Do We Know that We’re not Brains in Vats?: Follow-Up: Polls and Surveys

This is the first time I’ve been back to Certain Doubts in a while. It seems a bit like walking about a ghost town, with all the posts being announcements and there being no comments. I remember the discussions that went on here. (Those discussions seem to echo about these deserted streets, I’d say – if I were the kind of person to say such a thing.)

In fact, some of my own published work started at in discussions here. And it’s a case of that that brings me back now. Back in June of 2004, I reported the results of some polls I had taken in classes I taught on whether we know that we’re not brains in vats in a post here called “Polls Show that the Skeptic is Right.” The discussion that followed was very helpful to me.

Since then, I’ve conducted the poll several more times — the results of a couple were reported on late-added comments to the old post, and the last time (not reported anywhere until now) was this past January, where the class was quite large, and the results were stronger than ever, in favor of the skeptic.

But I’ve also, in the meantime, with Josh Knobe’s help, conducted an x-phi-style survey on the issue — getting very different results. I suppose, returning to the scene of the crime, this is the place to do an online follow-up report.

And I guess the most efficient way of doing that is to link to how reported and discussed the results in my recent book, The Appearance of Ignorance. I report the survey results in Appendix B of the book and discuss them in Chapter 2, where they play a role in the evaluation of the power of the classical skeptical argument that flows from the key premise that one doesn’t know that one isn’t a BIV. I’ve put that chapter and that appendix (in pre-pub draft form, but this is quite close to how things ended up in the actual book) together into one document, which is here. If you just want the x-phi survey results, the brief appendix which presents them is at the last three pages of that document. If you’re interested in the discussion of the power of the skeptical argument that takes into account those results, as well as the results of my class polls, the relevant part of Chapter 2 is sections 7-9 (at pp. 19-27 of the draft linked to above).

(I suppose also relevant is Appendix A, where I critically (or is it defensively?) discuss two papers in which critics of the classical skeptical argument put forward arguments/paradoxes (a strong argument for a strongly counterintuitive conclusion forms something of a paradox) they claim are better than it is: Jim Pryor’s modified skeptical argument, and Alex Byrne’s championing of the sorites. A draft of Appendix A is here.)

Call for Registration: 4th Foundations of Normativity Workshop, University of Edinburgh

Registration for the 4th Foundations of Normativity Workshop is now open. This year’s installment will focus on contemporary moral epistemology. It will take place on June 14 & 15, 2018, at the University of Edinburgh. Our keynote speakers are Justin Clarke-Doane (Columbia), Sarah McGrath (Princeton), and Paulina Sliwa (Cambridge). Additionally, the workshop will feature invited contributions by Max Lewis (UPenn), Evgenia Mylonaki (Athens), Jared Riggs (Toronto), and Chelsea Rosenthal (NYU).

Attendance is free and open to all, but spaces are limited. To register, please email foundationsofnormativity4@gmail.com. All sessions are pre-read; participants are expected to have read the papers in advance.

This workshop will be hosted by the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, with generous support from the Aristotelian Society, the Eidyn Research Centre and the Scots Philosophical Association. For more information and updates, visit:

www.foundationsofnormativity.wordpress.com.

13th CSSiP: New Trends in Applied Epistemology

The 13th Cologne Summer School in Philosophy (CSSiP) on

NEW TRENDS IN APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY

takes place in Cologne from August 6 to August 10, 2018. Our special guest is Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern University). Over the last two decades Jennifer Lackey has deepened and significantly enhanced our understanding of social epistemology. In her recent work, including her forthcoming new book, she explores in detail the real-world phenomena related to knowledge in a social context. The Summer School will specifically focus on the following themes:

• Collective Epistemology and Group Belief
• Social Knowing
• Lies and Bullshit
• False Confessions and Credibility
• Epistemology of Punishment

The Summer School mainly aims at professional philosophers and graduate students, but anyone is welcome to apply.

Attendance is free but limited to 50 participants – to be selected on the basis of motivation and qualification. Online application is possible through May 1. Please supply a short letter that sketches your academic background and main motivation for participating in the Summer School. If you are interested in giving a brief presentation (approx. 20 minutes) related to Lackey’s work, please also send an abstract of no more than 1,000 words. We will inform you about the result of your application soon after the deadline.

Apply via email to:
summerschoolphilosophy@uni-koeln.de

For more information, please visit our website:
http://cssip.uni-koeln.de/

Prof. Dr. Thomas Grundmann
Philosophisches Seminar
Universität zu Köln
Germany

2nd Call for Abstracts 4th Foundations of Normativity Workshop: Contemporary Moral Epistemology

We welcome submissions of abstracts for pre-read and short presentations at the 4th Foundations of Normativity Workshop, taking place at the University of Edinburgh on June 14 & 15, 2018. This year’s workshop will focus on issues in contemporary moral epistemology. Our invited speakers are Prof. Justin Clarke-Doane (Columbia), Prof. Sarah McGrath (Princeton) and Dr. Paulina Sliwa (Cambridge).

 

Four submissions will be selected for pre-read and presentation. To be considered, please submit an abstract of 750 to 1000 words (not including references) to foundationsofnormativity4@gmail.com with the subject ‘FoN4 submission’ by March 15, 2018. Make sure to send the abstract as a PDF, suitable for blind review, using [papertitle]+abstract as the filename of the abstract. We would like to particularly encourage submissions by members of underrepresented groups. Feel free to indicate that if you are a member of such a group.

 

The programme committee aims to make selections by April 15, 2018. Invited papers should be ready for circulation by May 25, 2018. There will be limited travel bursaries available for some of the selected participants, with preference given to those without access to research funds from their home institutions.

 

The workshop is generously supported by the Edinburgh Philosophy Department and the Eidyn research centre. For more information about the event, please visit: https://foundationsofnormativity.wordpress.com.

Choice & Inference Revived

After a three year hiatus from Choice & Inference‘s administrative reins, I am once again in charge and am reviving this site as a news feed / conversation forum for formal epistemologists. Please see the official announcement and new changes here. Also, I’d encourage everyone to check out the new site, as well as C&I’s new Facebook and Twitter feeds!

teorema Essay Prize for Young Scholars 2017

The Spanish Philosophy journal teorema is pleased to announce an essay com-petition for young scholars. The winner will receive 1500.00 €, and the essay will be published and acknowledged as winner in the journal.

Topic: Knowledge-First Epistemology and Decision Theory.

According to a recent idea developed by the approach known as “knowledge-first epistemology”, the evidence available to a subject at a time t consists of the propositions the subject knows. Together with the view that the rationality of an action is a matter of the evidence available to the agent, the result is that rational action requires knowledge. Is this a defensible view of rational action? If it is not, what is the connection between rational action and belief? Does rational action require rational belief? Does it require less than that: is perhaps mere belief sufficient to rationalize action? More generally, what are the connections between justification, rationality and excusability of both actions and beliefs?

Applicants must be under 35 on the closing date of the competition. Entries must be in English or Spanish, and not exceed 8000 words in length, notes and references included. All entries will be deemed submissions to teorema, and all quality submissions will be considered for publication. Entries must not have been published before, or be under consideration by other journals.

All entries, prepared for blind review, will be submitted electronically both in doc and pdf format, and addressed to the Editor, indicating “teorema Essay Prize” in the subject heading.

Entries will be judged by a panel of reputed scholars appointed by teorema. Their decision will be final.

Address for submissions: teorema@uniovi.es
Closing date: 1st November, 2017
www.unioviedo.es/ Teorema

CFP: Knowledge and Justification: New Perspectives (Special Issue of Synthese)

Guest Editor: Rodrigo Borges, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, PUCRS.

Special Issue Description: This special issue aims at updating the philosophical scholarship on knowledge and justification with new, cutting edge work in epistemology. Although the analysis of knowledge and justification has been an obsession of epistemologists since Plato’s Theaetetus, much progress can still be made in our understanding of how those concepts relate to other epistemological concepts (e.g., does knowing entail safety?) and to each other (e.g., does knowledge entail justification?). This special issue is searching for work featuring new perspectives on these and other issues of interest such as the regress problem, the internalism/externalism debate, Cartesian skepticism, the question of whether knowledge is a mental state different from belief, and the question of whether justification/knowledge is partially determined by pragmatic factors.

Appropriate Topics for Submission include, among others:
• epistemic internalism;
• epistemic externalism;
• knowledge;
• epistemic justification;
• coherentism;
• foundationalism;
• infinitism;
• perceptual justification/knowledge;
• inferential justification/knowledge;
• epistemic norms;
• ancient skepticism;
• cartesian skepticism;
• Moore’s paradox;
• dogmatism;
• cognitive virtues/vices;
• knowledge as a mental state;
• fallibilism vs. infallibilism;
• the easy knowledge problem;
• knowledge from falsehood;
• pragmatic encroachment;
• know how;
• the epistemological role of intuitions.

For further information, please contact the guest editor: epistemen[at]gmail.com

The deadline for submissions is: September 1st, 2017.