Talk at Sabancı: Selim Berker (Harvard), A Graph-Theoretic Approach to Coherentism about Epistemic Justification
A Graph-Theoretic Approach to Coherentism about Epistemic Justification
by Selim Berker (Harvard University), May 14, 2014 at 15:00 in FASS 2034, Sabancı University*
Abstract: Some of our beliefs depend for their justification on other beliefs we hold, which in turn depend on yet other beliefs. Where does such a regress end? This is the regress problem in epistemology. Fifty years ago, coherentism — according to which each thread of support for a justified belief eventually loops back on itself — was probably the dominant response to this problem, but in recent decades that view has fallen into disrepute. In my talk I will sketch a new way of thinking about coherentism, and show how it avoids many of the problems often thought fatal for the view, including the isolation objection, worries over circularity, impossibility results derived from probability theory, and concerns that the concept of coherence is too vague or metaphorical for serious theoretical use. The key to my approach is to take a familiar tool from discussions of the regress problem — namely, directed graphs depicting the support relations between beliefs — and to use that tool in a more sophisticated way than it is standardly employed.
*Free shuttle service will be provided from Boğaziçi University (Güney Kampüs) at 13:30
Professor Nola’s talk at Sabancı is cancelled due to illness.
Talk at Sabancı: Robert Nola (Auckland), On the question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’
On the question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’
by Robert Nola (Auckland University), May 7, 2014 at 15:00 in FASS 2034, Sabancı University
Abstract: Some say that this time-honoured question is a significant question the answer to which is deeply puzzling. Others say that the question makes some false presuppositions and as a result no real question has been posed. The paper will review some of the arguments about this question, including considerable refinement of what the question means and whether or not there could be a meaningful response on a priori philosophical grounds or on empirical grounds.
Orthodox vs. Non-Orthodox Feminist Values in Science, Helen Longino
21 March, 15:00-17:00 FASS 2034
This talk explores the heuristic role of so-called cognitive values in the sciences, contrasting mainstream values with a set of values advanced by feminist scientists and scholars. The epistemological status of these values and the social implications of research guided by one or the other set will be the focus of discussion.
Can We Save Democracy And The Planet, Too? Philip Kitcher
29 March, 15:00-17:00, FASS 2034
The current debate about the existence and the consequences of anthropogenic global warming is the most important instance of a general problem: How is scientific expertise to be integrated with democratic values? I shall use this urgent case to explore the general problem, and will argue that our current situation is handicapped by a number of misconceptions about both science and democracy. Specifically, public discussions are dominated by an image of science as value-free, and by a picture of democracy as thriving on open debate. When these misconceptions are traced to their sources, it becomes evident that ideals of the transmission of information are at odds with current social conditions, that standard scientific practices can easily foster public misunderstandings, and that there is an urgent need to rethink roles and institutions we often take for granted. Specifically, careful attention needs to be given to the role of the scientist, and the rules for public discussion of complex questions.