SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Thomas Reid's missing hand argument
(History of Philosophy, English)

Many Reid-scholars take Reid to be directly relevant to current epistemological debates. I think this is a mistake. To better illustrate my thesis, I will frame it as an argument against Greco (2002). In his work, Greco attempts to show that G.E. Moore's Hand-Argument is a legitimate response to the sceptic, because it adopts epistemological and methodological principles from Thomas Reid (and because these principles of Reid are true). My response to Greco has a critical and a constructive part. The critical point consists in the observation that, given the assumption that Reid does in fact holds these principles, it is puzzling that he himself never confronted the sceptic with such a powerful and easy refutation of the sceptic's position. Furthermore, a close reading of the relevant passages reveals that Reid did not hold the principles in question. In the constructive part, I will reconstruct Reid's answer to the sceptic based on the aforementioned results and in a way that is consistent with the relevant passages and his broader philosophy. The conclusion is that Greco's reconstruction of Moore's argument, even if it might work as a response to the sceptic, is not Reid's response to the sceptic. I will end by suggesting that Reid's response to the sceptic is more promising than Moore's or Greco's response.

Chair: Alessandro Cecconi
Time: 15:20-15:50, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Lukas Lang 
(University of Hamburg, Germany)

I'm a PhD student and research associate at the University of Hamburg. My thesis explores the nature of common sense in Thomas Reid's philosophy. More general, I'm interested in the interplay between epistemology and the various subdisciplines of philosophy.

Testability and Meaning deco