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25 Cards in this Set

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Philisophical views are taken to be skeptical when they attempt to cast in doubt basic ideas that we hold to be so.

Specifically, in this class, we have looked at rather radical skeptics who take different approaches to argue that we don’t know anything.

Stroud, for instance suggests that to have knowledge, we must be sure we are not dreaming, we can’t be sure we are not dreaming, so we don’t have knowledge.

Many philosophical arguments are actually cast regarding their relationship to skepticism.
Particularism vs methodism
Chisholm delineates a difference between methodism and particularism as two approaches by which to tackle epistemological problems.

He suggests that one can either supply an overarching theory of how knowledge is attained, and use that to explain particular cases (this is methodism), or examine particular cases in which one believes one has knowledge, and come to a more general theory based upon those particular cases. (this is particularism).
The foundationalist's thesis, in short, is that all knowledge and justified belief rest ultimately on a foundation of noninferential knowledge or justified belief.

These beliefs may be referred to as basic beliefs. In foundationalism, all beliefs are justified by basic beliefs.

Foundationalism seeks to escape the regress argument by claiming that there are some beliefs for which it is improper to ask for a justification. A belief is basic if and only if it is justified, but is not justified by other beliefs. It is therefore a self-evident axiom.
The coherentist's thesis is normally formulated in terms of a denial of its contrary, foundationalism.

Coherentism claims that a belief can be inferred from other beliefs, that these are a coherent system of beliefs, and of justifications, and that a belief is justified by being a part of the coherent system.

You need to be aware of the propositions that afford justification.

Beliefs justify other beliefs.
Epistemic Regress Argument

This presents us with four possibilities: the sequence continues ad infinitum, it loops back, it terminates in a statement that needs no justification, it terminates in an unjustifiable belief.
Gettier Problem
Gettier argued that there are situations in which one's belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge.

That is, Gettier contended that while it is necessary that one be justified in one's true belief of a proposition, it is not sufficient.

More technically, Gettier claimed that the following account of knowledge is insufficient:

S knows that P if and only if:

* P is true;
* S believes P
* S is justified in believing that P.

According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met.
Gettier Counterexamples
Case I

Smith has applied for a job, but has a justified belief that "Jones will get the job". He also has a justified belief that "Jones has 10 coins in his pocket". Smith therefore (justifiably) concludes (by the rule of the transitivity of identity) that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket".

In fact, Jones does not get the job. Instead, Smith does. However, as it happens, Smith also has 10 coins in his pocket. So his belief that "the man who will get the job has 10 coins in his pocket" was justified and true. But it does not appear to be knowledge.

Case II

Smith has a justified belief that someone in his class owns a ford, based on the fact that he has seen Nogot griving a ford. In fact, Nogot does not own a ford. However, Haveit, who is also in the class, does own a ford, unbeknownst to Smith. So someone in the class actually does own a ford.
Fallibilism is the philosophical doctrine that all claims to knowledge could, in principle, be mistaken.

Nothing is for sure, conclusive.

Fallibilism suggests the possibility of falsity, rather than the definite presence of actual falsity.

Fallibilist Justification: All beliefs are only, at best, fallibly justified.

Fallibilists are not necessarily Skeptics, but rather see themselves as realists about knowledge.
Infallibilism is the belief that certainty of knowledge is attainable.

In religion, infallibilism is the belief that certain texts or persons cannot be wrong.

The Pope.
Moderate Foundationalism
Perception, consciousness, reflection, memory are all processes that can supply foundational beliefs. Audi is a proponent.

There are basic beliefs that possess a degree of justification independent of their support by other beliefs, that this degree of justification is sufficient for knowledge, but it does not amount to absolute certainty.

This is a fallibilist position.
Strong Foundationalism
Beliefs that are less-than-certain must be inferentially justified.

A Strong Foundationalist prefers that justified beliefs be rock-solid.

Must have access to the facts.

In the case of having a headache, you have direct access to this fact. Therefore it is incorrigible. This sort of thing needs no justification. It is a far more infallibilist position than Moderate Foundationalism.
The word introspect means literally, “to examine oneself” or, “to examine one’s consciousness.” However, in terms of epistemology, introspection is debated in the sense that some philosophers believe it is a non-observational state and hence is special in that it has “privileged access.” Coherentists would claim that justification is still inferred (see Bonjour), while Strong Foundationalists would hold that introspective beliefs are basic.

Example: I certainly seem to see, to hear, and to be warmed. This cannot be false. (Descartes).

See also McGrew, Chisholm for similar statements.
Deductive inference
When an argument claims that the truth of its premises guarantees the truth of its conclusion, it is said to involve a deductive inference.

If the premises are true, the conclusion MUST be true.
Inductive inference
When an argument claims merely that the truth of its premises make it likely or probable that its conclusion is also true.

The standard of correctness for inductive reasoning is much more flexible than that for deduction.

An inductive argument succeeds whenever its premises provide *some legitimate* evidence or support for the truth of its conclusion.
Explanatory Inference
Explanatory inferences are the best explanations of available data.

We refuse the temptation to make generalizations, however.

It is the weakest of the three noted here. It is most often seen in science.
The Given
The given is a sense-datum that presents itself to consciousness at a particular time (the time they are being sensed).

It needs not be categorized or defined.

Its ontology is not interpreted.

It is not a mental event.

It is neither physical nor non-physical.
Direct Awareness, Immediate Apprehension
To be directly aware of something (a headache for example) is to have a mental state that requires no justification.

It is an immediate personal awareness (it must be accessible by the knower) of a state of affairs.

It is not a cognitive state to be “arrived at” via inference, but rather is self-presenting.

A tummyache doesn’t need to be proven or justified. It just is. And the specific state of affairs implied by it couldn’t exist without the knower.
Linear Concept of Justification
Bonjour refutes the linear concept of justification (that justification proceeds to a belief (qua conclusion) from a logically prior justification (qua premise) in a linear “one back” fashion. He suggests that this begs the infinite regress. Rather, he suggests that justification proceeds in a circular fashion.
Observation Requirement
This is Bonjours unpacking of what foundationalists would consider a non-inferential belief, to show that it is inferential in character. If he cannot show that observation fits into coherentism, and that it is inferential in character, then his theory is shot by virtue of redutio ad absurdum. He suggests that for one to gain knowledge via observation that one is holding the observation up to a set of conditions have held in the past.
Sort of a combination of coherentism and foundationalism.

Takes into account the “what” of the belief as well as the “why” of a belief.

Strength of justification is in relation to the quality of evidence.

Our experience is good evidence. When it meshes with our beliefs, our beliefs are likely to be true.

Beliefs can justify beliefs, but evidence can also justify beliefs.
Moderate Empiricism
Moderate empiricists say that there may be some cases in which the senses do not ground our knowledge, but hold that these are exceptions to a general rule.

Truths such as “there are no four-sided triangles” and “7+5=12” need not be investigated in order to be known, but all significant, interesting knowledge, the empiricist claims, comes to us from experience.
Radical Empiricism
All of our knowledge is derived from the senses.

meaning of statements is tied to the experiences that would justify them.

According to this principle, it is only if it is possible to empirically test a claim if the claim has meaning.

It is impossible for us to talk about what we have not experienced.

Statements that are not tied to our experiences are meaningless.
At least some of our knowledge is derived from reason alone.

Reason plays an important role in the acquisition of all of our knowledge.

Reason even plays a role in observation!

The mind is more fundamental than the senses in the process of knowledge-acquisition.
Principle of Induction
Having experienced A and B together frequently, we now react to A as we originally reacted to B. To make this seem rational, we say that A is a "sign" of B, and that B must really be present though out of sight. This is the principle of induction, upon which almost all science is based. And a great deal of philosophy is an attempt to make the principle seem reasonable. Whenever, owing to past experience, we react to A in the manner in which we originally reacted to B, we may say that A is a "datum" and B is "Inferred".
Belief must fit evidence.

Evidentialism is a theory of justification according to which whether a belief is justified depends solely on what a person's evidence is.

Belief B toward proposition p is epistemically justified for S at t if and only if B fits the evidence S has at t.