•  965
    Coherentism and justified inconsistent beliefs: A solution
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1): 21-41. 2012.
    The most pressing difficulty coherentism faces is, I believe, the problem of justified inconsistent beliefs. In a nutshell, there are cases in which our beliefs appear to be both fully rational and justified, and yet the contents of the beliefs are inconsistent, often knowingly so. This fact contradicts the seemingly obvious idea that a minimal requirement for coherence is logical consistency. Here, I present a solution to one version of this problem.
  •  484
    The Knowability Paradox
    Oxford University Press UK. 2006.
    The paradox of knowability poses real difficulities to our understanding of truth. It does so by claiming that if we assume a truth is knowable, we can demonstrate that it is known. This demonstration threatens our understanding of truth in two quite different ways, only one of which has been recognized to this point in the literature on the paradox. Jonathan Kvanvig first unearths the ways in which the paradox is threatening, and then delineates an approach to the paradox that solves both of th…Read more
  •  378
    Epistemology has for a long time focused on the concept of knowledge and tried to answer questions such as whether knowledge is possible and how much of it there is. Often missing from this inquiry, however, is a discussion on the value of knowledge. In The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding Jonathan Kvanvig argues that epistemology properly conceived cannot ignore the question of the value of knowledge. He also questions one of the most fundamental assumptions in epistemology, …Read more
  •  342
    National Enquirer commercials tell us that some people want to know. I have no idea what such a desire has to do with reading tabloid journalism, but the avowal of wanting to know interests me. Maybe this desire is shared by all; at the very least, curiosity is universal. Curiosity may amount to a desire for knowledge, or perhaps it might be explained in other terms, such as a desire for understanding or for finding the truth. Perhaps none of these, even. Maybe the desire is only one of being ab…Read more
  •  307
    Lewis on Finkish Dispositions
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59 (3): 703-710. 1999.
    Finkish dispositions, those dispositions that are lost when their conditions of realization occur, pose deep problems for counterfactual accounts of dispositions. David Lewis has argued that the counterfactual approach can be rescued, offering such an account that purports to handle finkish as well as other dispositions. The paper argues that Lewis's account fails to account for several kinds of dispositions, one of which involves failure to distinguish parallel processes from unitary processes.
  •  282
    Religious Pluralism and the Buridan's Ass Paradox
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (1): 1-26. 2009.
    The paradox of ’Buridan’s ass’ involves an animal facing two equally adequate and attractive alternatives, such as would happen were a hungry ass to confront two bales of hay that are equal in all respects relevant to the ass’s hunger. Of course, the ass will eat from one rather than the other, because the alternative is to starve. But why does this eating happen? What reason is operative, and what explanation can be given as to why the ass eats from, say, the left bale rather than the right bal…Read more
  •  241
    Swain on the basing relation
    Analysis 45 (3): 153. 1985.
    Suppose we want to know whether a person justifiably believes a certain claim. Further, suppose that our interest in this question is because we take such justification to be necessary for knowledge. To justifiably believe a claim requires more than there being a justification for that claim. Presumably, there is a justification for accepting all sorts of scientific theories of which I have no awareness; because of my lack of awareness, I do not justifiably believe those theories. Further, even …Read more
  •  240
    The basic notion of justification
    with Christopher Menzel
    Philosophical Studies 59 (3): 235-261. 1990.
    Epistemologists often offer theories of justification without paying much attention to the variety and diversity of locutions in which the notion of justification appears. For example, consider the following claims which contain some notion of justification: B is a justified belief, S's belief that p is justified, p is justified for S, S is justified in believing that p, S justifiably believes that p, S's believing p is justified, there is justification for S to believe that p, there is justific…Read more
  •  233
    Subjective justification
    Mind 93 (369): 71-84. 1984.
  •  180
    Contextualism, Contrastivism, Relevant Alternatives, and Closure
    Philosophical Studies 134 (2): 131-140. 2007.
    Contextualists claim two important virtues for their view. First, contextualism is a non-skeptical epistemology, given the plausible idea that not all contexts invoke the high standards for knowledge needed to generate the skeptical conclusion that we know little or nothing. Second, contextualism is able to preserve closure concerning knowledge – the idea that knowledge is extendable on the basis of competent deduction from known premises. As long as one keeps the context fixed, it is plausible …Read more
  •  143
    Closure principles
    Philosophy Compass 1 (3). 2006.
    A dispute in epistemology has arisen over whether some class of things epistemic (things known or justified, for example) is closed under some operation involving the notion of what follows deductively from members of this class. Very few philosophers these days believe that if you know that p, and p entails q, then you know that q. But many philosophers think that something weaker holds, for instance that if you know that p, and p entails q, then you are in a position to know that p, or if you …Read more
  •  142
    Coherentists' Distractions
    Philosophical Topics 23 (1): 257-274. 1995.
    The heart of coherentism is found in two aspects, one negative and one positive. On the negative side, coherentism is a contrary of foundationalism, the view that the epistemic status of our beliefs ultimately traces to, or derives from, basic beliefs.
  •  133
    Tennant on knowability
    with Michael Hand
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (4). 1999.
    The knowability paradox threatens metaphysical or semantical antirealism, the view that truth is epistemic, by revealing an awful consequence of the claim [i] that all truths are knowable. Various attempts have been made to find a way out of the paradox.
  •  130
    Van Fraassen's epistemology is forged from two commitments, one to a type of Bayesianism and the other to what he terms voluntarism. Van Fraassen holds that if one is going to follow a rule in belief-revision, it must be a Bayesian rule, but that one does not need to follow a rule in order to be rational. It is argued that van Fraassen's arguments for rejecting non-Bayesian rules is unsound, and that his voluntarism is subject to a fatal dilemma arising from the non-monotonic character of reason…Read more
  •  123
    II—Jonathan L. Kvanvig: Millar on the Value of Knowledge
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1): 83-99. 2011.
    Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge
  •  119
    Propositionalism and the metaphysics of experience
    Philosophical Issues 17 (1). 2007.
    The view I've been defending in the theory of justification I have termed ‘propositionalism’. It counsels beginning inquiry into the nature of justification by adopting a particular form of evidentialism, according to which the first task is to describe the abstract relation of evidencing that holds between propositional contents. Such an approach has a variety of implications for the theory of justification itself, and many of the motivations for the view are of a standard internalist variety. …Read more
  •  119
    The value of understanding
    In Pritchard, Haddock & MIllar (eds.), Epistemic Value, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 95--112. 2009.
  •  119
    Pointless truth
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1): 199-212. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  118
    ``Propositionalism and the Perspectival Character of Justification"
    American Philosophical Quarterly 40 (1): 3-18. 2003.
    The flight from foundationalism in the earlier part of this century left several options in its wake. Distress over the possibility of foundationalist replies to the regress problem, coupled with consternation over the thought of circular reasoning mysteriously becoming acceptable as the circle gets large led to the attraction of holistic theories of a coherentist variety. Yet, such coherentisms seemed to leave the belief system cut off from the world, and perhaps a better idea was to abandon th…Read more
  •  118
    Epistemic Luck
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1): 272-281. 2008.
    Duncan Pritchard’s book (Epistemic Luck, Oxford University Press, 2005) concerns the interplay between two disturbing kinds of epistemic luck, termed “reflective” and “veritic,” and two types of arguments for skepticism, one based on a closure principle for knowledge and the other on an underdetermination thesis about the quality of our evidence for the everyday propositions we believe. Pritchard defends the view that a safety-based account of knowledge can answer the closure argument and provid…Read more
  •  114
    Contrastivism and closure
    Social Epistemology 22 (3). 2008.
    This paper argues for a solution to a problem that contrastivism faces. The problem is that contrastivism cannot preserve closure, in spite of claims to the contrary by its defenders. The problem is explained and a response developed
  •  107
    The confusion over foundationalism
    Philosophia 16 (3-4): 345-354. 1986.
    Foundationalism came under attack in two areas in the first half of this century. First, some doubted whether the foundations were adequate to support the entire structure of knowledge, and second, the doctrine of the Agiven@ came under serious attack. = However, many epistemologists were not convinced that foundationalism was to be abandoned even if the criticisms were granted. According to these epistemologist, far from having shown that foundationalism itself was at fault, the critics of foun…Read more
  •  99
    Can a coherence theory appeal to appearance states?
    with Wayne D. Riggs
    Philosophical Studies 67 (3): 197-217. 1992.
    Coherence theorists have universally defined justification as a relation only among (the contents of) belief states, in contradistinction to other theories, such as some versions of founda­tionalism, which define justification as a relation on belief states and appearance states.
  •  98
    Affective Theism and People of Faith
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 37 (1): 109-128. 2013.
  •  97
    LEMKE has recently taken issue (see ANALYSIS 46.3, June 1986, pp. 138-44) with my claim that no counterfactual causal account of the basing relation is plausible (see ANALYSIS 45.3, June 1985, pp. 153-8). Intuitively, a counterfactual causal account claims that belief is based on evidence if and only if the evidence either causes the belief or would have caused it had the actual cause been absent. This intuitive formulation accounts only for counterfactual causes of level one: events which would…Read more
  •  92
    He Who Lapse Last Lapse Best: Plantinga on Leibniz 'Lapse'
    Southwest Philosophy Review 10 (1): 137-146. 1994.
    Alvin Plantinga thinks Leibniz made a mistake. Leibniz claimed that God could have created any possible world, but Plantinga thinks this view amounts to a lapse in judgment on Leibniz =s part. = Plantinga terms this mistake ALeibniz= Lapse,@ and his rejection of this Leibuizian claim plays an important role in Plantinga =s free wili defense against the problem of evil. I will argue that Plantinga fails to show that Leibniz lapsed in thinking about which worlds are actualizable by God; in particu…Read more