SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page.DS_STORE-page._.DS_STORE-page

Programm - Vortrag

Zeugnisse und Instrumente
(Erkenntnistheorie, Englisch)

In this talk I want to emphasize a similarity between testimony and instruments as sources of knowledge. The claim of my talk is that both are what can be called 'social sources of knowledge'.

I argue for this claim in four steps. In the first step I have to define what makes a source of knowledge social. I will argue that this is because other agents have a direct influence on my coming to knowledge. This is opposed to what I call 'on-board sources of knowledge' like, for example, perception. Here no other agents play a role in my coming to knowledge.

In the second step I will show why testimony is a social source of knowledge in this sense. This is because the reliability of another agent - the speaker - is a necessary condition of the hearer to arrive at knowledge. Those two points can be taken as common ground on which almost everybody in the debates about testimony agrees. I will therefore concentrate on the two steps which follow.

In the third step I want argue that the outcomes reached so far are best cashed out via two ideas. First, the relevance of the norm of assertion for the testimonial belief-forming process. Rational agents are normally subject to epistemic norms in the belief-forming process. An example is what can be called the 'no-defeater norm'. The subject who forms the belief shall not hold a belief true for which she has an undefeated defeater. Testimony is a source of knowledge where an epistemic norm - the norm of assertion - is also targeting agents other than the investigating subject herself. Second, Sanford Goldberg's concepts of 'epistemic buck-passing' and 'blame' show in my opinion how this norm is epistemically relevant. Goldberg argues that in testimonial knowledge the hearer can pass the epistemic buck back to the speaker concerning her justification for the proposition she acquires via testimony. The blame phenomenon describes how she can hold a speaker accountable is she hasn't lived up to her epistemic duties.

In a fourth step I want to argue that those two points also apply to cases where a user acquires knowledge with the aid of an instrument. The user can pass the buck for the reliability of the instrument to its manufacturers and calibrators. If those agents haven't lived up to their epistemic duties, this failure can be blamed via an epistemic norm, which I call the 'norm if calibration'.

Chair: Martha Cassidy-Brinn
Zeit: 11:45-12:15, 14. September 2013 (Samstag)
Ort: HS 105

Sebastian Kletzl
(Universität Wien, Wien)

Sebastian Kletzl (Mag. Phil.) University of Vienna. 2010 Diploma in philosophy about Richard Rorty's metaphilosophy. Chairman of the Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy. Publications in epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of science.

Testability and Meaning deco