•  1389
    Evolutionary theory is a paradigmatic example of a well-supported scientific theory. In this chapter we consider a number of objections to evolutionary theory, and show how responding to these objections reveals aspects of the way in which scientific theories are supported by evidence. Teaching these objections can therefore serve two pedagogical aims: students can learn the right way to respond to some popular arguments against evolutionary theory, and they can learn some basic features of the …Read more
  •  512
    Explanationism: Defended on All Sides
    Logos and Episteme 6 (3): 333-349. 2015.
    Explanationists about epistemic justification hold that justification depends upon explanatory considerations. After a bit of a lull, there has recently been a resurgence of defenses of such views. Despite the plausibility of these defenses, explanationism still faces challenges. Recently, T. Ryan Byerly and Kraig Martin have argued that explanationist views fail to provide either necessary or sufficient conditions for epistemic justification. I argue that Byerly and Martin are mistaken on both …Read more
  •  461
    Interventionism Defended
    Logos and Episteme 6 (1): 61-73. 2015.
    James Woodward’s Making Things Happen presents the most fully developed version of a manipulability theory of causation. Although the ‘interventionist’account of causation that Woodward defends in Making Things Happen has many admirable qualities, Michael Strevens argues that it has a fatal flaw. Strevens maintains that Woodward’s interventionist account of causation renders facts about causation relative to an individual’s perspective. In response to this charge, Woodward claims that although o…Read more
  •  437
    Forgetting memory skepticism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2): 253-263. 2021.
    Memory skepticism denies our memory beliefs could have any notable epistemic good. One route to memory skepticism is to challenge memory’s epistemic trustworthiness, that is, its functioning in a way necessary for it to provide epistemic justification. In this paper we develop and respond to this challenge. It could threaten memory in such a way that we altogether lack doxastic attitudes. If it threatens memory in this way, then the challenge is importantly self-defeating. If it does not threate…Read more
  •  344
    Phenomenal Conservatism (the view that an appearance that p gives one prima facie justification for believing that p) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity, it faces numerous objections and challenges. For instance, epistemologists have argued that Phenomenal Conservatism is incompatible with Bayesianism, is afflicted by bootstrapping and cognitive penetration problems, does not guarantee that epistemic justification is a stable proper…Read more
  •  317
    Undaunted Explanationism
    Logos and Episteme 8 (1): 117-127. 2017.
    Explanationism is a plausible view of epistemic justification according to which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations. Despite its plausibility, explanationism is not without its critics. In a recent issue of this journal T. Ryan Byerly and Kraig Martin have charged that explanationism fails to provide necessary or sufficient conditions for epistemic justification. In this article I examine Byerly and Martin’s arguments and explain where they go wrong.
  •  236
    The interventionist account of causation and the basing relation
    Philosophical Studies 159 (3): 357-382. 2012.
    It is commonplace to distinguish between propositional justification (having good reasons for believing p) and doxastic justification (believing p on the basis of those good reasons).One necessary requirement for bridging the gap between S’s merely having propositional justification that p and S’s having doxastic justification that p is that S base her belief that p on her reasons (propositional justification).A plausible suggestion for what it takes for S’s belief to be based on her reasons is …Read more
  •  223
    The virtues of epistemic conservatism
    Synthese 164 (2): 185-200. 2008.
    Although several important methodologies implicitly assume the truth of epistemic conservatism, the view that holding a belief confers some measure of justification on the belief, recent criticisms have led some to conclude that epistemic conservatism is an implausible view. That conclusion is mistaken. In this article, I propose a new formulation of epistemic conservatism that is not susceptible to the criticisms leveled at earlier formulations of epistemic conservatism. In addition to withstan…Read more
  •  159
    A predictivist argument against scepticism
    Analysis 72 (4): 660-665. 2012.
    Predictivism, the thesis that all things being equal a hypothesis that predicts a piece of evidence is better supported by that evidence than a hypothesis that only accommodates that evidence, comes in strong and weak forms. Interestingly, weak predictivism, which is widely accepted, can be used to formulate a persuasive argument against some forms of external world scepticism. In this article I formulate this predictivist argument and I explain why it deserves serious consideration despite the …Read more
  •  150
    Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this b…Read more
  •  124
    Two skeptical arguments or only one?
    Philosophical Studies 164 (2): 289-300. 2013.
    The first step in responding to the challenge of external world skepticism is to get clear on the structure of the skeptic’s argument. The most prominent varieties of skeptical arguments either rely on closure principles or underdetermination principles. The relationship between these two sorts of arguments is contentious. Some argue that these arguments can independently motivate skepticism. Others argue that they are really equivalent. I argue that although these two arguments are distinct, th…Read more
  •  122
    Explanationist aid for phenomenal conservatism
    Synthese 195 (7): 3035-3050. 2018.
    Phenomenal conservatism is a popular theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity and the fact that some think that phenomenal conservatism can provide a complete account of justification, it faces several challenges. Among these challenges are the need to provide accounts of defeaters and inferential justification. Fortunately, there is hope for phenomenal conservatism. Explanationism, the view on which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations, can help phenomenal co…Read more
  •  119
    Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism
    Acta Analytica 27 (1): 45-54. 2012.
    Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0148-2 Authors Kevin McCain, Department of Philosophy, University of Rochester, Box 270078, Rochester, NY 14627-0078, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150.
  •  116
    Skepticism and Elegance
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1): 30-43. 2016.
    _ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 30 - 43 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues …Read more
  •  115
    Explanationist evidentialism
    Episteme 10 (3): 299-315. 2013.
    In their most recent co-authored work, Conee and Feldman (2008) suggest that epistemic support should be understood in terms of best explanations. Although this suggestion is plausible, Conee and Feldman admit that they have not provided the necessary details for a complete account of epistemic support. This article offers an explanationist account of epistemic support of the kind that Conee and Feldman suggest. It is argued that this account of epistemic support yields the intuitively correct r…Read more
  •  113
    In Defense of the Explanationist Response to Skepticism
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (1): 38-50. 2019.
    _ Source: _Page Count 13 A promising response to the threat of external world skepticism involves arguing that our commonsense view of the world best explains the sensory experiences that we have. Since our commonsense view of the world best explains our evidence, we are justified in accepting this commonsense view of the world. Despite the plausibility of this Explanationist Response, it has recently come under attack. James Beebe has argued that only a version of the Explanationist Response th…Read more
  •  111
    Why Explanatoriness Is Evidentially Relevant
    with Ted Poston
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2): 145-153. 2014.
    William Roche and Elliott Sober argue that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant. This conclusion is surprising since it conflicts with a plausible assumption—the fact that a hypothesis best explains a given set of data is evidence that the hypothesis is true. We argue that Roche and Sober's screening-off argument fails to account for a key aspect of evidential strength: the weight of a body of evidence. The weight of a body of evidence affects the resiliency of probabilities in the light o…Read more
  •  99
    This volume explores evidentialism, a major theory of epistemic justification. It contains more than 20 papers that examine its nuances, its challenges, as well as its future directions. Written by leading and up-and-coming epistemologists, the papers cover a wide array of topics related to evidentialism. The contributors present both sides of the theory: some are advocates of evidentialism, while others are critics. This provides readers with a comprehensive, and cutting-edge, understanding of…Read more
  •  93
    Is Forgotten Evidence a Problem for Evidentialism?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (4): 471-480. 2015.
    The “problem of forgotten evidence” is a common objection to evidentialist theories of epistemic justification. This objection is motivated by cases where someone forms a belief on the basis of supporting evidence and then later forgets this evidence while retaining the belief. Critics of evidentialist theories argue that in some of these cases the person's belief remains justified. So, these critics claim that one can have a justified belief that is not supported by any evidence the subject pos…Read more
  •  92
    Scientific Method in Brief, by Hugh G. Gauch, Jr (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 36 (3): 310-313. 2013.
    Review of *Scientific Method in Brief*.
  •  87
    Problem of the Criterion
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2014.
    The Problem of the Criterion The Problem of the Criterion is considered by many to be a fundamental problem of epistemology. In fact, Chisholm (1973, 1) claims that the Problem of the Criterion is “one of the most important and one of the most difficult of all the problems of philosophy.” A popular form of […].
  •  86
    This book offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the epistemology of science. It not only introduces readers to the general epistemological discussion of the nature of knowledge, but also provides key insights into the particular nuances of scientific knowledge. No prior knowledge of philosophy or science is assumed by The Nature of Scientific Knowledge. Nevertheless, the reader is taken on a journey through several core concepts of epistemology and philosophy of science that not …Read more
  •  84
    Phenomenal Explanationism and the Look of Things
    In McCain Kevin, Stapleford Scott & Steup Matthias (eds.), Seemings: New Angles, New Arguments., Routledge. forthcoming.
    Matthew McGrath has recently challenged all theories that allow for immediate perceptual justification. This challenge comes by way of arguing for what he calls the “Looks View” of visual justification, which entails that our visual beliefs that are allegedly immediately justified are in fact mediately justified based on our independent beliefs about the looks of things. This paper shows that McGrath’s arguments are unsound or, at the very least, that they do not cause genuine concern for the sp…Read more
  •  83
    No Knowledge without Evidence
    Journal of Philosophical Research 40 369-376. 2015.
    The Evidence Thesis is the intuitively plausible principle that in order to know that p one must base her belief that p on adequate evidence. Despite the plausibility of this principle, Andrew Moon (2012) has recently argued that the principle is false. Moon’s argument consists of presenting what he takes to be a clear instance of knowledge and arguing that the subject in the case does not have this knowledge on the basis of any evidence. I argue that Moon’s example fails to be a genuine count…Read more
  •  83
    Testimonial Knowledge from Lies
    Philosophia 42 (2): 459-468. 2014.
    Recently, Dan O’Brien has argued that there are situations in which a hearer can gain testimonial knowledge from a speaker who is lying. In order to make his case, O’Brien presents two examples where a speaker lies to a hearer, but supposedly the hearer comes to have testimonial knowledge on the basis of the lying speaker’s testimony. O’Brien claims that his examples demonstrate that lies can be used to pass on knowledge in a non-inferential fashion. I argue that O’Brien is mistaken. More specif…Read more
  •  80
    A New Evil Demon? No Problem for Moderate Internalists
    Acta Analytica 30 (1): 97-105. 2015.
    The New Evil Demon Problem is often seen as a serious objection to externalist theories of justification. In fact, some internalists think it is a decisive counterexample to externalism. Recently, Moon has argued that internalists face their own New Evil Demon Problem. According to Moon, it is possible for a demon to remove one’s unaccessed mental states while leaving the justificatory status of her accessed mental states unaffected. Since this is contrary to the claims of many forms of internal…Read more
  •  78
    Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation (edited book)
    with Ted Poston
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Twenty philosophers offer new essays examining the form of reasoning known as inference to the best explanation - widely used in science and in our everyday lives, yet still controversial. Best Explanations represents the state of the art when it comes to understanding, criticizing, and defending this form of reasoning.
  •  76
    Pick Your Poison: Beg the Question or Embrace Circularity
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (2): 125-140. 2014.
    According to Roderick Chisholm, there are three ways of responding to the Problem of the Criterion and they all leave something to be desired. Michael DePaul, Paul Moser, and Earl Conee have each proposed variations of a fourth way of responding to this problem that rely on reflective equilibrium. We argue that these four options for responding to the Problem of the Criterion leave one with a tough choice: accept one of the three that Chisholm describes or DePaul’s reflective equilibrium approac…Read more
  •  76
    Earl Conee and Richard Feldman have argued that epistemic support should be understood in terms of explanatory considerations. Very roughly, they hold that one’s evidence supports a given proposition when that proposition is part of the best explanation of one’s evidence. This proposal is attractive, but T. Ryan Byerly has recently argued that it is false. Byerly claims that such explanationist accounts of epistemic support cannot account for the fact that one’s evidence can support propositions…Read more
  •  71
    Skepticism and Elegance
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1): 30-43. 2016.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues that Vogel’s str…Read more