SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Knowledge, Action and Partial Belief
(Epistemology, English)

It has been prominently argued that knowledge plays a guiding role in our decision-making. According to the knowledge norm for action, knowledge is the epistemic standard we must adhere to in our practical reasoning (Williamson 2000; Hawthorne 2004, Stanley 2005, Hawthorne & Stanley 2008). A severe objection to this proposal is the so-called problem of partial belief. We do often seem to rationally make decisions under uncertainty based on doxastic states, such as our credences, that fall short of knowledge. Proponents of the knowledge norm have suggested various different replies to this problem. It has been argued that decisions under uncertainty are based on our knowledge of chances, on our background knowledge or on modal knowledge such as that it might be that p (Stanley 2005; Hawthorne and Stanley 2008; Weisberg 2013). In my talk, I will evaluate the prospects of these replies. In particular, I will argue against Mueller and Ross' (2017) most recent discussion of the issue, according to which all of the suggested replies are open to counterexamples. A common feature of these counterexamples is that the safety requirement for knowledge is violated, but we still seem to be able to make a rational decision based on our (mere) doxastic states. I will develop a positive account that tackles the problem from two directions. First, I will argue that, based on trembling hand reasoning known from game theory, one should not make decisions based on unsafe credences or unsafe beliefs about chances. Second, I will propose an independently plausible notion of safety for modal knowledge that undermines Mueller and Ross' charges.

Chair: Robert Pal
Time: 10:40-11:10, 14 September 2018 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004

Roman Heil 
(Universität Hamburg, Germany)

Ich befinde mich im ersten Jahr meiner Promotion an der Uni Hamburg, dort habe ich eine Stelle als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im DFG-Projekt "Knowledge and Decision". Meinen Bachelor und Master in Philosophie habe ich an der Universität Konstanz gemacht. Meine Promotion untersucht die Rolle und den Wert von Wissen in rationalen Entscheidungsprozessen und bewegt sich damit thematisch zwischen Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie, klassischer Erkenntnistheorie und Entscheidungstheorie.

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