•  649
    A logical hole in the chinese room
    Minds and Machines 19 (2): 229-235. 2009.
    Searle’s Chinese Room Argument (CRA) has been the object of great interest in the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence and cognitive science since its initial presentation in ‘Minds, Brains and Programs’ in 1980. It is by no means an overstatement to assert that it has been a main focus of attention for philosophers and computer scientists of many stripes. It is then especially interesting to note that relatively little has been said about the detailed logic of the argument, whatever sign…Read more
  •  544
    In this article the standard philosophical method involving intuition-driven conceptual analysis is challenged in a new way. This orthodox approach to philosophy takes analysanda to be the specifications of the content of concepts in the form of sets of necessary and sufficient conditions. Here it is argued that there is no adequate account of what necessary and sufficient conditions are. So, the targets of applications of the standard philosophical method so understood are not sufficiently well…Read more
  •  446
    Knowledge of Abstract Objects in Physics and Mathematics
    Acta Analytica 32 (4): 397-409. 2017.
    In this paper a parallel is drawn between the problem of epistemic access to abstract objects in mathematics and the problem of epistemic access to idealized systems in the physical sciences. On this basis it is argued that some recent and more traditional approaches to solving these problems are problematic.
  •  351
    Lakatos’ Quasi-empiricism in the Philosophy of Mathematics
    Polish Journal of Philosophy 9 (2): 71-80. 2015.
    Imre Lakatos' views on the philosophy of mathematics are important and they have often been underappreciated. The most obvious lacuna in this respect is the lack of detailed discussion and analysis of his 1976a paper and its implications for the methodology of mathematics, particularly its implications with respect to argumentation and the matter of how truths are established in mathematics. The most important themes that run through his work on the philosophy of mathematics and which culminat…Read more
  •  339
    What If Bizet and Verdi Had Been Compatriots?
    Logos and Episteme 7 (1): 55-73. 2016.
    Stalnaker argued that conditional excluded middle should be included in the principles that govern counterfactuals on the basis that intuitions support that principle. This is because there are pairs of competing counterfactuals that appear to be equally acceptable. In doing so, he was forced to introduced semantic vagueness into his system of counterfactuals. In this paper it is argued that there is a simpler and purely epistemic explanation of these cases that avoids the need for introduci…Read more
  •  319
    The Availability Heuristic and Inference to the Best Explanation
    Logos and Episteme 10 (4): 409-432. 2019.
    This paper shows how the availability heuristic can be used to justify inference to the best explanation in such a way that van Fraassen's infamous "best of a bad lot" objection can be adroitly avoided. With this end in mind, a dynamic and contextual version of the erotetic model of explanation sufficient to ground this response is presented and defended.
  •  307
    Safety, the Preface Paradox and Possible Worlds Semantics
    Axiomathes 29 (4): 347-361. 2019.
    This paper contains an argument to the effect that possible worlds semantics renders semantic knowledge impossible, no matter what ontological interpretation is given to possible worlds. The essential contention made is that possible worlds semantic knowledge is unsafe and this is shown by a parallel with the preface paradox.
  •  285
    Bayesian confirmation of theories that incorporate idealizations
    Philosophy of Science 68 (1): 36-52. 2001.
    Following Nancy Cartwright and others, I suggest that most (if not all) theories incorporate, or depend on, one or more idealizing assumptions. I then argue that such theories ought to be regimented as counterfactuals, the antecedents of which are simplifying assumptions. If this account of the logic form of theories is granted, then a serious problem arises for Bayesians concerning the prior probabilities of theories that have counterfactual form. If no such probabilities can be assigned, th…Read more
  •  267
    Approximate Truth, Quasi-Factivity, and Evidence
    Acta Analytica 30 (3): 249-266. 2015.
    The main question addressed in this paper is whether some false sentences can constitute evidence for the truth of other propositions. In this paper it is argued that there are good reasons to suspect that at least some false propositions can constitute evidence for the truth of certain other contingent propositions. The paper also introduces a novel condition concerning propositions that constitute evidence that explains a ubiquitous evidential practice and it contains a defense of a particular…Read more
  •  262
    In this paper we argue that dissociative identity disorder (DID) is best interpreted as a causal model of a (possible) post-traumatic psychological process, as a mechanical model of an abnormal psychological condition. From this perspective we examine and criticize the evidential status of DID, and we demonstrate that there is really no good reason to believe that anyone has ever suffered from DID so understood. This is so because the proponents of DID violate basic methodological principles of …Read more
  •  261
    “Filling in”, thought experiments and intuitions
    Episteme 14 (2): 255-262. 2017.
    Recently Timothy Williamson (2007) has argued that characterizations of the standard (i.e. intuition-based) philosophical practice of philosophical analysis are misguided because of the erroneous manner in which this practice has been understood. In doing so he implies that experimental critiques of the reliability of intuition are based on this misunderstanding of philosophical methodology and so have little or no bearing on actual philosophical practice or results. His main point is that the…Read more
  •  251
    Grounding Reichenbach’s Pragmatic Vindication of Induction
    Polish Journal of Philosophy 11 (1): 43-55. 2017.
    This paper has three interdependent aims. The first is to make Reichenbach’s views on induction and probabilities clearer, especially as they pertain to his pragmatic justification of induction. The second aim is to show how his view of pragmatic justification arises out of his commitment to extensional empiricism and moots the possibility of a non-pragmatic justification of induction. Finally, and most importantly, a formal decision-theoretic account of Reichenbach’s pragmatic justification …Read more
  •  243
    Rescuing the Assertability of Measurement Reports
    Acta Analytica 34 (1): 39-51. 2019.
    It is wholly uncontroversial that measurements-or, more properly, propositions that are measurement reports-are often paradigmatically good cases of propositions that serve the function of evidence. In normal cases it is also obvious that stating such a report is an utterly pedestrian case of successful assertion. So, for example, there is nothing controversial about the following claims: (1) that a proposition to the effect that a particular thermometer reads 104C when properly used to determ…Read more
  •  215
    Bursting Bealer’s Bubble: How the Starting Points Argument Begs the Question of Foundationalism Against Quine
    with Jason A. Warnick
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1): 87-106. 2004.
    In his 1993 article George Bealer offers three separate arguments that are directed against the internal coherence of empiricism, specifically against Quine’s version of empiricism. One of these arguments is the starting points argument (SPA) and it is supposed to show that Quinean empiricism is incoherent. We argue here that this argument is deeply flawed, and we demonstrate how a Quinean may successfully defend his views against Bealer’s SPA. Our defense of Quinean empiricism against the SP…Read more
  •  212
    The Paradox of Knowability and Factivity
    Polish Journal of Philiosophy 8 (1): 85-91. 2014.
    This paper shows that the knowability paradox isn’t a paradox because the derivation of the paradox is faulty. This is explained by showing that the K operator employed in generating the paradox is used equivocally and when the equivocation is eliminated the derivation fails.
  •  206
    Hans Reichenbach’s pragmatic treatment of the problem of induction in his later works on inductive inference was, and still is, of great interest. However, it has been dismissed as a pseudo-solution and it has been regarded as problematically obscure. This is, in large part, due to the difficulty in understanding exactly what Reichenbach’s solution is supposed to amount to, especially as it appears to offer no response to the inductive skeptic. For entirely different reasons, the significance of…Read more
  •  205
    Decision theory, intelligent planning and counterfactuals
    Minds and Machines 19 (1): 61-92. 2008.
    The ontology of decision theory has been subject to considerable debate in the past, and discussion of just how we ought to view decision problems has revealed more than one interesting problem, as well as suggested some novel modifications of classical decision theory. In this paper it will be argued that Bayesian, or evidential, decision-theoretic characterizations of decision situations fail to adequately account for knowledge concerning the causal connections between acts, states, and outcom…Read more
  •  205
    This paper introduces a new argument against Richard Foley’s threshold view of belief. His view is based on the Lockean Thesis (LT) and the Rational Threshold Thesis (RTT). The argument introduced here shows that the views derived from the LT and the RTT violate the safety condition on knowledge in way that threatens the LT and/or the RTT.
  •  202
    Internalism, Evidentialism and Appeals to Expert Knowledge
    Logos and Episteme 8 (3): 291-305. 2017.
    Given the sheer vastness of the totality of contemporary human knowledge and our individual epistemic finitude it is commonplace for those of us who lack knowledge with respect to some proposition(s) to appeal to experts (those who do have knowledge with respect to that proposition(s)) as an epistemic resource. Of course, much ink has been spilled on this issue and so concern here will be very narrowly focused on testimony in the context of epistemological views that incorporate evidentialism a…Read more
  •  196
    Probability and Tempered Modal Eliminativism
    History and Philosophy of Logic 25 (4): 305-318. 2004.
    In this paper the strategy for the eliminative reduction of the alethic modalities suggested by John Venn is outlined and it is shown to anticipate certain related contemporary empiricistic and nominalistic projects. Venn attempted to reduce the alethic modalities to probabilities, and thus suggested a promising solution to the nagging issue of the inclusion of modal statements in empiricistic philosophical systems. However, despite the promise that this suggestion held for laying the ‘ghost o…Read more
  •  181
    Quine and the Incoherence of the Indispensability Argument
    Logos and Episteme 10 (2): 207-213. 2019.
    It is an under-appreciated fact that Quine's rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, when coupled with some other plausible and related views, implies that there are serious difficulties in demarcating empirical theories from pure mathematical theories within the Quinean framework. This is a serious problem because there seems to be a principled difference between the two disciplines that cannot apparently be captured in the orthodox Quienan framework. For the purpose of simplicity le…Read more
  •  172
    Epistemic Paradox and the Logic of Acceptance
    Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 25 337-353. 2013.
    Paradoxes have played an important role both in philosophy and in mathematics and paradox resolution is an important topic in both fields. Paradox resolution is deeply important because if such resolution cannot be achieved, we are threatened with the charge of debilitating irrationality. This is supposed to be the case for the following reason. Paradoxes consist of jointly contradictory sets of statements that are individually plausible or believable. These facts about paradoxes then give r…Read more
  •  164
    Some contemporary theologically inclined epistemologists, the reformed epistemologists, have attempted to show that belief in God is rational by appealing directly to a special kind of experience. To strengthen the appeal to this particular, and admittedly peculiar, type of experience these venture to draw a parallel between such experiences and normal perceptual experiences in order to show that, by parity of reasoning, if beliefs formed on the basis of the later are taken to be justified and …Read more
  •  161
    This paper introduces a model for evidence denial that explains this behavior as a manifestation of rationality and it is based on the contention that social values (measurable as utilities) often underwrite these sorts of responses. Moreover, it is contended that the value associated with group membership in particular can override epistemic reason when the expected utility of a belief or belief system is great. However, it is also true that it appears to be the case that it is still possible…Read more
  •  154
    Defusing the Miners Paradox
    Filosofiska Notiser 5 57-67. 2018.
    This paper presents a case for the claim that the infamous miners paradox is not a paradox. This contention is based on some important observations about the nature of ignorance with respect to both disjunctions and conditional obligations and their modal features. The gist of the argument is that given the uncertainty about the location of the miners in the story and the nature of obligations, the apparent obligation to block either mine shaft is cancelled.
  •  151
    Following the standard practice in sociology, cultural anthropology and history, sociologists, historians of science and some philosophers of science define scientific communities as groups with shared beliefs, values and practices. In this paper it is argued that in real cases the beliefs of the members of such communities often vary significantly in important ways. This has rather dire implications for the convergence defense against the charge of the excessive subjectivity of subjective Bayes…Read more
  •  141
    Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding
    Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27 142-168. 2020.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume t…Read more
  •  137
    Re-formulating The Generalized Correspondence Principle
    Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (1): 99-115. 2008.
    This paper presents a more clear formulation of the correspondence principle and explores its justification.
  •  135
    In a series of influential articles, George Bealer argues for the autonomy of philosophical knowledge on the basis that philosophically known truths must be necessary truths. The main point of his argument is that the truths investigated by the sciences are contingent truths to be discovered a posteriori by observation, while the truths of philosophy are necessary truths to be discovered a priori by intuition. The project of assimilating philosophy to the sciences is supposed to be rendered ille…Read more