This small informal graduate workshop on Epistemology will be held on Sunday November 29th 2009, in room 1.01 Dugald Stewart Building. Everyone is welcome and there is no registration fee. The workshop will start at 12pm and end at 5pm. Note that those who don't have out-of-hours access to this building can meet at 11.45am outside the front door, and should take a note of this phone number: 07835 287 791.
Any questions about this event should be directed to Georgi Gardiner at email@example.com. This event is part of the Epistemology research group at Edinburgh, and is supported by The Leverhulme Trust.
- Peter Milne (University of Stirling)
'The Knowledge Norm for Assertion: Some Recent Criticisms'
ABSTRACT. To follow.
- Duncan Proctor (University of Durham)
ABSTRACT. To follow.
- Ian Kidd (University of Durham)
'Humility, Hubris, and Scientific Absolutism: A Virtue Epistemological Critique of Scientific Realism'
ABSTRACT. "Scientific absolutism" is the claim that the natural sciences enjoy a special or unique epistemic status which enables them (now, or in the future) to provide descriptions of reality independent of human projects, purposes, or perspectives. Although this is a common and popular claim (in the various forms of 'scientific reailsm'), I argue that it is untenable because, in making such claims, scientific absolutists fall guilty of the intellectual vice of "hubris"---an exaggerated overestimation of human cognitive capacities. Following David E. Cooper (2002), I offer three interrelated 'hubris charges' against scientific absolutism, each a variation on the central claim that scientific absolutism relies upon the successful performance of complete surveys and assessments of modes of inquiry and forms of knowledge which no human individual or collective could perform. Since these surveys could not ever be performed, scientific absolutists are guilty of intellectual hubris and so absolutism must be rejected. I conclude that a scientific absolutist cannot judge the scientific image to be uniquely or superlatively descriptive of reality and that the contemporary enthusiasm for scientific realism must be assessed accordingly, and offer a few closing remarks on future possible connections between virtue epistemology and the philosophy of science.
- Robert Cowan (University of Glasgow)
'Moral Perception and Moral Knowledge'
ABSTRACT. Many people think that moral realists still owe us an explanation as to how we can come to know moral facts. Recently it has been suggested (Vayrynen (2007), McBrayer (2009)) that the realist can (partially) discharge this epistemological burden in the following straightforward way: ordinary moral agents can have perceptual experiences which represent moral properties. In veridical cases these count as moral perceptions which can ground our justified moral beliefs and knowledge. Call this the MP view. This paper will be primarily concerned with casting doubt on the plausibility of this view in a way which avoids staking out a controversial position in debates in the philosophy of perception about the admissible contents of perceptual experience. I will end by suggesting that that even if the MP view were correct it might not enable the realist to discharge their epistemological burden.
- Stuart Crutchfield (University of Glasgow)
'The Evidence for Phenomenal Consciousness In The Absence of Access Consciousness'
ABSTRACT. Following Ned Block, many people have drawn a distinction between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness. When a state is phenomenally conscious, there is something it is like to be in that state, and when a state is access conscious, the contents of the state are available for use by a subject in reasoning action and reporting. Since Block made this conceptual distinction, there have been questions raised about the possibility of having access consciousness without phenomenal consciousness, or vice versa, and various cases, have been held up as putative examples of one or the other. This paper is concerned with the potential evidence we might have for saying of a given case, that phenomenal consciousness is present, despite a lack of access consciousness, and the worry that I will raise, is that there is no independent test for phenomenal consciousness, aside from access consciousness.
Last updated: November 13th 2009 by Duncan Pritchard.
School of Philosophy,
Psychology and Language Sciences,
Dugald Stewart Building,
3 Charles Street,
Edinburgh EH8 9AD