Friday, October 30, 2009

Highway to Hell

Healthcare is one of the many highways to hell.

Oh, I forgot:



Jeans have come a long way.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evidence and Armchair Access Link

This is another paper that sometimes gets googled to the blog, so I thought I'd offer a link here to a draft:

Evidence and Armchair Access

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reasons and evidence

Suppose that after 99 draws, you've drawn only green M&M's from a bag you know contains only one remaining piece but before you can greedily gobble it down, you drop the bag and it falls into the busy street. Maybe you believe that the bag contained all green M&M's on the basis of your sampling. Do you have knowledge-level justification for believing that it will be green? Will modifying the numbers make a difference? Make it 999. Or, make it 9,999.

According to Fantl and McGrath:
(JKR) If p is knowledge-level justified for you, then p is epistemically eligible to be a reason you have for believing q, for any q.

Now, it seems that if you can justifiably believe that, say, all the M&M's are green on the basis of inductive grounds, the proposition that all the pieces in that bag were green could be a reason for you to believe that the remaining piece that was unseen wasn't blue.

Q: Is the proposition that all the pieces in that bag were green part of your evidence?

It seems to me intuitively obvious that the answer to this question is 'No'. So, where does that leave us? I think (JKR) looks pretty good, but I suppose you could try to save the idea that we can have knowledge-level justification for believing p on the basis of induction by distinguishing reasons for believing and evidence for belief. The degree to which something is justified will be a function of the evidence rather than the reasons. I don't like this maneuver.

Note that (JKR) uses the phrase '... is epistemically eligible to be a reason you have for believing q'. It might be that that which is a member of the set of things that are epistemically eligible to be a reason aren't reasons, and that might preserve the link between reasons and evidence. I don't think this will work, however, for internalists who I imagine will want there to be no epistemic gap between things that are reasons and thinks that are epistemically eligible to be a reason.

Any bright ideas?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

E = B

Justin from Broadly Construed has a nice post (from a long time past) on evidence and I thought I'd post a thought I posted over there in the comment box.

Here's an argument against E = B. (It seems to work equally well against any view that identifies evidence with the contents of non-factive mental states):

(i) Inference to best explanation requires that evidence is constitutionally capable of figuring in explanation.
(ii) Evidence is constitutionally capable of figuring in explanation only if it is true.
(iii) Evidence consists of truths.
(iv) There are false beliefs.
(v) ~(E = B)

The case for (ii) is that explanations are factive. ('p because q' is true only if p and q are true). I don't think there's a second step in evaluation that determines whether something that is evidence can then serve as the evidence that figures in IBE. It seems (iii) follows from (ii).

UPDATE
It seems to me that this causes trouble for a host of views, particularly if it is combined with an acquisition/access principle to the effect that non-inferential knowledge is sufficient for the possession of evidence. Here's a gloss on what evidence is: it is whatever we can properly rely on in theoretical reasoning (of the sort that terminates in belief) without needing to rely on additional evidence or beliefs. I can't see how non-inferential knowledge fails to do that. I also can't see how non-inferentially justified beliefs could fail to do that. So, if we say that non-inferentially justified beliefs provide evidence and accept the argument above, we get the following:

(*) S's belief that p can be non-inferentially justified only if p.

That doesn't rule out the possibility of false, justified beliefs but it's a start.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Myth FJB link

Every so often people ask about this or google this paper to this site, so I'm linking to a copy of The Myth of the False, Justified Belief. If you care to take a look, here it is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Motivated!

W's new gig.

This means that Zig Ziglar will be in the library?

Reasons as Propositions & Attitudes as Enablers

Someone could say that propositions are motivating reasons, but here's a worry:

Motivating reasons aren't necessary existents.
Propositions are necessary existents.
Motivating reasons aren't propositions.


This objection, the modal objection, seems to me to be pretty good. But, I can imagine a proponent of the view that identifies motivating reasons with propositions saying something like this. It's only when the subject has the right sort of propositional attitudes that the propositions can be the subject's reasons. This, I take it, is Miller's view from his recent Nous paper. Here's what he says:
Note that S’s bearing such an attitude towards p is itself a fact about p, and not a mental state. In addition, it is a fact which is not itself a part of the relevant motivating reason, but rather serves as one of that reason’s enabling conditions. Thus to use our previous example, the proposition there is widespread starvation in Iceland would not have served as one of my motivating reasons if I did not believe that there is widespread starvation in Iceland, even though strictly speaking it is the proposition which I believe rather than my belief itself that serves as my motivating reason (2009: 226).


I want to note two things. First, this response seems to concede that the motivating reasons that exist are necessary existents but then insists that it is contingent whether someone has a motivating reason and which motivating reasons they have. If it's intolerable for the motivating reasons themselves to be necessary existents, this response won't do. Maybe it's thought that it is tolerable for the motivating reasons to be necessary existents provided that the having of them is contingent. Note that what allows him to say that the having of them is contingent is the claim that it is only when we are in certain mental states that we have them and it is a contingent matter as to whether we are in such mental states. I think that's sort of right, but I think it's not going far enough.

It's clear that there's a difference between believing that the proposition p exists and believing p to be true. It's contingent whether someone believes any propositions to exist and it is contingent whether someone believes any proposition to be true. The question I have is simple. Why wouldn't knowing a reason to exist be sufficient for having the reason? If knowing a reason to exist is sufficient for having the reason, then I don't think that the account is going to get the modal profile of having a reason right. Here's why:

Knowing a motivating reason to exist is sufficient for having it.
Propositions are known to be necessary existents by the philosophically informed.
If reasons are propositions, the philosophically informed (who believe motivating reasons to be propositions) will know that they have all the same reasons in every possible world where they know propositions to be necessary existents.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Is ignorance an excuse?

Portmore is taking aim at subjective utilitarianism and everything he's said is true ... until he gets to the comments. I'm not sure he's wrong, but I'm not sure he's right. The issue? Consider:

"those who perform objectively impermissible acts because they are culpably ignorant of the relevant non-normative facts are just as blameworthy as those who perform objectively impermissible acts because they are culpably ignorant of the relevant normative facts"

I'm not sure. You could say this. The reason that non-culpable ignorance concerning matter of fact excuses (sometimes, most of the time) is that someone who acts on mistaken factual beliefs has not shown that they are willing to act against the values that we should care about but someone who acts on non-culpably ignorant normative beliefs does show that they are willing to act against values that we ought to care about. That the judgment is itself non-culpable just shows that they have not shown themselves to be willing to shirk epistemic responsibility. Thoughts? I need feedback.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good news!

I just received word that my paper, "Fallibilism and Concessive Knowledge Attributions," has been accepted the upcoming meeting of the APA Pacific Division. This season, I've managed to land epistemology papers on all three programs. In New York, I'll make my case for the truth requirement on warranted assertion. In Chicago, I'll be giving my paper on evidentialism, justification, and epistemic value.

Beyond belief

If I told you that an interracial couple has been refused a marriage license, you wouldn't believe it.

If I said that this happened in Louisiana, my guess is that you might believe it. Something for epistemologists to ponder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Into big government before we were against it. Some tax cuts. A five (plus) year nap.

Epistemology at the Eastern

I'll be in NY in December for the Eastern where I'll be giving a version of my paper on truth and warranted assertion. Here she is:

Truth and Warranted Assertion

Here's a question related to matters addressed in this paper. Think about the Innocence Project. Here's a group that identifies people convicted of crimes that they did not commit and manages to get them released using evidence that was often unavailable at the time of conviction. The following strikes me as obvious. Upon discovering that some innocent person has been forced to do years of hard time, we discover that this person is owed a duty of reparation and that duty is owed even if there was no culpable wrong that led to their conviction. There are people who seem to think that the deontic properties of our actions are fixed by facts about the non-factive mental states of the agent, but I think cases like this show how wrong such a view is. With a little imagination we can imagine cases very similar to the actual cases where the people who are rightly released and compensated are guilty of the crimes they have been accused of and are owed no duty of reparation. There we go. The deontic properties of the acts are different in these two cases in the absence of any discernible difference in the mental states and evidence of the relevant agents until after the duty not to punish the innocent has been violated. Okay, so I'm sure there are the Rick Perrys out there who don't think that innocent people who have been forced to do two decades of hard time for crimes they didn't commit aren't owed anything, but I'm sure if I said that internalists were a pack of Perry-esqua whackaloons they'd say that I'm being unfair. Am I? I guess. Perry is probably consistent. What's the internalist story about why we have duties of reparation to those who are wrongfully imprisoned on the basis of good but misleading evidence by good but misled people?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Philosopher's Digest

Don't forget to get your reviews in to Philosopher's Digest. Don't forget to check Philosopher's Digest for reviews. I've just written a review of Mikkel Gerken's forthcoming article, "Warrant and Action" (found here). It might take a while to post, but I thought I'd send out the reminder for authors and readers.

Not sure what to make of this

but a reader sent me a link to a blog and some stories about fraud and philosophy. Here it is.

It could be awkward

Tomorrow morning AT&T is coming to terminate my internet service and Time Warner is coming to install my new internet service.

I've had nothing but trouble with AT&T since starting service two months ago. I spent hours on the phone with AT&T this weekend trying to get everything back up and running. That wasn't getting me anywhere, so I had them transfer me to customer service to cancel. After giving the guy all the information and assuring him I did in fact want to cancel as soon as possible, he asked if I'd be willing to switch my cellphone carrier to AT&T. That's chutzpah!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another one for the fallacy files

This farce will only solidify in the electorate’s mind the truth of what was blindingly obvious before the election and has become Metaphysically Certain since: Obama is an empty suit with no substantive achievements to speak of, who owes whatever standing he has entirely to the ridiculous fantasies that have been projected onto him by his sycophants.


Said here.

I can't tell if this is the author's bad argument or the if the author just thinks that there are lots and lots of stupid people in the electorate who would reason from the fact that someone has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize they don't deserve to the conclusion that someone is an empty suit. I could see it if it was true that anyone is an empty suit if they don't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but then we're all empty suits. (Well, all of us but Henry Kissinger.) Is the idea that it follows from the fact that you got an award you don't deserve that you have no substantive achievements? Clearly not.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Disjunctivism and Defeat

Resuming a discussion from earlier, I wanted to say more about Conee's criticism of disjunctivism. Remember that Conee criticized the disjunctivist's epistemological claim that the evidence we have in the good case is better than the evidence we have in the bad by appeal to this principle:

The Defeat Principle: X’s justification for a belief is not stronger than Y’s justification for the same belief, if their respective justifications are prone to being equally well defeated by the same defeaters.

To avoid the difficulties discussed earlier, we should read the principle as follows:
The Defeat Principle (B): X’s justification for a belief is not stronger than Y’s justification for the same belief, if their respective justifications are prone to being equally well defeated by all of the same defeaters.

There are four things for the experiential disjunctivist to say.

First, Conee's paper gives us one example of one defeater that seems to defeat the justification provided by perception and hallucination equally well. I am not confident that this defeat principle is one that the epistemological disjunctivist has to deny because I am not confident that there is not some possible defeater that will defeat the justifications subjects have for beliefs based on perception and hallucination to different degrees.

Second, the experiential disjunctivist who also opts for evidential disjunctivism thinks that (i) it is possible for there to be subjective differences between perceptual experience and hallucination when these mental states are introspectively indistinguishable and (ii) that these subjective differences confer epistemic benefits upon the subject who is fortunate enough to have had a perceptual experience rather than hallucination. If my first response is mistaken and Defeat Principle (B) does apply to the view that combines epistemological and experiential disjunctivism, that is because all of the same defeaters will apply to experience-based justifications when these experiences are introspectively indistinguishable even if there are subjective differences between the relevant experiences. Since this seems wrong, Defeat Principle (B) is false if it threatens the view that combines experiential and epistemological disjunctivism.

Suppose we have a series of experiences: e1, e2, e3, and e4. These are the experiences you would have if you looked at very similar but increasingly dark paint chips: c1, c2, c3 and c4. These chips have been set out on the table and left unattended while you scout the store for more promising shades of gray paint. Suppose e1 and e2 are indistinguishable, e2 and e3 are indistinguishable, and e3 and e4 are indistinguishable. Owing to subjective differences between e1 and e3, these experiences are distinguishable. Owing to subjective differences between e2 and e4, these experiences are distinguishable. It should be that subjectively different and introspectively distinguishable experiences justify different beliefs and be liable to defeat from different defeaters. For example, the degree to which e3 will justify believing that you are looking at c3 is greater than the degree that it justifies believing that you are looking at c1. If someone says that you are looking at c1 but you believe that you are not, the justification for this belief will be defeated by their testimony to a greater degree if you are undergoing e2 than it would if you were undergoing e3 or e4. However, if we say that all the same defeaters will apply to experience-based justifications when those experiences are indistinguishable, we get the result that all the same defeaters apply to e1 and e2 in virtue of their indistinguishability. All the same defeaters apply to e2 and 3 in virtue of their indistinguishability. All the same defeaters apply to e1 and e3 in spite of the fact that they are subjectively distinguishable because this follows from the previous two claims. And now I need to take back the claim that the justification for this belief will be defeated by their testimony to a greater degree if you are undergoing e2 than it would if you were undergoing e3 or e4. That seems daft.

Third, suppose S forms the belief that p on the basis of fallacious reasoning but then forgets the reasons for which she believed p. Suppose S’ comes to know that p is the case but then forgets the good reasons that led her to believe p. It seems that all the same defeaters would defeat the justifications they had for their beliefs to the same degree and so Defeat Principle (B) implies that their justifications are equally good. If you think that memory has a purely preservative function and agree with Owens that forgetting the bad reasons that convinced S to believe p should not lead to an improvement in the epistemic status of that subject’s belief, you can either accept Defeat Principle (B) and say that memory can never preserve the justified standing of a belief when the subject forgets her reasons for believing or reject the principle and say that in spite of their equal susceptibility to defeat, the subject who seems to know p has better justification for believing p than our first subject.

Fourth, it seems plausible that experience gives us reasons to believe. It seems plausible to say that experience gives us reasons to believe beyond those that introspection provides. Suppose I have the sort of conscious experience in which it looks to me as if p. Suppose you have a conscious experience indistinguishable from mine. I suppose that introspection and some background beliefs would give you some evidence for beliefs about the external world, but I would think that these reasons are different from the reasons provided by experience and that they are typically worse than the reasons provided by experience. However, if the gods were to tell us that our experiences are not veridical, our beliefs about the external world would presumably be defeated and defeated to the same degree. According to Defeat Principle (B), if this is true, I was either wrong to say that experience gives us reasons that introspection does not or wrong to say that they were better. I think these examples show that there is something seriously wrong with the Defeat Principle.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Voices from the fringe, Michael Steele's included

E.J. Dionne on NPR
There is something kind of rancid about our current politics that you saw here, again, as you saw when there was a certain celebration on the right when Chicago didn't win the Olympics. And some of the things said about this on the right - not - David said some perfectly reasonable things about this being premature. But there was just such anger that our president won the Nobel Peace Prize, that's kind of disturbing about the state of politics.


David Brooks in response:
... There's always going to be fringe voices


Michael Steele right on cue:
"The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."


There we have it. I think DB is right. Heading the RNC is heading a fringe movement. I checked the RNC blog to look for further discussion. Enjoy. No entries since April. Jesus, can't even muster the energy for snipe and snark.
______
Fwiw, I think this is pretty much about right.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Epistemological disjunctivism: reasons and resultant normative standing

The epistemological disjunctivist could defend the view that we have better evidence, reasons, or justifiers in the good case than the bad. The disjunctivist could defend the view that we have justified beliefs only in the good case. I’ve primarily been interested in defending that first disjunctivist thesis, but let me sketch an argument for the second disjunctivist thesis.

Here is an argument that we can have justified beliefs in the good case:
(1) In at least some such cases of veridical perception where it looks to S as if p, there is no reason not to believe p.
(2) If there is no reason not to believe p, there is no undefeated reason not to believe p.
(3) If there is no undefeated reason not to believe p, it is not the case that S ought not believe p.
(4) If it is not the case that S ought not believe p, S is permitted to believe p.
(5) It cannot be that S is permitted to believe p if S’s belief that p cannot be justified.
(C) S’s belief that p is justified if it looks to S as if p and S is in the good case.

Here is an argument that we cannot have justified beliefs in the bad case (assuming that the only reasons to believe are provided by experience):
(6) In every case of hallucination where it looks to S as if p, there is a reason that has among its demands that S refrain from believing p on the basis of that hallucination.*
(7) S has no other reason to believe p.
(8) There is always a reason to refrain from believing what you do not have reason to believe.
(9) S can permissibly believe in the face of reasons not to believe only if there is some conflicting reason that has among its demands that S believe p where this reason is at least as strong as the reasons not to believe.
(10) There are no such reasons.
(11) In the bad case, there is always an undefeated reason for S not to believe.
(12) If there is an undefeated reason for S not to believe, S is obliged not to believe.
(13) S’s belief that p cannot be justified if S is obliged to refrain from believing p.
(14) In the bad case, S cannot be justified in believing p even if it looks to S as if p.

One objection to the argument that we can have justified beliefs in the good case I’ve just sketched is that it seems I have shown that it could be that someone justifiably believes p with no reason at all to believe p. Since it seems that justified beliefs have something positive going for them, it might seem there is a mistake contained somewhere in the argument. I think the way to deal with this objection is to show that there is always reason to refrain from believing in the absence of reasons to believe. That would suggest that (1) could be true only if S has something like evidence or a reason to believe p. Williamson suggests that if, say, someone ought not to believe p unless some condition, C, obtains, then they also ought not believe p unless they have some reason to think that C does in fact obtain. At the very least, to do otherwise would be irresponsible and you might think that whenever there is some norm that we are answerable to, we are under some sort of obligation to refrain from being irresponsible in the way someone would who knew that they ought not believe unless C obtains and then believes with no reason to think that this is not one of the cases where C does not obtain.

I think it is the second argument that most will resist. (7) is just true by stipulation. I am arguing that in the absence of any reasons apart from those provided by experience, hallucinatory experience cannot justify belief. I have just explained why I think (8) is plausible in addressing the objection to (1). (9) simply states a connection between reasons and the obligations they give rise to. (10) might be controversial, but if you think it is false you have to show two things. First, you have to show that there are reasons that apply to the subject in the case of hallucination that demand that the subject believe p that are at least as strong as the reasons not to believe p. Such reasons, however, would make it prima facie wrong not to believe p in the absence of reasons not to and I think there are no such reasons.

What about (6)?

Assuming that epistemological disjunctivism is true, hallucinatory experiences will always pass off a non-reason as if it is a reason because the contents of these experiences do not match reality. As such, the contents of these experiences will not be true and so anyone who treats the propositions that is the contents of these experiences as a reason to form a belief about the external world will violate the (alleged) norm that tells us not to treat a non-reason as if it were a reason.

Epistemological disjunctivists could only answer our first question negatively if they were to say that there is no norm of the sort described here. It is hard to see how someone who bought into the disjunctivist picture could seriously maintain that there is no such norm for then facts about what counts as reasons for what would not automatically have normative significance. What then would make these reasons normative reasons?

There is the issue as to whether reasons inaccessible to the subject have an effect on the normative standing of the agent's attitudes. As I've said before, when the reasons are reasons-against, they need not be accessible or play any role in deliberation to have an effect on normative standing. To stick with an example from earlier, upon discovering that an innocent person has been wrongly incarcerated and forced to suffer for crimes they did not commit, everyone thinks we should set this person free and it seems everyone agrees that there is a duty of reparation that needs to be discharged. This is in spite of the fact that there is no one we can necessarily point to who we can say was culpable for the wrong that needs to be righted. If someone said that reasons against affect normative standing only when someone is cognizant of them, it is hard to see how such a person could say that this is a case of wrongdoing that generates a reparative duty as opposed to a case of right action with unfortunate side effects.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Doom, gloom, and the obvious solution to the problem (that will be ignored)

Put down the pitchforks and step back from the ledge.

I've received an email that many of you have received:
ANNOUNCEMENT-APA Website Construction. The APA National Office is in the midst of transitioning our website and its services to a new hosting facility. Due to the transition, the APA website may be temporarily down for a few days. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our members and the philosophical community and we’d like to thank everyone for their on-going patience while we continue with our new construction.


It's hard not to agree with Spiros:

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? The JfP publishes tomorrow!

As if it were not already utterly plain to anyone who's not an idiot, this goes to show that the APA does not give a shit about jobseekers. This is ridiculous. Stop paying your dues.


If the APA can send out a mass email to cause mass panic, they can send out another email with the JFP in pdf to all paying members of the APA and end the mass panic they caused. They don't need their website of arguable quality to do that. Make it so.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good for him

Alito puts Scalia in his place.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court voiced deep free speech concerns Tuesday about a law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty. Selling depictions of animal cruelty like this amateur dogfighting video may be illegal under a 1999 statute. The justices heard an hour of lively debate about the scope and intent of the decade-old statute that supporters say has done much to stop the spread of profiting from the torture and abuse of animals.

But media groups and the National Rifle Association [WTF?] were among those who say the law is overly broad.

"It's not up to the government to decide what are people's worst instincts," said Justice Antonin Scalia. "One can contemplate a lot of other areas, where government could say: You are appealing to people's worst instincts, and, therefore, movies cannot be made" showing dramatized depictions of animals being abused, for example.

"What about people who like to see human sacrifices?" asked Justice Samuel Alito, somewhat sarcastically. "Suppose that is legally taking place someplace in the world. I mean, people here would probably love to see it. Live, pay-per-view, you know, on the Human Sacrifice Channel. They have a point of view they want to express. That's okay?" He seemed to indicate strongly it was not, and that lawmakers would have discretion to block it.

The specific case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bull dogs attacking other animals and one another in staged confrontations.

New Blog!

I think people should be interested to see that Ben Hale (Colorado) has started a blog:

Cruel Mistress

I think there will be lots of discussion of environmental ethics and policy and other things. As I have a fiery hot hatred for all things pollinating at the moment, I'm sure there will be plenty for us to fight about.

Objections to Epistemological Disjunctivism

Let's say that epistemological disjunctivism is the view that in case 1 you'll have more evidence/reasons than in case 2 for your perceptual beliefs:

C1: It looks to S as if p and that's because S's experience is veridical.
C2: It looks to S as if p and that's because S is hallucinating.

I think that in C1, p is part of S's evidence as a result of S's experience but I don't think that p is part of S's evidence in C2. Various objections have been raised against epistemological disjunctivism, here I want to discuss Conee's objections from, "Disjunctivism and Anti-Skepticism".

Conee has argued that nothing, not even the factive mental states that McDowell thinks we are in when we perceive p to be the case, could confer upon us the sorts of epistemic benefits by which we have better evidence or reasons than we have in the bad case. First, he says that a subject who perceives p to be the case and believes p to be the case is not more reasonable than a subject who undergoes a subjectively indistinguishable hallucination and ends up believing the same thing.

That seems reasonable enough, but it also seems irrelevant. McDowell will say that factive reasons give us better reasons to believe than hallucinations will and it is controversial whether it is right to say that two subjects are equally reasonable in believing what they do only if their reasons are equally good. It seems that someone can be no less than perfectly reasonable in acting wrongly, provided that their conduct can be excused. If the point of offering an excuse is to uphold
someone’s rationality or character in spite of the fact that they acted against an undefeated reason and we succeed in excusing their conduct by showing that they are just as reasonable or responsible as someone who, say, acts rightly, then intuitions about what is reasonable are not a good way to test claims about the comparative strength or goodness of reasons.

Conee recognizes that some will distinguish between judgments of reasonableness and claims about reasons, so he offers this second criticism.

Consider:

The Defeat Principle: X’s justification for a belief is not stronger than Y’s justification for the same belief, if their respective
justifications are prone to being equally well defeated by the same defeaters.

He observes that if some subject perceived a table and another subject had a hallucinatory experience indistinguishable from this first subject’s experience, the justification these subjects had for believing that there was a table before them would be defeated to an equal degree if told by a trustworthy person that they were hallucinating. He concludes:
"The assumption that the table and its rectangularity are directly manifested by the perception, and not by the hallucination, does not affect the capacity of the testimony to defeat. As this testimony example also illustrates, some defeaters of the
justification would have true content in the hallucination case, and untrue content in the perception case. But this difference also does not affect their capacity to defeat the respective justifications. Thus, The Defeat Principle provides another way to see that the disjunctivist assumption of perceptual directness implies no justificatory advantage."

While I agree that the testimony could defeat the justification these subjects have, I don’t think this tells us much about the justification provided by veridical experience and the justification provided by hallucination.

Suppose my justification for borrowing the neighbor’s car without permission is to drive someone to the hospital because they are in need of immediate medical attention. Your reason for borrowing your neighbor’s car without permission is to drive someone to a restaurant because they are in need of immediate romantic attention. If we are then both commanded by the
gods to return our cars, our justifications are both equally defeated but it seems that mine is better than yours.

Of course, this is about reasons for action, but we can come up with examples of reasons for belief that show that the Defeat Principle is unsound. Suppose God told me that my crystal ball will tell me who will win the derby correctly 99 times out of 100 and God tells you that your crystal ball will tell you who will win the derby correctly 87 times out of 100. My ball says that Sad Clown will win. Your ball says Bride of the Fox will win. The paper reports that Butternut Squash won the race. Before we read the paper, my justification was better than yours. I think after we read the paper our justifications are equally defeated.

We should consider one last example. It seems plausible that experience gives us reasons to believe. It seems plausible to say that experience gives us reasons to believe beyond those that introspection provides. Suppose I have the sort of conscious experience in which it looks to me as if p. Suppose you have a conscious experience indistinguishable from mine. I suppose that introspection and some background beliefs would give you some evidence for beliefs about the external world, but I would think that these reasons are different from the reasons provided by experience and that they are typically worse than the reasons provided by experience. However, if the gods were to tell us that our experiences are not veridical, our beliefs about the external world would presumably be defeated and defeated to the same degree. According to the Defeat Principle, if this is true, I was either wrong to say that experience gives us reasons that introspection does not or wrong to say that they were better. I think these examples show that there is something seriously wrong with the Defeat Principle.