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Contrasting cases

Hansen, N. (2014) Contrasting cases. In: Beebe, J. R. (ed.) Advances in experimental epistemology. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 71-95. ISBN 9781472505316

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This paper concerns the philosophical significance of a choice about how to design the context-shifting experiments used by contextualists and anti-intellectualists: Should contexts be judged jointly, with contrast, or separately, without contrast? Findings in experimental psychology suggest (1) that certain contextual features are difficult to evaluate when considered separately, and there are reasons to think that one feature that interests contextualists and anti- intellectualists—stakes or importance—is such a difficult to evaluate attribute, and (2) that joint evaluation of contexts can yield judgments that are more reflective and rational in certain respects. With those two points in mind, a question is raised about what source of evidence provides better support for philosophical theories of how contextual features affect knowledge ascriptions and evidence: Should we prefer evidence consisting of "ordinary" judgments, or more reflective, perhaps more rational judgments? That question is answered in relation to different accounts of what such theories aim to explain, and it is concluded that evidence from contexts evaluated jointly should be an important source of evidence for contextualist and anti-intellectualist theories, a conclusion that is at odds with the methodology of some recent studies in experimental epistemology.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:37843


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