PeRFECt15 Information

Tentative Schedule for PeRFECt15 (updated 11/2/15).  More information here. 

Friday, November 6 (Cohen Hall 402)

3:00 - 5:00 PM

        Mark Schroeder (USC)

            “Perceptual Reasons and Defeat”

5:00 - 6:00 PM

        Reception in Department Lounge (Open to all Participants)

6:15 PM

        Dinner for Program Participants and Invited Guests

Saturday, November 7 (Cohen Hall 402)

9:30 - 10:30 AM

        Breakfast and Discussion

10:30 - 12:00 PM

        Gwen Bradford (Rice)

            “Reliability and Virtue Epistemology”

12:00 - 2:00 PM

        Lunch for all Participants

2:00 - 3:30 PM

        Kate Nolfi (Vermont)

            “Epistemically Faultless False Beliefs”

3:30 - 4:00 PM

        Break and Open Discussion

4:00 - 5:30 PM

        Selim Berker (Harvard)

            "A Combinatorial Argument against Practical Reasons for Belief"

6:00 PM

        Dinner for Program Participants and Invited Guests

Invited Commentators-at-Large: Rima Basu (USC), Nilanjan Das (MIT), Amy Flowerree (Northwestern), Daniel Greco (Yale), Chris Howard (Arizona), Zoe Jenkin (Harvard), Kathryn Lindeman (SLU), Lisa Miracchi (Penn), Ram Neta (UNC), Shivani Radhakrishnan (Columbia), Susanna Rinard (Harvard), Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers), Julia Staffel (Washington St. Louis)

Organizers: Daniel J. Singer and Errol Lord

Assistant Organizers: Grace Boey and Max Lewis


Mark Schroeder (USC), “Perceptual Reasons and Defeat”

  1. Abstract: Belief - particularly empirical belief - is paradigmatically rational when it is supported by adequate evidence.  And perceptual experience is a paradigmatically rationally privileged way to form empirical beliefs about the external world.  So at a first pass, it is worth asking whether, and if so, how, perceptual experience could be a privileged source of evidence about the external world.  In this talk I'll compare views about the nature of basic perceptual reasons - that is, of the evidence, if any, that we have for empirical beliefs, in virtue of having perceptual experiences.  I'll defend three plausible desiderata for an account of the nature of basic perceptual reasons and argue that they push us towards a very distinctive account of what our perceptual reasons are.

Gwen Bradford (Rice), “Reliability and Virtue Epistemology”

  1. Abstract: In this paper, I discuss the role of reliability in virtue epistemology. The dominant approach takes the epistemic virtues as reliably producing certain outcomes, namely true beliefs. But I argue it is not the reliability that matters, but the relation between the exercise of virtue and the belief. Further, a better virtue epistemology makes use of reliability by developing an account of virtues as involving dispositions to respond rightly to epistemic reasons. These improvements give virtue epistemology resources to account for intuitions in new evil demon cases (and variations) and to give a more sophisticated account of epistemic value.

Kate Nolfi (Vermont), “Epistemically Faultless False Beliefs”

  1. Abstract: A starting point for the sort of alethic epistemological approach that dominates both historical and contemporary western philosophy is that epistemic evaluation is evaluation with respect to a set of norms, standards, or ideals, characterized, at least in part, by appeal to some kind of substantive, perhaps explanatorily fundamental, normative relationship between belief and truth. Accordingly, on the alethic approach, false beliefs necessarily and inevitably fall short, epistemically speaking, simply by virtue of their falsity.  I propose here an alternative to the alethic approach, one that is inspired by recent developments in psychology and cognitive science, and which takes seriously the old idea that part of what makes belief the distinctive type of mental attitude it is is that beliefs have a specific action-enabling job to perform or purpose to fulfill—i.e. a constitutive, and explanatorily fundamental action-enabling proper function—within our mental economies.  I argue that this sort of action-oriented approach in epistemology both can and should deny that falsity, in and of itself, inevitably constitutes a kind of epistemic imperfection in belief.

Selim Berker (Harvard), "A Combinatorial Argument against Practical Reasons for Belief"

  1. Abstract: Are there practical reasons for belief? For example, do the practical benefits of holding a certain belief count in favor of the belief itself? I argue "No." My argument involves considering how practical reasons for belief, if there were such, would combine with other reasons for belief in order to yield all-things-considered verdicts.