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Spring Colloquium Series - Maria Lasonen-Aarnio
WhenFriday, May 26, 2017, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationSavery Hall (SAV)
Campus roomSavery Hall 264
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Philosophy
University of Washington

Location: SAV 264

Keynote Address
14th Annual Formal Epistemology Workshop 2017
"Not So Phenomenal!"

Maria Lasonen-Aarnio
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of Michigan

This talk is based on a paper co-authored with John Hawthorne. In the paper we formulate the basic tenets of a position that has become known as phenomenal conservatism, and argue against each of these. We express skepticism about the existence of a sui generis class of conscious mental states, seemings (the ontological thesis), and argue that our ordinary talk of how things seem doesn’t report such states (the semantic thesis), offering an alternative semantics on which seems-constructions are part of a larger class of hedge expressions. To get clearer on the core theses that seemings provide some prima facie justification to believe their contents (Minimal Phenomenal Conservatism), or enough justification for a belief to be prima facie justified (Standard Phenomenal Conservatism), we embed these theses, first, in a probabilistic framework in which updating on new evidence happens by Bayesian conditionalization, and second, a framework in which updating happens by Jeffrey conditionalization. We spell out problems for both views, and then generalize some of these to non-probabilistic frameworks. We argue that little hope is left for the view that seeming-states have special and unique epistemic powers, either by having a special kind of epistemic import, or by acting as the foundations of all justification and knowledge.

Maria Lasonen-Aarnio is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She completed a BPhil (2005) and DPhil (2010) at the University of Oxford. Before coming to Michigan in 2010 as an Assistant Professor, she was a Fitzjames Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. Prof. Lasonen-Aarnio is originally from Finland.…
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