The Project on Foundations of Epistemology

Chaired by Paul Boghossian, Paul Horwich, and Crispin Wright

This project will focus on belief, inference, rationality, truth, probability, knowledge, and doubt. It aims to address problems that are both central yet understudied, and to promote work that addresses those concepts from unfamiliar angles.

Amongst the questions with which we will be concerned are:

  1. What are the differences between (i) believing something, (ii) relying upon it for practical purposes, and (iii) supposing its truth for the sake of argument?
  2. Is belief always, sometimes, or never, under voluntary control?
  3. Is it fundamentally a matter of degree?
  4. Is there any compelling philosophical reason to distinguish a priori and a posteriori forms of it?
  5. Should we be epistemological pluralists? In other words, to what extent do the principles that govern the rationality of beliefs and inferences vary from one subject matter to another?
  6. What precisely are the norms (of correctness? of utility? of intrinsic value?) that assess beliefs in relation to their truth or falsity? How are they connected (a) to one another, and (b) to the norms of rationality?
  7. How does belief result from inference? Must this process be a matter of following rules? Should it be distinguished from self-conscious reasoning?
  8. Can it be shown, in general, that no form of philosophical skepticism can be correct -- i.e. that the problem raised by a skeptical argument is always merely a matter of determining which of its premises is incorrect?

The project is expected to run for three or four years. Its inaugural meeting will take place in January 2012.

In addition to Professor Boghossian, Professor Horwich and Professor Wright, the faculty who have served as members of the project are:

The graduate students who have served as members of the project are:

  • Amanda MacAskill
  • Asya Passinsky
  • Camil Golub
  • Dan Waxman
  • Daniel Fogal
  • Daniel Hoek
  • Daniela Dover
  • Dean Chapman
  • Eli Alshanetsky
  • Erica Shumener
  • Ian Grubb
  • Jeremy Goodman
  • Katrina Przyjemski
  • Michelle Dyke
  • Olla Solomyak
  • Yu Guo