•  26
    This article considers how Ernest Gellner used sociology and anthropology to attack ordinary language philosophy in Words and Things. It argues that this attack can be seen as a part of the movement to make philosophy more empirical or “naturalized,” something that has not been generally noted. It also discusses what general lessons to draw from Words and Things regarding how empirical knowledge should be used in philosophy. Among other things, the article argues that one important lesson is tha…Read more
  •  87
    Reliability conducive measures of coherence
    with Erik J. Olsson
    Synthese 157 (3): 297-308. 2007.
    A measure of coherence is said to be truth conducive if and only if a higher degree of coherence results in a higher likelihood of truth. Recent impossibility results strongly indicate that there are no probabilistic coherence measures that are truth conducive. Indeed, this holds even if truth conduciveness is understood in a weak ceteris paribus sense. This raises the problem of how coherence could nonetheless be an epistemically important property. Our proposal is that coherence may be linked …Read more
  •  55
    A measure of coherence is said to be reliability conducive if and only if a higher degree of coherence (as measured) results in a higher likelihood that the witnesses are reliable. Recently, it has been proved that several coherence measures proposed in the literature are reliability conducive in a restricted scenario (Olsson and Schubert 2007, Synthese 157:297–308). My aim is to investigate which coherence measures turn out to be reliability conducive in the more general scenario where it is an…Read more
  •  60
    Is coherence conducive to reliability?
    Synthese 187 (2): 607-621. 2012.
    A measure of coherence is said to be reliability conducive if and only if a higher degree of coherence (asmeasured) of a set of testimonies implies a higher probability that the witnesses are reliable. Recently, it has been proved that the Shogenji measure of coherence is reliability conducive in restricted scenarios (e.g., Olsson and Schubert, Synthese, 157:297–308, 2007). In this article, I investigate whether the Shogenji measure, or any other coherence measure, is reliability conducive in ge…Read more
  •  58
    Coherence and Reliability: The Case of Overlapping Testimonies (review)
    Erkenntnis 74 (2): 263-275. 2011.
    A measure of coherence is said to be reliability conducive if and only if a higher degree of coherence (as measured) among testimonies implies a higher probability that the witnesses are reliable. Recently, it has been proved that several coherence measures proposed in the literature are reliability conducive in scenarios of equivalent testimonies (Olsson and Schubert 2007; Schubert, to appear). My aim is to investigate which coherence measures turn out to be reliability conducive in the more ge…Read more
  •  92
    Ernest Gellner’s Use of the Social Sciences in Philosophy
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1): 0048393112444319. 2012.
    It is well known that Ernest Gellner made substantial use of his knowledge of the social sciences in philosophy. Here I discuss how he used it on the basis of a few examples taken from Gellner’s philosophical output. It is argued that he made a number of highly original “translations”, orre-interpretations, of philosophical theories and problems using his knowledge of the social sciences. While this method is endorsed, it is also argued that some of Gellner’s translations crossed the line betwee…Read more
  •  85
    On the coherence of higher-order beliefs
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1): 112-135. 2012.
    Let us by ‘first-order beliefs’ mean beliefs about the world, such as the belief that it will rain tomorrow, and by ‘second-order beliefs’ let us mean beliefs about the reliability of first-order, belief-forming processes. In formal epistemology, coherence has been studied, with much ingenuity and precision, for sets of first-order beliefs. However, to the best of our knowledge, sets including second-order beliefs have not yet received serious attention in that literature. In informal epistemolo…Read more
  •  14
    In this thesis the connection between coherence and reliability is investigated. The question may be phrased as follows: does the fact that a set of testimonies is coherent imply that the witnesses who have reported these testimonies are reliable? The same question may also be expressed in terms of beliefs: does the fact that a set of beliefs is coherent imply that the beliefs were reliably produced? Traditionally, coherence theorists have thought that coherence is connected to truth, but in thi…Read more
  •  8
    Ernest Gellner’s Use of the Social Sciences in Philosophy
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (1): 3-22. 2014.
    It is well known that Ernest Gellner made substantial use of his knowledge of the social sciences in philosophy. Here I discuss how he used it on the basis of a few examples taken from Gellner’s philosophical output. It is argued that he made a number of highly original “translations”, or re-interpretations, of philosophical theories and problems using his knowledge of the social sciences. While this method is endorsed, it is also argued that some of Gellner’s translations crossed the line betwe…Read more
  •  5
    The Macho Magister Ludi: An Analysis of Ernest Gellner's Thought-Style
    History of European Ideas 41 (6): 788-803. 2015.
    SummaryErnest Gellner was, by all accounts, one of the most unconventional thinkers of the twentieth century. Not only was the content of his theories often strikingly original, but he also arrived at them by use of a singularly personal thought-style. The article describes the most salient features of this thought-style: his quest for overviews, on the one hand, and for penetrating and unexpected insights, on the other, his opposition to what he perceived as humanistic complacency, his academic…Read more