SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Two Modes of Suspension of Judgement
(Epistemology, )

The presentation purports to examine two different types of suspension of judgement. The distinction is philosophically important for our understanding of the epistemic impact of skeptical arguments. I will argue that there is one suspensive attitude that can be modalized in two different ways: either one suspends one's judgement in an investigative mode, which is constituted by a belief that further evidence is available on whether p, or one suspends one's judgement in a renunciative mode, which is constituted by an opposite belief and support consequently that no improvement of one's epistemic situation is in view. A mode of suspension of judgement is thus, roughly, a way of suspending judgement given one's evidential situation. It is not a way of coming to the state in which the suspensive attitude consists, but a way of being in this state. I shall argue that while being in this mental state is essential to being in a suspensive attitude, and while this attitude is necessarily modalized, the way in which it is modalized depends on the agent's take on her evidential situation. First, I will explicate some important features of suspension of judgement: neutrality, reflection and rationality. Then I will argue that there is only one state of suspended judgement, which can however be entertained through different modes, and that these modes play an important role from a normative point of view: the conditions under which it is rational to suspend judgement depend on the way in which the mental state that is essential to this attitude is modalized. Finally, I will argue that these modes of suspension have different skeptical impacts on one's epistemic position. The investigative mode of suspension will support a support a weak skepticism that one can easily overcome, whereas the renunciative mode will support a strong skepticism which might turn out to be epistemically worrisome. In order to demonstrate this I will use peer disagreement as an illustrating example.

Chair: Kimon Sourlas-Kotzamanis
Time: 11:20-11:50, 10 September 2021 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002

Benoit Guilielmo 
(University of Zuerich, )

Testability and Meaning deco