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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 documents

1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Adam Bjorndahl

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Classical philosophical analyses seek to explain knowledge as deriving from more basic notions. The influential “knowledge first” program in epistemology reverses this tradition, taking knowledge as its starting point. From the perspective of epistemic logic, however, this is not so much a reversal as it is the default—the field arguably begins with the specialization of “necessity” to “epistemic necessity”—that is, it begins with knowledge. In this context, putting knowledge second would be the reversal. This article motivates, develops, and explores such a “knowledge second” approach in epistemic logic, founded on distinguishing what a body of evidence actually entails from what it is (merely) believed to entail. We import a logical framework that captures exactly this distinction, use it to define formal notions of (internal and external) justification and knowledge, and investigate applications to the KK principle, the “strong belief” postulate, and the regress problem.

2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Catharine Saint-Croix Orcid-ID

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How does being a woman affect one’s epistemic life? What about being Black? Or queer? Standpoint theorists argue that such social positions can give rise to otherwise unavailable epistemic privilege. “Epistemic privilege” is a murky concept, however. Critics of standpoint theory argue that the view is offered without a clear explanation of how standpoints confer their benefits, what those benefits are, or why social positions are particularly apt to produce them. For this reason, many regard standpoint theory as being out of step with epistemology more broadly. But this need not be so. This article articulates a minimal version of standpoint epistemology that avoids these criticisms and supports the normative goals of its feminist forerunners. This account serves as the foundation for developing a formal model in which to explore standpoint epistemology using neighborhood semantics for modal logic.

3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Brandon Carey

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Standard theories of epistemic possibility analyze this relation in terms of knowledge, entailment, or probability. These theories are mistaken. Here, I present counterexamples to the standard theories and defend a new theory: that a proposition is epistemically possible on a body of evidence just in case that evidence supports that if the proposition were true, then the evidence might exist. In addition to avoiding the problems of the standard views, this new theory captures good reasoning about epistemic possibilities and matches intuitive judgments in a wide range of cases, giving us good reason to accept it.

4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Niklaas Tepelmann

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Safety theorists prefer a strong version of safety over a weak version, in order to account for our intuition that we do not know lottery propositions. I argue that weak safety has advantages that can outweigh our intuitions in lottery cases. First, I argue that for the nonepistemic domain, we should adopt weak safety to account for experts’ claims about cyber security. Second, I argue that a unified account of safety is preferable. Hence, we should adopt weak safety for the epistemic domain as well. My argument can also be put as follows. It is more plausible to suppose that our intuitions about lottery cases are misguided than to suppose either that experts’ judgments about cyber security are misguided or that there are different versions of safety.

5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Landon D. C. Elkind

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Some philosophers, like Kripke, Williamson, Hawthorne, and Turri, have offered examples of claims that are allegedly contingent and a priori justifiable. If any of these examples is genuine, this would upend the traditional epistemological classification on which (a) all and only a priori justifiable claims are necessary and (b) all and only a posteriori ones are contingent. I argue here that these examples are not genuine. This conclusion is not new, but the strategy pursued here is to formalize these muchdiscussed examples in symbolic logics. Once formalized, a perspicuous representation of their logical form will bring into sharp relief that these examples are not both contingent and a priori. Two takeaways are (1) that the traditional epistemological classification remains plausible and (2) that one’s proposed examples of contingent a priori claims should be supported by a formalization in one’s preferred background symbolic logic.

6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Albert Casullo

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E. J. Lowe offers an account of modal knowledge that involves two primary theses. First, the basis of modal knowledge is essential knowledge, and the source of essential knowledge is grasp of essence. Second, all empirical knowledge ultimately depends on some modal knowledge. This article assesses Lowe’s account and defends four conclusions. First, there is a tension in Lowe’s account of grasp of essence; it wavers between an undemanding version, which holds that grasp of essence requires no more than our ordinary understanding of propositions, and a more demanding version, which holds that it requires rational insight into necessary relationships between essences. Second, both versions face serious challenges. Third, Lowe’s account of knowledge of essence does not provide a basis for modal knowledge. Fourth, Lowe’s supporting argument for his second thesis contains two significant gaps and the principles necessary to close the gaps reveal further tensions in his epistemological views.

7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Felipe Morales Carbonell Orcid-ID

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I argue that modal epistemology should pay more attention to questions about the structure and function of modal thought. We can treat these questions from synchronic and diachronic angles. From a synchronic perspective, I consider whether a general argument for the epistemic support of modal though can be made on the basis of modal thoughs’s indispensability for what Enoch and Schechter (2008) call rationally required epistemic projects. After formulating the argument, I defend it from various objections. I also examine the possibility of considering the indispensability of modal thought in terms of its components. Finally, I argue that we also need to approach these issues from a diachronic perspective, and I sketch how to approach this task.

8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Tom Schoonen

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A particular family of imagination-based epistemologies of possibility promises to provide an account that overcomes problems raised by Kripkean a posteriori impossibilities. That is, they maintain that imagination plays a significant role in the epistemology of possibility. They claim that imagination consists of both linguistic and qualitative content, where the linguistic content is independently verified not to give rise to any impossibilities in the epistemically significant uses of imagination. However, I will argue that these accounts fail to provide a satisfactory basis for an epistemology of possibility as they fall victim to, what I call, the problem of modally bad company. In particular, I will argue that there is a deep methodological problem that these accounts face: to deliver the significant epistemology of possibility that they promise, they have to rely on problematic prior knowledge of necessities.

9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Daniel Nolan

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Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This “imaginative resistance” is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability or readers’ normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work that has been asked of it. Resistance to taking things to be fictional is often best explained by unfamiliarity with kinds of fictions than any representational, normative, or cognitive limits. With training and experience, any understandable proposition can be made fictional and be taken to be fictional by readers. This requires a new understanding both of imaginative resistance and what it might be able to tell us about topics like conceivability or the bounds of possibility.