KNOWLEDGE & REALITY

Hilary Term 2001

Dr Daniel von Wachter

See also http://units.ox.ac.uk/departments/philosophy/ (the official reading list for paper 102).

 

General books and collections

A.C. Grayling, ed., 1995, Philosophy: a guide throught the subject (OUP).

Metaphysics:

Armstrong, 1989, Universals: An Opinionated Introduction..

Loux, 1998, Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction.

Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, part I.

Burkhardt and Smith, 1991, Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology, in: HMO.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Kim and Sosa, 1995, A Companion to Metaphysics.

Laurence and Macdonald, 1998, Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics.

Kim and Sosa, 1999, Metaphysics: An Anthology.

van Inwagen and Zimmerman, 1998, Metaphysics: The Big Questions.

Epistemology:

Audi, 1998, Epistemology: A contemporary introduction to the theory of knowledge, in: Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy.

Moser, Mulder, and Trout, 1998, The Theory of Knowledge: A Thematic Introduction.

Bernecker and Dretske, 2000, Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology.

L.M. Alcoff (ed.), 1998, Epistemology: The Big Questions (Blackwell).

Dancy and Sosa, 1992, A Companion to Epistemology.

1. Things and Properties

Are the properties of particular things themselves particular?
(And: are properties borne?)

Crane, Tim, "Universals", in Grayling (ed.), pp. 204-214.

Armstrong, 1989, Universals: An Opinionated Introduction..

Campbell, 1990, Abstract Particulars, especially chs. 1, 2, and 4. If this is not available read Campbell in Mellor and Oliver, 1997, Properties (Oxford Readings in Philosophy)..

Loux, 1998, Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, ch. 3, also chs. 1, 2, 6.

Simons, 1994, Particulars in Particular Clothing: Three Trope Theories of Substance, in: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 54, 553-575.

Williams, 1953, On the Elements of Being, in: Review of Metaphysics, 7, 3-18 & 171-192.

Lowe, 1994, Primitive Substances, in: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 54, 531-552.

Further reading:

Smith, 1997, On Substances, Accidents and Universals: In Defence of a Constituent Ontology, in: Philosophical Papers, 26, 105-127.; available also at http://wings.buffalo.edu/philosophy/faculty/smith/articles/greensboro.html

Newman, 1992, The Physical Basis of Predication.

Denkel, 1996, Object and Property.

Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, ch. 1.

2. Possibility and Necessity

Does the appeal to possible worlds help us to understand necessity?

OR: "I might have done something different" – how should this be understood?

Loux, 1998, Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, ch. 5.

Sainsbury, Mark, "Necessity" in Grayling (ed.), ch. 5, pp. 95-105.

Laurence and Macdonald, 1998, Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics, part II.

Kim and Sosa, 1999, Metaphysics: An Anthology, part III.

Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, ch. 5.

3. Personal Identity

What makes a person P2 at time t2 the same person as P1 at t1? (OR: Do questions about the identity of persons always have definite answers? OR: Is it arbitrary what criteria to adopt in questions of personal identity?)

van Inwagen and Zimmerman, 1998, Metaphysics: The Big Questions, pp. 291-342.

Kim and Sosa, 1999, Metaphysics: An Anthology, part VI. (van Inwagen ed. and Kim ed. overlap here)

Further:

Swinburne, 1986, The Evolution of the Soul, part 2.

Parfit, 1984, Reasons and Persons, part 3. Also Parfit, 1995, The Unimportance of Identity, 13-45.

Swinburne & Shoemaker: Personal Identity

Perry, 1975, Personal Identity.

4. Causality (and Laws of Nature)

What is it for one thing to cause another? OR: Do causes necessitate their effects? OR: Is causation analysable?

Cartwright, N., "Causation", in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Crane, T., "Causation", in Grayling (ed.), 184-194.

Swinburne, 1997, The Irreducibility of Causation, in: Dialectica, 51, 79-92.

Kim and Sosa, 1999, Metaphysics: An Anthology, part VII.

Swinburne, 1994, The Christian God, ch. 3.

Further:

Armstrong, 1983, What Is a Law of Nature?.

Sosa and Tooley, 1993, Causation, in: Oxford Readings in Philosophy.

5. Induction

Must we justify our inductive practices? If so, why? And how can we?

R. Swinburne, 1974, The Justification of Induction, Introduction.

D. Papineau, "Induction and its Problems", in Grayling, (ed.), 125-138.

Foster, John, Ayer, ch. III.1-5.

B. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, ch. 6.

H. Reichenbach, "The Pragmatic Justifation of Induction", in 1938, Experience and Prediction, pp. 341-357.

Goodman, Nelson, "The New Riddle of Induction" in: Facts, Fiction and Forecast, pp. 72-83.

(The texts by Russell, Reichenbach, & Goodman are reprinted in: Bernecker & Dretske (eds.), pp. 547-561.)

Further:

B. Skyrms, 1975, Choice and Chance, chs. 2-3.

 

6. Perception

Do we perceive sense-data, or by means of sense-data, or neither? OR: Does perceptual knowledge of physical objects always involve inference?

Audi, 1998, Epistemology, ch. 1.

M.G.F. Martin, "Perception" in Grayling (ed.), 26-43.

H. P. Grice, ‘The Causal Theory of Perception,’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 35 (1961), pp. 121-152 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

Peter F. Strawson, ‘Perception and its Objects, in G. F. MacDonald (ed.), Perception and Identity: essays presented to A.J. Ayer with his replies to them (Macmillan, 1979), pp. 41-60 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

Fred Dretske, ‘Précis of Knowledge and the Flow of Information’, Behavioral Brain Sciences 6 (1983), pp. 55-63 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

Snowdon, Paul, 1980, "Perception, Vision, and Causation", in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1980-1.

Further:

Jonathan Dancy, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology (OUP, 1988), chs. 10 & 11.

Alvin Goldman, ‘Discrimination and perceptual knowledge’, Journal of Philosophy 73 (1976), pp. 771-791.

Jonathan Dancy (ed.), Perceptual Knowledge (OUP, 1988).

Frank Jackson, Perception: a representative theory (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977 & Gregg Revivals, 1993).

Foster, John, Perception.

7. Analysis of ‘knowledge’

What is knowledge? Is it justified true belief? (Explain the distinction between epistemic internalism and externalism.) OR: Must knowledge have incorrible foundations? Must it have any sort of foundations? (cf. Chisholm, Sosa, BonJour)

Scott Sturgeon, ‘Knowledge’, in A. C. Grayling (ed.), Philosophy: a guide through the subject (OUP, 1995), pp. 10-26.

Robert Audi, Epistemology: (Routledge, 1998), ch. 8.

Edmund L. Gettier, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’, in Analysis 23 (1963), pp. 121-3 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

A. J. Ayer, ‘Knowing as Having the Right to be Sure’, in The Problem of Knowledge (Penguin Books, 1956) [excerpted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

Alvin Goldman, ‘A Causal Theory of Knowing’, Journal of Philosophy 64 (1967), pp. 357-372 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000].

Alvin Goldman, ‘What is Justified Belief?’, in George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge (D. Reidel, 1979), pp. 1-23 [reprinted in Alcoff 1998].

William P. Alston, ‘Internalism and Externalism in Epistemology’, Philosophical Topics, 14, No. 1 (1986), pp. 185-226 [reprinted in Alcoff, ed., Epistemology: The Big Questions, 1998].

Further:

Carl Ginet, ‘The General Conditions of Knowledge: Justification’, ch. 3 of Knowledge, Perception and Memory (Reidel, 1975), especially pp. 28-39 [reprinted in Alcoff 1998]

Keith DeRose, ‘Contextualism and Knowledge Attributions’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52:4 (1992), pp. 913-929 [reprinted in Alcoff 1998].

Roderick Chisholm, ‘The Myth of the Given’, in The Foundations of Knowing (Harvester, 1982), pp. 126-47 [reprinted in Alcoff 1998].

Ernest Sosa, ‘The Raft and the Pyramid: Coherence versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge’, in Knowledge in Perspective (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 165-191 [reprinted in Alcoff 1998].

Laurence BonJour, ‘The Elements of Coherentism’, in The Structure of Empirical Knowledge (Harvard Univ. Press, 1985), pp. 87-110 [reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000, and in Alcoff 1998].

Robert Nozick, Philosophical Explanations (Clarendon, 1981), 3(I) and 3(II) [abridged versions are reprinted in Bernecker and Dretske 2000, and in Jonathan Dancy (ed.), Perceptual Knowledge (OUP, 1988)].

 

8. A priori knowledge

Essay question: Is there any a priori knowledge? If so, are all and only analytic propositions knowable a priori?

W. V. O. Quine, ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, in From a Logical Point of View (Harvard 1953, 1961, 1980; Harper & Row, 1963), ch. 2 [reprinted in Moser 1987].

Barry Stroud, ‘Wittgenstein and Logical Necessity’, Philosophical Review 74 (1965), pp. 504-518 [reprinted in Moser 1987].

Hilary Putnam, ‘Analyticity and Apriority, Beyond Wittgenstein and Quine’ Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1979), pp. 423-441 [reprinted in Putnam’s Realism and Reason: Philosophical Papers 3 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983), ch. 7, and in Moser 1987].

Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity (revised and enlarged edition) (Blackwell, 1980), especially pp. 34-39, 48-50, 53-58, 99-105, 108-109 [reprinted as ‘A Priori Knowledge, Necessity, and Contingency’ in Moser 1987].

Richard Swinburne, ‘Analyticity, Necessity and Apriority’, Mind 84 (1975), pp. 225-243 [reprinted in Moser 1987].

Further:

Philip Kitcher, ‘Apriority and Necessity’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 58 (1980), pp. 89-101 [reprinted in Moser 1987 A Priori Knowledge (Oxford Readings in Philosophy)].

Schwartz, 1977, Naming, Necessity, and Natural Kinds. Introduction.

9. Scepticism

Question: Do arguments for scepticism always make the mistake of making unreasonable demands on knowledge?

Audi, Robert. Epistemology. Ch.10

Moore, G E. 'Proof of an External World' in Philosophical Papers, also in Sosa and Kim 2000.

Unger, Peter. Selections from Philosophical Relativity in DeRose and Warfield, Skepticism (Oxford, 1999).

Nozick, Robert. Philosophical Explanations. Ch.3, esp. pp167-78, 197-211, also in DeRose and Warfield (1999).

Lewis, David. "Elusive Knowledge" Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1996), also in Lewis (1999).

Consider the following two arguments:

Closure Principle: knowledge is closed under known entailment: S knows that [p] and S knows that [p entails q], entails that S knows that [q]

Iteration Principle: knowledge iterates: S knows that [p] entails S knows that [he knows that [p]]

p: My desk is brown

SK1: An evil demon is deceiving me that my desk is brown

SK2: I am dreaming that my desk is brown

1. I know that [p] (premise)

2. I know that [p entails that not-SK1] (premise)

3. Not-I know that [not-SK1] (premise)

4. I know that [p] and I know that [p entails that not-SK1], entails that I know that [not-SK1] (instance of closure principle)

5. I know that [not-SK1] (from 1-4)

Since 3 and 5 are inconsistent, which premise (or principle) should we give up?

1. I know that [p] (premise)

6. I know that [I know that [p] entails that not-SK2] (premise)

7. Not-I know that [not-SK2] (premise)

8. I know that [p] entails that I know that [I know that [p]] (instance of iteration principle)

9. I know that [I know that [p] entails not-SK2] and I know that [I know that [p]], entails that I know that [not-SK2]

(instance of closure principle)

10. I know that [not-SK2] (from 1 and 6-9)

Since 7 and 10 are inconsistent, which premise (or principle) should we give up?