Workshop international, 22 mai 2015, Salle Louis Liard, 9h-18h (Sorbonne)
Organisé par SND et Philo’Doctes
Organisateurs : Fabien Mikol, Jean-Baptiste Rauzy
Intervenants invités :
9h-9h15 - Accueil
9h15-9h30 - Présentation de la journée
9h30-10h15 - Jakub Gomułka : "McGinn’s Mysterianism Contra Meta-mysterianism"
10h15-11h - Philipp Berghofer : "Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability and the Limits of Knowledge"
11h-11h15 - Pause
11h15-12h30 - Roy Sorensen : "The Dark Side of Modesty" with a response from Julia Driver
12h30-14h30 - Déjeuner
14h30-15h15 - Fredrik Stjernberg : "Typing Knowledge and Elusive Truths"
15h15-16h30 - Paul Egré : "Knowledge and Adequate Reasons"
16h30-16h45 - Pause
16h45-18h - Timothy Williamson : "Edgington on Possible Knowledge of Unknown Truth"
18h-18h15 - Conclusion & discussion
Résumés des interventions :
"McGinn’s Mysterianism Contra Meta-mysterianism"
Colin McGinn developed a peculiar solution to the "hard problem" of mind which he named the “transcendental physicalism”. It is known under a name "mysterianism" since it assumes an existence of a physical theory of mind which is essentially mysterious to us. My point is that this doctrine is implausible and incoherent, however some of its basic intuitions are right. So, firstly, I will argue against McGinn’s conception from the Wittgensteinian perspective, and secondly, I will present my own idea of "meta-mysterianism". According to the latter what we really cannot know is not the correct answer to the question regarding the nature of subjectivity, but rather the correct form of the very question.
"Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability and the Limits of Knowledge"
Fitch’s paradox of knowability proves that, necessarily, if there is an unknown truth, then there is an unknowable truth, a truth that could not possibly be known. As we are not omniscient, we have to conclude that there are unknowable truths. I discuss the impact of Fitch’s argument on the question whether there are limits for (human) knowledge and I will show that there is no impact at all. Fitch’s argument is rightly considered a powerful argument against anti-realism, but it neither implies nor indicates that there are unanswerable questions or that it is impossible to become omniscient.
"The Dark Side of Modesty" with a response from Julia Driver
In “The Virtues of Ignorance” Julia Driver argues that modesty is a counterexample to the Socratic equation : Virtue is Knowledge. Sherlock Holmes, loyal to the Greek aphorism “Know Thyself”, anticipates her threat : “My dear Watson," said [Sherlock Holmes], "I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.
Driver defends the common sense classification of modesty as a virtue by enumerating the social benefits of under-estimating yourself. Sherlock enumerates the social costs. The ignorance entailed by blindspots is contagious. The basis of this contagion is logical rather then causal : If I underestimate myself and believe you are my equal, then my modesty commits me to underestimating you. You may rightly resent me for this underestimation both intrinsically, for my failure to recognize how much you deserve, and extrinsically, for the consequences of my underestimation.
In addition to my ignorance of my merit spreading to my ignorance of your merit, my ignorance can make you ignorant ! For if you and I are epistemic peers, then the limits of my knowledge become the limits of your knowledge. How do you know that I am modest rather than accurate ? If I am in just as good a position to judge my merit as you, then the fact that I disagree with your estimate is reason for you to revise your judgment.Sherlock’s conclusion : My blindspot drags you down. Your absence of a blindspot cannot pull me up. For it is impossible for me to know my blindspot but possible for you to share my ignorance of that blindspot. Our only path to convergence runs down to ignorance, not up to knowledge.
"Typing Knowledge and Elusive Truths"
Fitch’s knowability paradox appears to show that there are unknowable propositions. By some simple steps, it shows that if all truths can be known, then all truths are known. Surely not all truths are known. Hence we should revise the claim that all truths are knowable (since that claim is the most controversial step in the reasoning). So there must be unknowable propositions. There are several suggested solutions, each with its own shortcomings. I focus on the typing solution, which I think is the best way forward for those who believe that all truths are knowable. This has its own shortcomings ; in particular, I argue that it leads to making knowledge an indefinitely extensible concept, and this means that there will be a certain kind of incompleteness in our grasp of what knowledge is. Either way, there will be facts that elude our knowledge.
"Knowledge and Adequate Reasons"
"Edgington on Possible Knowledge of Unknown Truth"