Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Meaty Justification and Goodness of Arguments

So the other day I thought of this analogy and was wondering what others may think.

Evidentialist justification (that a proposition is justified in accordance with one's evidence for it at at time) is analogous to the concept of validity for arugments. Both are structural in nature, and in a sense both can come cheap. Being a valid argument doesn't go very far in attracting others to believe its conclusion, and being epistemically justified can be unsatisfactory in a similar way since one can always shield oneself off from new evidence or indoctrinate oneself. Just as there can be a valid argument to any conclusion, there may be ways to make any conclusion epistemically justified for someone (if nothing else, through brainwashing or something).

This made me think of what could be added to epistemic justification to bolster it like the truth of the premises can be added to a valid argument. Here is where I thought that responsibilist theories of epistemic justification might come into play. Though I don't think they have any bearing on knowledge, they could in conjunction with evidentialist justification form a more robust concept of justification: say meaty justification. For a proposition to be meaty justified for an individual at a time, it must be the case that that proposition is supported by her evidence (she is evidentially justified) and she has be responsible in her inquiry (she is responsibilist justified). Though the addition of responsibilist justification does not add to evidentialist justificaiton as truth of the premises does to validity, there does seem to be something valuable gained in that the input evidence is now justified in some way that evidentialist justification ignores.

For those, like me, who don't think knowledge is all that important, meaty justification looks to me to be a good replacement.

1 Comment(s):

  • Good thought Jon. We could deliniate a whole spectrum of epistemic good-making features: it seems base-level would be propositional justification (evidential fit), then doxastic justification (proper basing), then responsibility (good inquiry), and maybe somethine more robust like charachter after that.

    They are all good-making features but they aggregate for best results.

    Jason Baehr and I have been discussion this at Janusblog.


    By Blogger Trent_Dougherty, at 2/19/2007 12:31 AM