•  1896
    What is the biological function of perception? I hold perception, especially visual perception in humans, has the biological function of accurately representing the environment. Tyler Burge argues this cannot be so in Origins of Objectivity (Oxford, 2010), for accuracy is a semantical relationship and not, as such, a practical matter. Burge also provides a supporting example. I rebut the argument and the example. Accuracy is sometimes also a practical matter if accuracy partly explains how perce…Read more
  •  724
    Does Justification Aim at Truth?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1): 51-72. 2011.
    Does epistemic justification aim at truth? The vast majority of epistemologists instinctively answer 'Yes'; it's the textbook response. Joseph Cruz and John Pollock surprisingly say no. In 'The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism' they argue that justification bears no interesting connection to truth; justification does not even aim at truth. 'Truth is not a very interesting part of our best understanding' of justification (C&P 2004, 137); it has no 'connection to the truth.' A 'truth-aim…Read more
  •  699
    Testimonial Entitlement and the Function of Comprehension
    In Duncan Pritchard, Alan Millar & Adrian Haddock (eds.), Social Epistemology, Oxford University Press. pp. 148--174. 2010.
    This paper argues for the general proper functionalist view that epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Such a process is reliable in normal conditions when functioning normally. This paper applies this view to so-called testimony-based beliefs. It argues that when a hearer forms a comprehension-based belief that P (a belief based on taking another to have asserted that P) t…Read more
  •  641
    Alvin Plantinga argues by counterexample that no naturalistic account of functions is possible--God is then the only source for natural functions. This paper replies to Plantinga's examples and arguments. Plantinga misunderstands naturalistic accounts. Plantinga's mistakes flow from his assimilation of functional notions in general to functions from intentional design in particular.
  •  635
    Metaphysical libertarianism and the epistemology of testimony
    American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1): 37-50. 2004.
    Reductionism about testimony holds that testimonial warrant or entitlement is just a species of inductive warrant. Anti-Reductionism holds that it is different from inductive but analogous to perceptual or memorial warrant. Perception receives much of its positive epistemic status from being reliably truthconducive in normal conditions. One reason to reject the epistemic analogy is that testimony involves agency – it goes through the will of the speaker – but perception does not. A speaker might…Read more
  •  557
    Functions, Warrant, History
    In Abrol Fairweather & Owen Flanagan (eds.), Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue, Cambridge University Press. pp. 15-35. 2014.
    I hold that epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Evolution by natural selection is the central source of etiological functions. This leads many to think that on my view warrant requires a history of natural selection. What then about learning? What then about Swampman? Though functions require history, natural selection is not the only source. Self-repair and trial-and-err…Read more
  •  549
    Can Testimony Generate Knowledge?
    Philosophica 78 105-127. 2006.
    Jennifer Lackey ('Testimonial Knowledge and Transmission' The Philosophical Quarterly 1999) and Peter Graham ('Conveying Information, Synthese 2000, 'Transferring Knowledge' Nous 2000) offered counterexamples to show that a hearer can acquire knowledge that P from a speaker who asserts that P, but the speaker does not know that P. These examples suggest testimony can generate knowledge. The showpiece of Lackey's examples is the Schoolteacher case. This paper shows that Lackey's case does not und…Read more
  •  477
    Epistemic Entitlement
    Noûs 46 (3): 449-482. 2012.
    What is the best account of process reliabilism about epistemic justification, especially epistemic entitlement? I argue that entitlement consists in the normal functioning (proper operation) of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Etiological functions involve consequence explanation: a belief-forming process has forming true beliefs reliably as a function just in case forming-true beliefs reliably partly explains the persiste…Read more
  •  423
    The standard taxonomy of theories of epistemic justification generates four positions from the Foundationalism v. Coherentism and Internalism v. Externalism disputes. I develop a new taxonomy driven by two other distinctions: Fundamentalism v. Non-Fundamentalism and Actual-Result v. Proper-Aim conceptions of epistemic justification. Actual-Result theorists hold that a belief is justified only if, as an actual matter of fact, it is held or formed in a way that makes it more likely than not to be …Read more
  •  400
    Liberal fundamentalism and its rivals
    In Jennifer Lackey & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Epistemology of Testimony, Oxford University Press. pp. 93--115. 2006.
    Many hold that perception is a source of epistemically basic (direct) belief: for justification, perceptual beliefs do not need positive inferential support from other justified beliefs, especially from beliefs about one’s current sensory episodes. Perceptual beliefs can, however, be defeated or undermined by other things one believes, and so to be justified in the end there must be no undefeated undermining grounds. Similarly for memory and introspection.1..
  •  215
    According to the Acceptance Principle, a person is entitled to accept a proposition that is presented as true (asserted) and that is intelligible to him or her, unless there are stronger reasons not to. Burge assumes this Principle and then argues that it has an apriori justification, basis or rationale. This paper expounds Burge's teleological reliability framework and the details of his a priori justification for the Principle. It then raises three significant doubts.
  •  210
    Tyler Burge first introduced his distinction between epistemic entitlement and epistemic justification in ‘Content Preservation’ in 1993. He has since deployed the distinction in over twenty papers, changing his formulation around 2009. His distinction and its basis, however, is not well understood in the literature. This chapter distinguishes two uses of ‘entitlement’ in Burge, and then focuses on his distinction between justification and entitlement, two forms of warrant, where warrants consis…Read more
  •  207
    Epistemic Norms as Social Norms
    In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 425-436. 2019.
    This chapter examines how epistemic norms could be social norms, with a reliance on work on the philosophy and social science of social norms from Bicchieri (on the one hand) and Brennan, Eriksson, Goodin and Southwood (on the other hand). We explain how the social ontology of social norms can help explain the rationality of epistemic cooperation, and how one might begin to model epistemic games.
  •  205
    Recent Work on Epistemic Entitlement
    American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2): 193-214. 2020.
    We review the "Entitlement" projects of Tyler Burge and Crispin Wright in light of recent work from and surrounding both philosophers. Our review dispels three misunderstandings. First, Burge and Wright are not involved in a common “entitlement” project. Second, though for both Wright and Burge entitlement is the new notion, “entitlement” is not some altogether third topic not clearly connected to the nature of knowledge or the encounter with skepticism. Third, entitlement vs. justification does…Read more
  •  197
    What is testimony?
    Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187): 227-232. 1997.
    C.A.J. Coady, in his book Testimony: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), offers conditions on an assertion that p to count as testimony. He claims that the assertion that p must be by a competent speaker directed to an audience in need of evidence and it must be evidence that p. I offer examples to show that Coady’s conditions are too strong. Testimony need not be evidence; the speaker need not be competent; and, the statement need not be relevant or directed to someone in nee…Read more
  •  182
    The reliability of testimony
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3): 695-709. 2000.
    Are we entitled or justified in taking the word of others at face value? An affirmative answer to this question is associated with the views of Thomas Reid. Recently, C. A. J. Coady has defended a Reidian view in his impressive and influential book. Testimony: A Philosophical Study. His central and most Oliginal argument for his positions involves reflection upon the practice of giving and accepting reports, of making assertions and relying on the word of others. His argument purports to show th…Read more
  •  178
    Assertions, Handicaps, and Social Norms
    Episteme 8 1-15. 2020.
    How should we undertand the role of norms—especially epistemic norms—governing assertive speech acts? Mitchell Green (2009) has argued that these norms play the role of handicaps in the technical sense from the animal signals literature. As handicaps, they then play a large role in explaining the reliability—and so the stability (the continued prevalence)—of assertive speech acts. But though norms of assertion conceived of as social norms do indeed play this stabilizing role, these norms are bes…Read more
  •  159
    Perceptual entitlement and basic beliefs
    Philosophical Studies 153 (3): 467-475. 2011.
    Perceptual entitlement and basic beliefs Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9603-3 Authors Peter J. Graham, University of California, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
  •  156
    Against Inferential Reliabilism: Making Origins Matter More
    Philosophical Analysis: The Journal of the Korean Society for Analytic Philosophy 15 87-122. 2014.
  •  136
    Testimonial justification: Inferential or non-inferential?
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222). 2006.
    Anti-reductionists hold that beliefs based upon comprehension (of both force and content) of tellings are non-inferentially justified. For reductionists, on the other hand, comprehension as such is not in itself a warrant for belief: beliefs based on it are justified only if inferentially supported by other beliefs. I discuss Elizabeth Fricker's argument that even if anti-reductionism is right in principle, its significance is undercut by the presence of background inferential support: for matur…Read more
  •  118
    The theoretical diagnosis of skepticism
    Synthese 158 (1): 19-39. 2007.
    Radical skepticism about the external implies that no belief about the external is even prima facie justified. A theoretical reply to skepticism has four stages. First, show which theories of epistemic justification support skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, entail skepticism). Second, show which theories undermine skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, do not support the skeptic’s conclusion). Third, show which of the l…Read more
  •  113
    Conveying information
    Synthese 123 (3): 365-392. 2000.
    This paper states three counterexamples to the claim that testimony cannot generate knowledge, that a hearer can only acquire testimonial knowledge from a speaker who knows: a twins case, the fossil case, and an inversion case. The paper provides an explanation for why testimony can generate knowledge. Testimonial knowledge involves the flow of information from a speaker to a hearer through the linguistic channel.
  •  112
    Epistemic defeat is standardly understood in either evidentialist or responsibilist terms. The seminal treatment of defeat is an evidentialist one, due to John Pollock, who famously distinguishes between undercutting and rebutting defeaters. More recently, an orthogonal distinction due to Jennifer Lackey has become widely endorsed, between so-called doxastic (or psychological) and normative defeaters. We think that neither doxastic nor normative defeaters, as Lackey understands them, exist. Both…Read more
  •  105
    Causation and Free Will (review)
    with Andrew Law and Jonah Nagashima
    Analysis 78 (2): 371-373. 2018.
    Review of Causation and Free Will by Carolina Sartorio, Oxford University Press, 2016. viii + 188 pp. £35.00.