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The Sensitivity Principle in Epistemology
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  • Cited by 10
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Wallbridge, Kevin 2018. Sensitivity, Induction, and Miracles. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 96, Issue. 1, p. 118.

    Hetherington, Stephen 2018. The Gettier Problem.

    Godden, David 2018. Corroboration: Sensitivity, Safety, and Explanation. Acta Analytica,

    Wallbridge, Kevin 2018. Sensitivity and Higher-Order Knowledge. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 99, Issue. 2, p. 164.

    McBride, Mark 2017. Basic Knowledge and Conditions of Knowledgee.

    Alspector-Kelly, Marc 2015. Wright Back to Dretske, or Why You Might as Well Deny Knowledge Closure. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 90, Issue. 3, p. 570.

    Melchior, Guido 2015. THE HETEROGENEITY PROBLEM FOR SENSITIVITY ACCOUNTS. Episteme, Vol. 12, Issue. 04, p. 479.

    2015. Psychological and Pedagogical Considerations in Digital Textbook Use and Development. p. 132.

    McBride, Mark 2014. SENSITIVITY AND CLOSURE. Episteme, Vol. 11, Issue. 02, p. 181.

    Pynn, Geoff 2014. Assertibility and Sensitivity. Acta Analytica, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 99.

    ×

Book description

The sensitivity principle is a compelling idea in epistemology and is typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge. This collection of thirteen new essays constitutes a state-of-the-art discussion of this important principle. Some of the essays build on and strengthen sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge and offer novel defences of those accounts. Others present original objections to sensitivity-based accounts (objections that must be taken seriously even by those who defend enhanced versions of sensitivity) and offer comprehensive analysis and discussion of sensitivity's virtues and problems. The resulting collection will stimulate new debate about the sensitivity principle and will be of great interest and value to scholars and advanced students of epistemology.

Reviews

'Becker and Black present state-of-the-art thinking about 'sensitivity', a principle typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge … strongly recommend[ed] … to anyone who has had an interest in studying the sensitivity principle in epistemology.'

George Lăzăroiu Source: Review of Contemporary Philosophy

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  • Chapter 6 - Methods and how to individuate them
    pp 81-98
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter gives a brief overview of The Sensitivity Principle in Epistemology, which presents state-of-the-art thinking about a very simple and intuitively compelling idea in epistemology. The book sparks renewed interest in sensitivity, perhaps restoring it to the throne of principles in externalist epistemology. Given the resilience of sensitivity, those who wish to reject sensitivity theories will try to uncover criticisms in addition to the several counterexamples that have been proposed and to the allegation that sensitivity forces us to deny closure. In this book, three prominent epistemologists, Jonathan L. Kvanvig, Jonathan Vogel, and Peter Klein, offer novel criticisms of sensitivity theories or steer extant criticisms in new and different directions. The book comprises essays defending the relative merits of safety over sensitivity. The book also includes a critical commentary by Anthony Brueckner on Sherrilyn Roush's (2005) Tracking Truth: Knowledge, Evidence, and Science.
  • Chapter 7 - Truth-tracking and the value of knowledge
    pp 101-121
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Robert Nozick's conception of knowledge has triggered a lot of criticism over the last three decades. This chapter first argues that at least in many cases Nozick is not forced to deny common closure principles. Second, and much more importantly, Nozick does not, despite first and second appearances and despite his own words, deny closure. On the contrary, he is defending a more sophisticated and complex principle of closure. Nozick holds that a true belief constitutes knowledge just in case it stands in a certain modal relation to the fact that makes it true. The chapter explains why closure is not satisfying and proposes a modification. It argues that one can find a more satisfying principle in Nozick's text. This chapter discusses how this principle deals with relevant problem cases. Both Nozick-Knowledge and Nozick-Closure seem to give the wrong, negative verdict about knowledge.
  • Chapter 8 - The enduring trouble with tracking
    pp 122-151
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter shows that explanationist counterfactualism (EC) is not threatened by objections like those leveled by Sosa, Saul Kripke, and Williamson. It is reported that Kripke offers a case like the following: Henry, still out on his drive, believes that there is a red barn before him. Besides handling the cases put forth by Sosa, Kripke, and Williamson, the chapter's proposal has another virtue: it clarifies and helps bring into focus the recent literature on skepticism. One would need to do more in order to determine whether (EC)'s explanatory condition includes demands that concern belief- forming methods and perceptual equivalence. it might very well be that we need to identify and examine other demands of that condition. EC pays real dividends in helping us focus our attention on key elements in the skeptical debate, elements that might help us finally to put an end to that debate.
  • Chapter 9 - What makes knowledge the most highly prized form of true belief?
    pp 152-170
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The sensitivity condition on knowledge emerges out of a simple but highly attractive idea: whether S's belief that p amounts to knowledge depends on whether S would have so believed had it been false that p. This chapter describes a belief that makes true the sensitivity conditional in SEN, the conditional that if p were false, then S would not believe that p via M, as classically sensitive, or c-sensitive for short. It is helpful to start the discussion by assuming that the sensitivity condition on knowledge requires classic-sensitivity, that is, by assuming that c-sensitivity is a necessary condition on knowledge. The chapter assumes a sensitivity account that consists in a conjunction of three claims: SEN, the Sufficiency Thesis, and the claim that M (TGEN) is the proper way to individuate the belief-forming method involved in testimony cases. Such an account entails what it calls the testimony/classicalsensitivity biconditional, or TCS-biconditional.
  • Chapter 10 - In defence of modest anti-luck epistemology
    pp 173-192
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter tries to resolve the tension allegedly inherent in Nozick's approach to methods of belief formation. First, it motivates sensitivity, independently of concerns about how to individuate these methods. The chapter then focuses on a few common problems for sensitivity. The chapter suggests that sensitivity must be relativized to methods and explains how the method should be read into the sensitivity principle. Nozick himself noticed, in the original presentation of his tracking epistemology, that sensitivity must be indexed to the actual method used by the agent in forming belief, or the theory will be a non-starter. Some commentators, including Williamson, have suggested that Nozick's own preferred characterization of methods undermines his generally externalist epistemology. Finally, the chapter uses the conception of methods in applying the sensitivity principle to the putative Kripke and Williamson counterexamples.
  • Chapter 12 - False negatives
    pp 207-226
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter highlights the central importance of modal dimensions of the nature of knowledge. It focuses on several value problems regarding knowledge, describing the logical landscape of value issues and identifying a special value problem that concerns the relationship between knowledge and its parts. The chapter uses this problem to motivate taking seriously probabilistic accounts of truth-tracking and sensitivity over standard counterfactual approaches. This approaches described here rely on the three-place relation, since they offer stories that are at least initially plausible concerning the nature of knowledge. The probabilistic approach to truth-tracking shows significant promise, and can be used as well to address the original Meno problem concerning the value of knowledge over true opinion. The conclusion to draw from the discussion is that theories of knowledge that rely on sensitivity and truth-tracking conditions can go some distance toward explaining the value of knowledge, but not the entire distance.
  • Chapter 13 - Roush on knowledge:
    pp 229-241
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter provides grounds for thinking that it is the quality of the reasons for the propositional content of our belief-states with true propositional contents, rather than the etiology of those belief-states, that determines whether the belief-state qualifies as knowledge. Normative epistemology rather than naturalized epistemology holds the key to understanding knowledge. This chapter delineates some important features of epistemic luck. It explores the etiology view and presents reasons for concluding that it cannot adequately account for epistemic luck. The chapter then explores the reasons view and shows how it can account for some of the cases that are troublesome for the etiology view. There are many well-discussed and widely accepted counterexamples in the literature for each of the etiology views, with the exception of the virtue-views because those views are still relatively new.
  • Bibliography
    pp 269-277
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511783630.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    There are two competing ways of understanding the anti-luck condition in the contemporary literature. Call the safety principle the claim that knowledge entails safe belief, and call the sensitivity principle the claim that knowledge entails sensitive belief. Modest anti-luck epistemology merely endorses the safety principle and hence argues that safety is a key necessary condition for knowledge. A range of putative counterexamples have been put forward to the idea that knowledge entails safety, and thus to the view that we are here characterizing as modest anti-luck epistemology. This chapter argues for three main claims. First, that safety offers the best rendering of the anti-luck condition. Second, that safety is merely necessary, and not sufficient for knowledge. Third, that the main counterexamples offered to the necessity of safety and thus to modest anti-luck epistemology, do not hit their target.

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