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CEPPA Talk (online only) – Catherine Elgin (Harvard)

April 6, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: Teams (online only)

Title: Epistemic Dynamics

Abstract: Epistemic agents are finite and fallible.  Our range is limited and some of what we accept is, no doubt, flawed.  To achieve our epistemic and practical objectives, we devise methods and practices that foster correction, refinement, and expansion of our current epistemic commitments. Traditional epistemology maintains that epistemic acceptability requires non-fortuitously justified true belief, where non-fortuitousness insures that the justification and the truth maker align. If so, reflective equilibrium is at best indicative of acceptability.  I argue otherwise.   Reflective equilibrium is constitutive of epistemic acceptability.  Because a network of cognitive commitments in reflective equilibrium is as reasonable as any available alternative in the epistemic circumstances, it is worthy of acceptance.  That does not make it perfect or permanently acceptable.  Such a network is susceptible of and probably in need of improvement.  But it is the best we can currently do and provides a suitable platform for improvement.  I argue that such a network should be designed to foster, not merely to allow for, further gains.  It should support epistemic leveraging.  That requires that it enable critical reflection about its own ends and means, enabling epistemic agents to recognize opportunities for and obstacles to improvement.

Co-hosted with ECT.


April 6, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Viviane Fairbank