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Abudu, Kenneth U. , Imafidon, Elvis. Epistemic Injustice, Disability, and Queerness in African Cultures
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 393-409
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Added by: Björn Freter
Abstract: Perception, representations, and knowledge claims about disability and queerness vary across societies and cultures. In African cultures negative knowledge claims and representations of disability and queerness create a perception of the disabled and queer that are not only detrimental to such persons in African societies but arguably undermine the work of understanding difference and tolerance in general. These negative claims raise some epistemological questions, such as: how do Africans come to know about disability and how are such knowledge claims validated within African communities? Against this backdrop, this chapter critically examines the epistemology of disability and queerness in African traditions. It shows that the epistemic authoritarianism found in African epistemology leads to an epistemic injustice that contributes immensely to the discrimination against disabled and queer beings as reflected in many cultural practices across the continent of Africa. The chapter argues that knowledge claims about disability and queerness in Africa emerge mainly from neglect, superstition, myth, and, above all, ignorance.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception
2008, APRA Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Publisher’s Note:

Adrian Piper argues that the Humean conception can be made to work only if it is placed in the context of a wider and genuinely universal conception of the self, whose origins are to be found in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. This conception comprises the basic canons of classical logic, which provide both a model of motivation and a model of rationality. These supply necessary conditions both for the coherence and integrity of the self and also for unified agency. The Kantian conception solves certain intractable problems in decision theory by integrating it into classical predicate logic, and provides answers to longstanding controversies in metaethics concerning moral motivation, rational final ends, and moral justification that the Humean conception engenders. In addition, it sheds light on certain kinds of moral behavior – for example, the whistleblower – that the Humean conception is at a loss to explain.

Comment: Best discussed alongside Kantian and Humean texts. In particular, the work considered requires prior knowledge of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Hume's conception of the self.

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Adrian Piper. Rationality and the Structure of the Self: Reply to Guyer and Bradley
2018, Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin
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Added by: Sara Peppe
Abstract:

These two sets of comments on Volume II of my Rationality and the Structure of the Self (henceforth RSS II), from the two leading philosophers in their respective areas of specialization – Kant scholarship and decision theory – are the very first to appear from any quarter within academic philosophy. My gratitude to Paul Guyer and Richard Bradley for the seriousness, thoroughness and respect with which they treat RSS – and my admiration for their readiness to acknowledge the existence of books that in fact have been in wide circulation for a long time – know no bounds. Their comments and criticisms, though sharp, are always constructive. I take my role here to be to incorporate those comments and criticisms where they hit the mark, and, where they go astray, to further articulate my view to meet the standard of clarity they demand. While Guyer’s and Bradley’s comments both pertain to the substantive view elaborated in RSS II, my responses often refer back to the critical background it presupposes that I offer in RSS Volume I: The Humean Conception (henceforth RSS I). I address Guyer’s more exegetically oriented remarks first, in order to provide a general philosophical framework within which to then discuss the decision-theoretic core of the project that is the focus of Bradley’s comments.

Comment: This text offers the responses of the author to critiques of her work Rationality and the Structure of the Self (Volume II). To be used to deepen the ideas treated in the second volume of Rationality and the Structure of the Self and have a clearer picture of this work, including potential critiques and how to address them.

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Adrian Piper. The Money Pump Is Necessarily Diachronic
2014, Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin/Philosophy
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Added by: Sara Peppe
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In “The Irrelevance of the Diachronic Money-Pump Argument for Acyclicity,” The Journal of Philosophy CX, 8 (August 2013), 460-464, Johan E. Gustafsson contends that if Davidson, McKinsey and Suppes’ diachronic money-pump argument in their "Outlines of a Formal Theory of Value, I," Philosophy of Science 22 (1955), 140-160 is valid, so is the synchronic argument Gustafsson himself offers. He concludes that the latter renders irrelevant diachronic choice considerations in general, and the two best-known diachronic solutions to the money pump problem in particular. I argue here that this reasoning is incorrect, and that Gustafsson’s synchronic argument is faulty on independent grounds. Specifically, it is based on a false analogy between the derivation of a synchronic ordinal ranking from a transitive series of pairwise comparisons, and the putative derivation of such a ranking from an intransitive series. The latter is not possible under the assumption of revealed preference theory, and is highly improbable even if that assumption is rejected. Moreover, Gustafsson’s argument raises issues of fidelity to the historical texts that must be addressed. I conclude that the money pump, and cyclical choice more generally, are necessarily diachronic; and therefore that the two best-known diachronic solutions to the money pump problem remain relevant.

Comment: Necessarily requires prior knowlege of the money-pump argument and Johan E. Gustafsson's article considered in the work.

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Adrian Piper. Xenophobia and Kantian Rationalism
1993, Philosophical Forum 24 (1-3):188-232
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Added by: Sara Peppe
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The purpose of this discussion is twofold. First, I want to shed some light on Kant's concept of personhood as rational agency, by situating it in the context of the first Critique's conception of the self as defined by its rational dispositions. I hope to suggest that this concept of personhood cannot be simply grafted onto an essentially Humean conception of the self that is inherently inimical to it, as I believe Rawls, Gewirth, and others have tried to do. Instead I will try to show how deeply embedded this concept of personhood is in Kant's conception of the self as rationally unified consciousness. Second, I want to deploy this embedded concept of personhood as the basis for an analysis of the phenomenon of xenophobia.

Comment: Requires prior knowledge of the works written by Kant, especially the first Critique and the concept of personhood. To be used after having developed knowledge on the above mentioned philosophical themes.

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Alcoff, Linda Martin. On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?
2000, In Naomi Zack (ed.), Women of Color and Philosophy: A Critical Reader. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 235-262.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa
Abstract: In assessing the likely credibility of a claim or judgment, is it ever relevant to take into account the social identity of the person who has made the claim? There are strong reasons, political and otherwise, to argue against the epistemic relevance of social identity. However, there are instances where social identity might be deemed relevant, such as in determinations of criminal culpability where a relatively small amount of evidence is the only basis for the decision and where social prejudices can play a role in inductive reasoning. This paper explores these issues.

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Andersen, Line Edslev, Hanne Andersen, Kragh Sørensen, Henrik. The Role of Testimony in Mathematics
2021, Synthese, 199(1): 859-870.
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Added by: Fenner Stanley Tanswell
Abstract: Mathematicians appear to have quite high standards for when they will rely on testimony. Many mathematicians require that a number of experts testify that they have checked the proof of a result p before they will rely on p in their own proofs without checking the proof of p. We examine why this is. We argue that for each expert who testifies that she has checked the proof of p and found no errors, the likelihood that the proof contains no substantial errors increases because different experts will validate the proof in different ways depending on their background knowledge and individual preferences. If this is correct, there is much to be gained for a mathematician from requiring that a number of experts have checked the proof of p before she will rely on p in her own proofs without checking the proof of p. In this way a mathematician can protect her own work and the work of others from errors. Our argument thus provides an explanation for mathematicians’ attitude towards relying on testimony.

Comment (from this Blueprint): The orthodox picture of mathematical knowledge is so individualistic that it often leaves out the mathematician themselves. In this piece, Andersen et al. look at what role testimony plays in mathematical knowledge. They thereby emphasise social features of mathematical proofs, and why this can play an important role in deciding which results to trust in the maths literature.

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Anderson, Elizabeth. Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
2015, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio
Abstract: Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their 'feminine' cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender and feminist values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations, (3) promote theories that aid egalitarian and liberation movements, and (4) defend these developments as cognitive, not just social, advances.

Comment: A very detailed primer on feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Covers a wide range of topics and issues, its length is such that it would probably be best to assign specific sections that are of interest rather than reading the whole thing. Useful as a preliminary introduction to the topics covered, and also offers a good summary of objections to the views presented.

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Battaly, Heather. Epistemic Self-Indulgence
2010, Metaphilosophy 41(1): 214-234.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka
Abstract: I argue in this essay that there is an epistemic analogue of moral self-indulgence. Section 1 analyzes Aristotle's notion of moral temperance, and its corresponding vices of self-indulgence and insensibility. Section 2 uses Aristotle's notion of moral self-indulgence as a model for epistemic self-indulgence. I argue that one is epistemically self-indulgent only if one either: (ESI1) desires, consumes, and enjoys appropriate and inappropriate epistemic objects; or (ESI2) desires, consumes, and enjoys epistemic objects at appropriate and inappropriate times; or (ESI3) desires and enjoys epistemic objects too frequently, or to an inappropriately high degree, or consumes too much of them. We need not look far to locate the epistemically self-indulgent: philosophers, especially skeptics, are likely candidates.

Comment: This is an interesting article offering an analysis on the concept of an intellectual vice: epistemic self-indulgence. It will give the students an overview of the concept of intellectual self-indulgence, and an initial idea of how we could understand and work on individual vices. By providing concrete examples, this paper would make it easier for students to understand what virtue epistemology aims to achieve.

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Battaly, Heather. Virtue Epistemology
2008, Philosophy Compass 3(4): 639-663.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka
Abstract: What are the qualities of an excellent thinker? A growing new field, virtue epistemology, answers this question. Section I distinguishes virtue epistemology from belief-based epistemology. Section II explains the two primary accounts of intellectual virtue: virtue-reliabilism and virtue-responsibilism. Virtue-reliabilists claim that the virtues are stable reliable faculties, like vision. Virtue-responsibilists claim that they are acquired character traits, like open-mindedness. Section III evaluates progress and problems with respect to three key projects: explaining low-grade knowledge, high-grade knowledge, and the individual intellectual virtues.

Comment: This is a very helpful survey article on virtue epistemology covering works published between 1990 to early 2000s. This paper is most appropriate for beginners, offering an overview of the main problems and helping understand different positions of virtue epistemology.

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Bowell, Tracy, Gary Kemp. Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide
2014, Routledge; 4 edition.
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Added by: Berta Grimau
Publisher's note: We are frequently confronted with arguments. Arguments are attempts to persuade us - to influence our beliefs and actions - by giving us reasons to believe this or that. Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide will equip students with the concepts and techniques used in the identification, analysis and assessment of arguments. Through precise and accessible discussion, this book provides the tools to become a successful critical thinker, one who can act and believe in accordance with good reasons, and who can articulate and make explicit those reasons. Key topics discussed include:
  • Core concepts in argumentation.
  • How language can serve to obscure or conceal the real content of arguments; how to distinguish argumentation from rhetoric.
  • How to avoid common confusions surrounding words such as 'truth', 'knowledge' and 'opinion'.
  • How to identify and evaluate the most common types of argument.
  • How to distinguish good reasoning from bad in terms of deductive validly and induction.

Comment: Appropriate for complete beginners to logic and philosophy. Adequate for an introduction to critical thinking. It doesn't presuppose any previous knowledge of logic. Moreover, there is an interactive website for the book which provides resources for both instructors and students including new examples and case studies, flashcards, sample questions, practice questions and answers, student activities and a test bank of questions for use in the classroom.

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Bright, Liam Kofi, Daniel Malinsky, Morgan Thompson. Causally Interpreting Intersectionality Theory
2016, Philosophy of Science 83(1): 60--81
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Added by: Simon Fokt
Abstract: Social scientists report difficulties in drawing out testable predictions from the literature on intersectionality theory. We alleviate that difficulty by showing that some characteristic claims of the intersectionality literature can be interpreted causally. The formal-ism of graphical causal modeling allows claims about the causal effects of occupying intersecting identity categories to be clearly represented and submitted to empirical test-ing. After outlining this causal interpretation of intersectional theory, we address some concerns that have been expressed in the literature claiming that membership in demo-graphic categories can have causal effects.

Comment: This text contains a summary of some key concepts in intersectionality theory and a discussion of how they have been used in empirical sociological research, as well as an introduction to methods of causal statistical inference. Students needing an introduction to any of these things could therefore benefit from this text. It also contains arguments about the permissibility of using demographic categories as the basis of causal claims that may be interesting matters of dispute or discussion for students of the philosophy of race.

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Brown, Jessica. Anti-individualism and knowledge
2004, MIT Press.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Nick Novelli
Publisher's note: Contemporary philosophy of mind is dominated by anti-individualism, which holds that a subject's thoughts are determined not only by what is inside her head but also by aspects of her environment. Despite its dominance, anti-individualism is subject to a daunting array of epistemological objections: that it is incompatible with the privileged access each subject has to her thoughts, that it undermines rationality, and, absurdly, that it provides a new route to a priori knowledge of the world. In this rigorous and persuasive study, Jessica Brown defends anti-individualism from these epistemological objections. The discussion has important consequences for key epistemological issues such as skepticism, closure, transmission, and the nature of knowledge and warrant. According to Brown's analysis, one main reason for thinking that anti-individualism is incompatible with privileged access is that it undermines a subject's introspective ability to distinguish types of thoughts. So diagnosed, the standard focus on a subject's reliability about her thoughts provides no adequate reply. Brown defuses the objection by appeal to the epistemological notion of a relevant alternative. Further, she argues that, given a proper understanding of rationality, anti-individualism is compatible with the notion that we are rational subjects. However, the discussion of rationality provides a new argument that anti-individualism is in tension with Fregean sense. Finally, Brown shows that anti-individualism does not create a new route to a priori knowledge of the world. While rejecting solutions that restrict the transmission of warrant, she argues that anti-individualists should deny that we have the type of knowledge that would be required to use a priori knowledge of thought content to gain a priori knowledge of the world.

Comment: A very interesting defense of anti-individualism. Contains interesting discussion on the topics of semantic externalism and introspection. Sections of it could be taught in any epistemology course covering these topics.

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Brown, Jessica. Contextualism and warranted assertibility manoeuvres
2006, Philosophical Studies 130 (3): 407-435.
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Added by: Jie Gao
Abstract: Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it's correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to ascribe knowledge, not when knowledge is truly ascribed, and so try to accommodate these intuitions even on an invariantist view. DeRose (Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, 1998; Philosophical Review, 2002) argues that any such 'warranted assertibility manoeuvre', or 'WAM', against contextualism is unlikely to succeed. Here, I argue that his objections to a WAM against contextualism are not persuasive and offer a pragmatic account of the data about ascriptions of knowledge.

Comment: This paper defends the warranted assertibility manoeuvres, a prominent pragmatic criticism to epistemic contextualism. It is useful as a central or a further reading material for teachings on contextualism in an upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology.

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Brown, Jessica. Experimental Philosophy, Contextualism and SSI
2013, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: 86 (2): 233-261.
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Added by: Jie Gao
Abstract: I will ask the conditional question: if folk attributions of "know" are not sensitive to the stakes and/or the salience of error, does this cast doubt on contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI)? I argue that if it should turn out that folk attributions of knowledge are insensitive to such factors, then this undermines contextualism, but not SSI. That is not to say that SSI is invulnerable to empirical work of any kind. Rather, I defend the more modest claim that leading versions of SSI are not undermined by one particular kind of experimental result, namely the recent suggestion that knowledge attributions are insensitive to the stakes.

Comment: Suitable for an upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology for multiple purposes. It is good as a further reading for sessions on contextualism, pragmatic encroachment, philosophical methodology, and the use of experimental philosophy in epistemological theorizing.

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