What is Reasoning? The Unity and Distinctness of Practical and Theoretical Reasoning

June 2, 2016 - June 4, 2016
Department of Philosophy, University of Leipzig

Neuer Senatssaal
Ritterstraße 26
Leipzig 04109

View the Call For Papers


Magdalena Balcerak Jackson
University of Miami
Sinan Dogramci
University of Texas, Austin
Julia Tanney
University of Kent
University of Southampton
Ralph Wedgwood
University of Southern California


Rebekka Gersbach
Universität Leipzig
Jonas Held
Universität Basel
Concordia University

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Inference and reasoning, theoretical and practical, are crucial aspects of our rationality. But what are we doing when we draw an inference? What kind of mental act or event is reasoning? Thinking about the epistemology of inference and the role practical reasoning plays for good or rational action has led many to ask such general questions about the nature of inference and reasoning. This workshop brings together some of the sharpest and most innovative minds working on these issues today. Topics and questions that we will discuss include (but are not limited to) the following:

Inference in general: What is it? How does it work? In what sense, if any, do we have to take our own inferences to be good? What do we need inference for? How does inference relate to other mental acts and attitudes?

Theoretical inference:  When does theoretical inference give us knowledge? What makes a theoretical inference good? Is the “good-making-feature” different for different kinds of theoretical inference? How does theoretical inference differ from other ways of acquiring knowledge?

Practical inference:  What is the relation between practical rationality and practical reasoning? How do practical inference and virtue or moral worth hang together (if at all)? What is the conclusion of a practical inference (an intention, an action, a judgment about what is good, or something else entirely)? What role, if any, does a conception of the good or the right play in practical reasoning?

The relation between theoretical and practical inference:  What are the differences between theoretical and practical inference? What are the similarities?  Do they have some kind of common root or stem?  Are they species of a common genus?

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May 25, 2016, 8:00pm CET

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