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Philosophy Break It Down Lecture-Prof. Matt McGrath, "Suspending Judgment: What is it and how is it Justified?"

Thursday, October 29, 2020, 03:00pm - 05:00pm

The Department of Philosophy Fall 2020 Break It Down For Me Lecture Series


Prof. Matt McGrath giving a talk entitled, "Suspending Judgment: What is it and how is it Justified?"


Epistemologists like to set things up this way: faced with the question of whether a proposition is true, you have three doxastic options: you can believe the proposition, disbelieve it, or suspend judgment on it. There is an enormous literature on what belief and how to think about how it is justified. And usually disbelief is taken to be just belief in the negation. There is a considerably smaller literature on suspension of judgment and its justification, especially in “analytic epistemology” since Gettier. But the topic has come to the fore recently. Here’s a bit about why it matters. Belief is usually taken to be something we have only indirect control over. When philosophers think about how this control looks, we usually think about Pascal: “Go then and take holy water, and have masses said; belief will come…” But a much more common way we seem to exert indirect control over beliefs is through suspension of judgment. You might suspend judgment about gossip you hear till you get better information; or about a political scandal until you read the NYTimes report. We speak of suspension using active language, “I’m going to suspend judgment until I talk to him myself” or “Jurors, you must suspend judgment until all the evidence is presented.” All this suggests that suspending judgment is something we do, broadly speaking, something agential. I’ll argue this is right and explore some ramifications for epistemology.

on Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 3:00-5:00 pm.

Topic: Break it Down: Matt McGrath

Time: Oct 29, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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