Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

By Ahmed Elsayyad, Johns Hopkins University This paper was presented at Prometheus’ 2014 Mid-Atlantic Philosophy Conference. I. Background Intuitions are quick and ready insights without any apparent rational thought. There has been debate among the philosophical community on whether intuitions can be used as reliable evidence in answering questions in epistemology. Studies have shown that intuitions can vary by factors such ethnicity and gender. If intuitions can vary by such factors, can we still say intuitions can be used as reliable evidence for philosophical arguments? Some argue that the psychological sources of intuition render it too error prone be used … Continue reading Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

Justified False Beliefs and Truth as a Redundant Condition

By: STEVE TENSMEYER Despite the common intuition that something is very wrong with the Gettier problems, after forty years they still seem to be intractable. The responses to these paradoxes of knowledge range from complaints against their logical structure to conclusions that knowledge simply cannot be analyzed. Most philosophers, however, take a position somewhere in between these two extremes; their responses advocate changing the traditional Justified True Belief model of knowledge to something that “de-Gettierizes” knowledge. This almost always means either adding some fourth condition or clarifying or changing the definition of justification. In this essay I will consider different … Continue reading Justified False Beliefs and Truth as a Redundant Condition

Knowing Nŏl’ĭj

By Alex Ehrlich & AJ Durwin Abstract: Ever since Plato described knowledge in the Theaetetus and the Meno, three criteria, namely justification, truth, and belief (JTB), have composed the traditional philosophical definition of knowledge. In his 1963 paper “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” Edmund Gettier attempts to disestablish the traditional definition of knowledge. He utilizes a thought experiment in which a person appears to meet the knowledge criteria yet still does not seem to have knowledge. In this paper we clarify and specify the definition of knowledge, breaking the justification criterion down into three separate criteria, saving the common sense … Continue reading Knowing Nŏl’ĭj

On Whether States of Affairs Make Propositions True

By Benjamin Perlin Abstract: This paper discusses the central argument of A World of States of Affairs by David Armstrong, which is intended to posit states of affairs as fundamental ontological entities. This ‘truth-maker’ argument is intended to conclude that states of affairs are what make propositions true; I explore this position and the response by David Lewis, which is a tentative rejection of Armstrong’s position in favour of a supremely permissive combinatorialism. — The sentence “the sun is bright” expresses a true proposition. What, if anything, makes it true? The tentative answer by D.M. Armstrong, which may be found … Continue reading On Whether States of Affairs Make Propositions True

The Study of Truth and Knowledge

By James Fox Abstract Since its publication Gettier’s Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? has become the seminal work in modern epistemology. This paper challenges the very assumptions of Gettier’s counterexamples and is therefore a radical alternative to both the proponents, and critics, of Gettier. By showing how knowledge is found, not in mere words or statements, but within the fundamental beliefs of the speaker, I expose the way in which ambiguity in language can mislead us into rejecting the traditional definition of knowledge as Justified True Belief. . “What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and wouldn’t wait for an answer.” … Continue reading The Study of Truth and Knowledge

Continuous Properties of Identity

By DOUGLAS JASON KEFFLER Abstract In this essay, I will prove that in order to couple our commonsense notion of identity with the strict philosophical notion of identity there must be a specific interpretation of the philosophical notion of identity.  The interpretation comes from a distinction between two kinds of properties of an individual- changeable and unchangeable.  A changeable property is anything that can be proven to be contingent to an individual.  An unchangeable property is anything that is necessary to an individual.  The latter will prove to be the correct interpretation of a property under the philosophical notion of … Continue reading Continuous Properties of Identity

Implications of the Ascetic Ideal on Knowledge and Truth

By SHANE STEINERT-THRELKELD The ascetic ideal is a seemingly self-denying force characterized by “poverty, humility, chastity” (3:8, 108) [1]. It is piety embodied, sensuality restrained. That such an ideology has flourished and recurred (as Nietzsche references with India) throughout societal development is a seeming paradox: the dominant ideal of humanity is a life-denying one. How, or rather why, then, has the ascetic ideal triumphed? Where does it come from? One easy answer is that there were no competing ideals. This answer, because it is elliptical, ultimately fails to satisfy. For instance: why did no other ideals form? Was it impossible … Continue reading Implications of the Ascetic Ideal on Knowledge and Truth

Truth in Doubt

Rene Descartes’ Meditations contains many interesting thoughts on mind and knowledge, one being his claim that there is nothing easier for him to understand than his own mind. In his essay, Rocky Barilla attempts to prove that Descarte’s claim (regarding the understanding of his mind) plays an important role in The Meditations, and that although he did not expect people to believe his claim, he attempted to show the truth in it regardless. Continue reading Truth in Doubt