FEW Review

I got back yesterday from the 7th annual Formal Epistemology Workshop (FEW).  [I presented my over-titled “Dealing with Disagreement from the First-person Perspective: A Probabilist(tm) Proposal” (draft) (slides).]  It was held in Konstanz, Germany, just north of the Swiss border at the University of Konstanz.  It was awesome.  Konstanz is an absolutely beautiful location.  I can’t possibly convey how wonderful it was.  And local organizer Franz Huber was the consummate host, along with his able assistants.  Franz and Branden and all the folks who helped organize are to be congratulated for a wonderful conference in a wonderful locale.

In my next post, I’ll be focusing on the work of Jonah Schupbach, but I want to make a general comment on the conference as a whole.  I went to almost every session over the three or four days and I did not hear a single paper which focused on barren formalisms for the sake of formalism.  Whatever negative stereotypes there might be of formal philosophy, they were in short supply at the FEW.  On the contrary, movement leaders like Branden Fitelson and Mike Titlebaum (and, hey, what’s the deal with formal epistemologists with surnames of the form X-itel/itle-Y?) know their traditional epistemology plenty well and connect their formal work to it in concrete ways.

So I really encourage traditional folks–and the majority of my work is (very) traditional–to give formal epistemology a chance if you’ve been a bit skeptical.  There’s some really good stuff going on!


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