February 27, 2004

Premature Weekend Update

1. Something like the following seems plausible, or at least plausibe enough for some philosopher to think: We have an innate faculty for learning about other people's mental states. If this alleged faculty doesn't have a name, I propose we call it "outrospection." Actually, I propose that anyway.

2. On the subject of names, when I was working on the testimony and agency paper, I realized that though it was natural to talk about "perceptual justification" and "testimonial justification," the corresponding adjective for justification through memory wasn't obvious to me. I settled on "mnemonic justification," because "mnemonic" means "of the memory" and because I like typing "mnemonic." Does this mean that the epistemology of memory is so neglected that no one has even bothered to think of the adjective? Or just that I'm so benighted that I don't know about it?

3. The University of Utah is hosting the Intermountain West Student Philosophy Conference; so far it's been great. I'm hosting Fellow-philosophy blogger* of sorts Bernard Nickel. He has already gotten away with carrying a cup of coffee through Temple Plaza.
*When I was a copy editor at a biology journal, one of the big in-house debates was what to do when you wanted to hyphenate a modifier onto a compound phrase. If I remember correctly we decided that ordinary hyphenations call for el dashes, but hyphenations onto compound phrases take en dashes, which I don't know how to make in HTML. Copy editor-bashers--you know who you are--don't realize the drama that takes place behind those blue-pencilled remarks you get.

4. I've finished a paper arguing that Burge's Acceptance Principle for testimony (that we have a default entitlement to believe anything we're told) doesn't conflict with the common-sense notion that we shouldn't treat all testimony equally. The paper seemed like it was trying to instantiate one of Zeno's paradoxes, both in the rate of composition and in the amount of work that remained after I had completed any given section. I wound up having to explain more or less my whole approach to epistemology--the one-paragraph discussion of coherentism was particularly brash. Anyway, I'm too trepidated to put it on my official site, but I will make it available to you, gentle reader, once I figure out how. If you're reading this, you're already used to reading my pretty undigested thoughts.

Posted by Matt Weiner at February 27, 2004 11:32 AM

Re 1: I propose 'interspection'.

Posted by: P.D. at February 27, 2004 12:17 PM

Umm. . .empathy?

Posted by: Pradeep Atluri at April 19, 2004 10:12 PM