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Colloquium: Jane Friedman

Friday, April 19, 2019 - 3:00pm

Cohen Hall, 402

ABSTRACT: You're wondering whether you turned the stove off. You're pretty sure you did, but just to be safe you check again. Then you check a third time. And then another time after that. And then a further time. And this keeps going. This sort of incessant checking and re-checking is not a model of rationality: it looks like a misuse of time and energy and might even be pathological. Is it epistemically acceptable behaviour though? It certainly doesn't feel as though you're thriving epistemically when you keep checking and re-checking on the stove. That said, it's hard to say exactly why incessant checking should be epistemically (rather than say, practically) problematic: when you keep checking whether your stove is off, you're getting more and more information about whether it's off. How could that be epistemically problematic? In this talk I'll say more about how and why incessant checking goes epistemically wrong. I'll argue that from the perspective of epistemology and epistemology alone, there is something wrong with incessant checking.

Paper Title

Checking Again