Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Alex Byrne and Brie Gertler

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?

Continue reading Alex Byrne and Brie Gertler

Tamar Gendler and Stephen Stich

Tamar Gendler (left) and Stephen Stich (right) on gender and philosophical intuition.

Empirical evidence collected by Stich and Buckwalter suggests that “standard” intuitions about philosophical thought experiments (e.g. Gettier cases) are more common among men than women. Stich and Gendler examine the merits of this evidence. They consider what might explain gendered differences in intuitions, and whether such differences can help to explain why women are underrepresented in professional philosophy. They also discuss alternative explanations for the gender gap, including the effects of sexism and the shortage of female professors and graduate students to serve as role models for female undergraduates. Finally, they ask why a gender gap has been a larger problem in philosophy than other fields.

Continue reading Tamar Gendler and Stephen Stich

Adam Elga, Joshua Schechter, and Roger White

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.

Continue reading Adam Elga, Joshua Schechter, and Roger White

David Christensen and Roy Sorensen

David Christensen (left) and Roy Sorensen (right) on the epistemology of disagreement.

Christensen is a prominent defender of conciliationism, the view that you ought to give the same weight to the opinions of your epistemic peers as to your own opinions. Accordingly, if you believe that p is true while your peer disagrees—and if your peer has been exposed to all the same evidence as you—then you ought to give up your belief that p. This position has a wide range of skeptical consequences. After all, we seem to have peer disagreements about all sorts of issues: politics, philosophy, religion, and even conciliationism itself. Sorensen and Christensen discuss whether the case for conciliationism is strong enough to justify its troubling implications.

Continue reading David Christensen and Roy Sorensen

Michael Boylan and Rosemarie Tong

Michael Boylan (left) and Rosemarie Tong (right) on reproductive rights and artificial reproduction.

Boylan and Tong begin by discussing Mary Beth Whitehead, a surrogate mother who decided, after her baby was born, not to uphold her agreement to give the child to adoptive parents. As Boylan and Tong show, this case raises difficult questions about whether surrogate mothers are in a position to give informed consent, whether commercial surrogacy commodifies children or unjustly oppresses women, and the role that biological relatedness plays in determining reproductive rights, among other issues.

Continue reading Michael Boylan and Rosemarie Tong

Delay on today’s episode

We are still trying to resolve several technical issues with our episode on artificial reproduction featuring Michael Boylan and Rosemarie Tong. We will make their conversation available as soon as possible.

Peter Carruthers and Eric Schwitzgebel

Peter Carruthers (left) and Eric Schwitzgebel (right) on self-knowledge of attitudes.

According to an intuitively plausible and widely accepted view, we have direct, privileged, and highly reliable access to our own beliefs. In the first part of this conversation, Carruthers and Schwitzgebel both reject that view, while disagreeing about the exact implications of empirical studies that are commonly cited in debates on privileged access. But their positions raise a nagging question: If we lack privileged access to our own beliefs, then why does it seem to us that we have such access? They defend different views (starting at 29:31) about the best answer to that question.

Continue reading Peter Carruthers and Eric Schwitzgebel

Simon Keller and Valerie Tiberius

Simon Keller (left) and Valerie Tiberius (right) on well-being and social psychology.

The nature and conditions of well-being have long held philosophers’ attention, but well-being is also now a major focus of psychological research. In this conversation, Keller and Tiberius discuss the possibilities for cooperation in this area between psychologists and philosophers. Are philosophers able to reveal conceptual truths about well-being that are of value to psychologists? Can psychological research usefully correct philosophers’ naive intuitions about what makes us better off?

Continue reading Simon Keller and Valerie Tiberius

Ann Cudd and Matt Zwolinski

Ann Cudd (left) and Matt Zwolinski (right) on exploitation and oppression.

The NYT reports that some low-wage South African workers were recently angered when their factory was shut down for violation of minimum wage laws. Are such workers exploited by their employers? Do they constitute an oppressed group? To address such questions, Cudd and Zwolinski examine the concepts of exploitation and oppression. They consider whether mutually beneficial exploitation might sometimes be morally justifiable, and how much we must be willing to sacrifice in order to resist oppressive institutions, among other issues.

Continue reading Ann Cudd and Matt Zwolinski

Sneak peak at forthcoming work by Hall and Paul

In the Introduction to Causation: A User’s Guide (forthcoming from OUP), Ned Hall and L. A. Paul write:

Unfortunately, the current literature [on causation] conceals its insights within a tangled landscape of conflicting approaches, driven by conflicting motivations and conflicting presuppositions about the very point of providing a philosophical account of causation, and often informed by conflicting intuitions about key cases. Our aim is to provide a map of this landscape, focused in particular on counterfactual and related analyses of causation, and using a comprehensive set of carefully chosen examples as landmarks. We intend this work to be of use both to the trained specialist and the uninitiated alike.

You can’t get the book yet, but Hall and Paul graciously offered to share its first two chapters with the audience of Philosophy TV. Here’s Chapter 1, and here’s Chapter 2. Enjoy!