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Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment Paperback – December 23, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195162301 ISBN-10: 0195162307

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195162307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195162301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I recommend this book to those interested in connections between psychology and epistemology...it is informative and written in a lively style. I certainly agree with the authors' contention that courses in critical thinking should pay more attention to the types of studies and reasoning patterns that they summarize and analyze."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This book is a very well-written (and funny) excursion into genuinely naturalized epistemology with important practical consequences."--CHOICE

"Bishop and Trout have written a wonderful book. Their goal is nothing less than a radical reorientation of contemporary epistemology. Rejecting the analytic enterprise of explicating our concepts of justification and knowledge, they instead seek a return to an epistemology which would provide rules for the direction of the mind. Empirically informed and philosophically sophisticated, this is a lively and challenging book."--Hilary Kornblith, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"This book should be read by anyone interested in the foibles and fallibility of human reasoning, and in how an empirically informed view of human knowledge and understanding may help yield not only good philosophy, but also improved policy, better thinking and greater well being."--Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

"This is a brilliant and useful essay integrating theoretical philosophy and empirical psychology to the benefit of both disciplines. It is a paradigm example of how a philosophical perspective can bring order and new insights into scientific practice. And perhaps best of all, it was fun to read."--Reid Hastie, Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago

"One of the surprising critiques Bishop and Trout offer of analytic epistemology is that it is not normative enough. They argue that their thoroughly naturalistic approach to epistemology does significantly better on this score All of this material is fresh, original and exciting. It might even be right! It is a safe bet that Bishop and Trout will be recognized as two of the most interesting and innovative people working in the area where philosophy of science, epistemology and empirical psychology come together." --Stephen Stich, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

About the Author

Michael Bishop is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University. His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Noûs, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, and Synthese.
J. D. Trout is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor at the Parmly Hearing Institute, Loyola University Chicago. He has authored an award-winning book, Measuring the Intentional World (Oxford 1998), and has co-authored or co-edited three other books. His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Noûs, Psychological Review, and Current Directions in Psychological Science.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rosal on February 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Great book! I am what the authors call a "Standard Analytic Epistemologist", and I'm finding it hard to escape their arguments. The book is intelligent, fair, and beautifully written. It is also funnier than most philosophy books (not very hard to do, I know). Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment is not written to preach to those already converted to naturalism. Rather, it is an honest experiment in naturalism, in all of its multi-disciplinary splendor. In developing their version of naturalistic epistemology - called strategic reliabilism -- they expose contemporary epistemology for the insular field that it is. Highly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By meadowreader on June 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An extremely good book that describes what epistemology could be, as compared with the tedious academic exercise it has unfortunately become. As it stands, if traditional epistemology disappeared tomorrow, nobody outside of its small group of practitioners would notice or care.

Bishop & Trout's argument for a reorientation of epistemology is based in the "Aristotelian Principle" that in the long run, poor reasoning tends to lead to worse outcomes than good reasoning. That simple assertion licenses empirical testing of the relative goodness of competing reasoning strategies. It is also "a necessary precondition for the practical relevance of epistemology," because if better reasoning doesn't lead to better outcomes than bad reasoning does, then it wouldn't matter how we arrive at our beliefs, and epistemology in any form would be a pointless enterprise.

Reliabilism is the theory of epistemology that holds a belief to be justified if it results from some process of demonstrated reliability, one that has been shown to yield true beliefs. The purpose of this book is to make the case for something the authors call Strategic Reliabilism. SR is an epistemological theory that defines epistemic excellence as (1) efficient allocation of cognitive (reasoning, problem-solving) resources (2) to robustly reliable strategies, (3) applied to significant problems.

The goal is a more prescriptive, reason-guided epistemology, relevant to problem solving in the real world by offering practical recommendations about how to reason better and thus achieve better outcomes. It would be based in empirical research on the limitations and foibles of human reasoning and how to avoid or compensate for them.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CAM Book Reviews on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
This effort is a good offering for naturalistic epistemology as it wishes for the impossible (reasonable and practical modern epistemic outlook). Bishop & Trout beg the moral question as they assert that improper reasoning leads to bad results forasmuch as "bad" presupposes a standard that the authors, as naturalists, cannot provide. Epistemic tests to determine good or bad presuppose a fixed moral ground.

They offer fine critical judgments on a variety of epistemic approaches and if one doesn't guard one's pre-commitments too closely, one will be converted to their view.

This is an enjoyable read, even for non-philosophers, and it will expand anyone's epistemic horizons even if one disagrees with their rational (empirical) approach.
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