“Intellectual Autonomy” by Allan Hazlett (18 Apr)

Is it good to be intellectually autonomous?  If it is, in what way is it good?  In this talk I defend the value of intellectual autonomy by appeal to the value of non-testimonial knowledge.  I criticize some accounts of the value of non-testimonial belief (namely, those that reject the possibility of reliable belief, knowledge, certainty, and understanding on the basis of testimony), and defend the value of non-testimonial knowledge by appeal to the value of acquaintance (and the propositional knowledge that comes with it), individual achievement, collective risk-mitigation, and democratic legitimacy.  Non-testimonial knowledge entails acquaintance (which typically comes with a wealth of propositional knowledge), is always an individual achievement, and has social value in virtue of its connection with mitigating the collective risk of error  and with democratic legitimacy.

Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 18 April 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Allan Hazlett, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

About the Speaker:

Allan Hazlett (PhD, Brown University, 2006) is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, having worked previously at Texas Tech and Fordham Universities.  He is the author of Luxury of the Understanding: On the Value of True Belief (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and was the winner of the 2007 Rutgers Epistemology Conference Young Epistemologist Prize.  Since 2012 he has served as the Secretary of the Scots Philosophical Association.  He is currently working on the nature and value of the (so-called) intellectual virtues.

“Autonomy for Who: The Fool, The Villain and The Innocent” by Goh Wee Kian Gary (12 Mar)

Reserving the right to autonomy for those with the capacity for autonomy seems innocuous at first. After all, why should the law protect some ability you do not possess? But when the right at stake is the right to direct one’s life, it is not so clear who does not possess this power. The problem may still appear marginal if people with mental disabilities are the only ones whose ability is so called into question. But if I can show that the political theory and cognitive neuroscience behind a capacity-implies-right model of autonomy could potentially withhold the average citizen’s right to autonomy, then this model starts to look more sinister. To build this case I examine the fundamental liberal principle as well as definitions of disability and autonomy. I argue that given the ambiguities in how disability and autonomy are defined, setting out to exclude people with mental disabilities from a right to autonomy will wind up being very illiberal.

Graduate Seminar Series.
Date: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3-03-02) (Please note that we are not using our regular venue)
Speaker: Goh Wee Kian Gary, MA Student

About the Speaker

Gary’s background is in European history, politics and philosophy, but he is interested in Chinese and/or Buddhist philosophy. He is thus hoping to marry the two in ethical inquiry. Specifically, he is in it in the long haul to provide an account of a way of living that is ethical and prudent but does not assume much about normativity or objective values.