Seminar Series: Knowledge and Belief: Philosophical and Empirical Perspectives Autumn Term 2020 University of Warwick | TU Dortmund (via Zoom)
I am thankful to the Leverhulme Trust for their support for the activities described on this page
Talk about knowledge and belief are pervasive in everyday life. We explain what people do in terms of what they know or believe, we criticise people for making claims which they don’t know or believe to be true, and we think people irrational when they fail to base their actions on what they know, or at least reasonably believe. But what is the relationship between knowledge and belief? Does knowing that something is the case require believing that it is the case, or does knowledge supersede or replace belief? If knowledge does require belief, why is this? Is knowledge in some sense composed out of belief? Or are knowledge and belief completely independent phenomena? This seminar series investigates just such questions.
The idea that knowing that something is the case is having a true belief (specifically, a true belief which meets some further condition) is one of the most widespread orthodoxies in philosophy. But the orthodoxy has been challenged - in the 20th Century by Wittgenstein and Ryle, and by Oxford Realists such as Cook Wilson, Woozley, Prichard, and Austin, and more recently by contemporary epistemologists such as Timothy Williamson and John Hyman. But although the relationship between knowledge and belief has been questioned by individual thinkers such as these, the contemporary philosophical literature does not contain much sustained debate on this or related questions.
The situation is rather different within certain empirical disciplines. Linguists, for instance, have studied the different bases on which we learn the verbs ‘know’ and ‘believe’, and developmental psychologists investigate when in the developmental time-line children typically acquire the respective concepts.
Against this background, the benefit of cross-disciplinary discussion of the knowledge-belief relationship is clear. Ought empirical results to constrain philosophical thinking about the relationship between knowledge and belief? If so, how? And can philosophical thinking about knowledge and belief help to inform or constrain how empirical studies are conducted, and their results interpreted? This seminar series brings together researchers from philosophical, empirical, and historical perspectives, to consider both first-order and methodological questions concerning the relationship between knowledge and belief.
Organisation and Support:
I am jointly organising this seminar with Simon Wimmer (TU Dortmund).
We are grateful for support to the Leverhulme Trust and the Warwick and TU Dortmund Philosophy Departments.
All talks take place 3-5pm (UK time), on Zoom.
8th October: John Hyman (UCL) - "Knowledge and Belief"
15th October: Eva Rafetseder (Stirling) - "Positioning teleology in relation to belief-desire psychology"
22nd October: Simon Wimmer (TU Dortmund) - "Cook Wilson on knowledge and forms of thinking"
29th October:* Eylem Ӧzaltun (Koç University) - "What is the Moral of Davidson's Carbon Copier? Towards an Anscombean Account of Practical Knowledge"
5th November: Paul Silva (University of Cologne) - "Can Merely Statistical Evidence Provide Knowledge?"
12th November: Alan Millar (Stirling) – “Detached Factual Knowledge”
19th November: Rachel Dudley (CEU) - "The Pragmatics of Knowing"
26th November: Johannes Roessler (Warwick) - "Perceptual Knowledge and Doxastic Self-Determination"
3rd December: Leda Berio (HHU Düsseldorf) - "Talking about Thinking: Language Acquisition and False Belief Reasoning"
10th December: Guy Longworth (Warwick) - "Unsettling Questions"
* NB. This talk replaces the planned talk by Katalin Farkas (CEU)
Please contact me if you would like to attend this seminar.