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Hi Doug, I didn't see this in time to fill out the survey, but I want to run a question by you. Do you think it matters that in cases 2, 4, and 5 we are not told whether Phil actually takes the pill (or administers it to Ashton) presently? If we are told that he won't take/administer the pill, though he could, maybe respondents will treat this as they treat stipulated future facts, viz., as exogenous to the question whether Phil ought to administer C/P. (Don't know how well this comment applies to 5, as there you say he intends to refrain from taking the pill, so presumably he doesn't.) Also, if respondents think it still open whether Phil takes/administers the pill presently, maybe the initial thought is that Phil ought presently to take/administer the pill and give a dose of C. Respondents might then be inclined to say that Phil ought to give dose C (even if, on reflection, they'd deny that 'O(p and q), therefore Oq' is a valid rule of inference). Just a thought.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2011 on Post Survey Wrap Up - The Two Medicines at PEA Soup
Clayton, Thanks. This is helpful. I'd still resist discussion of knowledge because I think knowledge is a funny concept, I suspect it might not be a concept that carves nature at its joints (primarily serving non-referential purposes), and I don't have a theoretically independent sense of whether the agents you describe have it. In short, I don't understand it. But that's just me. In any event, I think we can just ask about justification and settle that question without appeal to knowledge (and a showing of improbability defeats justification). I don't know what you think about this proposal. Am I right that you think this is a mistake in part because if you know something, that's part of your evidence? I would say: that conditional can be true without knowledge being an evidence maker. That is, if the things you know are part of your evidence, it is not *because* you know them. So we can still settle questions of evidence and justification without appeal to knowledge. Is this one place where we part ways? On internalism-externalism, I think that your belief that p is justified iff p is supported by a preponderance of your evidence (this is too rough, but it'll do). You say: "If p is part of your evidence, p is true." So it looks like justification would not supervene on internals unless the only evidence you have are truths that strongly supervene on internals (which you seem to reject). So sounds like an externalist theory of justification to me. We might ultimately part ways with the truth condition on evidence. I might be confused here. You say "I suggested that someone the same on the inside as someone who knows is justified in her beliefs." So you think justification strongly supervenes on internal states, but evidence and knowledge do not (for they must be truths, and the truth of some of your evidence does not supervene on internals)? You must reject my proposed connection between evidence and justification, then. Another place where we part ways? You also say "I also think that your evidence would include moral facts (e.g., that it would harm him counts against pushing)." In the trolly case, I want to say that the intuition is evidence, but the fact that it's impermissible to push the guy (if that is a fact - consequentialism anyone?) is not. In any event, if the facts are evidence for you, they wouldn't be intuitive evidence, and so this supplemented evidential base might escape my argument. Fair enough? Last, I'm confused when you say: "I took the intuitionist view to be that we can have non-inferential moral knowledge and this knowledge of seemings/appearances is non-moral knowledge. So, I think the intuitionist should say that while we have both sorts of knowledge it would be a mistake to say that only the non-moral propositions constitute evidence." The intuitionist is not saying that what is non-inferentially known/justifiedly believed is a proposition about your seemings/appearances, and from this you infer moral knowledge. They'd say your seemings/appearances with moral contents (for you, propositions about having these seemings with moral contents) non-inferentially justify your moral beliefs. It's seeming to you that p pro tanto justifies believing that p. Right? Jussi, Nonsense? Ouch. Well, now you know how some error theorists feel about morality :) (I can hear some of them replacing "animal spirit(s)" in your questions with "moral facts.") Maybe I tricked myself into thinking I imagined a case where people believe such things (indeed, had a rich set of platitudes about them), and had seeming states that supported such things. Would ghosts be better? I don't want the case to unduly distract us. I was just trying to get a parallel case that wouldn't be clouded by our extant strong commitments (e.g., to math, morality). Also, I wanted a case that stipulates beliefs about non-natural facts, since my argument only applies to the moral non-naturalist, and I don't think I can make such a stipulation with mathematical beliefs. But maybe we should just stick to the moral case.
Clayton, I'm not convinced that K entails J. But if it does, I think my argument entails ~K, naturally. I'm a little leery of your attempt to directly establish knowledge given a reliabilist theory, and then infer justification from that. A reliabilist theory of K might not have J as a condition. Anyway, if the target is knowledge and justification is a condition, shouldn't one look to see if the belief meets the justification condition? I'm not sure that our disagreement turns on what the Rossian's evidence is. Suppose I grant that the Rossians have knowledge and are in some sense justified. Now I want to know if I'm one of the Rossians. Am I justified in taking myself to be in a situation like theirs? Maybe this highlights a sense of justification I'm interested in, an internalist (not necessarily accessibilist) one connected with the question What should I believe?, rather than a second or third personal evaluation of beliefs. Huemer seems to work with this notion of justification. Some intuitionists, like Audi, characterize self evidence propositions as true, but that is usually in the context of discussing knowledge, and even he has lately placed more emphasis on seeming states and their ability to justify. In any event, I don't want to go robustly externalist with justification. I would say that my intuition on the fatman trolley case, e.g., pro tanto justifies my belief that it's impermissible to push him off the bridge. Its status as a justifier is not beholden to the falsity of consequentialism. That said, I guess I'd worry that externalist theories of justification might require more by way of reliability or objective probability than is secured by the intuitive non-naturalist, as intimated by Brad. Jussi, I worry about appeal to intuitionists, as the epistemic commitments of the view are often not clearly separated from the other, non-epistemic, commitments. But I also don't see why Andy *cannot* meet the conditions you spell out. Can I stipulate it? As for the necessary truth disanalogy, Andy is meant to have the same justification for believing in the necessary truth of spirit animal propositions that we have for believing in the necessary truth of moral propositions. Our evidence is 1) evidence of the actual moral facts plus 2) evidence for some kind of supervenience, which entails, 3) the necessary truth of moral propositions. After all, we don't think moral truths are conceptually necessary. Do you think we have more evidence than this for the necessary truth of moral propositions? (On a similar point, I think Audi distinguishes the self evidence of a truth that is necessary from the self evidence of the necessity of the truth.) Heath, I'm not a fan of Kim's causal exclusion argument, and I'm thinking that the parallels don't run too deep. Isn't his argument one against non-reductive physicalism, forcing reductive (type-type) views or non-reductive views? (This last option is also fishy in light of his causal exclusion argument if we take the mental to be causal.) I don't use any causal criteria for being, or argue against the existence of irreducible moral properties. I simply say that we are not intuitively justified in believing them.
Hi all, Clayton, many thanks for the post. (I want to say my paper has been blogjectified or blobjectified, but only if that is clever.) And thanks to everyone for the feedback. I'd like to clarify a few things. First, the argument concerns intuitive justification for believing in non-natural ethical properties. Knowledge is above my pay grade, so maybe the Rossians described above have knowledge. Second, I don't make use of causal theories of justification or reliabilist theories of justification. Actually, I grant that ethical intuitions prima facie (pro tanto) justify, and I don't think intuitional justification is causalist or reliabilist. I do, however, make use of the premise that, holding the causal order fixed, we would have the same intuitions across the remaining conceptually possible worlds. Considering these remaining worlds, the likelihood that we are in a world where our intuitions are veridical is low even granting the evidence of intuition, for following those very intuitions we have landed in a metaphysical picture that separates evidence from fact (which contrasts with following the evidence of experiential seemings). Brad's comments along similar lines resonate with me. So there is a kind of unreliability (really, unlikelihood) the discovery of which is a defeater even if reliability (likelihood) isn't a condition on prima facie justification. What would help me is to see how others respond to my parallel case. Andy has intuitions such that it seems that people have spirit animals, where having a spirit animal is a non-natural property. It seems that wise people have owl spirit animals, and on that basis he justifiably believes that they do, it seems that brave people have lion spirit animals, and on that basis he justifiably believes that they do, etc. He also justifiably thinks that the having of a spirit animal strongly supervenes on non-spirit animal facts, viz., character traits. That is, necessarily (conceptually), if X has character trait C and sprit animal A, then necessarily (metaphysically), anyone who has character trait C has spirit animal A. Andy then discovers some natural explanations for his particular intuitions/beliefs about who has what spirit animal. He realizes that, holding the causal order fixed, he would intuit that wise people have owl spirit animals, and would conclude that wisdom metaphysically necessitates an owl spirit animal, regardless of which spirit animals anyone has (if any) and so regardless of which spirit animals are actually metaphysically necessitated (if any) by which character traits. I say this: Though his spirit animal beliefs may have been initially justified by intuition, he now has a defeater for that justification. What say others about this case? I'm not sure how far similar arguments extend. E.g., I'm not sure about modal skepticism simply because I'm not sure if we are talking about modal realism a la Lewis or something else, and because I don't know what the evidence is supposed to be. I can say that epistemic questions do present themselves (to me at least!) when Lewis posits his plurality of worlds. I won't confess my views on modality. I should add that I would distinguish evidence from knowledge (and so part company with Williamson). I think people can have evidence that is not true, even not truth-apt (e.g., the way things appear - it is the way things appear and not propositions about the way they appear that is my evidence for how things are). More to the point, I think intuitionists should accept this. But I won't argue for that here.
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Feb 8, 2011