Virtue Epistemology: Motivation and Knowledge (Continuum Studies in Philosophy)

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Any reading that avoids this has the result that it is seldom the case that we ought to perform successful actions; rather, we only ought to try our best to perform them. In addition to faring better than alternative readings when faced with various counterexamples, the proposed reading also answers a pressing objection in the debate on how normativity transmits from ends to means.


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Many compatibilists claim that determinism is compatible with moral responsibility, even if there are no alternatives for agents. According to them, alternatives are unnecessary for being moral responsible because moral responsibility only need moderate amount of control. However, we claim that these theories are unable to explain how this kind of moderate control grounds moral responsibility since the degree of this kind of control is no higher than the degree of the control which exercised by mundane inanimate objects.

I argue that it is possible to confirm a theory by some piece of evidence without knowing or consider-ing any concrete rival theories of the theory. I offer two arguments. The first argument is an argument from scientific practice concerning theories that enjoy very strong empirical support. When scientists discuss and assess the empirical support of a very well-confirmed theory, they usually merely mention the evidence supporting the theory, point out its good-making features such as diversity, but barely discuss any rival theories.

The second argument employs a Bayesian framework and concerns the ac-curate prediction of a precise measurement. In this paper, I defend a novel non-reductive, non-restrictive epistemic account of scientific TEs, compatible with empiricism and built on case studies from the history of physics. I shall argue that TEs function as inconsistency revealers and eliminators and are characterized by a common general structure. This structure offers a proper justification method — i.

Epistemic context, however, includes not only our total evidence but also relations of epistemic dependence between our evidential beliefs. I will present the problem of belief reports that has puzzled philosophers of language for over a century. The difficulty is that it seems impossible to accommodate the thesis of Opacity of Belief Reports while respecting the following three plausible and widely held semantic principles: Direct Reference, Compositionality, and Semantic Innocence.

Against the classical line of response to the problem of belief reports, I will defend that there is no logical incompatibility between these four theses. While these principles seem inconsistent, this is because we are presupposing a Traditional Analysis of Belief Reports. According to an approach that has been dominant since the beginning of the 20th century, the primary truth-bearers are abstract, mind-independent entities, such as Fregean Gedanken or Russellian propositions. In a recent book, Peter Hanks argues that the primary truth-bearers are concrete cognitive and linguistic acts.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

I am in favour of structured propositions. However, one problem is how to avoid regress when explaining how the proper parts of a structured proposition are interconnected so as to form a whole. I present a theory of structured propositions that does not trigger a regress. My theoretical framework is Transparent Intensional Logic which construes propositions as complex procedures whose parts are sub-procedures.

The parts interact because their output is organized as functions and arguments. Regress fails to arise because a proposition is identical to a procedure, or logical flow-chart, detailing the interaction between functions, arguments and their output values. Ontological questions are often expressed using quantificational vocabulary. The standard model-theoretic semantics invokes a domain to explain the truth of quantified statements. First, I will argue that this view, domain realism, fits with a realistic metaontology, but is incompatible with metaontological deflationism, according to which ontological questions are easily answered.

Secondly, I will explore what positive story deflationists should tell about domains. This paper explores a certain kind of philosophical motivation for Neutherism: the view is widely thought to help us avoid philosophical puzzles about problematic kinds of entities, such as numbers, properties, propositions, and fictional characters.

However, I will argue that problem avoidance is a poor motivation for Neuthereism. This is because the puzzles that motivated the position have close analogues that are no less serious for Neuthereism as the original ones are for mainstream realist views. I will take the dispute between the two dominant approaches to understanding scientific models - Neo-Meinongians and Fictionalists - as a case-study and I shall argue that a normative and non-factual question may be involved in it: how the relevant piece of language ought to be used. This paper challenges Estlund's liberal epistemic view of political quality, according to which inequalities in the informal political public sphere e.

The paper argues that unequal distribution of political influence might introduce some conjectural and empirically latent epistemically damaging features that the procedure cannot compensate for, thus endangering the quality of outcomes. Since this is a reasonable though not necessarily true objection, liberal epistemic view cannot satisfy the liberal criterion of legitimacy, and should be rejected.

Pohlhaus challenges this as an analysis of testimonial injustice, arguing that precisely because we can rationally disbelieve and prejudicially discredit testimony, the harmed testifier is unlike an epistemic object [Pohlhaus,]. In this paper, I discuss the relationship between self-respect and the disrespect of others. Firstly, I argue that there are three kinds of connection that can obtain between these two stances, namely either a causal, a constitutive or a rational one.

A Taxonomy of Philosophy

Of these, only the rational warrants further philosophical investigation. Practices of abstraction and idealization have been quite well analyzed in the modeling literature cf. Weisberg , yet -- surprisingly -- little has been said about it in the context of modeling mechanisms. In this contribution I assess the functions of idealization in mechanistic models.

I argue that there is an important function of idealization that has been largely overlooked in the mechanism literature: making salient difference making factors for a target explanandum.

What is the relation between mechanisms and processes? Absent a standard physical housing, such processes are not well analogized to machines. This approach to organizing the material will, for example, cut the Gordian knot of whether the process of evolution counts as a mechanism. The moving spotlight theory of time is a conceptual framework which help us to understand the temporal dynamics without giving up the advantages of an eternalist conception of time.

In such a framework the present moves from instants to instants like a spotlight in a fixed scenario. The aim of our talk is twofold: firstly, we intend to clarify the notion of presentness in the framework of the spotlight theory; secondly, we want to provide a modal semantic frame for modelling how time passes, so as to characterized in a precise way the conceptual basis of the spotlight theory.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

This argument has been widely discussed, but has not been recognized as relevant for the philosophy of perception. Moral exemplars are often held up as objects to be admired. Such admiration is thought beneficial to the admirer, inducing him to emulate virtuous conduct, and deemed flattering to the admired. This paper offers a critical examination of admiration from a broadly Kantian perspective, arguing that admiration — even of genuine moral exemplars — violates the duty to self-respect. It also offers an explanation for the fact that moral exemplars themselves typically shun admiration.

Lastly, it challenges the assumption that admiration leads to emulation, using scientific findings that indicate that admiration induces passivity rather than an incentive to self-improvement. Whereas responsible conduct of research is usually explained in terms of principles, virtue-based approaches focus exclusively on behavioral dispositions of scientists Macfarlane, which presumably ensure undisturbed research processes.


  1. Virtue Epistemology: Motivation and Knowledge.
  2. The Art of Non Conformity?
  3. Demons (Corilon of Corsden Book 1).
  4. The problem of moral luck Williams, poses a challenge for virtue-based accounts and their handling of demanding requirements such as the obligation to report supposed cases of scientific misconduct. Virtuous behavior often depends on favorable institutional conditions, a manifestation of moral luck. I will show that virtue-based approaches cannot account for this fact and discuss whether extending the domain of virtues to organizational features of institutions is a viable solution.

    There are two issues that a good account of emergence should address. First, it must offer a positive and informative definition of that notion. Second, it should explain how downward causation is possible. With regard to the second one, I will argue that emergent states are reducible in a certain sense and irreducible in another.

    1. Value problems

    Downward causation can be appropriately described if emergent states are rendered as irreducible in the right sense. In this paper I argue that there are good reasons to reject the epistemic analyticity account of a priori knowledge. A priori knowledge is not grounded on sheer conceptual understanding or implicit definitions. After presenting the epistemic analyticity account and the objections to it, I sketch an alternative account of a priori knowledge.

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    Roughly, the alternative says that suppositional reasoning is a source of a priori knowledge. Model-simplifying assumptions come in two kinds: abstraction and idealization of features of the phenomena. Some regard these two kinds of assumptions as two facets of their own generic notion of idealization. Others attempt to spell-out ways by which to explicate the distinction.

    I offer six arguments why the latter attempts to distinguish the two fail to meet the desired goal, and I defend the thesis that it is possible to explicate the two as two facets of the same cognitive act which I call selective attention. Somewhat overlooked is the fact that idealization can also perniciously distort the identity of systems, so that the causal relations identified in the idealized system can no longer be ascribed to the actual system.

    In this paper I argue that the holistic causal structure of certain complex systems — such as financial markets or traffic flows — are more problematic for interventionist analysis than previously realized, rendering interventions conceptually impossible. Models qua idealized representations are tools to answer specific questions about their target, e.

    Idealization in modeling has implications for confirmation. I adopt a pragmatist justification for trading confirmation for idealization in modeling to defend the claim that trading is legitimate if the cognitive values that come with idealization, i. I use this pragmatist justification to advance the debate on legitimate and illegitimate uses of epistemic, cognitive and social values in modeling.

    Circular definitions are definitions that include the definiendum in the definiens. The aim of the talk is to define and analyze some special classes of circular definitions that have a simple revision-theoretic semantics in the sense defined by A. Gupta and N. Some of the classes introduced correspond to the class of finite definitions and others are either generalizations or restrictions of this class. In model-theoretic logics there is a standard definition of relative expressiveness, based on the capacity of characterizing structures.