Planting1 - Untrue beliefs, if paired with bizarre desires,...

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Plantinga's Development of the Anti-Naturalist Argument from Knowledge Five or six reasons to doubt that natural selection favors true beliefs (= "Darwin's Doubt"). 1. Beliefs (mental acts directed toward propositions) may not be causally efficacious at all. 2. Beliefs may have no effect on our behavior (mere "epiphenomena", inert decorations). 3. Beliefs may be efficacious, but not in virtue of their content (and, hence, not in virtue of their truth). Example: if I break a glass by reading a poem loudly, the poem is efficacious, but not by virtue of its meaning. The computational theory of mind. 4. Beliefs could be efficacious, but maladaptive (Stich). The result of random drift, or pleiotropy (genetic linkage to separate, adaptive features). 5. Beliefs could be efficacious (by virtue of content) and adaptive, but still not reliably true. Belief/desire holism: beliefs do not influence our behaviors by themselves, one by one.
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Unformatted text preview: Untrue beliefs, if paired with bizarre desires, could be more adaptive than true ones. 6. Beliefs about abstruse, highly theoretical subjects, could be adaptive for reasons having nothing to do with their truth. Errors about such matters come with no adaptive cost. Darwin's doubt is an undercutting defeater to any belief we have. If either (1) we judge the probability P(R/N) to be low, or (2) we are agnostic about the probability P(R/N) (we decide that we can't discover it), then we have reason to doubt the reliability of our own cognitive faculties. This doubt acts as an "undercutting defeater" to defeat any inference we draw. Plantinga: naturalism cast doubt on the reliability of all of our faculties. Thus, any belief in naturalism results in a defeaters of all our knowledge. So, a naturalist cannot know anything at all....
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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