Epistemic Value

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dougherty on Epistemic Luck

Trent Dougherty has been posting some insightful comments on my book, Epistemic Luck, on This Is The Name of This Blog that may be of interest to readers of this blog. I won't have chance to respond until next week since I'm giving a talk at a conference in Manchester on Scepticism this weekend (a talk which is still not written!), but you can see his posts here, here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Neta on Contractarian Foundations of Epistemology

The May 2006 Edition of Synthese contains Ram Neta's "Epistemology Factualized: New Contractarian Foundations for Epistemology."

I think it will be of interest to many readers of this blog. He addresses the question of the nature of epistemic norms, rejecting both consequentialist and deontological approaches. His proposal--he calls it a generalization of work by Edward Craig--is a "contractarian" approach.

Here's an important passage from p. 21:

"On the account that I propose, the right epistemological norms are the norms that would be agreed to by parties who were interested in fashioning a practice of epistemological appraisal that would best serve common communicative ends."

In its broadest scope, the paper is a defense of a broadly Chisholmian approach to epistemology--addressing the question What confers positive epistemic status on our common sense beliefs?--from a dilemma proposed by Mark Kaplan in "Epistemology on Holiday". There is something here for everyone, but it will be of especial concern to epistemologists interested in normativity. It is a very engaging and creative paper.

The paper is available on Ram's website.

Brief Critical Remarks
I'm very interested in ideal agent theories of epistemic normativity--we should value and in many cases emulate ideal cognitive agents--but I'd just like to point out that in addition to the usual obstacles to idealization accounts Ram's account faces dilemma posed by Rich Feldman in his "Authoritarian Epistemology" (Phil Topics, 1995). There Feldman raises a Euthyphro-type problem for these kinds of epistemologies: Is believing p rational because the ideal agents believe it, or are they rational because they believe p and p is the right thing to believe.

Ram briefly addresses circularity concerns, but I think he does not grapple with Feldman's concerns with such theories.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Horwich on Value of Truth

Paul Horwich has a really nice essay out in the latest Nous "The Value of Truth." The thesis is

VT It is desirable to believe what is true and only what is true.

and the first footnote is very interesting:

The intended logical form of VT is as follows:(x) [One should desire that (one believe x iff x is true)].Certain alternative principles might seem tempting:—e.g. S ought to believe x iff x is true S ought to want to believe x iff x is true S’s believing x is objectively right iff x is trueBut it seems to me that the first and second of these alternatives—even merely the ‘only if’component of them—are simply wrong, since what we ought to believe (and ought to want tobelieve) depends on our evidence rather than on what is true.

This sounds right to my evidentialist ears but runs counter, I think, to the way that Williamson treats norms. I think W. would say that our primary norm was to believe the truth and the secondary norm was to believe what the evidence suggests. Clayton and I had quite a discussion about this kind of thing here, to which Duncan previously referred.

The article will be of interest to readers of this blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Littlejohn on Epistemic Value

Clayton Littlejohn has posted this post on epistemic value on his ever-entertaining blog Think Tonk.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Stirling MLitt in Knowledge and Mind

I hope you'll excuse this shameless plug for a Stirling masters programme, but the topic is relevant to the topic of this blog. We run a one-year MLitt programme here in Knowledge and Mind, which is about to enter its third year. It's a great programme (if I do say so myself), with some great students on it and some excellent staff running the individual courses. If you have specific research interests in epistemology and philosophy of mind, then it's hard to think of a better programme you could take. Anyway, we already have a healthy set of students signed up for the next academic year, but I'm conscious of the fact that there could be good students out there who haven't yet managed to get around to sorting out their graduate studies for the coming year. If so, and this programme appeals, then it is important that you don't leave it too late to get your application in, since although we would keep applications open as long as possible for a good student, there are practical limits to this flexibility. For more details about the programme, click here. Any questions, just drop me a line at d.h.pritchard@stir.ac.uk.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kvanvig on the Value of Truth

Kvanvig has posted an interesting post on possible analogies between the value of truth and the disvalue of pain on Certain Doubts. Click here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Rutgers Epistemology Conference

The programme for the next bi-annual Rutgers Epistemology conference is now out, which will be held in May next year. The main speakers will be Paul Boghossian, Earl Conee, Sally Haslanger, and Hilary Kornblith. The Discussants/Round Table Panelists will be Tamar Gendler, Mark Johnston, Helen Longino, and Wayne Riggs. Click here for the Rutgers homepage, on which a conference webpage will soon be posted.

Kvanvig's Response to APA Commentators

I'm delighted to be able to post Jon's response to his commentators from the recent Pacific APA author-meets-critics session on his book. I've posted it on the 'drafts' side-bar below, and you can also download it here.

I've already posted the commentaries themselves--from Catherine Elgin, John Greco, and Wayne Riggs--on the 'drafts' side-bar. Click here for the original post with links to the pdf files of these papers.

Jones on Doxastic Goods

Ward Jones (Rhodes, South Africa) has sent me a draft of the paper that he'll be giving at our conference on Epistemic Value this August. As usual, I've posted it on the 'drafts' side-bar below, but you can also download it here.

Head's Up

There have been some comments posted on recent posts on this blog that I thought it worth drawing your attention to. Click here and here. Also, I've updated the conference webpage for our forthcoming conference on Epistemic Value. Click here.

Whitcomb on Wisdom

Dennis Whitcomb (Rutgers) has posted a nice paper of his on wisdom here.

Two Blog Posts on Truth

Here are two blog posts on truth that might be of interest to readers of this blog. The first, from Clayton Littlejohn's ThinkTonk is on deliberation and truth, and can be found here. The second, from David Capps and posted on What Is It Like To Be a Blog? is on Truth and Causal Relevance and can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

UPDATE: Stirling Conference on Epistemic Value

The conference webpage for the conference we are hosting here on Epistemic Value this August has been updated, and now includes a provisional programme along with titles and abstracts for most of the papers. Here's the link.

Workshop on Reasons and Values at Glasgow

The University of Glasgow are hosting a one-day workshop on Reasons and Values on Tuesday 13th June. The speakers are John Broome (Oxford), Ruth Chang (Rutgers), Jonathan Dancy (Reading/University of Texas at Austin), and Christian Piller (York). For more details, contact Philip Percival.

Jenkins (Again!) on Dogmatism

Carrie's at it again, this time on her own weblog--Long Words Bother Me--with a useful interchange with Brian Weatherson and Jim Pryor on Jim's dogmatism paper. Here's the link.

Jenkins on Epistemic Norms

There's an interesting debate taking place on Certain Doubts just now, prompted by a post from Carrie Jenkins (St. Andrews). Click here. Carrie also put this post on the Arche Weblog.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

On-Line Philosophy Conference

The On-Line Philosophy Conference is taking place here. Readers of this blog might be particularly interested in Julia Driver's paper on "Luck and Fortune in Moral Evaluation", which makes a number of points relevant to epistemology.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Feldman on Disagreement

Rich Feldman (Rochester) is giving a great paper of his here this afternoon on reasonable disagreements. He's kindly let me post it on this blog. As usual, you can find it on the 'drafts' side-bar below, or can simply download it by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Weiner on the Value of Knowledge

Matt Weiner (Texas Tech) has posted an excellent paper on the Value of Knowledge on his webpage. Here's the link.

Conference on Naturalised Epistemology

1st-5th September 2006
Kazimierz Dolny, Poland

The prospective key speakers are:
Mark Bickhard (Lehigh University)
Michael Bishop (Northern Illinois University)
Werner Callebaut (Konrad Lorenz Institute)
Huw Price (University of Sydney)
Bjorn Ramberg (University of Oslo)

For more details, see the conference webpage, here.