In this paper, I outline an account of the structure of perceptual justification that develops Wittgenstein’s thought that the possibility of acquiring any degree of justification for our beliefs depends on placing certain propositions outside the route of empirical inquiry, turning them into the “hinges” of our rational evaluations. The proposal is akin to “moderate” accounts of the structure of perceptual justification; however, it conjoins Wittgenstein’s insight with explanationist and contrastivist ideas and thus differs in important respects both from such accounts and from other versions of hinge epistemology. I maintain that the basic presuppositions of the epistemic practice of taking experience at face value are not totally refractory to evidential assessment, arguing that they can receive some degree of second-order empirical justification via inference to the best explanation. And I address the worry that the account may face the problem of “easy knowledge” by helping myself to the contrastivist view that empirical knowledge is best understood as a threeplace, contrastive relation between an agent, a proposition (or fact), and a contrast. This leads me to replace the usual closure principles for epistemic justification and knowledge with corresponding contrastive principles, filling in the final details of contrastive hinge epistemology.

Contrastive Hinge Epistemology

Volpe, Giorgio
2021

Abstract

In this paper, I outline an account of the structure of perceptual justification that develops Wittgenstein’s thought that the possibility of acquiring any degree of justification for our beliefs depends on placing certain propositions outside the route of empirical inquiry, turning them into the “hinges” of our rational evaluations. The proposal is akin to “moderate” accounts of the structure of perceptual justification; however, it conjoins Wittgenstein’s insight with explanationist and contrastivist ideas and thus differs in important respects both from such accounts and from other versions of hinge epistemology. I maintain that the basic presuppositions of the epistemic practice of taking experience at face value are not totally refractory to evidential assessment, arguing that they can receive some degree of second-order empirical justification via inference to the best explanation. And I address the worry that the account may face the problem of “easy knowledge” by helping myself to the contrastivist view that empirical knowledge is best understood as a threeplace, contrastive relation between an agent, a proposition (or fact), and a contrast. This leads me to replace the usual closure principles for epistemic justification and knowledge with corresponding contrastive principles, filling in the final details of contrastive hinge epistemology.
Volpe, Giorgio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/828939
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