Friday, March 30, 2007

Preach it Brother Kaplan!

A be-EU-tiful quote from Mark Kaplan's 1985 piece "It's not what you know that counts". Sadly, with two "revise and resubmits" two MS reviews, comps, and my writing seminar (and squeezing in last-minute skiing (how can you resist skiing in shorts and a T-shirt?)) I can't post much more than this, though I'd be happy to defend it.

"Since we are saddled with a psychology that (rightly) does not admit special states of knowing that are, from the agent's point of view, discernibly different from states of justified belief, a contemporary call to attend to what you know-as opposed to what you merely believe with justification-would simply be confused. Given our conception of knowledge, all we can do by way of seeking knowledge is seek justified belief and hope that this justified belief will satisfy whatever other conditions a justified belief must satisfy in order to qualify as knowledge. This being so, it is not hard to see why the enterprise of specifying what those conditions are looks so purposeless. For if all we can do by way of seeking knowledge is seek justified belief, then, to secure agreement on how rational inquiry is to be conducted, we need only secure agreement on the canons of justification- it does not matter whether we agree or not on what knowledge is. It is thus a feature peculiar to our conception of knowledge that knowledge is indistinguishable from the agent's point of view from merely justified belief-which dooms the analysis of knowledge to irrevelance in helping us to understand and advance the proper conduct of inquiry" (361).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Necessitarian Gambit

(*) If epistemic principle P is justified for S (by necessary rule of inference I and S’s experiences E) then any proposition which P states is rational based on S’s experience is justified for S.

The idea is that Chisholm’s EP’s actually only state contingent connections, but the rationally-supports relation should be necessary. I’m just going to assume these two things. In that case what I’m trying to do is to argue that direct acquaintance (some kind of awareness between e-type and n-type, thus a similar goal as your work) with facts which are such that a necessary rules of inference—whether inductive or deductive—yield that a propositional is rational for one.

Here’s an example of the kind of think I have in mind.

I’ve seen lots of people get koplik spots and later get measles. I’ve never consciously put 2 and 2 together but the next time I see someone get koplik spots I form the belief that they are coming down with measles. The explanation of why I form this belief is that I’ve seen the correlation a bunch of times (though, like I said, I’ve never gone through the inference consciously) and my acquaintance with the correlation is causing me to form the belief about measles on the (causal but not doxastic) basis of the spots.

I’m inclined at this point to see this as a justified belief. I want to explain its justification by reference to (*).

Depending on how chicken sexing works, this would make some chicken sexing beliefs justified. I’m OK with that as long as there is the relevant kind of awareness or acquaintance.

Waddaya think?