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Special LSE PhD student session: Katherine Furman & Catherine Greene

27 April 2016, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

Katherine Furman: “Culpable Ignorance and Suppressed Disagreement”

Ignorance frequently provides an excuse in moral cases, but only if the ignorance is not itself culpable. One can avoid being culpably ignorant by satisfying one’s ‘procedural epistemic obligations’, which is just the requirement that one take care when forming beliefs that inform actions with potentially harmful consequences. One way to take care would be to pay attention when an epistemic peer – someone with similar reasoning abilities and access to the same evidence – disagrees with you. But what happens in cases when disagreement has been suppressed? This paper explores the problems of suppressed disagreement in the context of assessing cases of culpable ignorance.

Catherine Greene: “A possible problem with counterfactual analysis in the Social Sciences”

I aim to highlight a problem with counterfactual analysis in certain social science cases. Specifically, my worry is with the applicability of Woodward’s notion of ‘hypothetical experiments’. I argue that even when we are clear about our ‘hypothetical experiment’ it is often possible to come to multiple, plausible, but contradictory conclusions which we have no clear way of deciding between. The idea that we have flexibility in filling in counterfactual scenarios, and that differences in the way we do so affects the conclusions of counterfactual analysis has been discussed by Reiss (and others) as it applies to backtracking counterfactuals. However, I believe it is a wider problem, which applies even in cases where we don’t need to backtrack.




27 April 2016
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Event Category:




LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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