Events

Mar 22

Prof. Jason Decker, St. Olaf philosophy colloquium

Monday, March 22nd, 2010
3:30 – 5:30 pm

Professor Jason Decker will be giving a colloquium at the St. Olaf philosophy department on March 22nd. Prof. Decker will give a brief presentation outlining the main themes of the paper, entitled "Quining Quarrels" but the paper itself will be distributed in advance. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the paper, e-mail Prof. Jeanine Grenberg.

Here is the abstract of Jason's talk:

To quine, according to the Philosophical Lexicon, is "to deny resolutely the existence or importance of something real or significant". There is a rich philosophical tradition of quining various entities. Berkeley quined Matter, the postmodernists quined objective reality, Quine quined meaning, and, more recently, Daniel Dennett (rightly) accused himself of quining qualia. In this paper, I respond to recent attempts by philosophers to deny the existence of something else that is both real and significant: reasonable disagreements between epistemic peers. In their arguments against the possibility of such disagreements, our skeptical philosophers typically invoke one or more of the following: uniqueness theses, indifference reasoning, and equal weight principles. I take up each of these in turn, finding ample reason to resist them. Two main theses emerge from my critique: First, arguments against reasonable peer disagreement tend to rely, in one way or another, on a flawed understanding of the phenomenon of agnosticism. When this understanding is corrected, many of the arguments break down. Second, arguments against reasonable peer disagreement tend to rely, in one way or another, on a flawed understanding of the relation of evidential support. When this understanding is corrected, even more of the skeptical arguments crumble.  In the end, I hope to convince you that we should resist those who would have us quine quarrels.

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