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« Philosophical Book Club | Main | Experimental Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind and Action - Provisional Programme »

08/20/2013

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Dustin Locke

Very interesting stuff. Can you tell us more about your method for finding expert subjects? Also, could you share the vignettes for 'Sculpture' and 'Dollar'? Thanks!

Eddy Nahmias

Hi Joachim, fascinating results. I feel like I took this survey and probably responded above the midpoint for most of the relevant cases. My intuition on the painting case is that she knows the painting is there. Can you post the other cases in comments so people can see them? My gut reaction to your results is that they indicate that the 'super-experts' who use these cases to try to raise the standards for knowledge (or reliability) are trying to raise them too high, certainly higher than the ordinary standards for knowledge. Contextualists should be happy enough with that response and these results, right? Also, did you have any tests for participants' confidence in their judgments?

Joachim Horvath

Hi Eddy,

by 'super-experts' you probably mean those philosophers who publish papers on knowledge in top-journals. You might be right that these super-experts set the standard to high (maybe because they are hyper-scrupulous, or maybe because they just like to make life hard for themselves because the love philosophical puzzles?). But on the basis of our data, this is of course pure speculation, for we haven't tested the super-experts as a separate group. I do remember, however, that Alex said that it doesn't make much of a difference if one looks only at people with a philosophy PhD who have epistemology as one of their areas of specialization (which should come pretty close to super-expertise).

I don't yet see that our results fit the standard contextualist story so nicely. As a contextulist, one would predict that the experts' tendency to ascribe knowledge is always lower compared to the laypeople. But in case of Monitor, which is an unusual type of case that is clearly evaluated as knowledge in the literature, the experts are actually more likely to ascribe knowledge than the laypeople. So, fitting this into the contextualist framework is probably not as straightforward as you suggest.

By the way, you'll soon find the other case descriptions in an addendum to our post above.

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