Title: Do Your Own Research
Jake Nebel University of Southern California
Friday, Jan. 21, 2022
Title: The Sum of Well-Being
Abstract: Philosophers sometimes use numbers to represent how good things are for people. The sum of these numbers is often said to represent a sum of well-being. I want to understand what, if anything, this means. There are sums of masses and of lengths, but not of beauty or of times. Why should we think that there are sums of well-being? In this talk I explain what it would take for well-being to be the kind of quantity that can be summed across individuals, and explore some ways of showing well-being to be that kind of quantity.
Erin Beeghly University of Utah POSTPONED
Friday, February 11, 2022
Jonathan Ichikawa University of British Columbia
Friday, March 18, 2022
Title: Obligations to Believe
Abstract: Epistemologists focus a lot on negative epistemic norms, which prohibit belief in particular circumstances. We should pay more attention than we do, I’ll argue, to positive epistemic norms, according to which it is an epistemic error in some cases not to believe. Epistemologists sometimes acknowledge the existence of such norms — often following William James — but most tend to underemphasise them. Some epistemologists have gone so far as to argue that there can be no positive epistemic norms. I’ll respond to those arguments, affirming and articulating an approach to epistemic duties to believe. I think the emphasis on the negative represents an undue bias in epistemology, against belief, and towards the skeptical. I’ll also argue that this bias is tied up with conservative political instincts and deference to the status quo.
Tayler Burge UCLA
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Memorial Union, Arizona Ballroom (Room 221), ASU Tempe Campus
Title: A Map of the Lower Representational Mind
Erin Beeghly University of Utah
Friday, April 8, 2022
Coor Hall 4403
Title: Prejudice and the Problem of Statistical Stereotyping
Abstract: This talk uses the lived experiences and work of AIDS activists in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s as a launching pad to explore what’s wrong with stereotyping. I begin with an observation. Activists often cited prejudice to explain why it was morally wrong to stereotype people with AIDS. Then I introduce a well-known problem with prejudice-focused explanations: not all wrongful stereotyping seems to be caused by prejudice. Statistical stereotyping is a prime example. When people engage in statistical stereotyping, they do so based on statistical information, not hateful, irrational beliefs about groups. Much of the talk is devoted to showing that prejudice can play a crucial causal role in morally wrongful statistical stereotyping—or wrongful statistical discrimination, for that matter—despite appearances otherwise. I argue that this result shows two things: (1) prejudice is far more epistemically insidious than meets the eye and (2) theorists should not summarily dismiss the explanatory power of prejudice simply because it appears to be absent in salient cases. I end by returning to activists’ thoughts on the matter and, drawing them out, sketch a pluralistic theory of morally wrongful stereotyping in which prejudice plays a role.