Seminar on Norms of Assertion and Belief, Spring 2011

Philosophy 417: Seminar on Belief and Assertion
Spring 2011
Dennis Whitcomb
Numerous papers and handouts on Blackboard
Without Justification by Jonathan Sutton (MIT Press)
The grade is determined by three things:
1. Microessays. These are very short papers, less than 500 words long. You will write
fourteen of them, each worth 5% of the course grade.
2. Presentations. These consist in teaching one session of the course. You will do so
once, and it is worth 20% of the course grade.
3. Participation. You should participate productively every session of the class. This is
worth 10% of the course grade.
For detailed instructions, see the handout on microessays, presentations, and participation.
Office Hours
Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30-10:00, and by appointment.
March 29th: Introductory overview
Part 1: Speech act theory
March 31: Peter Unger, “Where Ignorance Enjoins Silence” (from Ignorance, OUP 1975).
Presenter: Dennis Whitcomb
April 5: Timothy Williamson, “Assertion” (from Knowledge and Its Limits, OUP 2000).
Presenter: Joe Fraley
April 7: Jon Kvanvig, “Assertion, Knowledge, and Lotteries” (from Williamson on Knowledge,
OUP 2009). Presenter: Sarah Cullen
April 12: Matt Weiner, “Must We Know What We Say?” (Phil Review 2005). Presenter:
Nathan Cathersal
April 14: Jennifer Lackey, “Norms of Assertion” (Nous, 2007). Presenter: Andrew Glebe
April 19: Jason Stanley, “Knowledge and Certainty” (Phil Issues, 2008). Presenter: Io BlairFreese
April 21: No Class
April 26: John Hawthorne and Jason Stanley, “Knowledge and Action” (J Phil, 2008).
Presenter: Ben Corey
April 28: Discussion; no new readings.
Part 2: Applying speech act theory to epistemology
May 3: Richard Feldman, “Epistemological Duties” (from Oxford Handbook of Epistemology,
2002). Presenter: Dylan Kochta
May 5: Pascal Engel, “Epistemic Norms” (from Routledge Companion to Epistemology, 2011).
Presenter: Mel Cafe
May 10: Jonathan Sutton, Without Justification, Chapters 1-2 (MIT Press 2007). Not available
on Blackboard; must be purchased. Presenter: Gharrett Favinger
May 12: Mike Huemer, “Moore’s Paradox and the Norm of Belief”. (from Themes from G.E.
Moore, OUP 2007) Presenter: Dash McIntyre
May 17: Clayton Littlejohn, “Moore’s paradox and epistemic norms”. (AJP, 2011). Presenter:
Jackson Johnson
May 19: Linda Zagzebski, “The Definition of Deontic Concepts” (from Virtues of the Mind,
CUP 1996). Presenter: Corey Wolden
May 24: Discussion; no new readings.
May 26: Jon Kvanvig, “Knowledge as Irreducibly Valuable”. (from The Value of Knowledge
and the Pursuit of Understanding, CUP 2003). Presenter: Frank Flammini
May 31: Dennis Whitcomb, “Curiosity was Framed”. (PPR, 2010). Presenter: Ryan Wilson
June 2: Jon Kvanvig, “Curiosity and the Response-Dependent Special Value of Understanding”.
In Progress. Presenter: Sheldon Lessard