SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Common Sense and Rationality
(Epistemology, English)

Common Sense is thought by many to be strong enough to refute skepticism and the findings of revisionary metaphysics. But what is Common Sense and wherein lies its power? According to recent work by Thomas Kelly, the propositions of Common Sense are just those that are more rational to believe than most other, including the premises of skeptical and revisionary arguments.
I argue that this idea is faced with a dilemma. We can generally understand rationality either as practical or as theoretical. If we take the former option, skeptics and revisionists can agree with Kelly_s theory without being threatend. Of course, they might argue, it is not rational to believe that we have no knowledge and that there are no composite objects in our daily lives. But that is simply because we have to ignore the truth (there being no composite objects/no knowledge) to get along in life. Understanding the rationality in play as practical rationality, therefore, fails to hit the skeptics and revisionists. But if we understand the rationality in play as theoretical rationality, then, since what is true is at issue, proclaiming that the Common Sense propositions are more rational to believe than the premises of the skeptical argument is begging the question against the skeptic or the revisionist.
In the remainder of my talk, I want to consider Kelly_s own theory of rationality and argue that it does not help to prevent the dilemma. We therefore have to look for another way to understand Common Sense, or accept that skeptics and revisionists have some more room to breathe.

Chair: Franziska Poprawe
Time: 15:05-15:35, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.005

Lukas Lang 
(University of Hamburg, Germany)

I am currently a PhD-student at the University of Hamburg. My research interests lie mostly in epistemology and metaphysics. I wrote my M.A. thesis about conceivability-arguments and am now thinking about the anti-skeptical potential of Common Sense both in contemporary philosophy and in the history of philosophy.

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