raised, and the probability of its negation is lowered, by conditionalising upon one of the conjuncts. This simple result appears to bring Bayesian confirmation theory into tension with the prominent dogmatist view of perceptual justification – a tension often portrayed as a kind of ‘Bayesian objection’ to dogmatism. In a recent paper, David Jehle and Brian Weatherson observe that, while this crucial result holds within classical probability theory, it fails within (...)
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  11.  70
    Four Arguments for Denying That Lottery Beliefs Are Justified.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In Douven, I. ed. Lotteries, Knowledge and Rational Belief: Essays on the Lottery Paradox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Cambridge:
    A ‘lottery belief’ is a belief that a particular ticket has lost a large, fair lottery, based on nothing more than the odds against it winning. The lottery paradox brings out a tension between the idea that lottery beliefs are justified and the idea that that one can always justifiably believe the deductive consequences of things that one justifiably believes – what is sometimes called the principle of closure. Many philosophers have treated the lottery paradox as an argument against the (...)
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  12. Entitlement and Evidence.Martin Smith - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):735-753.
    Entitlement is conceived as a kind of positive epistemic status, attaching to certain propositions, that involves no cognitive or intellectual accomplishment on the part of the beneficiary — a status that is in place by default. In this paper I will argue that the notion of entitlement — or something very like it — falls out of an idea that may at first blush seem rather disparate: that the evidential support relation can be understood as a kind of variably strict (...)
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  13. God and the External World.Martin Smith - 2011 - Ratio 24 (1):65-77.
    There are a number of apparent parallels between belief in God and belief in the existence of an external world beyond our experiences. Both beliefs would seem to condition one's overall view of reality and one's place within it – and yet it is difficult to see how either can be defended. Neither belief is likely to receive a purely a priori defence and any empirical evidence that one cites either in favour of the existence of God or the existence (...)
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  14. Review of Justification and the Truth Connection by Clayton Littlejohn. [REVIEW]Martin Smith - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly.
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  15. Justification, Normalcy and Evidential Probability.Martin Smith - manuscript
    NOTE: This paper is a reworking of some aspects of a previous paper of mine – ‘What else justification could be’ published in Noûs in 2010. I’m currently in the process of writing a book developing and defending some of the ideas from this paper. What follows will, I hope, fall into place as one of the chapters of this book – though it is still very much at the draft stage. Comments are welcome. -/- My concern in this paper (...)
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  16. Scepticism by a Thousand Cuts.Martin Smith - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):44-52.
    _ Source: _Page Count 9 Global sceptical arguments seek to undermine vast swathes of our putative knowledge by deploying hypotheses that posit massive deception or error. Local sceptical arguments seek to undermine just a small region of putative knowledge, using hypotheses that posit deception or error of a more mundane kind. Those epistemologists who have devised anti-sceptical strategies have tended to have global sceptical arguments firmly in their sights. I argue here that local sceptical arguments, while less dramatic, ultimately pose (...)
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  17. The Logic of Epistemic Justification.Martin Smith - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3857-3875.
    Theories of epistemic justification are commonly assessed by exploring their predictions about particular hypothetical cases – predictions as to whether justification is present or absent in this or that case. With a few exceptions, it is much less common for theories of epistemic justification to be assessed by exploring their predictions about logical principles. The exceptions are a handful of ‘closure’ principles, which have received a lot of attention, and which certain theories of justification are well known to invalidate. But (...)
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  18. Evidential Incomparability and the Principle of Indifference.Martin Smith - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):605-616.
    The _Principle of Indifference_ was once regarded as a linchpin of probabilistic reasoning, but has now fallen into disrepute as a result of the so-called _problem of multiple of partitions_. In ‘Evidential symmetry and mushy credence’ Roger White suggests that we have been too quick to jettison this principle and argues that the problem of multiple partitions rests on a mistake. In this paper I will criticise White’s attempt to revive POI. In so doing, I will argue that what underlies (...)
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  19. The Arbitrariness of Belief.Martin Smith - 2014 - In Dylan Dodd & Elia Zardini (eds.), Contemporary Perspectives on Scepticism and Perceptual Justification. Oxford University Press.
    In Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne offers a diagnosis of our unwillingness to believe, of a given lottery ticket, that it will lose a fair lottery – no matter how many tickets are involved. According to Hawthorne, it is natural to employ parity reasoning when thinking about lottery outcomes: Put roughly, to believe that a given ticket will lose, no matter how likely that is, is to make an arbitrary choice between alternatives that are perfectly balanced given one’s evidence. It’s (...)
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  20. Review of Quitting Certainties by Michael G. Titelbaum. [REVIEW]Martin Smith - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  21. Full Blooded Entitlement.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In Nikolaj Pedersen & Peter Graham (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    Entitlement is defined as a sort of epistemic justification that one can possess by default – a sort of epistemic justification that does not need to be earned or acquired. Epistemologists who accept the existence of entitlement generally have a certain anti-sceptical role in mind for it – entitlement is intended to help us resist what would otherwise be compelling radical sceptical arguments. But this role leaves various details unspecified and, thus, leaves scope for a number of different potential conceptions (...)
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