Midterm Review Sheet,-What is ‘relativism’ in his sense of the term? (Remember it’s not merely the claim that there are cultural differences with respect to beliefs or practices.) -What is his main argument for relativism in this paper? (Hint: This is th

Answer these from the reading provided

s objectivist theories. For example, he thinks objective morality or moral truth can’t be based on God’s commands, or human nature, or reason…)


-What are the three conditions on an adequate theory of truth, according to him?

-Why does he think there could be no truth if there were no consciousness?

-Two objections to the coherence theory of truth: (1) There could be more than one coherent system of beliefs, and (2) The idea of coherence depends on the idea of truth.

-What is “correspondence” and why does Russell think that a correspondence theory best satisfies his three conditions on an adequate theory of truth? (Remember that we are not going to be concerned here with the details of his “multiple relation” theory of correspondence–this is just a specific version of correspondence, not essential to the general idea.)

(1) Nagel

– The problem of skepticism. (How can we know or reasonably believe anything about the external world when our evidence could be just as it is even if we were brains in a vat?)

– Nagel’s objections to various ideas about how we manage to ‘represent’ or refer to things. (For example, resemblance is not necessary or sufficient because the words ‘Winston Churchill’ do not resemble Winston Churchill but the ant’s lines in the sand to resemble him.)

– Why isn’t it enough that one intends to refer to something? (For example, the human artist intends to depict Churchill but the ant doesn’t?)

– Why does Nagel claim that if we were brains in a vat we couldn’t wonder whether we were brains in a vat?

(2) Gettier

– The justified true belief analysis of knowledge. (Remember his aim is not merely to show that a belief can be justified but not true.)

– Two principles about justification, discussed in class. Know how these apply in his two stories.

– How do the stories show that a person can have a justified true belief but not knowledge?

(3) Goldman

– The analysis of knowledge in terms of appropriate causal relations. How this is meant to solve Gettier problems.

– Simple cases such as perceptual knowledge: here the appropriate relation is that the belief is caused by the fact that makes the belief true.

– How does he deal with memory-based knowledge?

– The role of inference (i.e., reasoning) in Goldman’s theory. What does he mean in saying that, when you have inference-based knowledge, you have ‘correctly reconstructed’ the causes of your belief? (Think of the story about the lava, for example.)

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