[lit-ideas] Re: Bartley's Non-Justificationism (Was: Justifying Moral Principles?)

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 22:08:23 +0000 (UTC)

>A great number of theorists have abandoned  justificationism, and count, as 
known, those basic (non-inferential) beliefs  that are arrived at (or 
sustained) via reliable methods. 

Other theorists  accept an unorthodox form of justificationism, according 
to which even  non-inferential beliefs (including moral beliefs and 
attitudes) can count as  justified so long as they are arrived at (sustained) 
via 
reliable  methods.>
The non-justificationism of Popper, Bartley and their ilk is much more 
thorough-going than this. Shocking though it may seem, they would deny there 
are anything like "reliable methods" for arriving at knowledge - certainly not 
of the sort traditionally sought by philosophers as the basis for how knowledge 
is justified. 

A key insight of Popper's approach is that knowledge does not need to be 
justified to be effective or to 'work', it simply has to be true or approximate 
sufficiently to the truth - and the critical approach of science is not based 
on finding inductive justification but on the ruthless and severe testing of 
the truth of theories. Surviving severe tests - that is, severe attempts at 
falsification - does not justify knowledge in traditional terms but it provides 
the best guide we have for assessing truth and verisimilitude.
Not only is this 'critical' approach the best guide, it is the only guide. 
There simply are no (inductive) "reliable methods" for arriving at, or 
generating, true theories. Though the contrary myth dies hard, it is merely 
philosophers' make-believe (none of whom can plausibly explain by what 
"reliable method" Einstein generated his revolutionary theories, or by what 
"reliable method" we can generate theories to resolve some of the outstanding 
problems of contemporary physics).
DnlLdn
 

     On Monday, 23 February 2015, 20:41, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" 
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
   

 Is W. W. Bartley, III, a non-justificationist?
 
His adage is:

(E) Everything is criticisable -- encluding (E).
 
Of course one has to distinguish between justificationism and  
fundamentalism -- epistemological fundamentalism.
 
The keywords here then seem to be: NON-JUSTIFICATIONISM vs.  
(epistemological) FUNDAMENTALISM. 

By a justification is understood as condition that needs to  satisfy a true 
conviction to count as knowledge (including moral  knowledge).
 
It draws on the classical definition of knowledge as justified and true  
opinion. 
 
However, an analysis of this concept of knowledge (including moral  
knowledge) leads to problems, the best known are the counterexamples known as  
Gettier problems. 
 
Roughly speaking, a justification designates the "good reasons" why a  
subject of knowledge (including moral knowledge) has an opinion and with  
certainty believes in it or acts towards it.  
 
There are so numerous approaches to complete the definition of  
justification, that some consider the problems of knowledge (including moral  
knowledge) a pseudo-problem. 
 
Externalist and internalist approaches are usually distinguished. 
 
It is argued that by naming the problems of Epistemological  
Fundamentalism, the debate about  justification has taken a direction that  
rejects the 
claims of a hard externalism on a realistic awareness theoretical  ultimate 
justification. 

I took W. O.'s wording as an attack on  JUSTIFICATIONISM. Keyword: 
JUSTIFICATIONISM. I think Bartley was an  anti-justificationist, so one can 
take W. 
O's wording as an attack on  Bartley?

According to Justificationism, as we may call the traditional  
philosophical view that knowledge (including moral knowledge) entails  
justification, we 
know (even morally know) p only if we are justified in  believing p. 

A great number of theorists have abandoned  justificationism, and count, as 
known, those basic (non-inferential) beliefs  that are arrived at (or 
sustained) via reliable methods. 

Other theorists  accept an unorthodox form of justificationism, according 
to which even  non-inferential beliefs (including moral beliefs and 
attitudes) can count as  justified so long as they are arrived at (sustained) 
via 
reliable  methods.

Suppose, however, that justificationism were true. 

How  would it bear on knowledge (even moral knowledge) closure? 

The position  that K holds only if J does may be called the linkage thesis. 

Does  justificationism commit us to the linkage thesis, so that closure 
failure in the  case of justification carries over to closure in the case of  
knowledge?

Even if justificationism were true, there would be ways to  reject the 
linkage thesis.

When S believes (even morally believes)  p upon seeing it is entailed by 
something S knows, let us say that p is  knowledge (even moral knowledge) 
secured. 

When S believes p upon seeing  it is entailed by something S justifiably 
believes, let us say that p is  justification (even moral justification) 
secured. 

According to K, we  know p if p is knowledge (even moral justification) 
secured. By  justificationism, we are justified in believing p if we know p. 

And so on. Of course, W. O. speaks of meta-ethics.  For those philosophers 
who endorse moral anti-realism (Blackburn?) all  these issues are (more or 
less) otiose* 

Cheers,

Speranza

* which is not necessarily a bad thing (don't know for Popper). "Otiose"  
was Rogers Albritton's favourite word and he abused it to the point that all 
his  students ended up calling HIM otiose (in principle). 

W. O.: "We justify  our judgements and actions through the giving and 
assessing of reasons.  In  doing so, we appeal to one or more moral principles 
for purposes of securing  satisfactory levels of impartiality and objectivity. 
But can the principles  themselves be justified? Could Rorty"s 
"ethnocentrism" really be the last word  on the subject?  On that meta-ethical 
view, any 
attempt to justify a moral  scheme or "vocabulary" would prove to be 
question-begging since the  justification would have to appeal to principles, 
norms and criteria internal to  its own vocabulary. So how then do we justify 
the Categorical Imperative,  Principle of Equal Respect for Persons, The 
Original Position, Principle of  Discourse, etc.. Are these really but articles 
of political faith?"
 
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