Mind Research Fellows
Maria Rosa Antognazza (King’s College London)
Thinking with Assent: Renewing a Traditional Account of Knowledge and Belief.
My aim is to propose an original account of cognition by renewing some insights deriving from the history of epistemology. Epistemology is currently in ferment. What was recently regarded as the ‘standard account’ of knowledge (namely, Justified True Belief plus some additional condition) is no longer consensual. A leading contender amongst alternative accounts is the ‘knowledge-first epistemology’ advocated by Timothy Williamson, although a new consensus has not emerged. The core of my project will propose an account of cognition according to which knowledge and belief are irreducibly distinct kinds of ‘thinking with assent’ that cannot be analysed or characterized in terms of one another. The project will: 1) rediscover an historically well-attested account of cognition significantly different from twentieth-century mainstream views; 2) employ a version of this rediscovered tradition in a fresh restatement of the relationship between knowledge and belief; 3) apply this reconceived relationship to religious belief in particular. These three sections will coincide with sections in a monograph currently under contract with Oxford University Press.
Craig Bourne (Hertfordshire)
Truth in Fiction: A Contextualist Account
Some fictional truths are determined by what is explicitly stated in a book or shown on a screen, such as the fictional truth that Harry Potter wears glasses. One central concern in the philosophy of fiction is accounting for fictional truths which aren’t explicitly stated or shown (such as that Harry Potter has the same internal organs as we have). My project develops a new way of understanding how such fictional truths are determined, proposing an account of the dynamics of truth in fiction which explains why certain things can legitimately be assumed to be fictionally true, and how these assumptions can sometimes be revised. This will also involve giving an account of how decisions to cast particular actors in particular roles affect the mechanics of determining what is true in a fiction.
Unfortunately, Craig Bourne’s contribution to the conference could not be transferred to the online version of the conference.
Graeme A Forbes (Kent)
A Defence of the Growing-Block
The fellowship provides time to work on a larger project – a monograph – that sets out to answer three questions:
1. ‘does time (objectively) pass?’;
2. ‘Is there an objective difference between past and future?’;
3. ‘If we answer yes to questions 1 and 2, what account of time should we hold?’.
In doing so, the project aims to unify perhaps the most fundamental divide between science and the humanities. Science tends to view the passage of time as variation over a dimension of space-time, and to be understood by analogue with variation over space. The humanities tend to emphasise how humans are inescapably time-bound creatures, and treat time as passing in a way that has no spatial analogue. By adopting a pragmatist approach, wherein the world science investigates and the world in which humans live are one and the same, I will synthesise these contrasting perspectives.
The supplementary volume for the conference will be available from 3-13 July.