Wuhan University Epistemology and Meta-Ethics Workshop
May 30 Wednesday B214 School of Philosophy
5月30日 周三 B214, 哲学学院
9:00-10:00: Matt Lutz, “Explaining Peer Disagreement”
The problem of peer disagreement is the problem of figuring out one you ought to believe once you find yourself in disagreement with an epistemic peer. In this paper, I identify four related puzzles that plague the problem of peer disagreement, and show why these puzzles are so difficult on the dominant models of peer disagreement. In response, I articulate a version of explanationism about epistemic justification, where an agent is justified in believing a claim just in case it is part of the best explanation of that agent’s total evidence. An explanationist approach to peer disagreement solves our four puzzles in straightforward ways, while suggesting solutions to related problems having to do with testimony and moral, religious, and philosophical disagreement.
10:00-1015: COFFEE/TEA BREAK
10:15-11:15: Ralph Wedgwood, “Three Probabilistic Models for the Epistemology of Perception”
Probabilistic approaches to epistemology can give promising accounts of inference, including both deductive and non-deductive inference. But how can these probabilistic approaches be united with a plausible account of the epistemology of perception? There are three main ways of uniting an account of perception with the probabilistic approach: (a) a Cartesian model; (b) a model advocated by Timothy Williamson (2000); and (c) a model advocated by Richard Jeffrey (2004). Each of these models faces a problem – the problem of accounting for the defeasibility of perceptual beliefs and perceptual knowledge. It will be argued that the best way of solving this problem is by relying on (a) the Cartesian model. This model has often been criticized, but it can be defended effectively against all these criticisms.
11:15-11:30: COFFEE/TEA BREAK
11:30-12:30: Julia Staffel, “Non-ideal rationality and the problem of second best”
While extreme subjective Bayesians think that the coherence norm is the only requirement of epistemic rationality on our credences, more moderate proponents defend further requirements, such as versions of the Indifference Principle, the Principal Principle, the Uniqueness Principle, and others. This raises a question: How do we measure approximations to rationality, when being ideally rational requires agents to comply with multiple different epistemic norms? I distinguish different approaches to justifying norms of rationality by whether they assume that there is a single epistemic value or good that explains the various requirements of rationality, or whether there are multiple epistemic values or goods that have to be aggregated somehow in evaluating the rationality of epistemic states. I then list different possible measuring strategies for determining degrees of overall rationality, and I show which measuring strategies pair most naturally with the different normative theories of how rational requirements are justified. My arguments demonstrate that the question of how to rank closeness to the ideal, where the ideal comprises multiple criteria, is fruitfully understood as an instance of the problem of second best, which was first characterized by economists. The central insight from the theory of second best is that once one of the conditions necessary for the ideal state cannot be fulfilled, the second best way for things to be does not necessarily involve the fulfillment of all the other conditions, even if this would still be possible. We find this to be true in the epistemic domain as well.
14:30-15:30: Ru Ye, “It’s Sometimes Rational to Choose a Belief Arbitrarily”
The debate between Uniqueness and Permissivism concerns whether a single body of evidence can make multiple doxastic attitudes toward a proposition equally rational. An important motivation for Uniqueness is the so-called ‘Arbitrariness Argument.’ It says that rationally believing that one is in a permissive situation would result in some unacceptable arbitrariness with regard to one’s doxastic attitude. This paper has two goals. First, it argues that a popular Permissivist response to the argument, which focuses on explaining how Permissivism doesn’t lead to arbitrariness, is hopeless. Second, it defends a new response by arguing that the arbitrariness in question is not always problematic.
15:30-15:45: COFFEE/TEA BREAK
15:45-16:45: Mark Schroeder, “Rationality, Blame, and Perspective”
On a traditional, naïve, picture, action, belief, and other attitudes are governed both by ‘objective’ standards of correctness and by ‘subjective’ standards of rationality. These two dimensions of normative assessment, in turn, come with complementary responses: we commiserate with someone who makes the incorrect choice, but blame her for making the irrational one. We praise her for making the rational choice, but congratulate her for making the right one. And rationality, on this picture, is said to be an internal or subjective matter, depending only on the agent as she is internally constituted, and not on her environment. In this paper I defend the two key elements of this naïve picture – that irrationality is associated with blame, and that rationality is an internal matter – from an important recent challenge stemming from the observation that our own mental lives are not fully transparent to us.
16:45-17:00: COFFEE/TEA BREAK
17:00-18:00: Steve Finlay, “Motivating Reasons as Explanations of De Dicto Subjective Goodness”
Motivating reasons (yuanyin?) are the reasons for which agents do things. According to one popular view (Davidson, Smith), they are simply explanations (jieshi) why agents act. A better view, I think, holds that they are rather normative reasons (liyou) on the basis of which agents act (Dancy). A puzzle for this view arises in cases where the agent’s relevant belief is false. In these cases, we often seem to identify the agent’s beliefs or attitudes as their reasons for acting, although those beliefs do not seem like normative reasons. One response has been to deny that these statements genuinely identify beliefs as reasons. In this talk I propose a new analysis: if we understand normative reasons in general as explanations of goodness, then we can make sense of these statements as about explanations of de dicto subjective goodness.
Dinner at 18:30