Advanced Search
DSpace@MIT

Rational humility and other epistemic killjoys

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Roger White. en_US
dc.contributor.author Vavova, Ekaterina Dimitrova en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-04-25T15:56:06Z
dc.date.available 2011-04-25T15:56:06Z
dc.date.copyright 2010 en_US
dc.date.issued 2010 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/62421
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, 2010. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 81-84). en_US
dc.description.abstract I consider three ways in which our epistemic situation might be more impoverished than we ordinarily take it to be. I argue that we can save our robust epistemic lives from the skeptic. But only if we accept that they aren't quite as robust as we thought. In Chapter One, I ask whether the discovery that your belief has been influenced by your background should worry you. I provide a principled way of distinguishing between the kind of influence that is evidence of our own error, and the kind that is not. I argue, contra the dogmatist, that appropriate humility requires us to reduce confidence in response to the former. I conclude by explaining the nature and import of such humility: what it is, what accommodating it rationally amounts to, and why it need not entail skepticism. In Chapter Two, I ask whether awareness of disagreement calls for a similar sort of humility. Many of those who think it does make a plausible exception for propositions in which we are rationally highly confident. I show that, on the contrary, rational high confidence can make disagreement especially significant. This is because the significance of disagreement is largely shaped by our antecedent expectations, and we should not expect disagreement about propositions in which high confidence is appropriate. In Chapter Three, I consider whether a deflated theory of knowledge can help negotiate the path between skepticism and dogmatism more generally. I argue that knowing some proposition does not automatically entitle you to reason with it. The good news is that, on this view, we know a lot. The bad news is that most of what we know is junk: we cannot reason with it to gain more knowledge. It thus cannot play many of the roles that we typically want knowledge to play. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Ekaterina Dimitrova Vavova. en_US
dc.format.extent 84 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582 en_US
dc.subject Linguistics and Philosophy. en_US
dc.title Rational humility and other epistemic killjoys en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 710986677 en_US


Files in this item

Name Size Format Description
710986677.pdf 4.746Mb PDF Preview, non-printable (open to all)
710986677-MIT.pdf 4.746Mb PDF Full printable version (MIT only)

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

MIT-Mirage