Talk: “Tracking Conjunctions”, by Rachel Briggs (31 August 2010)

Philosophy Seminar Series: 31August 2010, 2-4pm, Philosophy Resource Room (AS3/05-23); Speaker: Rachel Briggs (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sydney); Moderator: Dr. Neiladri Sinhababu

Abstract: One cannot know a conjunction p & q without also knowing that p and knowing that q. We argue that this simple platitude is fatal to tracking theories of knowledge, according to which one knows that p if and only if one tracks p’s truth. This is the conjunction problem. This basic tracking theory may be made more sophisticated in various ways: by focusing on methods of belief acquisition, by defining tracking in probabilistic rather than subjunctive terms, and by closing the definition of knowledge under known implication. We argue that all of these theories suffer fatally from the conjunction problem.

illustration by Rachel Briggs

mypicAbout the Speaker: Rachael Briggs is a postdoctoral fellow in the “Ethics and Formal Theories of Decision” project at the University of Sydney.  She works on judgment aggregation, the semantics of conditionals, and the metaphysics of chance.  Her recent work includes “Distorted Reflection” (2009) and “Decision Theoretic Paradoxes as Voting Paradoxes” (2010), both published in Philosophical Review, and “The Anatomy of the Big Bad Bug” (2009) in Nous.  She received her PhD from MIT.

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.

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