• A Psychologist's Response to Philosophical Analysis: Comments on Freeman's "Objectivity and the Transactional Theory of Perception

      Lindauer, M. S.; The College at Brockport (1972-01-01)
      Professor Freeman’s treatment of the psychological aspects of perception reflects a general problem which typifies most philosophical discussions of psychological topics, namely, the absence of sufficient attention to psychological details.
    • Appearance vs. Reality as a Scientific Problem

      van Fraassen, Bas C.; Princeton University (2005-10-01)
      The history of science is replete with ideals that involve some criterion of completeness. One such criterion requires that physics explain how the appearances are produced in reality. This paper argues that it is scientifically acceptable to reject this criterion, along with all other completeness criteria that have been proposed for modern science.
    • Coping with Cognitive Limitations: Problems of Rationality in a Complex World

      Rescher, Nicholas (1997-01-01)
      In cognitive and practical contexts alike, even the most rational of problem-solutions can misfire in situations of incomplete information. The prevailing state of our information will -- and should -- decisively affect the determination of what is the best thing to do or think. Accordingly, reason faces the predicament of acknowledging that it must call on us to do that which, for aught we know, may in the end prove totally inappropriate.
    • Dreams and Skeptics

      Sosa, Ernest; Brown University and Rutgers University (2005-11-01)
      This paper compares the relative merits of perceptual beliefs and introspective beliefs in the context of dream arguments for skepticism. It is argued that introspective beliefs are not epistemically privileged over perceptual beliefs.
    • Is the Feminist Critique of Reason Rational

      Martin Alcoff, Linda; Syracuse University (1996-01-01)
      Recent criticism of feminist philosophy poses a dilemma. Feminism is taken to be a substantive set of empirical claims and political commitments, whereas philosophy is taken to be a discipline of thought organized by the pursuit of truth, but uncommitted to any particular truth. This paper responds to this dilemma, and defends the project of feminist philosophy.
    • Naturalism, Realism and Pragmatism

      Williams, Michael; Johns Hopkins University (2007-09-01)
      This paper contrasts two varieties of naturalism: realistic naturalism and pragmatic naturalism. These two views both reject a priori knowledge, but then they differ in many ways. For realistic naturalists, meaning and knowledge are to be understood in terms of causal relations. By contrast, pragmatists think that meaning and knowledge can be understood only in relation to normatively constructed practices.
    • Objectivity and the Transactional Theory of Perception

      Freeman, Eugene; San Jose State College (1972-01-01)
      The visual demonstrations of Professor Adelbert Ames support the transactional theory of perception. This theory asserts that the very contents of our sense experiences are shaped by our past experiences, as well as our expectations of future experiences. This theory, in turn, supports a critical realism about the relationship between perception and reality.
    • On Judging Epistemic Credibility: Is Social Identity Relevant?

      Martin Alcoff,; Syracuse University (1999-01-01)
      On what basis should we make an epistemic assessment of another’s authority to impart knowledge? Is social identity a legitimate feature to take into account when assessing epistemic reliability? This paper argues that, in some cases, social identity is a relevant feature to take into account in assessing a person’s credibility.
    • Rejoiner to Professor Freeman

      Greenstein, Harold; The College at Brockport (1972-01-01)
      I agree with Professor Freeman that critical realism is the right solution to the problem concerning the relationship between perception and reality. I also agree that critical realism is a metaphysical theory in certain respects. However, I disagree with his assertion that critical realism can be affirmed only as an article of metaphysical faith. Any claim to prove something is an empirical claim, and it can be tested like any other empirical claim.
    • Religion and Belief

      Keene, J. Calvin; St. Lawrence University (1971-01-01)
      I agree with Dr. Blanshard that religion needs reason, and belief should be made as rational as possible. It is an ethical responsibility to believe the truth. But belief always includes an element of tentativeness. So belief is sometimes appropriate, even in the absence of compelling evidence. Moreover, religion is related to a very different reality than is science. Consequently, the kinds of evidence that are appropriate to the one are not necessarily appropriate to the other. Insofar as God is conceived as a person, rather than an impersonal object, God cannot be approached or studied in the way in which we study impersonal objects.
    • Self-Trust and the Diversity of Religions

      Zagzebski, Linda; University of Oklahoma (2006-01-01)
      The diversity of religions poses two, distinct challenges for belief in a particular religion. The first challenge is based upon an epistemic egalitarianism, according to which all normal human beings are roughly equal in their ability to get knowledge. I argue that this challenge is based on some mistaken assumptions. The second challenge arises from our admiration of people of other faiths. I argue that this second challenge is very serious, since it is rooted in our trust of ourselves.
    • The Ethics of Belief

      Blanshard, Brand; Yale University (1971-01-01)
      There is an ethics of thought, as well as of practice, and that ethics is the same outside religion as within it. We may not be able to control our beliefs directly, but we can control them indirectly. So we are accountable for the ways in which we form our beliefs. Some say that beliefs are private affairs, but our beliefs affect our actions, and our actions have consequences for others. Thus we are accountable for our beliefs. Religious traditions that promote unquestioning acceptance of belief without evidence are violating the ethics of belief. William James’ defense of belief without evidence is enticing, but ultimately unsuccessful.
    • The Polarity Fallacy

      Singer, Marcus G. (1990-01-01)
      There are multifarious ways in which two terms can be “polar,” and this sometimes leads to confusion and fallacious reasoning. This paper identifies a fallacy of reasoning that arises from one such confusion.
    • Toward a Reasonable Ethics of Belief

      Ferre, Frederick; Dickenson College (1971-01-01)
      Reason has an important role to play in every area of life, including religion. However, Dr. Blanshard’s definition of what is “reasonable” is too narrow. There are many kinds and degrees of evidence. Even if one should not believe contrary to the evidence, or without any evidence, one might be permitted to believe in the absence of perfect evidence. Moreover, what constitutes relevant evidence is not the same in all areas of life. The kind of evidence that is relevant to a belief in physics is not the same as the kind of evidence that is relevant to a belief about the values of music, for example.
    • Trust as Robustly Moral

      Carse, Alisa; Georgetown University (2010-10-01)
      Trust is more than mere reliance on another person. To trust someone is to rely on her goodwill for the care of something valuable. It is to have a confident expectation that the other person will take care of the valuable thing because she recognizes its value to you. It is to expect her to take care of it because she recognizes that she should take care of it. Therefore trust is a robustly moral attitude.
    • Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?

      Blackburn, Simon; The University of Cambridge (2001-01-01)
      Postmodernism is a celebration of relativism. It is a movement that has actively embraced the collapse of standards that it takes this to imply. This paper examines the debate between postmodernists and their opponents, approaching it through the debate over Alan Sokal’s famous hoax.
    • Why Obey the Laws of Logic?

      Fogelin, Robert J.; Dartmouth College (2002-01-01)
      The status of the law of noncontradiction is the ultimate battleground on which the traditional forces of rationalism and anti-rationalism have met. This conflict is the topic of this essay. People who reject the law of noncontradiction obliterate any significant difference between speech acts of asserting and denying. In doing so, they deprive themselves of the significant use of their own speech acts. Thus they are self-silencers. This is Aristotle’s “negative demonstration” of the law of noncontradiction, and I find it entirely persuasive.