Fall 2018 Colloquium Series - 23 March

November 02, 2018

JULIA STAFFEL, UC BOULDER :: Unsettled Thoughts: A Theory of Degrees of Rationality

Bio: In May 2013, Dr. Staffel received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She specializes in formal epistemology and traditional epistemology, and her work also relates to issues in philosophical logic, philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. Dr. Staffel's other philosophical interests include philosophy of language and linguistics and metaethics. In the fall of 2013, she visited the ANU as a postdoctoral fellow, and since January 2014, worked at the philosophy department at Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor. Beginning in the fall of 2018, she became an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Dr. Staffel's main research project right now is writing a book "Unsettled Thoughts", which develops an account of Bayesian rationality for non-ideal thinkers.

Abstract: Theories of epistemic rationality typically formulate norms of what it takes to have ideally rational beliefs or credences. Humans thinkers tend to be unable to fully comply with these ideal norms due to their cognitive limitations. Still, it is often claimed, ideal norms are relevant to human thinkers, because they are aims we are supposed to approximate, even if full compliance is out of reach. I argue that in order to defend the relevance of ideal norms for limited thinkers, we need to answer two questions: 1) What does it mean to be closer to or farther away from being ideally rational? 2) Why is it better to be closer to ideal rationality? I explain why these questions are difficult to answer, and propose strategies for overcoming these difficulties.

Talks are held at the Burnaby Campus in room WMC 3510 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. They are free and open to the public.

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