AuthorCruz, Joseph Lewis Hernandez
AdvisorGoldman, Alvin I.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe leading versions of epistemic naturalism have attempted to make normative accounts of justification and knowledge in part dependent upon scientific psychology. Call this doctrine psychologistic naturalism. Psychologistic naturalism, it is thought, holds the promise of integrating normative questions about the relation between evidence and belief with a physicalist, causal conception of our mental life. In Part One of this essay I argue that psychologistic naturalism fails. My reasons for claiming this differ significantly from those advanced in the contemporary literature by epistemic non-naturalists, however. Non-naturalists have mistakenly accepted the terms of debate set by psychologistic naturalists, and thus they have argued that the empirical results of the science of the mind--as part of a merely descriptive causal account of natural systems--have no important place in epistemology. But psychologistic naturalism does not fail because psychology is causal and descriptive, as the non-naturalist alleges. It fails, instead, because psychology is not wholly or even primarily causal and descriptive. Psychology requires a robust normative account of rational inference in order to offer explanations within a cognitivist framework. The inadequacy of psychologistic naturalism may seem to invite a return to epistemology as first philosophy, where the primary methodology deploys a priori intuitions about cases. In Part Two, I argue that this is not the best response to the instability of psychologistic naturalism. If psychological explanations express an embedded normative component, then the non-naturalist's objections to a liaison between epistemology and psychology are misguided. I pursue an epistemology in the scientific image, where psychological explanations encode a normative epistemic component and where the states of natural cognizers are characterized at a finer resolution than beliefs. Psychological explanation involves an evaluation of the inferential cogency of each step in a cognitive process, and I replace the traditional methodology of epistemology with this more subtle and nuanced version of epistemic appraisal.
Degree ProgramGraduate College