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Maria Lasonen-Aarnio: Dispositional evaluations

When:We 20-02-2019 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Room Omega

Colloquium lecture by Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (University of Helsinki), organized by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy

In this talk I outline an epistemic framework based on a book I am writing, and apply the framework to a certain kind of case involving higher-order evidence. A core part of this project is outlining an evaluative perspective (and a corresponding ought) that I call dispositional. Given any relevant success (hitting a target in archery, knowing, proportioning one’s beliefs to the evidence), the dispositional perspective evaluates actions/beliefs by asking whether they are manifestations of dispositions that tend to manifest as successful actions/beliefs across somewhat normal counterfactual cases. In general, manifesting good dispositions is neither necessary nor sufficient for success. Epistemic successes, I hypothesize, are no different. I contrast my account of dispositional evaluations with similar ideas that have been put forth in the literature, such as views that focus on instrumental means to success. I then implement the account in the context of a knowledge-first epistemology, and apply it to diagnose what is wrong with retaining belief in (putative) cases of defeat by higher-order evidence.