Presentation Title

Epidemic Circularity Part 2: From Incapable to Capable Responses

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Epistemic circularity, circular reasoning, source of belief, reliability

Department

Philosophy

Major

Philosophy

Abstract

If epistemic circularity is not altogether fallacious, it is at least of dubious merit. To determine the reliability of a source of belief, epistemically circular arguments depend on premises which themselves depend on the source in question. The structure of circular reasoning is common to both epistemic circularity and logical circularity, but while it the latter is only ever superficially plausible, it may be asked of epistemic circularity whether it is ever only superficially implausible. The first part of my project consists in framing the problem of epistemic circularity, establishing the broad applicability of the issue and why we should take seriously its ramifications for a skeptical worldview. In the second part, I consider various responses that epistemic circularity has elicited from philosophers, why these responses fail, and what we should look for in a capable response. I argue that we cannot wholly evade epistemic circularity, but nor should we be skeptics about knowledge: where a formidable epistemic response cannot be, a competent pragmatic response must do.

Faculty Mentor

Garrett Pendergraft

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative, Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Presentation Session

Session D

Location

Rockwell Academic Center 175

Start Date

3-4-2015 5:30 PM

End Date

3-4-2015 5:45 PM

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Apr 3rd, 5:30 PM Apr 3rd, 5:45 PM

Epidemic Circularity Part 2: From Incapable to Capable Responses

Rockwell Academic Center 175

If epistemic circularity is not altogether fallacious, it is at least of dubious merit. To determine the reliability of a source of belief, epistemically circular arguments depend on premises which themselves depend on the source in question. The structure of circular reasoning is common to both epistemic circularity and logical circularity, but while it the latter is only ever superficially plausible, it may be asked of epistemic circularity whether it is ever only superficially implausible. The first part of my project consists in framing the problem of epistemic circularity, establishing the broad applicability of the issue and why we should take seriously its ramifications for a skeptical worldview. In the second part, I consider various responses that epistemic circularity has elicited from philosophers, why these responses fail, and what we should look for in a capable response. I argue that we cannot wholly evade epistemic circularity, but nor should we be skeptics about knowledge: where a formidable epistemic response cannot be, a competent pragmatic response must do.