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Wes Siscoe
University of Notre Dame
  1. Belief, Rational and Justified.Wes Siscoe - 2021 - Mind 130 (517):59-83.
    It is clear that beliefs can be assessed both as to their justification and their rationality. What is not as clear, however, is how the rationality and justification of belief relate to one another. Stewart Cohen has stumped for the popular proposal that rationality and justification come to the same thing, that rational beliefs just are justified beliefs, supporting his view by arguing that ‘justified belief’ and ‘rational belief’ are synonymous. In this paper, I will give reason to think that (...)
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  2. Checking and the Argument from Inquiry.Wes Siscoe - 2022 - Acta Analytica 38 (1):1-10.
    In his recent book, Knowing and Checking, Guido Melchior argues that, when we attempt to check whether p, we tend to think that we do not know p. Melchior then uses this assumption to explain a number of puzzles about knowledge. One outstanding question for Melchior's account, however, is why this tendency exists. After all, Melchior himself argues that checking is not necessary for knowing, so why would we think that we fail to know that p when we are in (...)
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  3. Incoherent but Reasonable: A Defense of Truth-Abstinence in Political Liberalism.Wes Siscoe & Alexander Schaefer - 2020 - Social Theory and Practice 46 (3):573-603.
    A strength of liberal political institutions is their ability to accommodate pluralism, both allowing divergent comprehensive doctrines as well as constructing the common ground necessary for diverse people to live together. A pressing question is how far such pluralism extends. Which comprehensive doctrines are simply beyond the pale and need not be accommodated by a political consensus? Rawls attempted to keep the boundaries of reasonable disagreement quite broad by infamously denying that political liberalism need make reference to the concept of (...)
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    Philosophical Dialogue and the Civic Virtues: Modeling Democracy in the Classroom.Wes Siscoe & Zachary Odermatt - 2023 - Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis 43 (2):59–77.
    Political polarization is on the rise, undermining the shared space of public reason necessary for a thriving democracy and making voters more willing than ever to dismiss the perspectives of their political opponents. This destructive tendency is especially problematic when it comes to issues of race and gender, as informed views on these topics necessarily require engaging with those whose experiences may differ from our own. In order to help our students combat further polarization, we created a course on "The (...)
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  5. Stoic Virtue: A Contemporary Interpretation.Wes Siscoe - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (18):1-20.
    The Stoic understanding of virtue is often taken to be a non-starter. Many of the Stoic claims about virtue – that a virtue requires moral perfection and that all who are not fully virtuous are vicious – are thought to be completely out of step with our commonsense notion of virtue, making the Stoic account more of an historical oddity than a seriously defended view. Despite many voices to the contrary, I will argue that there is a way of making (...)
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  6. Epistemic Democracy and the Truth Connection.Wes Siscoe - forthcoming - Public Reason.
    If political decision-making aims at getting a particular result, like identifying just laws or policies that truly promote the common good, then political institutions can also be evaluated in terms of how often they achieve these results. Epistemic defenses of democracy argue that democracies have the upper hand when it comes to truth, identifying the laws and policies that are truly just or conducive to the common good. A number of epistemic democrats claim that democracies have this beneficial connection to (...)
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  7. Grounding, Understanding, and Explanation.Wes Siscoe - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (4):791-815.
    Starting with the slogan that understanding is a ‘knowledge of causes’, Stephen Grimm and John Greco have argued that understanding comes from a knowledge of dependence relations. Grounding is the trendiest dependence relation on the market, and if Grimm and Greco are correct, then instances of grounding should also give rise to understanding. In this paper, I will show that this prediction is correct – grounding does indeed generate understanding in just the way that Grimm and Greco anticipate. However, grounding (...)
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  8. Condorcet's Jury Theorem and Democracy.Wes Siscoe - 2022 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology 1.
    Suppose that a majority of jurors decide that a defendant is guilty (or not), and we want to know the likelihood that they reached the correct verdict. The French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794) showed that we can get a mathematically precise answer, a result known as the “Condorcet Jury Theorem.” Condorcet’s theorem isn’t just about juries, though; it’s about collective decision-making in general. As a result, some philosophers have used his theorem to argue for democratic forms of government. This (...)
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