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Prof. Jennifer Nagel, Univ of Toronto, "Extracting belief from knowledge"

Thursday, January 26, 2017, 03:00pm - 05:00pm

Extracting belief from knowledge

What can epistemologists learn from the development of our capacities to attribute knowledge and belief? Examining recent work in comparative and developmental psychology, I argue that the capacity to attribute belief is a spinoff from an earlier and more basic capacity to attribute knowledge. Knowledge attributions proceed with a simpler set of assumptions, which are later elaborated to allow attributions of the weaker state of belief. This model of the relationship between knowledge and belief attribution leaves us with a puzzle, however: once we are capable of belief attribution, the residual value of knowledge attribution can seem questionable. One might think we could use belief attribution (and belief-desire explanations of behavior) across the board in our social navigation. Why do we also continue to attribute knowledge as heavily as we do, and what can we learn about the concept of knowledge by studying its ongoing practical deployment?
Location The Rutgers Department of Philosophy, 5th Floor, 106 Somerset St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA