Seminarium Zakład Logiki i Metodologii Nauk

Seminarium Zakład Logiki i Metodologii Nauk

Zakład Logiki i Metodologii Nauk

Instytut Filozofii UAM

26. kwietnia 2016 o godz. 10:15

Dr Anna M. Ivanova

(St Cyril and St Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, Bułgaria)

 wygłosi wykład zatytułowany

On the Possibility of Non-inferential Justification

Wykład (w języku angielskim) odbędzie się w sali im. Kazimierza Ajdukiewicza (sala 215), Instytut Filozofii, ul. Szamarzewskiego 89C

ABSTRACT: Non-inferential justification is justification that does not depend on inference from other beliefs. There are two possibilities for this considered in literature: either the belief is justified in virtue of its own propositional and doxastic properties or there is a basing relation, other than inference, that transmits warrant. The basing relation in question holds between a belief and a cognitive state that serves as a justifier for the belief. In the paper, I explore the doxastic conditions for justification in both cases. I consider two candidates for basing relations that may sustain non-inferential justification:

  • awareness (in cases of a priori justification)
  • acquaintance (in cases of perceptual justification)

I define (1) in a manner that reduces it to (2) and then explore the possibility of basing justification on acquaintance. Awareness is a non-propositional state of direct contact of the agent with certain mental phenomena. Acquaintance is also non-propositional and direct, but it is not limited to mental states. A subject is said to be acquainted with all objects of experience – physical and mental facts, as well as with the content of propositions. This extended notion raises the question of whether not all sorts of justification possess a non-inferential element, since the rules of inference themselves may be regarded as known by acquaintance. This perspective provides a negative argument in favour of the possibility for non-inferential justification. However, if such possibility is to be accepted, I argue, it cannot be based on acquaintance. While acquaintance constitutes a necessary condition for justification, it is insufficient to provide a minimal degree of warrant on its own.

To support this thesis, I consider three common candidates for non-inferentially justified beliefs: beliefs about necessary truths, self-referentially justified beliefs, and beliefs which refer to the subject’s experiences. In the case of necessary truths, I argue, that, although there are certain propositional properties, that constitute reasons for justification, the doxastic aspect makes any judgement of the credibility uncertain and therefore requires additional considerations for accepting the proposition. A belief which is a necessary truth is justified for an agent only as far as she is aware of its propositional properties that make it a necessary truth. (Fumerton 2002, 213) However, since awareness is a psychological state, it is always a subject of skeptical objections and therefore requires additional considerations regarding its reliability. This objection does not only address the impossibility of incorrigibility, it also leaves open the question about what may sustain even minimal justification in these occasions. In the case of the possibility for self-referential justification I argue that two kinds of beliefs with independent basing may be distinguished in these cases and that the justification here also relies on awareness and is amenable to the same problems. In the case of perceptual beliefs, I consider the cognitive access thesis and its objections, in particular – the criticisms of Sellars (1956/1997, 77) and Davidson (1989) as well as the argument of Fumerton (1995, 64) against acquaintance as knowledge in disguise.

Although the general conclusions are in favour of inferentialism, the problems surrounding acquaintance suggest the need for revisions in the general conceptual understanding of justification.


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