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New Perspectives on External World Scpeticism (9-10 July, 2013)


Idea and Motivation

Is the external world largely as it appears to be? How can we rule out the possibility that we are constantly deceived by a vicious demon or the Matrix? In response to the global sceptic, contemporary epistemologists claim - for example - that perceptual justification is immediate in that it doesn't require independent reason for rejecting sceptical alternatives. Others contend that we are a priori entitled to trust "cornerstone" propositions that guarantee the reliability of our perceptions. Another view is that ordinary hypotheses are preferable to sceptical alternatives because they better explain our experiences. All these responses have been challenged with informal and formal objections. Bayesian methodology seems to vindicate entitlement theories but it is arguably unsuitable to model the initial state of radical ignorance presupposed by the sceptic. Immediate justification theories are affected by gruelling difficulties, like the bootstrapping and the cognitive penetrability problem. The thesis that explanatory force produces justification is controversial and - some contend - incompatible with formal representations of rational belief.


Tuesday, 9 July (Hochschule für Philosophie in Kaulbachstraße 31)

9:15 Welcome
9:30 Ralph Wedgwood (Southern California). Scepticism and Probabilism.
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Martin Smith (Glasgow). On Lottery Driven Scepticism.
13:00 Lunch (on your own)
14:30 Thomas Grundmann (Cologne). Rethinking Scepticism about Justification—don't Forget the Old Evil Demon.
16:00 Coffee Break
16:30 Michael Blome-Tillmann (McGill). Solving the Moorean Puzzle.
19:30 Dinner (Café Reitschule)

Wednesday, 10 July (Hochschule für Philosophie in Kaulbachstraße 31)

9:30 Jim Pryor (NYU). The Merits of Incoherence.
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Berit Brogaard (St Louis). Immediate Justification, Bootstrapping and Cognitive Penetrability.
13:00 Lunch (on your own)
14:30 Yuval Avnur (Scripps College, Claremont). Coherence, Paradox, and Justification as a Loaded Notion.
16:00 Coffee Break
16:30 Carlos Ulises Moulines (LMU Munich). Is there anything besides me?


The conference is supported by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP) and made possible through the generous support by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through a Humboldt Professorship.