Reasons, Justification, and Evidence II

Alan Millar

in Reasons and Experience

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198242703
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680540 | DOI:
Reasons, Justification, and Evidence II

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Chapter 2 discussed a simple example in which we believe that deer have passed on seeing tracks of a certain sort on a path. This chapter uses this example as a model to compare and contrast a type of case which has been thought to be philosophically problematic, namely that in which we believe that a person is in pain based on beliefs about that person's behaviour. In both cases an evidential proposition is involved, that is, a proposition to the effect that e is evidence for h, but some philosophers have argued that pain behaviour is a criterion of pain. On this view, it is a necessary truth that, for instance, wincing is evidence of pain. The chapter rejects this view and attempts to do justice to the thought that the status of a proposition such as that wincing is evidence of pain is different from the status of the proposition that the occurrence of tracks of a certain sort is evidence of the recent passage of deer. The former proposition is contingent yet normative in a sense which allows for the possibility that it may be legitimately taken for granted even in the absence of supporting grounds.

Keywords: pain; evidence; justification; proposition; behaviour

Chapter.  9373 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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