Skepticism and Epistemic Closure: Two Bayesian Accounts

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK, and Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany
  • 2 2Rhode Island College, Providence, USA, TShogenji@ric.edu

This paper considers two novel Bayesian responses to a well-known skeptical paradox. The paradox consists of three intuitions: first, given appropriate sense experience, we have justification for accepting the relevant proposition about the external world; second, we have justification for expanding the body of accepted propositions through known entailment; third, we do not have justification for accepting that we are not disembodied souls in an immaterial world deceived by an evil demon. The first response we consider rejects the third intuition and proposes an explanation of why we have a faulty intuition. The second response, which we favor, accommodates all three intuitions; it reconciles the first and the third intuition by the dual component model of justification, and defends the second intuition by distinguishing two principles of epistemic closure.

  • Alston W., (1996). “Belief, Acceptance, and Religious Faith.” In Howard-Snyder D. (ed.), Faith, Freedom, and Rationality: Philosophy of Religion Today, 327. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Atkinson D. (2012). “Confirmation and Justification. A Commentary on Shogenji’s Measure,” Synthese 184: 4961.

  • Bar-Hillel Y., and Carnap R. (1953). “Semantic Information,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4: 147157.

  • Brueckner A. (1994). “The Structure of the Skeptical Argument,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54: 827835.

  • Cohen L. J. (1992). An Essay on Belief and Acceptance. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Cohen S. (2002). “Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65: 309329.

  • Crupi V., , Fitelson B., & Tentori K. (2008). “Probability, Confirmation, and the Conjunction Fallacy,” Thinking and Reasoning 14: 182199.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dretske F. (1971). “Conclusive Reasons,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 49: 122.

  • Dretske F., (2005). “Is Knowledge Closed Under Known Entailment?” In Steup M., and Sosa E. (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 1326 . Oxford: Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fantl J., & McGrath M. (2002). “Evidence, Pragmatics, and Justification,” Philosophical Review 111: 6794.

  • Fantl J., & McGrath M. (2007). “On Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75: 558589.

  • Fantl J., & McGrath M. (2009). Knowledge in an Uncertain World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Fantl J., & McGrath M. (2012). “Pragmatic Encroachment: It’s Not Just About Knowledge,” Episteme 9: 2742.

  • Foley R., (2009). “Belief, Degrees of Belief, and the Lockean Thesis.” In Huber F., and Schmidt-Petri C. (eds.), Degrees of Belief, 3747. Dordrecht: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fumerton R. (1995). Metaepistemology and Skepticism. Totowa, NJ : Rowman and Littlefield.

  • Huber F. (2008a). “Assessing Theories, Bayes Style,” Synthese 161: 89118.

  • Huber F. (2008b). “Hempel’s Logic of Confirmation,” Philosophical Studies 139: 181189.

  • Jenkins C. (2007). “Entitlement and Rationality,” Synthese 157: 2545.

  • Kung P. (2010). “On Having No Reason: Dogmatism and Bayesian Confirmation,” Synthese 177: 117.

  • Levi I. (1967). Gambling with Truth. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.

  • Levi I. (1980). The Enterprise of Knowledge. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.

  • Levi I. (2004). Mild Contraction: Evaluating Loss of Information Due to Loss of Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Makinson D.C. (1965). “The Paradox of the Preface,” Analysis 25: 205207.

  • Moretti L., and Piazza T., (2013). “Transmission of Justification and Warrant.” In Zalta E. N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/transmission-justification-warrant/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nozick R. (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Cambridge UK : Cambridge University Press.

  • Okasha S. (2004). “Wright on the Transmission of Support: A Bayesian Analysis,” Analysis 64: 139146.

  • Popper K. (1954). “Degree of Confirmation,” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5: 143149.

  • Popper K. (1963). Conjectures and Refutations. London: Routledge.

  • Pritchard D. (2005a). “The Structure of Sceptical Arguments,” Philosophical Quarterly 55: 3752.

  • Pritchard D., (2005b). “Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and Contemporary Anti-Scepticism.” In Moyal-Sharrock D., and Brenner W. H. (eds.), Readings of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, 189224. London: Palgrave Macmillian.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pryor J., (2013). “Problems for Credulism.” In Tucker C. (ed.), Seemings and Justification: New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism, 89131. New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon C., and Weaver W. (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

  • Shogenji T. (2012). “The Degree of Epistemic Justification and the Conjunction Fallacy,” Synthese 184: 2948.

  • Sides A., Osherson D., , Bonini N., and Viale R. (2002). “On the Reality of the Conjunction Fallacy,” Memory & Cognition 30: 191198.

  • Tversky A., and Kahneman D. (1983). “Extensional Versus Intuitive Reasoning: The Conjunction Fallacy in Probability Judgment,” Psychological Review 90: 293315.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van Cleve J., (2003). “Is Knowledge Easy or Impossible? Externalism as the Only Answer to Skepticism.” In Luper S. (ed.), The Skeptics, 4559. Aldershot, UK : Ashgate.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vogel, J. (2000). “Reliabilism Defended,” Journal of Philosophy 97: 602623.

  • Vogel, J. (2004). “Skeptical Arguments,” Philosophical Issues 14: 426455.

  • Vogel, J. (2008). “Epistemic Bootstrapping,” Journal of Philosophy 105: 518539.

  • Weatherson B. (2007). “The Bayesian and the Dogmatist,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107: 169185.

  • White R. (2006). “Problems for Dogmatism,” Philosophical Studies 131: 525557.

  • Williamson T. (2000). Knowledge and its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Wright C. (2002). “(Anti)-Sceptics Simple and Subtle: Moore and McDowell,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65: 330348.

  • Wright C. (2004). “Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free?),” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78: 167212.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wright C. (2007). “The Perils of Dogmatism.” In S. Nucciatelli and Gary Seay (eds.), Themes from E. G. Moore: New Essays in Epistemology and Ethics, 2548. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wright C., (2014). “On Epistemic Entitlement (II): Welfare State Epistemology.” In Zardini E., and Dodd D. (eds.), Scepticism and Perceptual Justification, 231242. New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yalçin Ü. (1992). “Sceptical Arguments from Underdetermination,” Philosophical Studies 68: 134.

  • 4

     See Cohen (1992) and Alston (1996) for the distinction of belief and acceptance in epistemology. We will say a little more about the notion of acceptance in Section 3.

  • 21

     See Shogenji (2012) for a detailed analysis of the conjunction fallacy based on the dual component model of justification.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 124 65 4
Full Text Views 126 4 0
PDF Downloads 17 7 2