Higher Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy: Erik J Olsson "The Cognitive Basis of Goldman and Olsson’s Conditional Probability Solution to the Value Problem for Reliabilism""
Erik J Olsson "The Cognitive Basis of Goldman and Olsson’s Conditional Probability Solution to the Value Problem for Reliabilism" - in collaboration with Trond A. Tjøstheim, Andreas Stephens, Arthur Schwaninger, and Maximilian Roszko
Goldman and Olsson (2009) argue that knowledge, in the reliabilist sense of reliably acquired true belief, is more valuable than mere true belief, due to the higher likelihood of future true beliefs produced in the case of knowledge. This is their conditional probability solution to the problem of the value of knowledge. The proposal has stirred a lively debate and is currently one of the most discussed solutions in the literature. Goldman and Olsson claim that their solution works only given four empirical assumptions, which they propose hold “normally”, however without a detailed argument. Moreover, it is not obvious how the assumptions should be interpreted in order to be externalistically acceptable. In this paper, we address these remaining gaps in Goldman and Olsson’s solution. We find that the assumptions, on a suitable externalist reading, essentially spell out what it means to be epistemically adapted to one’s environment or ecological niche. Since organisms are normally epistemically adapted, the assumptions do indeed hold normally. Our investigation also shows that the conditional probability solution is a deeply externalist response to the value problem since the kind of adaption it relies on is grounded in low-level operations of the brain that need not be consciously available to the organism.