Thursday, 10 July 2014

European Epistemology Network Meeting in Madrid

Centro Cultural La Corrala Madrid
The 2014 meeting of the European Epistemology Network took place in Madrid during June 30th and July 2nd. It brought together philosophers from various universities (mainly in Europe) working on epistemology, and it provided an ideal opportunity for those philosophers to be aware of each other’s work and establish research collaboration links. Members of the Imperfect Cognitions network, such as Kengo Miyazono and myself, were present at this interesting conference.

The scope of the plenary sessions alone was impressive: Sarah Sawyer applied her account of contrastive knowledge to propose a solution to the puzzle of externalism and self-knowledge. Pascal Engel offered an account of literary knowledge as a form of practical knowledge, or knowing how. Hans Rott argued for the vagueness of the concept of belief based on our imperfect powers of discrimination. Klemens Kappel discussed the requirements of internal rationality in contexts of disagreement. René van Woudenberg clarified the role of the notion of transparency in the literature on self-knowledge; mainly Richard Moran’s work. Annalisa Coliva put forward a theory of justification based on Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘hinge.’ Mikkel Gerken explored the idea that knowledge ascriptions may be speech acts that serve other purposes than conveying their literal content. I myself argued that memory generates, and not simply preserves, epistemic justification. And a pluralist approach to epistemology was discussed, too, in a round table session including Erik Olsson, Annalisa Coliva, Nikolaj Pedersen and Mikel Gerkken.

In addition to the plenary talks, there were parallel sessions on multiple topics in epistemology: Modal accounts of knowledge, Gettier cases, intuitions, epistemic circularity, testimony, contextualism, moral epistemology, scepticism and many other issues were discussed in these sessions. It is fair to say that almost every topic in epistemology was represented at the conference, which goes to show that epistemology remains an extremely active field within the philosophical community in Europe.    

Of special interest to the readers of this blog may have been Kengo Miyazono’s talk on the ‘doxastic innocence’ of delusional beliefs; the idea that people with delusions are not fully blameworthy for their delusional beliefs. Also related to the theme of imperfect cognitions was Karyn Freedman’s talk on ‘epistemic akrasia’; the idea that it is possible to freely and intentionally believe something which one judges ought not to believe.

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