Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 194, Issue 5, pp 1643–1662 | Cite as

Epistemology versus non-causal realism

  • Jared WarrenEmail author
Original Research

Abstract

This paper formulates a general epistemological argument against what I call non-causal realism, generalizing domain specific arguments by Benacerraf, Field, and others. First I lay out the background to the argument, making a number of distinctions that are sometimes missed in discussions of epistemological arguments against realism. Then I define the target of the argument—non-causal realism—and argue that any non-causal realist theory, no matter the subject matter, cannot be given a reasonable epistemology and so should be rejected. Finally I discuss and respond to several possible responses to the argument. In addition to clearing up and avoiding numerous misunderstandings of arguments of this kind that are quite common in the literature, this paper aims to present and endorse a rigorous and fully general epistemological argument against realism.

Keywords

Epistemological arguments against realism Reliability challenge Realism Epistemology 

References

  1. Ayer, A. J. (1946). Language, truth and logic (2nd ed.). London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.Google Scholar
  2. Balaguer, M. (1995). A platonist epistemology. Synthese, 103, 303–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Balaguer, M. (1998). Platonism and antiplatonism in mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benacerraf, P. (1973). Mathematical truth. Journal of Philosophy, 70, 661–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boghossian, P. (2012). What is inference? Philosophical Studies, 169(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burge, T. (1979). Individualism and the mental. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 4, 73–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burgess, J. P., & Rosen, G. (1997). A subject with no object: Strategies for a nominalistic interpretation of mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Carnap, R. (1934). The logical syntax of language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  9. Carrier, L. S. (1993). The roots of knowledge. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 74(2), 81–95.Google Scholar
  10. Clarke-Doane, J. (2012). Morality and mathematics: The evolutionary challenge. Ethics, 122, 313–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke-Doane, J. (forthcoming). What is the Benacerraf problem? In F. Pataut (Ed.), New perspectives on the philosophy of Paul Benacerraf: Truth, objects, infinity. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Davidson, D. (1984). Inquiries into truth and interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Engel, Jr., M. (2014). Epistemic luck. In The Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Accessed 2014, from http://www.iep.utm.edu/epi-luck/.
  14. Enoch, D. (2010). The epistemological challenge to metanormative realism: How best to understand it, and how to cope with it. Philosophical Studies, 148(3), 413–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Enoch, D. (2011). Taking morality seriously: A defense of robust realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Field, H. (1989). Realism, mathematics and modality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  17. Field, H. (2005). Recent debates about the a priori. In T. S. Hawthorne & J. Gendler (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology. Oxford: Clarenden Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fine, K. (1975). Critical notice of counterfactuals. Mind, 84, 451–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fine, K. (2001). The question of realism. The Philosopher’s Imprint, 1, 1–30.Google Scholar
  20. Giannoni, C. (1971). Conventionalism in logic: A study in the linguistic foundation of logical reasoning. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  21. Gödel, K. (1964). What is Cantor’s continuum problem? Revised edition. In P. Benacerraf & H. Putnam (Eds.), Philosophy of mathematics: Selected readings (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Goldman, A. (1967). A causal theory of knowing. The Journal of Philosophy, 64(12), 357–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heller, M. (1999). The proper role for contextualism in an anti-luck epistemology. Philosophical Perspectives, 13, 115–129.Google Scholar
  24. Hirsch, E. (2011). Quantifier variance and realism: Essays in meta-ontology. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jenkins, C. (2005). Realism and independence. American Philosophical Quarterly, 42(3), 199–211.Google Scholar
  26. Korman, D. Z. (2014). Debunking perceptual beliefs about ordinary objects. Philosophers’ Imprint, 14(13), 1–21.Google Scholar
  27. Lewis, D. (1968). Counterpart theory and quantified modal logic. Journal of Philosophy, 65, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lewis, D. (1973). Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  29. Lewis, D. (1974). Radical interpretation. Synthese, 23, 331–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewis, D. (1979). Counterfactual dependence and time’s arrow. Noûs, 13, 455–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis, D. (1984). Putnam’s paradox. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 62, 221–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lewis, D. (1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  33. Linnebo, Ø. (2006). Epistemological challenges to mathematical platonism. Philosophical Studies, 129, 545–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mackie, J. L. (1977). Ethics: Inventing right and wrong. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  35. Nagel, T. (1986). The view from nowhere. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical explanations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Parfit, D. (2011a). On what matters (Vol. 1). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Parfit, D. (2011b). On what matters (Vol. 2). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Priest, G. (2006). Doubt truth to be a liar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pritchard, D. (2005). Epistemic luck. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Putnam, H. (1975). The meaning of meaning. In K. Gunderson (Ed.), Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science (Vol. 7, pp. 131–193). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  42. Quine, W. V. (1970). Philosophy of logic. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  43. Ripley, D. (2011). Negation, denial, and rejection. Philosophy Compass, 6(9), 622–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schechter, J. (2010). The reliability challenge and the epistemology of logic. Philosophical Perspectives, 24, 437–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schechter, J. (2013). Could evolution explain our reliability about logic? In J. Gendler & T. S. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology (Vol. 4). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Setiya, K. (2012). Knowing right from wrong. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sider, T. (2011). Writing the book of the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sosa, E. (1999). How must knowledge be modally related to what is known? Philosophical Topics, 26(1 & 2), 373–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stalnaker, R. (1968). A theory of conditionals. In N. Rescher (Ed.), Studies in logical theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  50. Street, S. (2006). A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value. Philosophical Studies, 127(1), 109–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Unger, P. (1968). An analysis of factual knowledge. Journal of Philosophy, 65, 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Warren, J. (2015a). Conventionalism, consistency, and consistency sentences. Synthese, 192(5), 1351–1371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Warren, J. (2015b). Talking with tonkers. Philosophers’ Imprint, 15(24), 1–24.Google Scholar
  54. Warren, J. (forthcoming). Sider on the epistemology of structure. Philosophical Studies. doi: 10.1007/s11098-015-0621-z.
  55. White, R. (2010). You just believe that because\(\ldots \). Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 573–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Woodin, W. H. (2004). Set theory after Russell: The journey back to Eden. In G. Link (Ed.), One hundred years of Russell’s paradox: Mathematics, logic, philosophy. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.JacksonvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations