Logic & Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Don Fallis
University of Arizona

"Epistemic Value Theory and Judgment Aggregation: From the Doctrinal Paradox to the Lottery Paradox?"

Abstract:   Several philosophers (e.g., Hempel, Levi, Lehrer, Maher, Goldman) have claimed that decision theory can be applied to epistemic decisions (e.g., about what to believe, about whether to gather evidence, about which experiments to perform).  In particular, they suggest that such decisions turn on exactly what our epistemic values (or utilities) are.  In this talk, epistemic value theory is applied to the problem of deciding how to aggregate the judgments of several individuals into a single collective judgment.  Recently, several philosophers (e.g., Bovens, List, Pettit) have discussed the doctrinal paradox of judgment aggregation.  I describe this paradox and show how it parallels two famous epistemic paradoxes (viz., the lottery paradox and the paradox of the preface).  I argue that epistemic value theory provides a plausible resolution to all of these paradoxes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
SST 777
3 pm

Refreshments will be served