SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

''Epistemic Frankfurt Cases'' against the Backdrop of the Original Frankfurt Case
(Epistemology, English)

Chris Kelp and Linda Zagzebski both present ''epistemic Frankfurt cases'' in which an agent acquires a true belief that p through the use of cognitive ability in the actual world; where in close possible worlds p would be false but a counterfactual-intervener would ensure that the agent believes that p nonetheless. Kelp and Zagzebski intuit that the agent knows that p in the actual world.
I critically examine these ''epistemic Frankfurt cases'' against the backdrop of the original Frankfurt case. Here, an agent decides to perform action φ and then does φ in the actual world; in close possible worlds in which she would decide differently a counterfactual-intervener would somehow make her perform φ nonetheless. As Frankfurt intuits that she is responsible for her action in the actual world, his case serves as a counterexample to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), which claims that we can only be responsible for an action, if we could have done otherwise.
The analogy between the moral and the epistemic cases hinges on a parallelisation of moral responsibility and epistemic credibility -- that is, being responsible in a relevant way for the truth of one's beliefs. I argue that the parallelisation of moral responsibility and epistemic credibility is not as unproblematic as it might seem at first glance. Difficulties surface when we try to formulate an adequate epistemic equivalent to PAP. It becomes apparent that Kelp's and Zagzebski's cases don't disprove such a principle. Their ''epistemic Frankfurt cases'' are not analogous to the original in all relevant respect. Based on my analysis, I raise some doubt as to whether the agents in such cases should be considered to have acquired knowledge. At any rate they cannot be said to deserve epistemic credit for the same reason the moral agent is morally responsible, as Zagzebski holds.

Chair: Jakob Eichler
Time: 15:20-15:50, 14 September 2018 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004

Isabelle Keßels 
(Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Germany)

Ich habe in Düsseldorf, Münster und Bristol meinen Bachelor und Master in Philosophie absolviert. Nebenher habe ich ein Studium der freien Kunst an der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf abgeschlossen.
Aktuell arbeite ich an der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf unter der Betreuung von Markus Schrenk an einem Promotionsprojekt zum Thema ''Metaphysics of Abilities''. Ziel ist es tugenderkenntnistheoretischen Positionen wie Ernest Sosas oder John Grecos, die den Wissensbegriff auf das erfolgreiche Einsetzen epistemischer Fähigkeiten zurückführen, mit einer metaphysischen Theorie zum Fähigkeitsbegriff zu unterfüttern.

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