History of Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Theory of Value
Members of the philosophy department do research on a wide variety of issues in and around epistemology:
(1) Laurence BonJour is interested in many of the major issues in recent epistemology, including foundationalism vs. coherentism (on which he first defended the latter view and now defends the former), internalism vs. externalism, and a priori justification and knowledge.
(2) William Talbott has done work on reliabilism, on the nature of self-deception, on theoretical problems for the idealizations employed in Bayesian epistemology, and on the epistemology of the legal discovery process. He is working on a book in which he argues that epistemic circularity is often rational.
(3) Arthur Fine is interested in issues at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of science, such as the nature of evidence in the sciences and especially the role of models in theory confirmation. Other members of the philosophy of science group also do research and teaching that is highly relevant to epistemology, on issues concerning evidence, confirmation, and explanation in the natural and social sciences.
(4) Cass Weller is interested in the issues that grow out of Wilfrid Sellars’s critique of the idea of givenness, especially as it pertains to sensory experience, and John McDowell’s attempt to defend a view that avoids both givenness and coherentism and results in a direct realist view.
(5) Both Lynn Hankinson Nelson and Alison Wylie do work that reflects the growing recent interest in social epistemology. Nelson’s work focuses on socially naturalized Quinean and feminist forms of epistemic holism, while Wylie’s is concerned with the epistemic implications of social inequality. (Wylie recently edited a special issue of Episteme on “Epistemic Diversity and Dissent.”)
(6) Carole Lee is currently interested in how the generality problem, raised as an objection to reliabilism, arises in and is addressed in cognitive psychology. This research is part of a more general interest in how the empirical study of human judgment can or cannot inform traditional epistemic concepts and norms.
One recently completed dissertation was a defense of virtue epistemology. (The student in question now holds a tenure-track position.) Two near completion are concerned with (a) defending traditional foundationalism and (b) defending the idea that some forms of epistemic circularity are virtuous rather than vicious. A third dissertation well under way is concerned with the evidentiary role of expert testimony (especially as it relates to science).
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