‘Archimedes and the Mechanical Hypothesis: How Many Philosophers Does It Take to Haul a Ship?’
Dante Building Room 119
In this paper, we argue that the so-called Knobe-Effect constitutes an error. There is now a wealth of data confirming that people are highly prone to what has also come to be known as the ‘side-effect effect’. That is, when attributing psychological states - such as intentionality, foreknowledge, and desiring – as well as other agential features - such as causal control – people typically do so to a greater extent when the action under consideration is evaluated negatively. There are a plethora of models attempting to account for this effect. We hold that the central question of interest is whether the effect represents a competence or an error in judgment. We offer a systematic argument for the claim that the burden of proof regarding this question is on the competence theorist, and develop our own account based on the notion of the reactive attitudes. This model can accommodate both the idea that these sorts of judgments are fundamentally normative and that they often constitute errors.
It is argued in this paper that truthfulness and trust are both fundamental values of epistemic cooperation. Epistemic cooperation is understood as the joint endeavor of members of a group to increase the number of true beliefs had by the group. In showing the fundamental role of these two epistemic values it is argued that irresolvable philosophical puzzles arise when they come to conflict. They need careful balancing. It is assumed throughout that epistemic cooperation is itself basic for two reasons. The first is that any form of cooperation involves epistemic exchanges (to the extent that speaking and caring for the truth may, as much as trust, also become a moral value). Secondly – following Craig’s genealogical account of the concept of knowledge – that concept presupposes social relations and epistemic cooperation.
This general framework is applied to the specific case of how best to understand testimony: how could it be epistemically responsible to take someone’s word that p as sole basis for coming to have the belief that p? The only adequate solution is one that helps restore the balance between trust and truth: trust in a given case is justified, if and only if the speaker is trustworthy, i.e. highly reliable about the matter p. In effect, this is to deny that we uphold trust to the extent that it would trump the value we accord to securing that our beliefs are true. The balance between evidentialist and “telling” accounts of testimony reflect the general tension between trust and truthfulness.
A one day workshop at Tilburg University on the themes arising from John Tomasi’s book, Free Market Fairness, Princeton University Press, 2012. Professor Tomasi will give the keynote address after a discussion of the main theses of his book by political philosophers from the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Switzerland.
Academics and postgraduate researchers are welcome to attend: there will be a registration fee of 40 euros that covers lunch and beverages over the course of the day. (If you do not require either beverages or meals – there are catering venues on campus – and you are a student or staff member of a university in the Netherlands, attendance is free.)
If you plan to attend please e-mail a.thomas [at] uvt.nl
Venue: The Ruth First Room
Cobbenhagen Building, Tilburg University Campus, Room C 186
Campus Map here.
09:30 – 10:00 Alan Thomas (Tilburg) ‘Rawls and Tomasi on Robust Economic Liberty’.
10:00 – 1o:15 Discussion of paper 1
10:15 – 10:45 Waheed Hussain (Wharton School, U Penn) ‘Self-Authorship and Recognition in a Market Democracy’.
10:45 – 11:00 Discussion of paper 2
11:00 – 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 – 11:45 Ryan Muldoon (U. Penn) tbc.
11:45 – 12:00 Discussion of paper 3
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch at Tilbury Restaurant
13:30 – 14:00 Martin O’Neill (York) ‘Justification, Reciprocity and Maximin: Saving Justice from Neoclassical Liberalism’.
14:00 – 14:15 Discussion of paper 4
14:15 – 14:45 Lisa Herzog, (Goethe University, Frankfurt) ‘Preaching to the Lockean Choir? Human Motivation and the Feasibility of Economic Utopias’.
14:45 – 15:00 Discussion of paper 5
15:00 – 15:30 Thad Williamson (Jepson School of Leadership Studies) ‘Exploitation of labor, positional goods, and political economy: three challenges to/for Free Market Fairness’
15:30 – 15:45 Discussion of paper 6
15:45 – 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 – 17:00 Keynote Lecture, John Tomasi (Brown University)
17:00 – 18:00 Round Table Discussion: The Market Democratic Research Programme
19:00 Conference Dinner, Meesters Restaurant
A workshop on moral particularism at the University of Zurich.
‘Two Forms of Particularism’
A one day workshop at Tilburg University on the philosophy of Richard Moran, hosted by the Ethics Research Stream of TiLPS.
Venue: Tias-Nimbas Business School Room 005
10:00 – 10:30 Machteld Geuskens and Alan Thomas (Tilburg) ‘Sincerity and Trust’
10:30 – 10:45 Discussion of Paper 1
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee
11:00 – 11:30 Sophie Djigo (CURAPP-ESS) ’Belief as cognitive and practical commitment’
11:30 – 11:45 Discussion of Paper 2
11:45 – 12:15 Filip Buekens (Tilburg) ‘Testimony’
12:15 – 12:30 Discussion of Paper 3
12:30 – 2:00 Lunch, Tilbury’s Restaurant
2:00 – 2:30 Edward Harcourt (Oxford University) ‘Happenings Outside the Moral Self’
2:30 – 2:45 Discussion of Paper 4
2:45 – 3:15 Kathryn Brown (Tilburg) ‘Moran on Scepticism: Problems of Realism in Nineteenth Century Painting’
3:15 – 3:30 Discussion of Paper 5
3:30 – 3:45 Coffee
3:45 – 4:15 Valerie Aucouturier (Brussels Free University) ‘Authority and Self-knowledge’
4:15 – 4:30 Discussion of Paper 6
4:30 – 5:30 Keynote Address: Richard Moran (Harvard)
5:30 – 5:45 Closing Remarks
6:30 Conference Dinner, Meesters Restaurant
The workshop is open to all academic staff and postgraduate students: there will be a registration fee of 20 euros for the day for those in full time employment, 10 euros for students and the unwaged. The registration fee is payable in cash on the day. Registration will cover tea/coffee, but not lunch or dinner (there are several catering venues on campus). Please e-mail the workshop organiser Alan Thomas if you plan to attend at a.thomas [@] uvt.nl
‘McDowell on Transcendental Arguments, Scepticism and Error Theory’
John McDowell has recently argued that his earlier attempt therapeutically to dissolve the challenge from scepticism needs revision. We can, instead, go sufficiently deeply into the sceptic’s motivations to identify assumptions that she makes that offer the basis for a transcendental argument that undermines radical scepticism about our knowledge of the external world. In this new strategy McDowell’s disjunctivism (non-conjunctivism) now plays a local and tactical role. This paper examines this change of strategy and argues that the only puzzle about McDowell’s position is the “modesty” he claims for his results. An analogy is described between McDowell’s case against the sceptic and one response to an error theory about ethics. A general commitment to interpretationism shows that the interpretation of all ethical thought and talk as truth-apt, but globally false, is unstable. Similarly, the sceptic’s description of all our perceptual states as apt to be perceptual knowledge, but globally false, is unstable. Scepticism arises from the original description of our epistemic situation as a predicament; as resting on a failure to appreciate that there is a class of mental states for which the idea of “having the world in view” is constitutive of the class.