Epistemology seminar/workshop


10:00 - 11:10 Michael Brady - The Role of Emotion in Intellectual Virtue - Room LG.07, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JX

Abstract: Emotions are important for virtue, both moral and intellectual. Now the fact that emotions are important for virtue is widely accepted; the question of why this is the case is much less discussed. This chapter will aim to explain the significance of emotion for intellectual virtue along two dimensions. The first claim I want to defend is that epistemic emotions are best suited to constitute the motivational components of a number of intellectual virtues, because they outperform rival motivational elements in the achievement of valuable intellectual goods. The second claim is that emotions are vital for the virtuous direction, regulation, and control of such motives: in other words, emotions enable the motivational components to be reliably successful in bringing about said goods. So epistemic emotions play constitutive and enabling roles in the lives of virtuous thinkers.

11:15 - 12:25 Adam Carter - Is the ability to φ exercised only if one successfully  φs? - Room LG.07, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JX

Abstract: An affirmative answer to the title’s question has been defended in recent work by Alan Millar (e.g., 2010), for whom the notion of exercising an ability is fundamentally a success notion. Exercising an ability to do something is just doing the thing that the ability is an ability to do. On this way of thinking, one cannot exercise one’s ability by doing something else—viz., by y-ing. In this paper, I will be defending the position that one can in fact exercise an ability to do one thing by doing some distinct thing, and in doing so I’ll highlight various kinds of reasons that favour this approach over the thesis that ability exercise is a success notion.

12:30 - 13: 30 Lunch 7th Floor DSB

13:40 – 15:00 Sandy Goldberg - Understanding the Speaker's Expectation of Trust - Lecture Theatre 2, 7 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL

Abstract: It has been widely noted that there are ways of responding to what one is told whereby if one responds in one of those ways one harms (or does an injustice to) the speaker.  This motivates the idea that a speaker is entitled to expect that her say-so not be treated in those ways.  Various accounts have been offered for this phenomenon.  After identifying the various challenges that one faces if one wants an adequate account, I argue that no account offered to date has been adequate, and I propose an account that (I claim) is adequate.  The significance of the account on offer lies in the way it meshes the moral and pragmatic dimensions of the speech acts of telling and testifying with the epistemological dimension.

15:10 - 16:30 Mikael Janvid - Independence, Priority and Totality: Harbingers of Skepticism?- Lecture Theatre 2, 7 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL

Abstract: In a recent paper, Natalie Alana Ashton presents her own version of an “inferentialist contextualist” response to skepticism. Her admirable reconstruction of the inferentialist contextualist response interestingly differs from previous attempts of this kind by drawing on all three assumptions that inferentialist contextualists have identified as bringing skepticism about rather than focusing on only one of these assumptions, priority, as usually is the case. She also clarifies their internal relations by arguing that priority merely falls out as the final step in a derivation that starts with totality and where independence constitutes the intermediate step. Despite the deeper understanding of the skeptical dialectic Ashton provides, and the ingenuity of her response, I shall argue that, first, her version of inferentialist contextualism still misidentifies the necessary assumptions behind skepticism. Moreover, insofar as she identifies steps in the skeptical argument, they appear at a later stage in the argument rather than as initial assumptions imposed by the skeptic on her target. Third and finally, not only does inferentialist contextualism come up short as a response to skepticism, the necessary conditions for the success of the skeptical argument can be phrased in a version friendly to that position thereby threatening to expose inferential contextualism to that challenge as well.

17:00 - 18:30 Drinks at Potting Shed

18:30 Dinner at Beirut

Contact details

The seminars are organised by the epistemology research group. For more details or to find out about future meetings, contact Orestis Palermos.

Epistemology research group

Orestis Palermos

Mar 01 2017 -

Epistemology seminar/workshop

01 Mar 2017: Epistemology workshop

Various - please see programme details.