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PHIL-P100 Ch. 12 and Ch. 15-16 Notes

by: Kathryn Brinser

PHIL-P100 Ch. 12 and Ch. 15-16 Notes Philosophy P100

Marketplace > Indiana University > Liberal Arts > Philosophy P100 > PHIL P100 Ch 12 and Ch 15 16 Notes
Kathryn Brinser
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These notes cover chapter 12 (Epistemology) and chapters 15-16 (Hume's Problem of Induction) in Elliott Sober's Core Questions in Philosophy as given in lecture.
Introduction to Philosophy
Pieter Hasper
phil-p100, phil p100, p100, philosophy, epistemology, philosophy notes, hume's problem of induction, induction, counterinduction, E. sober, core questions in philosophy
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This 8 page Bundle was uploaded by Kathryn Brinser on Monday February 22, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Philosophy P100 at Indiana University taught by Pieter Hasper in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 81 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Philosophy in Liberal Arts at Indiana University.


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Date Created: 02/22/16
P100 Chapter 12 Notes- Epistemology 1-28-16  Epistemology- study of being right and wrong about reality o Sometimes too general:  Suppose I were to think, without seeing the sky, “It is raining now.” This might be true, but would be coincidence  Coincidental correctness irrelevant to our purposes  We want to be right, but in response to reality o So: studies us being right and wrong about reality in non-coincidental way (in response to reality)  Experience- all our thoughts, ideas, perceptions; our “inner world” of beliefs  Reality- everything that is “out there,” not being part of the inner world o According to this picture, being right about reality is matter of our experience and beliefs corresponding to reality; being wrong about reality is matter of experience not corresponding to reality o Must be responsive link between reality and our beliefs; our beliefs formed in response to reality  Knowledge- used in several ways: o Object knowledge- being able to recognize things/people on basis of previous acquaintance  Ex. I know this place, this thing, this person o Knowing how- being able to engage successfully in certain activity  Ex. I know how to cycle, how to write a paper o Propositional knowledge- “logical” knowledge/similar kinds; “knowledge that…”  Ex. I know that it will rain tomorrow, that that chair is grey, that Bloomington is in Indiana, that gravity explains why objects fall o Expert knowledge- knowing many facts in a field and knowing explanatory connections between them  Ex. I know my physics → I understand physics o We all have first 3, but few have expert knowledge o Necessary and sufficient conditions- there is knowledge if and only if:  There are beliefs  Those beliefs are true  Those beliefs linked to reality in right way o Ways to link beliefs and reality:  Justificationism- true beliefs are knowledge if formed according to set of relevant rules; they are justified  Foundationalism- some true beliefs guaranteed to be true, other true beliefs are knowledge if guaranteed through them  Reliabilism- true beliefs are knowledge if they have come about in a reliable way  Justificationism o 3 conditions:  Have beliefs  Beliefs are true  Beliefs are justified- providing reason(s) in accordance with a rule of some kind o Beliefs NOT knowledge if:  Not true, even if formed according to rules  Is true, not formed according to rules o Two kinds of relevant rules:  Arguments/inferences- from certain beliefs, other beliefs inferred (deduction/induction); arguments must obey certain rules of validity and strength/cogency  Non-argumentative/non-inference rules- certain beliefs formed in direct way, like from perception/inner feeling (ie. Do not believe hallucinations) o The Problem  There are counterexamples to justificationism- possible to construct scenarios in which:  There are true beliefs  These beliefs arrived at by following impeccable rules (justified)  Link between truth and justification is coincidental- not knowledge  Our rules of justification do not always track reality in all respects, even if they are good rules  We want beliefs that are true, justified, and whose justification is linked to reality in non- coincidental way  Cannot be achieved by demanding that justifications are justified- for further justifications, same problem arises o Ex. Gettier Problem: Someone is going to be promoted, but whom it is has not been announced. The boss, who has never been mistaken, tells X that Y will be promoted. X also knows (by checking) that Y has a further feature F (he has 10 coins in his pocket). Thus X infers deductively that the person who will be promoted is F. X is justified in believing that.  As it happens, X is the person who gets the promotion; thus the boss was mistaken for once. It also happens that X is F. Thus it is still true that X’s justified belief is true.  Why is this a counterexample?  X’s belief that the person to be promoted is F is arrived at in accordance with the rules: the boss has always been right, X checked the pocket himself, and X combined the two bits of information in a deductively valid way- he could not have done better, so his belief is justified and is true  Belief does not constitute knowledge, because X is just lucky that he got it right with the belief that the person to be promoted is F, because X was not thinking that he would be that person; X thought Y would be that person o Ex. Gettier Problem: You look at the clock, which indicates that it is 12pm exactly. So you form the belief that it is noon. This belief is true and justified, because you have checked this clock very often, and it always gives you the right time (note: this is a non-argumentative rule).  However, as it happens, this clock stopped working exactly 24 hours ago, and thus coincidentally indicated the right time.  Why is this a counterexample?  Belief is true, and you could not have done a better job at forming the belief that it is 12pm; it is justified  Coincidentally true, thus not knowledge o Escaping the Problem  4 possibilities:  Acknowledge that justificatory rules cannot be perfect, thus that therefore they might always give right result in wrong way  Justificatory response: while holding onto justificationism, there might be cases that your justified true belief is knowledge, even though your justification only coincidentally works; “nothing’s perfect”  Interpret the word “justified” much more strictly, so that any justification which does not track reality, but works coincidentally, is not really a justification  Amounts to giving up core idea of justificationism- by following rules you arrive at belief which is justified and true  Try to identify beliefs which cannot be false and infer from them all further beliefs and rules for justification deductively (use foundationalism)  Try to give completely different account altogether (use reliabilism)  Foundationalism- knowledge is that which is based on indubitable beliefs o Strategy of Descartes  René Descartes (1596-1650)- French philosopher; wanted to establish that we can have absolutely certain knowledge, and we can normally rely on our perceptions for knowledge  Used “skeptical strategy”- tried to doubt as much knowledge as possible; only information that survived his doubt would be absolutely certain knowledge  From absolute foundation, tried to infer other parts of what we normally call knowledge o Levels of Cartesian Doubt  (1) Our senses deceive us sometimes, so our perceptions might be wrong  Descartes’ objection: some perceptions could be wrong, but not every one; weak ones more likely, clear ones not  (2) We might be dreaming, we do not have way of determining whether we are or not; ∴ everything we perceive might be wrong  Descartes’ objection: things appearing in our dreams still taken from reality; so, we cannot be wrong about them, ie. space, time, quantity, magnitude; thus we have thrown into doubt the whole of physics (based on observations), but not mathematics  (3) God, or better, an evil demon could deceive me and give me experiences of space, time, quantity, and magnitude  We cannot find out whether there is this evil demon deceiving us  ∴ it seems that there is nothing one might not be wrong about o Descartes: What is Left  My inner world is still here, I am thinking, I am doubting, therefore I know that I exist (I am right about me being real); in Latin, Cogito, ergo sum  Inner world of experiences is completely clear and distinct  When something is completely clear and distinct, I am right about it → incorrigibility of inner world  The Bridge Argument from the Inner to the Outer  Part I: o (1) Part of our experience is that we might be wrong and are imperfect o (2) Therefore by (1) we have the idea of a perfect being, which cannot be wrong o (3) A perfect being must be real, otherwise it would not be perfect o (4) Therefore by (2), (3), this perfect being = God exists  Part II: o God is perfect, and therefore would not deceive me in all my thoughts and perceptions  Generally my thoughts and perceptions and ideas are right  Only sometimes I get it wrong, through my own fault, because I choose to follow an experience which is not clear and distinct  Descartes first establishes what is absolutely certain/what one cannot be wrong about  On basis of this, he argues that all beliefs derived from this foundation and from clear and distinct ideas are sufficient grounds for knowledge o Weak Links in Descartes’ Foundationalism  Proof of existence of God- basing beliefs on ambiguous definition of “perfect” being  How can Descartes be sure his belief that God exists is true? What about his belief that he has an idea of a perfect being? Would it be impossible to imagine that there is this belief without there really being an “I”? Or that there is this belief without there really being this idea of a perfect being?  Ex. If an evil demon would cause all our beliefs and arguments, we cannot be sure of them; known as circularity charge  Basis of our knowledge claims is not in real world or in the relation between us/the world, but in our beliefs  Reliabilism- completely different approach from previous 2 theories; knowledge is a belief which is caused by the fact it is a belief about (starts on knowledge side) o Justificationism and foundationalism both look for link between reality and beliefs starting on belief side: a belief is justified if formed in accordance with internal rules of belief formation; knowledge is a belief which guarantees its own truth through being clear and distinct o Ex. A human being is like a measuring instrument: beliefs are like measurement results, they are knowledge if they are reliably formed  Instrument is reliable if it works in such a way that if fact P is there, it always/necessarily displays something like P* (belief/result), and if fact P is not there, it never/necessarily does not display something like P*  Fact P causes result P*  Ex. A thermometer must indicate 0° when it is 0° outside necessarily; when it is not 0° outside, it must necessarily not indicate 0° to be reliable o Knowledge as Reliable Belief  Whether the fact that P causes the belief that P is dependent on circumstances; just as instruments do not work in all circumstances, a human being and circumstances not always so that the fact that P causes the belief that P  Either sometimes there is a belief that P is true while P is false OR the belief that P is true, but in the circumstances, the belief could have been there while P is false → then belief not caused by the fact that P  For a belief being knowledge or not, does not matter what would happen in other circumstances  Just as instrument works in right circumstances, so the belief is knowledge if circumstances are right o No Requirement of Certainty  Causal link between reality and belief does not require that we are aware of that link (unlike with justification: we must at least be able to formulate justification)  Perhaps we cannot defend our belief at all against skeptical scenarios; perhaps we have no justification  Still, according to reliabilism, it would count as knowledge  So: we need not have beliefs about beliefs in order to have knowledge  Do not need to show that we cannot be wrong in having this belief; do not need to be certain o Reliabilism Makes Knowledge Relative  Whether a true belief counts as knowledge is dependent on circumstances taken into account for assessing causal link:  Just as instrument may be reliable for one range of values but not for a larger range of values, so a belief may be reliable and thus knowledge in one set of circumstances, but not necessarily in another set  Ex. Thermometer necessarily gives right value between 0℉ and 100℉, but not necessarily between −50℉ and 150℉  For reliable range and circumstances, thermometer values count as knowledge  Ex. Belief that there is a swan is necessarily right if the only white birds around are swans, but not necessarily if there are also white geese around P100 Chapters 15 and 16 Notes- Justified Belief and Hume’s Problem of Induction; Revisions of Hu2-16-16 Chapter 15- Hume’s Problem of Induction  Now moving away from discussions of knowledge to one of justified belief- Hume ignores whether or not justified beliefs are knowledge o Questions justification for everyday things o Much more dramatic consequences  Knowledge vs. Justified Belief o Knowledge requires truth; justified belief does not (recall Plato’s analysis- establishing justificationism) o Knowledge requires impossibility of error; justified belief does not  Skepticism o We saw how skepticism is problem for knowledge when looking at foundationalism o Since knowledge requires impossibility of error, doesn’t seem threatening to claim that there might be things we don’t know; skeptic might have a point o Skepticism about knowledge doesn’t entail skepticism about justified belief o Regarding Justified Belief  Hume wants to extend skepticism to justified belief, not just knowledge  His claim- we often think we are justified in believing claims made about the future, but this is not the case; we aren’t rationally justified in believing what we do  Not just that we can’t be certain/can’t claim to have knowledge- more radically, we aren’t even justified in holding the beliefs we have about the future  Wants to show induction is never justified- specifically classical and inverse  Hume’s Main Claim o We are not justified in holding beliefs about future (generalizations/predictions) o Ex. I’ve observed numerous emeralds, and all of them have been green. Hence, all emeralds are green. (Classical induction- generalization) o Ex. I’ve observed many emeralds, and each has been green. Therefore, the next emeralds I observe will be green. (Inverse induction- prediction) o We think in these examples we are rationally justified in accepting the conclusion; Hume’s point is that we are not  Arguments given not deductively valid  According to Hume, they assume what he calls the Principle of Uniformity of Nature (PUN); states that future will resemble past o Can revise examples to include assumptions (and add one):  Ex. I’ve observed numerous emeralds, and each has been green. The future will resemble the past. Therefore, all emeralds are green.  Ex. I’ve observed numerous emeralds, and each has been green. The future will resemble the past. Hence, the next emerald I observe will be green.  Ex. The sun has risen every day. The future will resemble the past. Hence, the sun will rise tomorrow.  Hume’s Argument o Claims that unless assumption in arguments given can be rationally justified, conclusions not justified o (1) Every inductive argument requires the principle of uniformity of nature (PUN). o (2) If the conclusion of an inductive argument is to be justified, the premises must themselves be justified. o (3) If the conclusion of an inductive argument is justified, the premise PUN must be justified. o (4) If PUN is justified, there is either a good inductive argument, or a good inductive argument for it. o (5) There is no good inductive argument for PUN. Any inductive argument would be circular. o (6) There is no good deductive argument for PUN. It is not a priori true, nor does it deductively follow from observations. o (7) PUN is not rationally justified. o (8) Therefore, there is no rational justification for inductive generalizations or predictions. o Important Premises  Argument rests on claim that PUN cannot be rationally justified by induction or deduction  Inductive argument: Nature has been uniform in my past observations, therefore, nature in general is uniform. This presupposes the PUN in the premises, making it circular.  Deductive argument: The uniformity principle cannot be deduced from past observations.  Always possible that future does not resemble past  The principle is not a priori, like “a bachelor is an unmarried man”; does not imply a contradiction  Summary o For Hume, induction not rationally justified; hence we are not rationally justified in believing claims that are generalization or predictions  All of these inductive arguments presuppose the principle of uniformity of nature  If conclusions of inductive arguments are to be rationally justified, premises must be  Hence we must fund a rational justification for the PUN, as it is a premise  But we can’t rationally justify the Pun inductively or deductively  Consequently, we are not rationally justified in believing generalizations or predictions Chapter 16- Criticism and Revision of Hume’s Problem of Induction  Evaluating PUN o Can interpret in 2 ways:  Nature is uniform, in each and every respect  The future will resemble the past in some respects o Both flawed:  First incorrect because it is not something we are always assuming; Hume is wrong  Second because it doesn’t really help us in making claims about the future, even though it is something we seem to believe o General problem- PUN not easy to clarify; when trying to clarify, run into problems  Principle doesn’t have all of the properties Hume wants to attribute to it:  PUN is something we believe  PUN gives advice that is useful about what we should infer from past observations  If we want to make inductive inferences about world, PUN is something we must believe, no matter what other beliefs we have  Hume’s entire argument rests on PUN; Sober says it fails to live up to Hume’s standards that are needed to have a successful argument  Must replace PUN  Replacing PUN o Since PUN unclear and unsatisfactory, we should drop it from Hume’s argument o How do we reformulate argument without losing Hume’s main point about justified belief?  Sober thinks we should reformulate his objection to be about the reliability of methods of inference  If method of inference is reliable, then predictions/generalizations it endorses have been true often; if unreliable, it doesn’t make successful predictions, etc. o Question becomes: Why is the inductive method of inference reliable?  In terms of evaluating competing hypotheses, why are we inclined to accept the hypothesis that resulted from the inference method of induction, as opposed to other inference methods?  In other words, why are we entitled, or justified, in using the inference rule of induction? o Past Reliability of Induction  We might think now that we have changed nature of Hume’s problem we can account for reliability of the method of inference by appealing to how successful it has been in the past:  Induction has been highly reasonable in past  So, induction will likely be highly reliable now and in future  We might think above argument justifies our use of induction and the conclusions it endorses- expresses claims about reliability of induction  Above argument is inductive; Hume claims induction can’t justify induction  Above is circular argument; can’t appeal to past reliability to justify use now and in future  Hume Reformulated o To rationally justify induction, must show that induction will be reliable o To show that induction will be reliable, must construct an inductive argument or deductively valid argument o Can’t show induction will be reliable by giving an inductive argument; this would beg the question/be circular o Can’t validly deduce that induction will be reliable from premises describing the past reliability of induction, or from definitions  Can’t have a claim about reliability of induction that is in any way an a priori truth o So, induction cannot be rationally justified (if we take the above premises as true) o Has nothing to do with PUN; demonstrates that method of induction is not reliable  Strawson’s Objection o Main claim in reformulation of Hume is that a rational justification for induction must show that the method will be reliable, and we can’t show that o Strawson objects to this claim; thinks that the claim “induction is rational” is an a priori truth, like “a bachelor is an unmarried man” o Furthermore, don’t need to establish that an inference rule is reliable in order to show that its use is rational; for Strawson, rationality does not require reliability o We are perfectly rational in using inductive methods to form our beliefs about the world even if we can’t offer good reasons for thinking that the method will likely lead to truth beliefs o Issue with Strawson  Weak claim; doesn’t seem correct to think rationality has nothing to do with reliability  Sober attempts to illustrate weakness by drawing parallel to recipe:  If I want to see whether a cake recipe is the best recipe, I need to determine whether method for making that cake is reliable  Should not be able to accept a recipe as the best way to make a cake without being able to provide reasons why  Induction about reaching true beliefs about the world  Whether it is reasonable to use as method to do so depends on whether method is reliable; if it is, can expect it to lead to true claims about world  Wrong according to Sober to think, like Strawson, that reasonable use of method has nothing to do with reliability  Black’s Objection o Says we can use induction to justify induction, because argument not actually circular o Sees argument as follows:  Induction has been highly reliable until now  Probably, induction will be highly reliable now and in future o For Black, not circular, because for him, circularity has specific meaning: if an argument is circular, then conclusion occurs at some point in argument o Issue with Black  Sober points out that Black’s definition of circularity is too limiting/narrow  We think circularity is more general problem of arguments  Sober: argument circular when you couldn’t possibly convince a person that the conclusion is true if they don’t believe the conclusion already; doesn’t make use of independent reasons for believing conclusion to be true  Black’s argument circular according to Sober- can’t convince someone of reliability of induction if they don’t already find it to be reliable  When comparing reasons given for induction to an argument for counterinduction, we can’t show why we should use induction over counterinduction  Counterinduction- past regularities will not continue  Counterinductive argument for counterinduction is (1) counterinduction has been highly unreliable until now, so (2) probably, counterinduction will be highly reliable now/in future  Not circular according to Black  Problem becomes deciding between two arguments:  Black gives no reason to reject counterinduction of counterinduction  We aren’t in position to determine whether to accept induction or counterinduction, based on arguments given


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