Two Talks by Hartry Field

May 17, 2019

Hartry Field (New York University)


1st talk, 17 May 2019, 16:00

Epistemology from a “Naturalistic” (but not Reliabilist) Perspective

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: I’ll advocate an obvious-sounding approach to epistemology, that involves developing general models of possible epistemic practices and critically evaluating which of those practices are likely to do best at achieving various truth-oriented goals. Despite its obviousness, there is an apparently serious problem with this idea, a generalization of the one in Lewis’s discussion of immodest inductive methods: each practice seems bound to evaluate itself as best, in which case the “critical evaluation” cuts no ice and one just ends up with whatever practice one starts with. A lot of the paper will be a critique of the line of thought behind the apparent problem, and of a certain picture of “epistemic rules” on which it rests. Once we’ve cleared away the problem, we can see the virtues of the approach, including the fact that it avoids unproductive issues that arise from fetishizing epistemic vocabulary such as knowledge and justification. The critical evaluation in the approach is truth-oriented, but avoids the many problems of reliabilism: both its refusal to recognize any “internalist” considerations and the fact that no notion of reliability seems adequate to encompass all the different factors we want our inductive practices to satisfy. The methodology fits best with a kind of normative anti-realism, about which I hope to say a bit at the end, and which provides another respect in which the approach is “naturalistic”.

Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy – LanCog


2nd talk, 20 May 2019, 16:00

Generalizing Fuzzy Logic for Semantic Paradoxes (and Vagueness)

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa

Building C6, 2nd floor, room 6.2.33

Abstract: Lukasiewicz continuum-valued logic has been popular in dealing with vagueness, and prominent logicians (e.g. Thoralf Skolem and C. C. Chang) have been very interested in its application to the semantic, property-theoretic and set-theoretic paradoxes. But it isn’t ultimately workable for either. This talk will sketch how to generalize it to make it work (not for set theory, because of extensionality, but for truth and properties, and also for vagueness). The resulting theory is more powerful than Kripke’s in that it treats conditionals and restricted (as well as unrestricted) quantifiers. I’ll avoid technical details, but give enough of the idea so that those technically inclined shouldn’t have much problem filling them in. There will also be a bit of discussion of why we need two kinds of conditionals.

Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa

LanCog Group (Language, Mind and Cognition Research Group)

Centro de Matemática, Aplicações Fundamentais e Investigação Operacional