Philip Goff (left) and David Papineau (right) on physicalism.
Goff rejects physicalism. Papineau accepts it. In this episode, they examine the arguments on each side. They consider the much-discussed “knowledge argument” against physicalism (10:28), explore Goff’s own reasons for rejecting physicalism (17:23), weigh the dualist arguments of Chalmers and Jackson (27:21), discuss Papineau’s reasons to reject the transparency of phenomenal concepts (32:48), ponder what Levine calls the “explanatory gap” (36:19), and confront the specter of epiphenomenalism (47:35).
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Mark Alfano (left) and Abrol Fairweather (right) on virtue epistemology.
A long line of virtue ethicists believe that we need to understand the moral virtues—courage, benevolence, temperance, etc.—in order to address core questions in moral philosophy. Lately, there has been a surge of interest in virtue epistmeology, which holds that core questions in epistemology should be addressed in terms of epistemic virtues. In this conversation, Alfano and Fairweather discuss the advantages and challenges of virtue epistemology, with a special focus on issues arising from results in empirical psychology.
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Jonathan Weisberg (left) and Kenny Easwaran (right) on full and partial belief.
An epistemic agent might be more deeply committed to some of her beliefs (e.g., that 2+2=4) than others (e.g., that Obama will be re-elected in 2012). In light of this, many philosophers want to distinguish between full and partial belief. But what precisely is that distinction? Easwaran and Weisberg discuss the issue. Along the way, they consider the lottery paradox (6:29), Easwaran’s view of the merits of an inconsistent belief set (16:17), the motivation to reduce full belief to partial belief (32:18), and the relation between action and knowledge (53:09).
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Graham Hubbs (left) and Michael O’Rourke (right) on philosophical intervention.
The Toolbox Project, helmed by O’Rourke, applies philosophy to problems of cross-disciplinary cooperation among scientists. In this interview, Hubbs and O’Rourke discuss the goals and methods of the project, the stigma of applied philosophy, and the extent to which deep philosophical issues (e.g. in philosophy of language) are relevant in other disciplines.
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Alvin Goldman (left) and Jennifer Lackey (right) on social epistemology.
Can a football team know more than its individual members know? How can a non-expert tell that an expert’s testimony is trustworthy? How should we modify our beliefs in response to disagreements with others? These are some of the questions encompassed by social epistemology, which deals with social aspects of knowledge and belief. In this conversation, Goldman and Lackey provide an overview of this growing subfield.
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Christopher Gauker (left) and Kathrin Glüer (right) on the contents of perception.
According to one view, perceptions have propositional content: they tell us that the world is a certain way, and what they tell us can be either true or false. In this debate, Glüer defends that view against Gauker’s attack. Glüer and Gauker also consider (starting at 23:11) whether and how perceptions might justify beliefs. And Glüer interrogates Gauker (starting at 40:08) about how perceptions can be either accurate or inaccurate without having propositional content.
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Alex Byrne (left) and Brie Gertler (right) on self-knowledge of beliefs.
In this conversation, Byrne and Gertler closely examine Gareth Evans’s “transparency procedure” for gaining self-knowledge of beliefs. According to the transparency procedure, one determines whether one believes that p simply by considering whether p is true (rather than via direct access to one’s own beliefs). At first glance, the transparency procedure looks reliable. It also seems to capture ordinary thinking about one’s own beliefs. (For instance, the question “Do you believe that there will be a third world war?” typically prompts consideration of whether there will be a third world war.) However, the transparency procedure involves an invalid inference: from p, it does not follow that I believe that p. Given this, can the transparency procedure be a way to gain genuine self-knowledge?
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Adam Elga (left), Joshua Schechter (middle), and Roger White (right) on the problem of contingency.
Your beliefs about matters such as politics, religion, and morality are contingent on epistemically irrelevant factors like the time and place of your birth. Does this worry you? Should it? Elga maintains that this sort of contingency of our beliefs should not by itself undermine our confidence in them. Schechter and White challenge that position.
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