Upcoming Talk: Oxford

We’ve often suspected that many of our beliefs are our beliefs because of our upbringing, and that we would have believed differently had things been different. Does learning this about yourself impact the rationality of continuing to hold your belief? My view is that it does, but not overly much.

I’ll explain why I think this in my paper “Etiology and Defeat” here:

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on 16 March 2015, Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University

What in the world is epistemic justification?

Ever wondered what epistemologists are on about in talking about “justification”? There is a dizzying array of normative terms used in connection with “justification” and I’ve often had the feeling that important differences were being overlooked. Finally, after years of employing the notion, I’ve tried to come to a settled view about just what justification is. HERE are my thoughts. And they will soon appear here:


Is Basing Really Necessary for Doxastic Justification?

It is a dogma of contemporary epistemology that doxastic justification (= having a justified belief) requires that one hold that belief on the basis of an epistemically appropriate reason. This demand has been used to support various other epistemological doctrines. I argue that there is next to no reason to think there is a basing demand on doxastic justification. More to the point, I argue that so long as one actually has good reasons for belief, it is possible to have a justified belief that is based on the worst possible reasons. For example, basing a belief on tarot card readings, irrational bias, coin flips, etc. is no barrier to doxastic justification. I also argue that even should the basing demand be correct, it would fail to be of dialectical value. This paper will appear here: