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Elgin, Catherine Z., , . Considered Judgment
1996, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Publisher’s Note: Philosophy long sought to set knowledge on a firm foundation, through derivation of indubitable truths by infallible rules. For want of such truths and rules, the enterprise foundered. Nevertheless, foundationalism’s heirs continue their forbears’ quest, seeking security against epistemic misfortune, while their detractors typically espouse unbridled coherentism or facile relativism. Maintaining that neither stance is tenable, Catherine Elgin devises a via media between the absolute and the arbitrary, reconceiving the nature, goals, and methods of epistemology. In Considered Judgment, she argues for a reconception that takes reflective equilibrium as the standard of rational acceptability. A system of thought is in reflective equilibrium when its components are reasonable in light of one another, and the account they comprise is reasonable in light of our antecedent convictions about the subject it concerns.

Many epistemologists now concede that certainty is a chimerical goal. But they continue to accept the traditional conception of epistemology’s problematic. Elgin suggests that in abandoning the quest for certainty we gain opportunities for a broader epistemological purview – one that comprehends the arts and does justice to the sciences. She contends that metaphor, fiction, emotion, and exemplification often advance understanding in science as well as in art. The range of epistemology is broader and more variegated than is usually recognized. Tenable systems of thought are neither absolute nor arbitrary. Although they afford no guarantees, they are good in the way of belief.

Comment: In this book, the author puts forward an original epistemological approach, one which does not focus on seeking certainty, yet it takes reflective equilibrium as the standard for rationality. It could work as specilised reading or secondary reading for a postgraduate course in epistemology. It requires knowledge of the main topics in epistemology (e.g., on the debate between foundationalists vs coherentists).

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Elgin, Z. Catherine, , . Non-foundationalist epistemology: Holism, coherence, and tenability
2005, in Steup, Matthias and Sosa, Ernest (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, Boston: Blackwell, 2005, pp. 156-167
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Summary: In this paper, the author argues that epistemic justification is explained out by coherentism. Although coherence is not the ground of truth, it is the source of epistemic justification.

Comment: This can be used as secondary/further reading for a postgraduate course in epistemology, focusing on the foundationalism/coherentism debate on epistemic justification.

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Haack, Susan, , . A Foundherentist Theory of Empirical Justification
2008, in Sosa, Ernest, Jaegwon, Kim, Fant, Jeremy, and McGrath Matthew (eds.), Epistemology: An Anthology, 2nd Edition
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Summary: In the debate over the structure of epistemic justification, epistemologists have opposed foundationalism to coherentism. In this paper, the author argues for “Foundherentism”.

Comment: Great as a further reading in an undergraduate epistemology course on the topic of the structure of the epistemic justification.

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Howard-Snyder, Frances, , . Divine Freedom
2017, Topoi 36(4): 651-656.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: In ‘Divine Freedom,’ I argue that morally significant incompatibilist freedom is a great good. So God possesses morally incompatibilist freedom. So, God can do wrong or at least can do worse than the best action He can do. So, God is not essentially morally perfect. After careful consideration of numerous objections, I conclude that this argument is undefeated.

Comment: Useful for a unit on divine freedom with an intermediate level Philosophy of Religion course – would suit as the primary reading for this, as it gives a great overview and is relatively short, and also presents the central arguments in the debate over divine freedom: the alleged tension between incompatibilist freedom, and the thought that God always chooses the best possible action. It could be good to spend a whole seminar discussing how this tension is created, why it’s problematic, and whether it can be resolved.

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