Università di Pavia
How to Defeat a Seeming
25 July 2017, 16:00
Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa
Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)
Abstract: In this talk I draw a distinction between the direct and indirect contribution of a mental state to the epistemic justification of a subject’s beliefs. In terms of this distinction, I describe a puzzle surrounding the conditions on which S’s direct justification for believing P originating from S’s seeming that P is undercut. On the one hand the direct justification from the seeming seems to be undercut exactly when the indirect justification from the seeming is. On the other hand, however, the general characterization of the distinction between the direct and indirect contribution of a mental state to the justification of a belief motivates the expectation that what undercuts the indirect justification originating from it should not have the power to also undercut the direct justification. This leaves unexplained why, when S acquires an undercutting defeater of the indirect justification, S is apparently left with no justification for believing P. I explore three solutions to this puzzle. The first solution eliminates the puzzle by simply conjecturing that S’s seeming that P only supplies indirect justification for believing P. The second solution eliminates the puzzle by conjecturing that S’s indirect justification replaces S’s direct justification from the seeming. The third one, which I defend, rest on a principle distilled by N. Silins, and conjectures that an undercutting defeater of S’s indirect justification from the seeming affects S’s direct justification from the seeming by rebutting one presupposition of it.