Synthese

http://link.springer.com/journal/11229

List of Papers (Total 380)

Meno’s paradox and medicine

The measurement of diagnostic accuracy is an important aspect of the evaluation of diagnostic tests. Sometimes, medical researchers try to discover the set of observations that are most accurate of all by directly inspecting diseased and not-diseased patients. This method is perhaps intuitively appealing, as it seems a straightforward empirical way of discovering how to identify ...

Experimental effects and causal representations

In experimental settings, scientists often “make” new things, in which case the aim is to intervene in order to produce experimental objects and processes—characterized as ‘effects’. In this discussion, I illuminate an important performative function in measurement and experimentation in general: intervention-based experimental production (IEP). I argue that even though the goal of ...

Inductive explanation and Garber–Style solutions to the problem of old evidence

The Problem of Old Evidence is a perennial issue for Bayesian confirmation theory. Garber (Test Sci Theor 10:99–131, 1983) famously argues that the problem can be solved by conditionalizing on the proposition that a hypothesis deductively implies the existence of the old evidence. In recent work, Hartmann and Fitelson (Philos Sci 82(4):712–717, 2015) and Sprenger (Philos Sci ...

Safety, sensitivity and differential support

The paper argues against Sosa’s claim that sensitivity cannot be differentially supported over safety as the right requirement for knowledge. Its main contention is that, although all sensitive beliefs that should be counted as knowledge are also safe, some insensitive true beliefs that shouldn’t be counted as knowledge are nevertheless safe.

Is believing for a normative reason a composite condition?

Here is a surprisingly neglected question in contemporary epistemology: what is it for an agent to believe that p in response to a normative reason for them to believe that p? On one style of answer, believing for the normative reason that q factors into believing that p in the light of the apparent reason that q, where one can be in that kind of state even if q is false, in ...

Extrapolation and the Russo–Williamson thesis

A particular tradition in medicine claims that a variety of evidence is helpful in determining whether an observed correlation is causal. In line with this tradition, it has been claimed that establishing a causal claim in medicine requires both probabilistic and mechanistic evidence. This claim has been put forward by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson. As a result, it is sometimes ...

Performance normativity and here-and-now doxastic agency

Sosa famously argues that epistemic normativity is a species of “performance normativity,” comparing beliefs to archery shots. However, philosophers have traditionally conceived of beliefs as states, which means that they are not dynamic or telic like performances. A natural response to this tension is to argue that belief formation rather than belief itself is the proper target of ...

A simpler and more realistic subjective decision theory

In his classic book “the Foundations of Statistics” Savage develops a formal system of rational decision making. It is based on (i) a set of possible states of the world, (ii) a set of consequences, (iii) a set of acts, which are functions from states to consequences, and (iv) a preference relation over the acts, which represents the preferences of an idealized rational agent. The ...

Aggregating incoherent agents who disagree

In this paper, we explore how we should aggregate the degrees of belief of a group of agents to give a single coherent set of degrees of belief, when at least some of those agents might be probabilistically incoherent. There are a number of ways of aggregating degrees of belief, and there are a number of ways of fixing incoherent degrees of belief. When we have picked one of each, ...

Truth, knowledge, and the standard of proof in criminal law

Could it be right to convict and punish defendants using only statistical evidence? In this paper, I argue that it is not and explain why it would be wrong. This is difficult to do because there is a powerful argument for thinking that we should convict and punish defendants using statistical evidence. It looks as if the relevant cases are cases of decision under risk and it seems ...

The semantic view of theories and higher-order languages

Several philosophers of science construe models of scientific theories as set-theoretic structures. Some of them moreover claim that models should not be construed as structures in the sense of model theory because the latter are language-dependent. I argue that if we are ready to construe models as set-theoretic structures (strict semantic view), we could equally well construe ...

The feeling of grip: novelty, error dynamics, and the predictive brain

According to the free energy principle biological agents resist a tendency to disorder in their interactions with a dynamically changing environment by keeping themselves in sensory and physiological states that are expected given their embodiment and the niche they inhabit (Friston in Nat Rev Neurosci 11(2):127–138, 2010. doi:10.​1038/​nrn2787). Why would a biological agent that ...

Tolerant reasoning: nontransitive or nonmonotonic?

The principle of tolerance characteristic of vague predicates is sometimes presented as a soft rule, namely as a default which we can use in ordinary reasoning, but which requires care in order to avoid paradoxes. We focus on two ways in which the tolerance principle can be modeled in that spirit, using special consequence relations. The first approach relates tolerant reasoning to ...

Anti-risk epistemology and negative epistemic dependence

Support is canvassed for a new approach to epistemology called anti-risk epistemology. It is argued that this proposal is rooted in the motivations for an existing account, known as anti-luck epistemology, but is superior on a number of fronts. In particular, anti-risk epistemology is better placed than anti-luck epistemology to supply the motivation for certain theoretical moves ...

Naïve realism about unconscious perception

Recently, it has been objected that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported claim that mental states of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious seeing can occur unconsciously (SFK). The main aim of this paper is to establish the following conditional claim: if SFK turns out to be true, the naïve realist can and should accommodate it into her theory. ...

Naïve validity

Beall and Murzi (J Philos 110(3):143–165, 2013) introduce an object-linguistic predicate for naïve validity, governed by intuitive principles that are inconsistent with the classical structural rules (over sufficiently expressive base theories). As a consequence, they suggest that revisionary approaches to semantic paradox must be substructural. In response to Beall and Murzi, ...

Intellectual autonomy, epistemic dependence and cognitive enhancement

Intellectual autonomy has long been identified as an epistemic virtue, one that has been championed influentially by (among others) Kant, Hume and Emerson. Manifesting intellectual autonomy, at least, in a virtuous way, does not require that we form our beliefs in cognitive isolation. Rather, as Roberts and Wood (Intellectual virtues: an essay in regulative epistemology, OUP ...

Mechanisms without mechanistic explanation

Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. ...

Deflationism beyond arithmetic

The conservativeness argument poses a dilemma to deflationism about truth, according to which a deflationist theory of truth must be conservative but no adequate theory of truth is conservative. The debate on the conservativeness argument has so far been framed in a specific formal setting, where theories of truth are formulated over arithmetical base theories. I will argue that ...

Inferentialism and knowledge: Brandom’s arguments against reliabilism

I take issue with Robert Brandom’s claim that on an analysis of knowledge based on objective probabilities it is not possible to provide a stable answer to the question whether a belief has the status of knowledge. I argue that the version of the problem of generality developed by Brandom doesn’t undermine a truth-tracking account of noninferential knowledge that construes ...