The Sensitivity Principle in Epistemology

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

The sensitivity principle is a compelling idea in epistemology and is typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge. This collection of thirteen new essays constitutes a state-of-the-art discussion of this important principle. Some of the essays build on and strengthen sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge and offer novel defences of those accounts. Others present original objections to sensitivity-based accounts (objections that must be taken seriously even by those who defend enhanced versions of sensitivity) and offer comprehensive analysis and discussion of sensitivity's virtues and problems. The resulting collection will stimulate new debate about the sensitivity principle and will be of great interest and value to scholars and advanced students of epistemology.
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About the author

Kelly Becker is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Epistemology Modalized (2007).

Tim Black is an Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at California State University, Northridge.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Aug 2, 2012
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Pages
295
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ISBN
9781139560436
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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This volume is the first sustained examination of epistemic situationism: the clash between virtue epistemology and the situationist hypothesis inspired by research in empirical psychology. Situationism began as a challenge to the psychology of character traits, targeting ethical theories that presuppose a trait psychology. Psychological research suggests that (often trivial) environmental variables have greater explanatory power than character traits. Epistemology pursues questions about the nature of knowledge. While there are internal differences within virtue epistemology between responsibilists and reliabilists, they all analyze knowledge in terms of epistemic virtues and vices. However, despite promising normative results, virtue epistemology appears to assume the same character-based psychology as virtue ethics does. Until recently, virtue epistemology and situationism were separate literatures, but philosophers have begun to examine the apparent incompatibility between situationist psychology and virtue epistemology. Much of the psychological research that raises questions about the empirical adequacy of the moral psychology of virtue ethics also appears to raise doubts about the empirical adequacy of the epistemic psychology assumed by virtue epistemology. Responsibilist virtue epistemology appears particularly vulnerable because epistemic virtues like open mindedness, conscientiousness and intellectual courage are traits of intellectual character, but reliabilist virtue epistemology appeals to the psychology of cognitive skills, abilities, and competences that may be similarly vulnerable. The essays in this volume take up this new problem of epistemic situationism from multiple points of view - some sceptical or revisionary, others conservative.
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