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Hoops and Barns: a new dilemma for Sosa

Kelp, Christoph, Boult, Cameron, Broncano-Berrocal, Fernando, Dimmock, Paul, Ghijsen, Harmen and Simion, Mona 2017. Hoops and Barns: a new dilemma for Sosa. Synthese 10.1007/s11229-017-1461-5

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This paper critically assesses Sosa’s normative framework for performances as well as its application to epistemology. We first develop a problem for one of Sosa’s central theses in the general theory of performance normativity according to which performances attain fully desirable status if and only if they are fully apt. More specifically, we argue that given Sosa’s account of full aptness according to which a performance is fully apt only if safe from failure, this thesis can’t be true. We then embark on a rescue mission on behalf of Sosa and work towards a weakened account of full aptness. The key idea is to countenance a distinction between negligible and non-negligible types of risk and to develop an account of full aptness according to which even performances that are endangered by risk can be fully apt, so long as the risk is of a negligible type. While this alternative account of full aptness solves the problem we developed for Sosa earlier on, there is also bad news for Sosa. When applied to epistemology, the envisaged treatment of barn façade cases as cases in which the agent falls short of fully apt belief will no longer work. We show that, as a result, Sosa faces a new version of a familiar dilemma for virtue epistemology. Either he construes full aptness as strong enough to get barn façade cases right in which case his view will run right into the problem we develop. Or else he construes full aptness as weak enough to avoid this problem but then he will not be able to deal with barn façade cases in the way envisaged.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0039-7857
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 1 June 2017
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 03:55

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