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Showing posts from October, 2014

Post Index: Blogging Through R. Scott Smith's Naturalism and Our Knowledge of Reality

Smith's Argument Against Naturalistic Accounts of Intentionality

(Very rough draft) So far, we've looked at Smith's arguments against naturalistic accounts of (i) perceptual knowledge, (ii) concept formation, and (ii) concept correction. In this post, I aim to finish (or at least nearly finish) discussing Smith's book by focusing on Smith's last main type of argument against naturalism: (iv) arguments against the compatibility of perceptual knowledge and naturalistic accounts of intentionality.

As before, Smith's focus is (broadly speaking) Dretske-style accounts of intentionality. According to such accounts, a concept or perceptual state is of or about its referent just in case the former reliably covaries with the latter when functioning properly. So, for example, when functioning properly under normal conditions, thermometer readings co-vary with temperature, and scale readings co-vary with the weights of objects on the scale. Because of this, thermometer readings reliably represent temperatures, and scales reliably represen…

New Work From Schellenberg

As can be seen from recent updates at his academic page,  J.L. Schellenberg's trend of producing lots of important work in philosophy of religion continues unabated. I'm especially looking forward to his two forthcoming books: 
(i) Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays (with Paul Draper). OUP, forthcoming in 2016. I expect that it will be the book to look to in relation to the current trend to unmoor philosophy of religion from the undue influence of apologetically-oriented Christian theism.
(ii) The Hiddenness Argument: Philosophy's New Challenge to Belief in God. OUP, forthcoming in 2015. The book's aim looks to be to bring the arguments from Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason to a general audience.
He has also added a slew of new papers to his site. No doubt they will be required reading, along with the rest of his corpus. Happy reading!

Smith's Argument Against the Compatibility of Naturalism and Concept Formation

In the previous post in this series, we looked at Smith's argument against naturalistic accounts of concept correction. In this post, we'll take a brief look at Smith's argument against several naturalistic accounts of concept formation.
Here's a first pass at expressing Smith's argument:
1. If the views of Dretske et al. are correct, then every act of introspection requires that the representation of its referent come to us automatically pre-packaged with a conceptualization.  2. If every act of introspection requires that the representation of its referent come to us automatically pre-packaged with a conceptualization, then the process of forming concepts can never get started.  3. If the process of forming concepts can never get started, then we can't form concepts. --------------------------------------  4. Therefore, if the views of Dretske et al. are correct, then we can’t form concepts.  5. We can form concepts.  -------------------------------------- 6…

Smith's Argument Against the Compatibility of Naturalism and Concept Correction

In this post, I'd like to look at Smith's argument that Dretske/Tye/Lycan-style naturalistic accounts of concept acquisition can't account for the possibility of correcting faulty concepts.

As with the other arguments we've discussed from the book, Smith doesn't explicitly lay out his argument in standard form. But I think it can be expressed fairly as follows:

1. If the views of Dretske et al.  are correct, then the act of introspection requires that the representation of its referent comes to us pre-packaged with a conceptualization. 2. If the act of introspection requires that the representation of its referent comes to us pre-packaged with a conceptualization, then we cannot introspect our experiences in a non-conceptual way. 3. If we cannot introspect our experiences in a non-conceptual way, then we cannot compare what is non-conceptually represented in experiences with a concept. 4. If we cannot compare what is non-conceptually represented in experiences with a …

Smith's Master Argument Against Naturalistic Accounts of Perceptual Knowledge in Naturalism and Our Knowledge of Reality

Last time we discussed Smith's book, we focused on his master argument against naturalistic accounts of concept acquisition and correction. Here I'd like to focus on his master argument against naturalistic accounts of perception. As with the former argument, Smith nowhere explicitly lays out the argument in standard form. However, I think it can be fairly expressed as follows:
1. If naturalism is true, then either naturalistic direct realism (think Armstrong, Dretske et. al.) is true or some version of indirect realism is true.
2. If some version of indirect realism is true, then we don’t have adequate internally accessible grounds for believing that our perceptual experiences are caused by and accurately represent the external world.
3. If we don’t have adequate internally accessible grounds for believing that our perceptual experiences are caused by and accurately represent the external world, then we don’t have perceptual knowledge of the external world.
4. …