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Matthew A. Benton
Seattle Pacific University
  1. Gricean Quality.Matthew A. Benton - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):689-703.
    Some philosophers oppose recent arguments for the Knowledge Norm of Assertion by claiming that assertion, being an act much like any other, will be subject to norms governing acts generally, such as those articulated by Grice for the purpose of successful, cooperative endeavours. But in fact, Grice is a traitor to their cause; or rather, they are his dissenters, not his disciples. Drawing on Grice's unpublished papers, I show that he thought of asserting as a special linguistic act in need (...)
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    Epistemological Aspects of Hope.Matthew A. Benton - forthcoming - In Claudia Blöser & Titus Stahl (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Hope. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
    Hope is an attitude with a distinctive epistemological dimension: it is incompatible with knowledge. This chapter examines hope as it relates to knowledge but also to probability and inductive considerations. Such epistemic constraints can make hope either impossible, or, when hope remains possible, they affect how one’s epistemic situation can make hope rational rather than irrational. Such issues are especially relevant to when hopefulness may permissibly figure in practical deliberation over a course of action. So I consider cases of second-order (...)
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  3. Two More for the Knowledge Account of Assertion.Matthew A. Benton - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):684-687.
    The Knowledge Norm or Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA) has received added support recently from data on prompting assertion (Turri 2010) and from a refinement suggesting that assertions ought to express knowledge (Turri 2011). This paper adds another argument from parenthetical positioning, and then argues that KAA’s unified explanation of some of the earliest data (from Moorean conjunctions) adduced in its favor recommends KAA over its rivals.
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  4. Epistemology Personalized.Matthew A. Benton - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):813-834.
    Recent epistemology has focused almost exclusively on propositional knowledge. This paper considers an underexplored area of epistemology, namely knowledge of persons: if propositional knowledge is a state of mind, consisting in a subject's attitude to a (true) proposition, the account developed here thinks of interpersonal knowledge as a state of minds, involving a subject's attitude to another (existing) subject. This kind of knowledge is distinct from propositional knowledge, but it exhibits a gradability characteristic of context-sensitivity, and admits of shifty thresholds. (...)
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  5. Defeatism Defeated.Max Baker-Hytch & Matthew A. Benton - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):40-66.
    Many epistemologists are enamored with a defeat condition on knowledge. In this paper we present some implementation problems for defeatism, understood along either internalist or externalist lines. We then propose that one who accepts a knowledge norm of belief, according to which one ought to believe only what one knows, can explain away much of the motivation for defeatism. This is an important result, because on the one hand it respects the plausibility of the intuitions about defeat shared by many (...)
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  6. Evil and Evidence.Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 7:1-31.
    The problem of evil is the most prominent argument against the existence of God. Skeptical theists contend that it is not a good argument. Their reasons for this contention vary widely, involving such notions as CORNEA, epistemic appearances, 'gratuitous' evils, 'levering' evidence, and the representativeness of goods. We aim to dispel some confusions about these notions, in particular by clarifying their roles within a probabilistic epistemology. In addition, we develop new responses to the problem of evil from both the phenomenal (...)
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  7. Expert Opinion and Second‐Hand Knowledge.Matthew A. Benton - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):492-508.
    Expert testimony figures in recent debates over how best to understand the norm of assertion and the domain-specific epistemic expectations placed on testifiers. Cases of experts asserting with only isolated second-hand knowledge (Lackey 2011, 2013) have been used to shed light on whether knowledge is sufficient for epistemically permissible assertion. I argue that relying on such cases of expert testimony introduces several problems concerning how we understand expert knowledge, and the sharing of such knowledge through testimony. Refinements are needed to (...)
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  8.  28
    A Grotesque in the Garden, by Hud Hudson. [REVIEW]Matthew A. Benton - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (2):271-275.
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  9. God and Interpersonal Knowledge.Matthew A. Benton - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):421-447.
    Recent epistemology offers an account of what it is to know other persons. Such views hold promise for illuminating several issues in philosophy of religion, and for advancing a distinctive approach to religious epistemology. This paper develops an account of interpersonal knowledge, and clarifies its relation to propositional and qualitative knowledge. I then turn to our knowledge of God and God's knowledge of us, and compare my account of interpersonal knowledge with important work by Eleonore Stump on "Franciscan" knowledge. I (...)
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  10. Knowledge, Hope, and Fallibilism.Matthew A. Benton - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    Hope, in its propositional construction "I hope that p," is compatible with a stated chance for the speaker that not-p. On fallibilist construals of knowledge, knowledge is compatible with a chance of being wrong, such that one can know that p even though there is an epistemic chance for one that not-p. But self-ascriptions of propositional hope that p seem to be incompatible, in some sense, with self-ascriptions of knowing whether p. Data from conjoining hope self-ascription with outright assertions, with (...)
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  11. Religious Diversity and Disagreement.Matthew A. Benton - forthcoming - In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. Routledge.
    Epistemologists have shown increased interest in the epistemic significance of disagreement, and in particular, in whether there is a rational requirement concerning belief revision in the face of peer disagreement. This article examines some of the general issues discussed by epistemologists, and then considers how they may or may not apply to the case of religious disagreement, both within religious traditions and between religious (and non-religious) views.
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  12. Dubious Objections From Iterated Conjunctions.Matthew A. Benton - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):355-358.
    The knowledge account of assertion - roughly: one should not assert what one does not know - can explain a variety of Moorean conjunctions, a fact often cited as evidence in its favor. David Sosa ("Dubious Assertions," Phil Studies, 2009) has objected that the account does not generalize satisfactorily, since it cannot explain the infelicity of certain iterated conjunctions without appealing to the controversial "KK" principle. This essay responds by showing how the knowledge account can handle such conjunctions without use (...)
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  13. Knowledge and Evidence You Should Have Had.Matthew A. Benton - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):471-479.
    Epistemologists focus primarily on cases of knowledge, belief, or credence where the evidence which one possesses, or on which one is relying, plays a fundamental role in the epistemic or normative status of one's doxastic state. Recent work in epistemology goes beyond the evidence one possesses to consider the relevance for such statuses of evidence which one does not possess, particularly when there is a sense in which one should have had some evidence. I focus here on Sanford Goldberg's approach (...)
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  14. Hedged Assertion.Matthew A. Benton & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...)
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  15. Believing on Authority.Matthew A. Benton - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4):133-144.
    Linda Zagzebski's "Epistemic Authority" (Oxford University Press, 2012) brings together issues in social epistemology with topics in moral and political philosophy as well as philosophy of religion. In this paper I criticize her discussion of self-trust and rationality, which sets up the main argument of the book; I consider how her view of authority relates to some issues of epistemic authority in testimony; and I raise some concerns about her treatment of religious epistemology and religious authority in particular.
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  16. Lying, Accuracy, and Credence.Matthew A. Benton - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):195-198.
    Traditional definitions of lying require that a speaker believe that what she asserts is false. Sam Fox Krauss seeks to jettison the traditional belief requirement in favour of a necessary condition given in a credence-accuracy framework, on which the liar expects to impose the risk of increased inaccuracy on the hearer. He argues that this necessary condition importantly captures nearby cases as lies which the traditional view neglects. I argue, however, that Krauss's own account suffers from an identical drawback of (...)
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  17. Lotteries and Prefaces.Matthew A. Benton - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. New York: Routledge. pp. 168-176.
    The lottery and preface paradoxes pose puzzles in epistemology concerning how to think about the norms of reasonable or permissible belief. Contextualists in epistemology have focused on knowledge ascriptions, attempting to capture a set of judgments about knowledge ascriptions and denials in a variety of contexts (including those involving lottery beliefs and the principles of closure). This article surveys some contextualist approaches to handling issues raised by the lottery and preface, while also considering some of the difficulties encountered by those (...)
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  18. The Modal Gap: The Objective Problem of Lessing's Ditch(Es) and Kierkegaard's Subjective Reply.Matthew A. Benton - 2006 - Religious Studies 42 (1):27-44.
    This essay expands upon the suggestion that Lessing's infamous ‘ditch’ is actually three ditches: temporal, metaphysical, and existential gaps. It examines the complex problems these ditches raise, and then proposes that Kierkegaard's Fragments and Postscript exhibit a similar triadic organizational structure, which may signal a deliberate attempt to engage and respond to Lessing's three gaps. Viewing the Climacean project in this way offers an enhanced understanding of the intricacies of Lessing's rationalist approach to both religion and historical truth, and illuminates (...)
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