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Reasons and Experience$
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Alan Millar

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242703.001.0001

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Reasons, Justification, and Evidence II

Reasons, Justification, and Evidence II

(p.80) 3 Reasons, Justification, and Evidence II
Reasons and Experience

Alan Millar

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 discussed a simple example in which we believe that deer have passed on seeing tracks of a certain sort on a path. This chapter uses this example as a model to compare and contrast a type of case which has been thought to be philosophically problematic, namely that in which we believe that a person is in pain based on beliefs about that person's behaviour. In both cases an evidential proposition is involved, that is, a proposition to the effect that e is evidence for h, but some philosophers have argued that pain behaviour is a criterion of pain. On this view, it is a necessary truth that, for instance, wincing is evidence of pain. The chapter rejects this view and attempts to do justice to the thought that the status of a proposition such as that wincing is evidence of pain is different from the status of the proposition that the occurrence of tracks of a certain sort is evidence of the recent passage of deer. The former proposition is contingent yet normative in a sense which allows for the possibility that it may be legitimately taken for granted even in the absence of supporting grounds.

Keywords:   pain, evidence, justification, proposition, behaviour

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