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1. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Susan Haack Belief in Naturalism: an Epistemologist’s Philosophy of Mind
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My title, “Belief in Naturalism,” signals, not that I adopt naturalism as an article of faith, but that my purpose in this paper is to shed some light on what belief is, on why the concept of belief is needed in epistemology, and how all this relates to debates about epistemological naturalism. After clarifying the many varieties of naturalism, philosophical and other (section 1), and then the various forms of epistemological naturalism specifically (section 2), I offer a theory of belief in which three elements – the behavioral, the neurophysiological, and the socio-historical – interlock (section 3), and apply this theory to resolve some contested questions: about whether animals and pre-linguistic infants have beliefs, about the fallibility of introspection, and about self-deception (section 4).
2. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Catherine Z. Elgin Touchstones of History: Anscombe, Hume, and Julius Caesar
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In “Hume and Julius Caesar,” G.E.M. Anscombe argues that some historical claims, such as “Julius Caesar was assassinated,” serve as touchstones for historical knowledge. Only Cartesian doubt can call them into question. I examine her reasons for thinking that the discipline of history must be grounded in claims that it is powerless to discredit. I argue that she is right to recognize that some historical claims are harder to dislodge than others, but wrong to contend that any are invulnerable to non-Cartesian doubt.
3. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Teodor Dima Probable Truth Versus Partial Truth
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The present study reiterates one of the main ideas that we exposed in 1983, in the paper “Din fals rezultă orice” (“From False Follows Anything”), published in the volume Întemeieri raţionale în filosofia ştiinţei (Rational Foundations in the Philosophy of Science) when we referred to the notion of semi-truth, as a third alethic value, placed between „truth” and „falsehood”, thus contributing to the functionality of the trivalent logic. Now we analyze the conceptions of Petre Botezatu, Mario Bunge, Karl R. Popper and Nicholas Rescher, in order to argue that it is important not to identify the epistemological term „probable” (= uncertain) with the semantic term „partial” or „approximate”, when we speak about the concept of truth.
4. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Rescher On the Epistemology of Plato’s Divided Line
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In general, scholars have viewed the mathematical detail of Plato’s Divided Line discussion in Republic VI-VII as irrelevant to the substance of his epistemology.Against this stance this essay argues that this detail serves a serious and instructive purpose and makes manifest some central features of Plato’s account of human knowledge.
5. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Daniel Şandru The Ideological Foundations of Social Knowledge
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Assigning a positive signification to the concept of ‘ideology,’ the basic hypothesis of this paper is that both what we call social reality and what we understand by the expression social knowledge are the result of an ideological projection. In other words, it is my opinion that ideology accomplishes a double purpose: on the one hand, it actively participates in the construction of social reality; on the other hand, it also plays the role of an instrument of social knowledge. To support this assertion, I advance the idea of ideological conventions that are constituent parts of the social projection of reality and that emerge as ‘landmarks’ of the processof understanding it. I provide arguments that, as long as that they are found at the level of social institutions and thus being reproduced in discourse, including symbolically – as codes, norms, rules, habits, behaviours, etc., both formal and informal – , ideological conventions are an expression of social identity, being useful in explaining and understanding social reality and its possibilities of evolving. Finally, taking into account the premise that while social knowledge is not entirely ideological, the ideological element is unavoidable in the process of configuring this knowledge (contributing in a decisive manner to the changes emerging at the societal level), I propose an integrated, interdisciplinary model of ideological analysis.
6. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Shahid RAHMAN Remarks on Poincaré’ Notion of Mathematical Rigour
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Between 1906 and 1911, as a response to Betrand’s Russell’s review of La Science et l’Hypothèse, Henri Poincaré launched an attack on the movement to formalise the foundations of mathematics reducing it to logic. The main point is the following: the universality of logic is based on the idea that their truth is independent of any context including epistemic and cultural contexts. From the free context notion of truth and proof it follows that, given an axiomatic system, nothing new can follow. One of the main strategies of Poincaré’s solution to this dilemma is based on the notions of understanding and of grasping the architecture of the propositions of mathematics. According to this view mathematic rigour does not reduce to “derive blindly” without gaps from axioms,mathematical rigour is, according to Poincaré, closely linked to the ability to grasp the architecture of mathematics and contribute to an extension of the meaning embedded in structures that constitute the architecture of mathematical propositions. The focus of my paper relates precisely to the notion of architecture and to the notion of understanding. According to my reconstruction, Poincaré’s suggestions could be seen as pointing out that understanding is linked to reason not only within a structure but reasoning about the structure.
7. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Panayot Butchvarov Generic Statements and Antirealism
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The standard arguments for antirealism are densely abstract, often enigmatic, and thus unpersuasive. The ubiquity and irreducibility of what linguists call generic statements provides a clear argument from a specific and readily understandable case. We think and talk about the world as necessarily subject to generalization. But the chief vehicles of generalization are generic statements, typically of the form “Fs are G,” not universal statements, typically of the form “All Fs are G.” Universal statements themselves are usually intended and understood as though they were only generic. Even if there are universal facts, as Russell held, there are no generic facts. There is no genericity in the world as it is “in-itself.” There is genericity in it only as it is “for-us.”
8. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sanford Goldberg Assertion, Testimony, and the Epistemic Significance of Speech
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Whether or not all assertion counts as testimony (a matter not addressed here), it is argued that not all testimony involves assertion. Since many views in theepistemology of testimony assume that testimony requires assertion, such views are (at best) insufficiently general. This result also points to what we might call the epistemic significance of assertion as such.
9. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Stephen Hetherington The Gettier Non-Problem
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This paper highlights an aspect of Gettier situations, one standardly not accorded interpretive significance. A remark of Gettier’s suggests its potential importance. And once that aspect’s contribution is made explicit, an argument unfolds for the conclusion that it is fairly simple to have knowledge within Gettier situations. Indeed, that argument dissolves the traditional Gettier problem.
10. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Sorin Costreie Frege‘s Context Principle: its Role and Interpretation
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The paper focuses on Gottlob Frege‘s so called Context Principle (CP hereafter), which counts as one of the most controversial points of his philosophy. Due to its importance and centrality in Frege‘s thought, a detailed discussion of the principle requires a detailed analysis of almost all aspects of his philosophy. Obviously, such a task cannot be successfully accomplished here. Thus I limit myself to address only two questions concerning the CP: what role does the principle play (in Grundlagen) and how can we interpret it. Addressing the first problem is required in order to address the second. Most authors interpreted CP from the perspective of Frege‘s later distinction between sense and reference, which I will call the ‗semantic interpretation‘. Although I accept this perspective as valuable and important, I will initially inverse the action and I will try to approach CP, and generally Grundlagen, in a more natural way, contextually, namely setting them in the initial logicist plan of the Begriffschrift. Finally, I will try to provide an interpretation concerning the alleged conflict between CP and Frege‘s compositionality thesis such that they could coherently stay together.
11. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Steven D. Hales No Time Travel for Presentists
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In the present paper, I offer a new argument to show that presentism about time is incompatible with time travel. Time travel requires leaving the present, which, under presentism, contains all of reality. Therefore to leave the present moment is to leave reality entirely; i.e. to go out of existence. Presentist "time travel" is therefore best seen as a form of suicide, not as a mode of transportation. Eternalists about time do not face the same difficulty, and time travel is compossible with eternalism.
12. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Vihren Bouzov Scientific Rationality as Normative System
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Decision-theoretic approach and a nonlinguistic theory of norms are applied in the paper in an attempt to explain the nature of scientific rationality. It is considered as a normative system accepted by scientific community. When we say that a certain action is rational, we express a speaker‘s acceptance of some norms concerning a definite action. Scientists can choose according to epistemic utility or other rules and values, which themselves have a variable nature. Rationality can be identified with a decision to accept a norm. This type of decision cannot be reduced only to its linguistic formulation; it is an act of evolvement of the normative regulation of human behavior. Norms are treated as decisions of a normative authority: a specific scientific community is the normative authority in science. These norms form a system and they are absolutely objective in the context of individual scientists. There exists an invariant core in all the norms of rationality, accounting for their not being liable to change, as compared with the flexibility of legal norms. The acceptance of and abidance by these norms is of social importance—it affects the aims of the community. A norm only defines the common framework and principles of scientific problem-solving; its application is a matter of professional skills and creative approach to a particular problem. It is of no importance at all, if an agent‘s cognitive abilities do not live up to the requirements of a norm. Such discrepancy can be compensated for by the fact that a scientist carries out work in a conceptual and normative framework established by a respective scientific community.
13. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Theodore J. Everett Observation and Induction
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This article offers a simple technical resolution to the problem of induction, which is to say that general facts are not always inferred from observations of particular facts, but are themselves sometimes defeasibly observed. The article suggests a holistic account of observation that allows for general statements in empirical theories to be interpreted as observation reports, in place of the common but arguably obsolete idea that observations are exclusively particular. Predictions and other particular statements about unobservable facts can then appear as deductive consequences of such general observation statements, rather than inductive consequences of other particular statements. This semantic shift resolves the problem by eliminating induction as a basic form of inference, and folding the justification of general beliefs into the more basic problem of perception.
14. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Lauren J. Leydon-Hardy Getting Gettier‘d on Testimony
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There are noncontroversial ways in which our words are context dependent. Gradable adjectives like 'flat‘ or 'bald‘, for example. A more controversial proposition is that nouns can be context dependent in a reasonably similar way. If this is true, then it looks like we can develop a positive account of semantic content as sensitive to context. This might be worrying for the epistemology of testimony. That is, how can we garner knowledge from testimony if it‘s the case that, though our syntactic utterances are identical, the semantic content of them may fail to be uniform? What if we mean different things by the same words? I argue that these kinds of semantic divergences provide the groundwork for a new kind of Gettier case. That is, given the likelihood of divergent semantic content, we can see a way to scenarios in which, despite that the semantic content is uniform, we might get justified true beliefs that nevertheless fail as knowledge. This, because it just as likely could have been the case that relevant contexts were dissimilar, and thus relevant semantic content would have been divergent. Lastly, where the phenomenon does occur, we never would have known the difference.
15. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Murray Clarke Concepts, Intuitions and Epistemic Norms
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In this paper, I argue that Dual Process Theories of cognition, as recently defended by Keith Frankish and Jonathan Evans, Keith Stanovich, Peter Carruthers, Richard Samuels, and others, offer a useful framework that can transform our conception of the nature and role of concepts in cognitive science and the role of intuitions in epistemology. The result is that recent debates concerning competing accounts of concepts, the role of intuition in epistemology, and debates between internalists and externalists concerning the nature of epistemic justification and knowledge, can be usefully advanced given the resources of such Dual Process Theories.
16. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Scott F. Aikin, Michael Harbour, Jonathan Neufeld, Robert B. Talisse Epistemic Abstainers, Epistemic Martyrs, and Epistemic Converts
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An intuitive view regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement says that when epistemic peers disagree, they should suspend judgment. This abstemious view seems to embody a kind of detachment appropriate for rational beings; moreover, it seems to promote a kind of conciliatory inclination that makes for irenic and cooperative further discussion. Like many strategies for cooperation, however, the abstemious view creates opportunities for free-riding. In this essay, the authors argue that the believer who suspends judgment in the face of peer disagreement is vulnerable to a kind of manipulation on the part of more tenacious peers. The result is that the abstemious view can have the effect of encouraging dogmatism.
17. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
James Cargile Two Fallacies
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In charging argumentum ad hominem, we accuse someone of attacking the source of a claim. In charging argumentum ad verecundiam, we attack the source of a claim. This is reason for attending to "attacking the source." It is important to distinguish probabilistic reasons for doubting a claim and evidentiary reasons. Evidence that the source of a claim is likely to be wrong is not evidence against the claim. The tendency to overlook this is the essential feature of the ad hominem fallacy. This is relevant in assessing the view that someone who regards his thinking as made possible by Godless arrangements of matter largely determined by chance is, in taking this attitude, advancing a hypothesis which undermines his theorizing about the world or himself.
18. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Carl Ginet Self-Evidence
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This paper develops an account of what it is for a proposition to be self-evident to someone, based on the idea that certain propositions are such that to fully understand them is to believe them. It argues that when a proposition p is self-evident to one, one has non-inferential a priori justification for believing that p and, a welcome feature, a justification that does not involve exercising any special sort of intuitive faculty; if, in addition, it is true that p and there exists no reason to believe that the proposition that p is incoherent, then one knows a priori that p. The paper argues that certain deeply contingent truths, e.g., the truth that I would now express by saying "I exist," can be self-evident to, and thus known a priori by, the person they are about at the time they are about; but, since they cannot be known a priori, or even expressed, by anyone else or at any other time, they should not count as a priori truths.
19. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
John A. Barker, Fred Adams Epistemic Closure and Skepticism
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Closure is the epistemological thesis that if S knows that P and knows that P implies Q, then if S infers that Q, S knows that Q. Fred Dretske acknowledges that closure is plausible but contends that it should be rejected because it conflicts with the plausible thesis: Conclusive reasons (CR): S knows that P only if S believes P on the basis of conclusive reasons, i.e., reasons S wouldn‘t have if it weren‘t the case that P. Dretske develops an analysis of knowing that centers on CR, and argues that the requirement undermines skepticism by implying the falsity of closure. We develop a Dretske-style analysis of knowing that incorporates CR, and we argue that this analysis not only accords with closure, but also implies it. In addition, we argue that the analysis accounts for the prima facie plausibility of closure-invoking skeptical arguments, and nonetheless implies that they are fallacious. If our arguments turn out to be sound, the acceptability of Dretske‘s analysis of knowing will be significantly enhanced by the fact that, despite implying closure, it undermines closure-based skepticism.
20. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Bernard D. Katz, Doris Olin Reasoning about Closure
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The specter of epistemic closure haunts current epistemology: some regard the refutation of closure as obvious, while others take its denial to be an epistemicoutrage. To some extent, the strong difference of opinion has its source in certain misapprehensions. This paper tries to formulate and clarify the key issues dividing the two sides and contends that, in certain respects, the difference between the friend and the foe of closure may be more a matter of semantics than substance. The paper goes on to argue that once the substantial issues have been properly formulated, there is a limit to how far deductive reasoning can take the parties to the dispute.