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Ideas of James Pryor, by Text

[American, fl. 2005, Teacher at Harvard, and then Princeton, then NYU.]

2005 There is immediate Justification
3 p.184 The best argument for immediate justification is not the Regress Argument, but considering examples
     Full Idea: The best argument for immediate justification is not the Regress Argument, but from considering examples, such as I have a headache, I am raising my arm, I am imagining my grandmother, or seeing how dominoes could fill a chessboard.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 3)
     A reaction: Most of his examples depend on the fact that they cannot be challenged by anyone else, because they are within his own mind. The dominoes require complex thought. The first two could be erroneous if he was dreaming.
4 p.185 Impure coherentists accept that perceptions can justify, unlike pure coherentists
     Full Idea: Pure coherentists claim that a belief can only be justified by its relations to other beliefs; impure coherentists are willing to give some non-beliefs, such as perceptual experiences, a justifying role.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 4)
     A reaction: I think I would vote for the pure version. The distinction that is needed, I think, is between justification and evidence. You have to surmise causal links and explanations before you can see an experience as evidence, and then justification.
4 p.188 Coherentism rests on the claim that justifications must be beliefs, with propositional content
     Full Idea: The Master Argument for coherentism is the claim that a justifier requires asserted propositional content, and that only beliefs represent propositions assertively.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 4)
     A reaction: I think this claim (which Pryor attacks) is correct. A key point is that almost any experience can be delusional, and in need of critical evaluation. We would even only accept an experience as being necessarily veridical after critical evaluation.
4 p.188 An experience's having propositional content doesn't make it a belief
     Full Idea: To say that experiences have propositional content is not to say that experiences are beliefs.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 4)
     A reaction: This is important for opponents of foundationalism, because they will not allow a raw experience to act as a justification on its own. Even if concepts, or even propositions, are offered by experience, the crucial evaluation must preceded knowledge.
6 p.193 Reasons for beliefs can be cited to others, unlike a raw headache experience
     Full Idea: If you have reasons for your belief, they should be considerations you could in principle cite, or give, to someone who doubted or challenged the belief. You can't give some else a non-propositional state like a headache.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 6)
     A reaction: On the whole I agree, but if someone asked you to justify your claim that there is a beautiful sunset over the harbour, you could just say 'Look!'. Headaches are too private. The person must still see that the sunset is red, and not the window.
7 p.196 Beliefs are not chosen, but you can seek ways to influence your belief
     Full Idea: Ordinarily we make no intentional choices about what to believe, but one can choose to believe something, and then seek ways to get oneself to believe it.
     From: James Pryor (There is immediate Justification [2005], 7)
     A reaction: Deliberately reading the articles of a philosopher that you seem to agree with would be an example. Presumably the belief that this is a good belief and should be given support is not itself voluntarily chosen. Ultimately we are helpless. See Idea 1854.