Sunday, March 11, 2007

More on Plantinga's EAAN



Thanks for the response. I was wondering what you actually thought of Plantinga's argument.

Coming back to Dusman's argument, he was talking about rationality. I took that as proper function rationality. And Plantinga does not believe that N&E is a proper-function rationality defeater against R. Suppose I say that the atheist does not have animal knowledge of ULL. It does not mean that she does not have justification for ULL. It may be that she is just short of warrant. But short of warrant does not necessarily mean that she is not justified.

Now here is an example where an atheist may still have animal knowledge of ULL. Suppose that S comes to believe in ULL through virtue (I'm using virtue epistemology rather than proper function but you can substitute whatever). And now we show that P(ULL/N&E) is low. It does not necessarily mean that S does not have animal knowledge of ULL. N&E may even be a defeater for S, but it may not take away justification nor knowledge. Suppose that the way S forms ULL, with regards to evidence (used broadly), she has .8 degree of belief or justification towards ULL. Given E at t1, her justification is .8. Now suppose N&E is low given R. It is a defeater. But suppose that S also has nonpropositional evidence for ULL (see Bergmann's article in Naturalism Defeated?). E at t2 would include N&E, but it does not necessarily mean that S has no justification for ULL at all. It may be that given new evidence, N&E, she just has to lower her degree of credence or belief to, say, .56. But it may be that .56 is just enough for knowledge. So S can have knowledge. In other words, if N&E is a defeater, it may simply show that S has a lesser degree of justification. It does not mean she is not justified or irrational, but her degree of justification or rationality just dropped.

What do you think?

Quote Taken from here



Good thoughts/questions...

By way of reply,

1. I recently posted about "what [I] actually thought of Plantinga's argument." See Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3.

2. I won't comment as to how Dusman was using 'rationality,' since I'm not sure. There's many subsets, i.e., alethic rationality, internal rationality, etc. Proper function rationality determines what we should do when confronted with one of these cases of irrationality. So, his point may have been more specific.

3. Plantinga does believe that EAAN gives the reflective naturalist a "kind of" proper function rationality defeater - a Humean defeater (see ND? p.209-211).

4. "Short of warrant" does not necessarily mean "unjustified," correct. But, the reflective naturalist has a defeater for his belief that he has "done his duty." Furthermore, the reflective naturalist has no reason to believe R. Similarly, the believer who accepts that his belief in God is the product of wish fulfillment, and beliefs finding their source in the cognitive faculties responsible for producing wish-fulfillment are not aimed at truth but some other purpose, has a defeater for his belief in God. This person's belief in God has no epistemic justification, then. The same for the reflective naturalist, then. Before reflecting, he may be justified, but not after.

5. Even if EAAN didn't take away "animal knowledge," the naturalist would still have a defeater for his beliefs, and so EAAN would still be pretty forceful.

6. Relying on Bergmann's idea of R being properly basic, and so it's a defeater-deflector for EAAN, seems to miss the point of EAAN. Of course proper function would demand continued belief in R, but this is not because this portion of your cognitive faculties are aimed at truth, but, rather, at the avoidance of cognitive disaster. A person S may be in a situation - say, lost in a snow storm on top of a mountain - and S may see a ridge that S thinks could be leaped to. Based on perception, this belief is basic to S. But, S would not have thought this if S were not in this survival situation. So S maintains this belief that the chasm is able to be jumped. Proper function requires this belief to be maintained. The optimistic overrider has kicked in. But the faculties governing this have some other virtue in mind - survival rather than true belief. In normal, reflective situations, S would not form said belief.

Or, suppose S ingests agent XX, a hallucinogenic drug, producing hallucinations in 90% of those who take XX. Proper function would require assuming R so as to avoid cognitive disaster. So, S has powerful inclinations to continue on in belief in R, even though S has come to believe that P(R / XX) is low or inscrutable, and S may take it in a basic way, but of course these powerful inclinations don't count as evidence for R. S would have this inclination whether she was in or out of the lucky 10%.

7. One can only use Bergmann's position that R has non-propositional evidence for it, raising the probability thesis, in cases of an unreflective naturalist. But, can the reflective naturalist have this? Well, if so, then R has warrant for him only if R is produced by proper functioning cognitive faculties successfully aimed at truth. But his beliefs are only successfully aimed at truth if they are reliable, and this is precisely what's in question. And, just to say that he has a strong inclination to believe R, doesn’t get him where he wants (see (6) above). And, if he assumes N & E, he has no reason to assume that his beliefs are aimed at truth. So non-propositional evidence doesn't help S.

8. If all it took was that a belief B could not be defeated D because B had non-propositional evidence, then it would appears that basic beliefs could not be defeated. Say that you go inside a widget producing factory. You see the widgets, and they appear red to you. The belief is formed by your senses, which proper function demands you believe are reliable, and hence the belief is basic. But, the shop manager, and close friend, tells you that the widgets have a red light illuminating them so as to detect otherwise unnoticeable defects in the widgets. He says that there are actually very few red widgets coming down the assembly line. It would appear that your basic belief was defeated that what you were seeing was a red widget because the probability that you were seeing a red widget was low.

Or, say that S comes to believe that she is a brain-in-the-vat (BIV). Further, so has no reason to believe that the Alpha Centaurian super scientists care whether she has mostly true beliefs or not. So, she believes P (R/ BIV) as low or inscrutable. Doesn't she have a defeater for R, no matter how strongly she continues to assume R on an every day basis. After all, the Alpha Centaurians needs to see her in every day life and so have constructed her to continue to believe R, and act as if R, because to not act that way would lead her into cognitive despair. But, when she reflects on her thoughts, she quires a defeater for R, and so gives it up. Same with the naturalist.

9. Lastly, S is irrational because proper function for internal rationality that S give up one of S's beliefs: R v N&E. If S came to believe that she had ingested agent XX - which caused hallucinations in 90% of those who took it, and S also held to R, proper function would require S to drop R. Or, say that S believed his head made of glass, and believed that he could play football without a helmet, then he would be internally irrational to not give up one of the beliefs (if, following Alston, one wishes to say that S should drop N&E rather than R, I still think that gets you to ~R, but just takes the long way. For without a story on the purpose of your cognitive faculties, how they got here, or anything, S should remain agnostic A about R, and so P(R/ A) would be inscrutable, and the defeater for R has not left. Though she still might act as if R, upon reflection, rationality demands R to be dropped. We would call someone who believed both of the above propositions, irrational. If S is in a similar situation with P(R / N&E), then S is irrational for holding to R in the Humean and alethic-rationality way.


  1. Thanks Paul.

    I am aware of the examples of Plantinga that you have cited such as XX and the drug. I also thank you #2. I have to ask Plantinga himself what his views are because I was a bit confused in some places. You brought up many points so I can't reply to all of them. I will reply indirectly to some points and directly to others.

    With #4, you said that a reflective naturalist has no reason to believe R. I'm not sure what you mean by that. Does that mean that a naturalist who reflects about R has no reason to believe R? If so, then I disagree. A naturalist may have non-propositional evidence for R and when he reflects about R, he may not get propositional evidence or any other reasons for R but still have reason to believe R, namely his non-propositional evidence. If by #4, you mean to say that a naturalist cannot have reflective reason or reflective knowledge, then I am open to that.

    I agree with #5 that EAAN is forceful. But if the naturalist has animal knowledge that R, then it means that EAAN does not cast into doubt R. And this leads me to the argument I gave. It may be that EAAN *lessens* the **degree** of justification for R, but it does not take away knowledge. Or, it may take away warrant, but not justification. In other words, suppose P(R/N&E) is low. But add non-propositional evidence. It may be that R is high or just enough to count as warrant or justified.

    This leads me to #8. I don't think that "If all it took was that a belief B could not be defeated D because B had non-propositional evidence, then it would appears that basic beliefs could not be defeated." No, it just means that there are some basic beliefs that cannot be defeated (ex, God, R, induction, etc). Suppose you are accused of pushing Professor X down the building. You have E1-E4 that would show that you did do it. And they do seem pretty convincing. But you remember being in your room. You do not have propositional evidence for this. But you *were* in your room. Now, let S be you killing Prof. X. P(S/E1-E4) is high. But should you believe S? No. You have non-propositional evidence that ~S. So although S is high given E1-E4, you still should not believe S. In other words, you may have an intrinsic defeater against S. Same with R. It may be that R is low given N&E, but your non-propositional evidence may be a defeater against N&E. R may even be an instrinsic defeater. So R, like acquiring belief in God, induction, logical laws, etc may be basic beliefs that cannot be defeated.

    I think my statements above either responds directly or indirectly to all your points.

  2. Apolonio,

    But you grant that R could be defeated in BIV and XX cases, right?. If those are analogous, then EAAN can defeat R.

    Thus your response to #4 is false. The only "reason" one has is the "strong inclination to continue to believe R," but that surely isn't a defeater defeater because the same stong inclination goes on in BIV and XX cases.

    Btw, Bergamann et al did admit that R wasn't beyond defeat. So your argument would be with them as well.


  3. Paul,

    I don't think R is beyond defeat. I, with Van Cleve, O'Connor, and others, believe that the mere fact of N&E does not defeat R. So R can be defeated. I'm just calling into question that N&E itself does. Believing in R may be a type of "lottery" belief. Or N&E may show that R is low, but the type or token process which produces belief in R may be reliable. Just because N&E makes the reliability of our cognitive faculties low, it does not mean that the particular process of aquiring R was not virtuous. Also, as Jon Kvanvig pointed out, Plantinga needs a better reason why he thinks that N is special enough to rule out other propositions or even non-propositional evidence or other information (I also find Plantinga's response to O'Connor, Van Cleve and others as "not true philosophy" not persuasive). Or suppose that through naturalism, person S *is* that lottery person who has a reliable cognitive faculty. Should he suspend or disbelieve in R?

    With regards to non-propositional evidence, I don't see how Plantinga sufficiently responded to that. Do I believe that BIV cases defeat R? Not necessarily. It may be that beliefs that were formed from perceptual experiences are defeated, but not other sources of beliefs. For more, see Merricks' paper.

    We just find ourselves believing in R or cognitive faculties simply function that way. Someone accuses me of pushing X, but I just find myself believing that I didn't. It's not that I'm inclined to believe it. It just *seems* to me that I didn't (Sosa makes a good distinction between the two). If M. Huemer is right in his account, then I should (or permitted to) still believe I didn't believe I pushed X. Is there anything special about N&E then? Well, it may be a defeater. In what sense? In that it decreases justification. It may be that it should give me less degree of belief towards R. I have not seen an argument where if .5 is suspension of judgment and .51 is justified belief, that N&E (at least) makes one to hold R .5 and not .51. I know that defeaters are relative to the situation and person, but Plantinga has not made the argument that N&E should make belief in R necessarily .5.

    Suppose that I, through a virtuous process, believe that my grandfather invented the telephone. Now, that was five years ago. Suppose I forgot how I acquired that belief. I just remember that he invented the telephone. Some guy offers an argument against it. I cannot defeat it. Does that argument itself defeat my belief? I don't think it does. At least, it's not obvious.

    Finally, suppose that S through reflection T, sees that N&E is low and is a defeater (in the sense that you have to withhold or disbelieve) for R. S then believes that R is false. But he also knows that it is through T that concluded that "N&E is a defeater for R." Since he believes that R is false, and he used T, then does he not also have to conclude that N&E is a defeater for R?

  4. Apolonio,

    I, with Otte (with a little Chisholming here), Nunely, and Plantinga, think that N&E is enough. And, some, like O'Connor for example, do not think R defeatable (see his article). In fact, Otte makes powerful arguments to this effect. N&E seem to meet the conditions (and most agree with the conditions) he lays out. Further, we know enough about N&E, e.g., our CFs were brought about by random genetic mutations, survival is the aim, not necessarily true beliefs, etc.

    The lotto belief doesn't seem to work. Suppose that your friend F ingests XX, but you notice R holds for him for the 5 years you've known him. You then find out your friend ingested XX 5 years ago. You then find out that XX causes hallucinations in 90% of the cases. You could then say that he "won the XX lottery." But apply this to yourself. With F, you were an objective observer, but XX specified to yourself, there is no objective observer. Say you believe you ingest XX, and you also believe that it causes hallucinations in 90% of the cases, it would thus appear that "I won the XX lottery" is not a defeater-defeater or a defeater-deflector for you.

    To say that R is reliable begs the question (see reply to Bergmann). I don't think it can be conditionalized upon, and seems to fall under T. Reid's objection that "If a man's testimony were called into question, it would be ridiculous to refer to the man's own word as to whether he was honest or not."

    I don't see why Plantinga needs "better reasons" for why N&E (not just N) rules out other propositions. It would appear that his argument, if correct, defeats all the reasons that could be given.

    To say that S just *is* the lucky lottery winner seems to contradict your claim that you allow defeat for R. Why cannot any defeater for belief in R be defeated by the claim that "you won the lottery." So, you'd need to do some work reconciling this problem.

    With regards to non-propositional evidence, Plantinga responded to it by pointing out that one's "strong inclination" to believe R may be the result of the optimistic overrider function. All that follows from this out is that we cannot get a proper-function rationality defeater for R, not that we can't get an alethic-rationality defeater, or a Humean defeater. So, perhaps this tendency to believe R by virtue or proper function is not aimed at true belief, but aimed at the avoidance of cognitive disaster. Tenacity of belief is not evidence, non-propositional or otherwise, for R. To say that this non-propositional evidence is reliable assumes that this bit of the design plan is aimed at the production of true beliefs, and it assumes that the production of this belief is reliable. So the reflective naturalist gains an alethic-rationality defeater for it isn't likely that the purpose of his CFs is the production of true beliefs, it is likely that belief content will be something like a spandrel. And so if P(R /N&E) is low or inscrutable, he will doubt his faculties produce mostly true belief.

    With regards to the probability being .51, you (or the naturalist) would have to defeat arguments for the high probability of ~C given N&E. And, you'd have to give arguments against the four ways beliefs are involved seeming low or inscrutable, given N&E. So, say that semantic epiphenomenalism is high, then P(R /N&E) will not be .51. I have seen no reason to assume that evolution picks for true believers rather than false believers (especially since false belief can lead to adaptive behavior, see reply to Ramsey), and so have no reason to assign R a probability of .51. Anyway, the defeater of R is a defeater in this sense: it is an alethic-rationality defeater. So, EAAN defeats the belief that our cognitive faculties have, as their function (or main function?) the production of true beliefs. Given EAAN, we have no evidence, propositional or non-propositional, to believe otherwise, *if* the naturalist has reflected on P(R /N&E). And so given Plantinga's arguments for a lower than .5 (or, &at least* .5) judgment, I can't see why I should accept your claim. For further defense, see Nunely's dissertation on EAAN where all the arguments against EAAN are thoroughly addressed.

    Suppose that through proper function you believe your Grandfather to have invented the telephone, but then say you are offered a defeater for this belief, and you cannot defeat it you ask, "why should this defeat my belief that my Grandfather invented the telephone?" I happen to think that undefeated defeaters are defeaters. If you can't defeat it, proper function for internal rationality calls you to give up your belief, or hold it less strongly. But, let's look at what type of defeater this is and see if you admit defeat: Suppose that you come to find out that 5 years ago, around the same time you acquired this belief that your Grandfather invented the telephone, you find out you did ingest XX, producing hallucinations and laudatory beliefs of rather bland relatives (all this is ex-hypothesis, of course!). Would you allow this to defeat your belief? I should say so. You also seem to believe that if you have a belief B cannot rationally affirm the contrary of B, then you out to remain a believer in B. But agnosticism is another possibility. So, in light of the defeater, why not be agnostic rather than affirm the contrary. And if the reflective naturalist does this, he has a defeater for R.

    I can't say I caught your last point.

  5. Paul,

    Thanks for keeping me philosophically-minded during spring break. This conversation will definitely keep me focus on the paper I have to write (I'm writing on epistemic disagreement).

    I still have to read thoroughly Nunely's dissertation so I can't comment on that. I also have to add that O'Connor does not believe that R is indefeasible (pg. 132).

    I'm not sure I quite get what you mean by the XX lottery. Maybe I didn't explain it better. Suppose you have X amount of possible worlds. Given N&E, R is low. In W1, it may be that R is false. In W2, it may be that R is false. But it may be that in W321, R is reliable. It doesn't mean that R is low given N&E. It just means that there is a world where R may still be true. Or suppose that S's cognitive faculties are unreliable. But module C produced virtuously R. S can still hold S because of module C. And I gave the example of S being the lottery winner where his cognitive faculties are reliable. This does not mean I believe that R cannot be defeated. My position was that N&E does not necessarily defeat R.

    I'm not getting your point on non-propostional evidence. I know that Plantinga claims that non-prop. is not aimed at true beliefs, but he needs an argument for that. I argue that N&E&non-prop. makes R high. Plantinga just can't say, "well, R is low given N&E, so his non-prop. would not make R high."

    Now, Plantinga believes, as Nunely said, that N&E defeating R is not so obvious (I'm taking Nunely's word for this). If that is so, that it is not obvious to S that N&E defeats R even though it is low, then S is still rational for believing R. If we should believe what seems to us, then S should continue believing R and it is epistemically appropriate for him to do so. Suppose that S, given 10 instances, believes that crows are black (H). It may be that H/E is high, but it does not mean that H is true or that E defeats ~H. It may be that for T, 30 instances would make him believe H. I don't see T being irrational for not holding H given E10. It's rational for S, yes. But not irrational for T. T may even say that H/E10 may be high. But if it is not obvious or seems to her that H given E10, then I don't see why he has to believe H. (I got this example from Gideon Rosen) This argument works for the internalist though. If you're externalist, you may not be persuaded. But the jury is still out on externalism/internalism.

    As for .51, I still disagree that with you that given N&E, we don't have non-prop. to believe R. It seems that we're not getting anywhere with this argument though.

    With the grandfather case, I agree with you that one can be an agnostic (that's what I meant with .5). But is this *necessarily* so? I don't think it is. It may be that I produced the belief through other means other than vision or auditory sources. With regards to undefeated defeaters being defeaters, well, I tend to agree with you in the sense that our degree of ceredence towards B must lessen. But we should also be careful because we don't want to say we should accept misleading defeaters. And the distinction between misleading and actual defeaters is difficult to point out (if you have a theory, it will help me out with my project!).

    My last point was:

    If one believes that

    N&E defeats R

    is that not a defeater for

    N&E defeats R?

    Because S's R is unreliable, then his reasoning that N&E is low, therefore N&E defeats R, was reasoned unreliably. In other words, does Plantinga's argument do too much?

  6. Lotto:

    1) My point is that if you specified XX to yourself, how could the idea that "you won the XX lotto" be used as a defeater-defeater for P(R /XX)? At best, the lotto argument works only if there is an objective observer who stands outside the situation, and then is able to judge that S beat the 90% odds of hallucinations XX includes. But, for the reflective XX ingester, "I won the XX lotto" is a defeated belief.

    2) Why could not the lotto comeback be used to defeat any defeater for a low or inscrutable probability of X? Say S believes that the existence of evil E makes the existence God G low or inscrutable, then S believes in G&E. So P(G/E) is low or inscrutable, but S replies, "well, I guess we won the divinity lottery." Do you seriously consider that a defeater-defeater? If not here, why there?


    1) Plantinga doesn't just "claim that non-prop isn't aimed at truth." In fact, for him, he believes it is. His claim is that the reflective naturalist who comes to see the low or inscrutable probability of R on N&E, cannot use R to climb out of the primordial ooze. "Here, salvation must be by grace, not works." So, EAAN would show that there is no reason to believe that your beliefs are reliably aimed at truth, but continuing to believe R is not evidence (non-prop or otherwsie) of R. So, he has given the argument. And, in light of the argument, pointing out that you still continue to believe R, and believe it very strongly, doesn't entail that this belief has, as its goal, the production of true belief. So, it's odd to me that you'd say Plantinga needs to argue.

    2) Look, say you ingest XX. Suppose you come to believe (a) "I've ingested XX," and (b) XX delivers hallucinations for 90% of those who ingest agent XX. I'd say that (a) and (b) gets you a defeater. Can this defeat be beaten by pointing out that R is a basic belief? You say you allow defeat of R, so tell me how R could be defeated if one could just say that R is basic and they strongly believe it, so much so that to deny it gets them to ridicule the idea.

    3) Ironically, you say that you *argue* that N&E and non-prop make R high, but I've not seen this argument. Say you grant ~C. Then your belief content which testifies R to you in a basic way, need not be aimed at truth. So, non-prop is most probably produces by the optamistic overrider, this follows from EAAN.

    Conitnued belief in R:

    1) Plantinga does not deny this. In fact, he knows the naturalist will continue to believe in R, because it seems the case to him, and to deny it just seems, well, an epistemic sin. The argument is against the reflective naturalist, though.

    2) XX ingester will continue to believe in R, even strongly, that doesn't deliver his beliefs from defeat. So, it's not "belief in R at all times" that is defeated, it is "belief in R at those times of reflection" that get defeated.


    My response here is that Plantinga did give arguments for a lower than .5 probability of C causing adaptive behavior via true belief content. So, for your argument to work, you need to defeat all these arguments, no easy task. Indeed, I don't think there are any decisive arguments refuting epiphenominalism given materialism... and, in fact, it looks like something like this would be the case. But, say you defeat epiphenominalism, you then need to show that evolution makes it highly likely that behavior cannot be adaptive given false beliefs.


    1) But, you would agree that your defeat would be defeated if you found out that your formed it after ingesting XX. That's all that EAAN needs.

    2) Now, the type of defeater EAAN gives is a "self-defeating" defeater. N&E defeat *itself.* That's a relevant distinction.

    Your last point:

    1) I wonder if this would disallow people from believing that they were going insane?

    2) Doesn't this fall into the revised loop?

    3) If one comes to believe that they've injested XX, and thus R is unreliable, therefore XX defeates R was reasoned unreliably, thus they should continue to believe R even though they believe they've ingested the highly corrosive epistemic agent? Something seems off here.


    P.S. I don't have ND in from of me at the moment, byt I think O'Conner made some qualifications in terms of which R couldn't be deefated. I'll look later and get back to you.

  7. , yes, O'Conner says R can only be defeated by "direct evidence" of its falsity. He also says that "Strictly speaking,' there couldn't be a defeater for R.

    Anyway, his "direct evidence" argument would be that "there is no design plan aimed at truth" because "our beliefs are massivley inconsistent."

    But of course, if your last argument were correct, then O'Conner couldn't use this since it'd prove too much. If R were false, then coming to believe that would have been based on false faculties, and so should be rejected.

    So, you'd either have to reject your last point, or your arguments which rest on O'Conner's argument.

    I also disagree with his idea that "only direct evidence" could defeat R, but I don't have the time for that now...


  8. briefly,

    O'Conner's position that one needs "direct evidence" for the falsity of R uses his example that one notices "massive incoherence." But this seems false. Take the paradigm case where defeat does occur: S's ingesting the epistemically corrosive agent XX - where hallucinations occur in 90% of the incidents of ingestion. S comes top believe that (a) she has ingested XX and (b) that it causes hallucinations in 90% of those who take it. (a) and (b) constitute a defeater for R. Suppose that S's noetic structure doesn't seem "massively incoherent" to her, though. Would we say this delivers S from defeat? No. She may even say, "I've won the XX lottery, and am in the lucky 90%," but this belief, developed *after* she has ingested XX, and so *after* she accepts (a) and (b) and thus accepts P(R / XX) as low she forms her lotto belief, we would say she has a defeater for those beliefs.

    And, to take R as "a strong and persisting belief" only delivers S from proper-function irrationality, not alethic rationality defeaters or Humean defetaers. Thus taking R in a basic, non-propositional way after she has ingested XX, and came to belieev the probability argument, is not a defeater-defeater (and can't be a deflector since R was called into question, and, as Reid says, it is ridiculous to appeal to a man's honesty about himself, after his honesty has been called into question).

    EAAN's force, says Plantinga. comes from these arguments from analogies, which are paradigm cases of defeat. If one's rebuttal to EAAN renders one the ability to not get defeated by a paradigm case of defeat, one's rebuttal to EAAN needs to be jettisoned.

  9. Paul,


    1. You said, "At best, the lotto argument works only if there is an objective observer who stands outside the situation, and then is able to judge that S beat the 90% odds of hallucinations XX includes." That may be necessary for reflective knowledge, but not animal knowledge. Suppose that W325 is the world where people's CF are generally reliable. They find out that R/N&E is low. I don't see why it would be irrational for them to continue believing R.

    2. I don't understand what a divinity lottery is.


    1. that was not my point. read above carefully.

    2. i think i already responded to this. I don't have much to say. I'm not saying that R cannot be defeated but that N&E does not ***necessarily*** defeat it.

    3. I have argued that N&E does not *necessarily* defeat R. By showing a **possibility** where R is high given N&E (if one adds a non-prop), then it shows that N&E does not necessarily defeat R. Showing the possibility *is* the argument.

    Continued belief in R.

    1. You seem to have missed the point. If S is justified believing B because B seems to him to be true, then if R seems to S to be true, then S is justified in believing R even if he sees that N&E. I gave the example of the black crows. Take

    All crows are black. H

    Take E to be 15 instances of crows being black. P(~H/E) is low. But I don't see why it is irrational for S to believe ~H. It may take 35 instances for S to believe H. This does not make him irrational for believing ~H given E.

    Also, there is such a thing as incommunicable evidence as van Inwagen has argued. That's another possibility where N&E does not defeat R.

  10. Apolonio,

    I don't think you've successfully interacted with my points. It seems you disagree. I think we'll have to leave it at that since I'd just be trying to find a different or more interesting way to repeat myself. Thanks for the convo.