•  382
    Argumente für die naturaliste Erkenntnistheorie
    In Stefan Tolksdorf & Dirk Koppleberg (eds.), Erkenntnistheorie: Wie und Wozu?, Mentis Publishers. pp. 245-274. 2015.
  •  305
    The Pathologies of Standard Analytic Epistemology
    Noûs 39 (4): 696-714. 2005.
    Standard Analytic Epistemology (SAE) names a contingently clustered class of methods and theses that have dominated English-speaking epistemology for about the past half-century. The major contemporary theories of SAE include versions of foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and contextualism. While proponents of SAE don’t agree about how to define naturalized epistemology, most agree that a thoroughgoing naturalism in epistemology can’t work. For the purposes of this paper, we will suppose…Read more
  •  232
    Why Thought Experiments are Not Arguments
    Philosophy of Science 66 (4): 534-541. 1999.
    Are thought experiments nothing but arguments? I argue that it is not possible to make sense of the historical trajectory of certain thought experiments if one takes them to be arguments. Einstein and Bohr disagreed about the outcome of the clock-in-the-box thought experiment, and so they reconstructed it using different arguments. This is to be expected whenever scientists disagree about a thought experiment's outcome. Since any such episode consists of two arguments but just one thought experi…Read more
  •  232
    Our aim in this paper is to bring the woefully neglected literature on predictive modeling to bear on some central questions in the philosophy of science. The lesson of this literature is straightforward: For a very wide range of prediction problems, statistical prediction rules (SPRs), often rules that are very easy to implement, make predictions than are as reliable as, and typically more reliable than, human experts. We will argue that the success of SPRs forces us to reconsider our views abo…Read more
  •  173
    The proper role of intuitions in epistemology
    with A. Feltz
    In M. Milkowski & K. Talmont-Kaminski (eds.), Beyond Description: Normativity in Naturalized Philosophy., College Publication. 2010.
    Intuitions play an important role in contemporary philosophy. It is common for theories in epistemology, morality, semantics and metaphysics to be rejected because they are inconsistent with a widely and firmly held intuition. Our goal in this paper is to explore the role of epistemic intuitions in epistemology from a naturalistic perspective. Here is the question we take to be central: (Q) Ought we to trust our epistemic intuitions as evidence in support of our epistemological theories? We will…Read more
  •  172
    Strategic Reliabilism: A Naturalistic Approach to Epistemology
    Philosophy Compass 3 (5): 1049-1065. 2008.
    Strategic Reliabilism is a framework that yields relative epistemic evaluations of belief-producing cognitive processes. It is a theory of cognitive excellence, or more colloquially, a theory of reasoning excellence (where 'reasoning' is understood very broadly as any sort of cognitive process for coming to judgments or beliefs). First introduced in our book, Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment (henceforth EPHJ), the basic idea behind SR is that epistemically excellent reasoning is…Read more
  •  172
    Epistemic responsibility involves at least two central ideas. (V) To be epistemically responsible is to display the virtue(s) epistemic internalists take to be central to justification (e.g., coherence, having good reasons, fitting the evidence). (C) In normal (non-skeptical)circumstances and in thelong run, epistemic responsibility is strongly positively correlated with reliability. Sections 1 and 2 review evidence showing that for a wide range of real-world problems, the most reliable, tractab…Read more
  •  172
    Why the generality problem is everybody’s problem
    Philosophical Studies 151 (2). 2010.
    The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S's belief, B, is justified on the basis of S's knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly (but not perfectly) reliable way of reasoning, R. The general…Read more
  •  160
    Why the Semantic Incommensurability Thesis is Self-Defeating
    Philosophical Studies 63 (3). 1991.
    What factors are involved in the resolution of scientific disputes? What factors make the resolution of such disputes rational? The traditional view confers an important role on observation statements that are shared by proponents of competing theories. Rival theories make incompatible (sometimes contradictory) observational predictions about a particular situation, and the prediction made by one theory is borne out while the prediction made by the other is not. Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, and…Read more
  •  158
    The Theory Theory Thrice Over: The Child as Scientist, Superscientist or Social Institution?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1): 117-132. 2002.
    Alison Gopnik and Andrew Meltzoff have argued for a view they call the ‘theory theory’: theory change in science and children are similar. While their version of the theory theory has been criticized for depending on a number of disputed claims, we argue that there is a fundamental problem which is much more basic: the theory theory is multiply ambiguous. We show that it might be claiming that a similarity holds between theory change in children and (i) individual scientists, (ii) a rational rec…Read more
  •  157
    During the last 25 years, researchers studying human reasoning and judgment in what has become known as the “heuristics and biases” tradition have produced an impressive body of experimental work which many have seen as having “bleak implications” for the rationality of ordinary people (Nisbett and Borgida 1975). According to one proponent of this view, when we reason about probability we fall victim to “inevitable illusions” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). Other proponents maintain that the human m…Read more
  •  131
    The flight to reference is a widely-used strategy for resolving philosophical issues. The three steps in a flight to reference argument are: (1) offer a substantive account of the reference relation, (2) argue that a particular expression refers (or does not refer), and (3) draw a philosophical conclusion about something other than reference, like truth or ontology. It is our contention that whenever the flight to reference strategy is invoked, there is a crucial step that is left undefended, an…Read more
  •  118
    Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology. Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their re…Read more
  •  110
    Fast and Frugal Heuristics
    Philosophy Compass 1 (2). 2006.
    A heuristic is a rule of thumb. In psychology, heuristics are relatively simple rules for making judgments. A fast heuristic is easy to use and allows one to make judgments quickly. A frugal heuristic relies on a small fraction of the available evidence in making judgments. Typically, fast and frugal heuristics (FFHs) have, or are claimed to have, a further property: They are very reliable, yielding judgments that are about as accurate in the long run as ideal non-fast, non-frugal rules. This pa…Read more
  •  102
    The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2). 2003.
    Scientific realism says of our best scientific theories that (1) most of their important posits exist and (2) most of their central claims are approximately true. Antirealists sometimes offer the pessimistic induction in reply: since (1) and (2) are false about past successful theories, they are probably false about our own best theories too. The contemporary debate about this argument has turned (and become stuck) on the question, Do the central terms of successful scientific theories refer? Fo…Read more
  •  83
    The Network Theory of Well-Being: An Introduction
    The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 7. 2012.
    In this paper, I propose a novel approach to investigating the nature of well-being and a new theory about wellbeing. The approach is integrative and naturalistic. It holds that a theory of well-being should account for two different classes of evidence—our commonsense judgments about well-being and the science of well-being (i.e., positive psychology). The network theory holds that a person is in the state of well-being if she instantiates a homeostatically clustered network of feelings, emotio…Read more
  •  68
    By making plausible the Diversity Thesis (different people have systematically different and incompatible packages of epistemic intuitions), experimental epistemology raises the specter of the shifting-sands problem: the evidence base for epistemology contains systematic inconsistencies. In response to this problem, some philosophers deny the Diversity Thesis, while others flirt with denying the Evidence Thesis (in normal circumstances, the epistemic intuition that p is prima facie evidence that…Read more
  •  62
    Goodbye, Justification. Hello World
    with Benett Bootz
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2): 269-285. 2007.
    There are simple rules for making important judgments that are more reliable than experts, but people refuse to use them People refuse even when they are told that these rules are more reliable than they are. When we say that people “refuse” to use the rule, we do not mean that people stubbornly refuse to carry out the steps indicated by the rule. Rather, people defect from the rule (i.e., they overturn the rule’s judgment) so often that they end up reasoning about as reliably as they would have…Read more
  •  59
    Reflections on Cognitive and Epistemic Diversity: Can a Stich in Time Save Quine?
    In Dominic Murphy & Michael A. Bishop (eds.), Stich and His Critics, Wiley-blackwell. 2009.
    In “Epistemology Naturalized” Quine famously suggests that epistemology, properly understood, “simply falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science” (1969, 82). Since the appearance of Quine’s seminal article, virtually every epistemologist, including the later Quine (1986, 664), has repudiated the idea that a normative discipline like epistemology could be reduced to a purely descriptive discipline like psychology. Working epistemologists no longer take Quine’s vision…Read more
  •  57
    An Epistemological Role for Thought Experiments
    Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 63 19-34. 1998.
    Why should a thought experiment, an experiment that only exists in people's minds, alter our fundamental beliefs about reality? After all, isn't reasoning from the imaginary to the real a sign of psychosis? A historical survey of how thought experiments have shaped our physical laws might lead one to believe that it's not the case that the laws of physics lie - it's that they don't even pretend to tell the truth. My aim in this paper is to defend an account of thought experiments that fits smoot…Read more
  •  51
    Theory-Ladenness of Perception Arguments
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992. 1992.
    The theory-ladenness of perception argument is not an argument at all. It is two clusters of arguments. The first cluster is empirical. These arguments typically begin with a discussion of one or more of the following psychological phenomena: (a) the conceptual penetrability of the visual system, (b) voluntary perceptual reversal of ambiguous figures, (c) adaptation to distorting lenses, or (d) expectation effects. From this evidence, proponents of theory-ladenness typically conclude that percep…Read more
  •  47
    The Autonomy of Social Epistemology
    Episteme 2 (1): 65-78. 2005.
    Social epistemology is autonomous: When applied to the same evidential situations, the principles of social rationality and the principles of individual rationality sometimes recommend inconsistent beliefs. If we stipulate that reasoning rationally from justified beliefs to a true belief is normally sufficient for knowledge, the autonomy thesis implies that some knowledge is essentially social. When the principles of social and individual rationality are applied to justified evidence and recomme…Read more
  •  44
    A review of J.R. Brown's second edition of The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences.
  •  41
    What is this thing called Science? (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 19 (2): 204-206. 1996.
  •  40
    The Autonomy of Social Epistemology
    Episteme 2 (1): 65-78. 2005.
    Social epistemology is autonomous: When applied to the same evidential situations, the principles of social rationality and the principles of individual rationality sometimes recommend inconsistent beliefs. If we stipulate that reasoning rationally from justified beliefs to a true belief is normally sufficient for knowledge, the autonomy thesis implies that some knowledge is essentially social. When the principles of social and individual rationality are applied to justified evidence and recomme…Read more
  •  37
    Biology, Ethics, and the Origins of Life (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 19 (3): 302-304. 1996.
  •  31
    Editors' note (review)
    Synthese 122 (1-2): 1-1. 2000.