Positive Reasons, Defeaters, and the Infant/Child Objection

Jennifer Lackey

in Learning from Words

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219162
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711824 | DOI:
Positive Reasons, Defeaters, and the Infant/Child Objection

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This chapter is devoted to defending dualism from an objection that is often regarded by non-reductionists as decisive against requiring positive reasons for testimonial justification or warrant: namely, the apparent fact that infants and young children are not cognitively capable of having such positive reasons, yet clearly possess testimonial knowledge. Since non-reductionism does not impose a requirement of this sort, it is thought to avoid this problem and is therefore taken to have a significant advantage over both dualism and reductionism. It is argued that if this ‘Infant/Child Objection’ indeed undermines dualism and reductionism, then a variant of it similarly undermines non-reductionism. Thus, considerations about the cognitive capacities of infants and young children do not effectively discriminate between these three competing theories of testimonial justification or warrant.

Keywords: children; cognitive capacities; dualism; infants; justification; non-reductionism; reductionism; testimony; warrant

Chapter.  9913 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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