Certain Doubts

devoted to matters epistemic


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September 14, 2006

The move is now complete and the new site is open. The URL is: http://fleetwood.baylor.edu/certain_doubts/ Please direct all comments and discussion to the new location. I'll leave the present location up for awhile but all future posts and comments should go up at the new site.

September 10, 2006

I will probably be teaching some MBA students some epistemology. Just six or so lectures. I would like to get some opinions regarding appropriate topics for such lectures. I am inclined to at least start out with going over some basic differences and relations among knowledge, belief, truth, and evidence. But [...]

August 31, 2006

As part of my move from Missouri to Baylor, I'm moving cyberspace stuff as well, and that will include Certain Doubts. I'm posting this before the move, since I'll freeze the site at its present location and I want something in place to say where to find the new location. I don't know [...]

August 28, 2006

Brian Leiter has a post over at the Leiter Reports with the same title as this one, except I added a question mark -- because I'm not so sure about the matter. Leiter's post consists largely of comments sent to him by Patricia Smith Churchland and Daniel Dennett, followed by some remarks by Leiter. [...]

August 24, 2006

John just sent me a really neat paper entitled "Probable Probabilities." The abstract should entice reading the full manuscript: In concrete applications of probability, statistical investigation gives us knowledge of some probabilities, but we generally want to know many others that are not directly revealed by our data. For instance, we may know prob(P|Q) (the [...]

August 23, 2006

Jennifer Lackey and Alvin Goldman are organizing a conference for Episteme on testimony. It will be at Rutgers, June 29-30, 2007. I'll put full information from the call for papers below the fold. 2007 CONFERENCE: TESTIMONY Episteme will hold its fourth annual conference at Rutgers University on June 29-30, 2007. The focus of this [...]

August 22, 2006

According to today's NY Times, in the movie "Men In Black", when the character played by Will Smith is still in shock after his first encounter with aliens, the character played by Tommy Lee Jones says to him: “1500 years ago everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody [...]

August 18, 2006

Just FYI, there are five SEP articles that came out this past week that are of interest to epistemologists. There's one on belief, one on evidence, one on Bayesian epistemology, one on social epistemology, and one on moral skepticism.

August 16, 2006

Stephen has a new piece on the knowability paradox, entitled "A Dissolution of the Knowability Paradox." It can be found here. Comments and discussion on the paper are, as always, welcome and encouraged.

August 11, 2006

Is all virtue-based ethics and epistemology response-dependentist? It seems to me that yes. Consider the following: Some people say that value comes from affection and sentiment. Suppose one of them, call him Michael S. claims that the central “producer” of value is empathic care. But he also thinks that being empathically caring is a virtue, since [...]

August 7, 2006

INTEGRATING VIRTUE AND TRUTH Virtue epistemologists seem to be divided in two camps, those who come from a truth-centered tradition(s), mostly the reliabilist one, and those who come from the ethics side. The Truth-camp, lead by Sosa and Greco, combines the high evaluation of truth-goal with a minimalist, not to say deflationist view of virtues: they [...]

August 5, 2006

THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF KEITH LEHRER PUCRS, Graduate Program in Philosophy, Porto Alegre, Brazil, June 27-29, 2007 Keynote speaker: Keith Lehrer (University of Arizona, Emeritus; University of Miami) Speakers: Fred Dretske (Stanford University, Emeritus; Duke University) Carl Ginet (Cornell University, Emeritus) Risto Hilpinen (University of Miami) Jonathan Kvanvig (Baylor University) John Pollock (University of Arizona) Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins University) Commentators: [...]

July 31, 2006

I have a question about relative frequency for the formal epistemologists out there. I would like to know whether the following claim is true, given either von Mises’ or Kolmogorov’s definitions of randomness: (RF) The limiting frequency of positive even integers in a randomly selected sequence of positive integers is 1/2. Richard von Mises (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1957, 24-25) defined a random sequence to be one where the limiting value toward which the relative frequency of the attribute in question converges “remain[s] the same in all partial sequences which may be selected from the original one in an arbitrary way.” Examples of the sort of subsequences he had in mind include those formed by all odd members of the original sequence or by all members for which the place number in the sequence is the square of an integer or a prime number. The Kolmogorov-inspired definition of randomness I had in mind was the following: a sequence is random if the shortest program that can generate it is no shorter than the one that simply lists the elements of the sequence one by one.

July 24, 2006

One of the lessons of Plantinga's argument against evolutionary naturalism is that the mere fact that a claim is improbable on a certain piece of information doesn't imply that the latter information is a defeater of any evidence in favor of the claim in question. In the context of his argument, this point plays [...]

July 10, 2006

Posting by me will be a bit spotty for awhile, as I'm moving this week. In the meantime, Duncan has an interesting post at Epistemic Value on Richard Jeffrey's remarks concerning the value of knowledge. Here's the link: Jeffrey on the Value of Knowledge. UPDATE: oops! The post is by Trent, [...]

July 5, 2006

In case you haven't noticed, Brian's Thoughts, Arguments and Rants has had to move to a new address. Information about it is at his new link, which is http://tar.weatherson.org/.

July 1, 2006

Here are the top-read posts for last month (number 4 was the Contributors page and number 9 the About Certain Doubts page): 1 Originality 707 2 Characterizing a Fogbank: What Is Postmodernism, and Why Do I Take Such a Dim View of it? 649 3 THE VEIL OF CONCEPTION 558 5 Jim Hawthorne on [...]