CFP: The Cologne Knowledge Router

Submission deadline: February 26, 2021

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The Cologne Knowledge Router: Call for Commentators

The Cologne Center for Contemporary Epistemology and the Kantian Tradition (CONCEPT) organizes a monthly online talk series: the Cologne Knowledge Router. For each of the installments of the Router, CONCEPT invites established philosophers to present their work on a topic within the scope of traditional, social, and formal epistemology. By including early career scholars as commentators, the Router supports a horizontal knowledge transfer on all levels of experience. The main aim of each meeting is an interactive discussion on the presented topic.

Description:

The fourth installment of the Cologne Knowledge Router will take place on March 19, at 4 p.m. CET, and it will be held via Zoom.

Exactly as any of the other installments, it will consist of a talk by the keynote speaker and a commentary by one or two early career respondents. The keynote speaker will have around 30 minutes to present their paper. Each respondent will then have about 10 minutes to comment on the speaker’s paper. The Q&A will be a further 30 minutes.

We are excited to announce that the keynote speaker for this installment of the Router will be Alix Cohen (University of Edinburgh). She will present her paper entitled ‘In Defence of Epistemic Autonomy: A Kantian Proposal’. The abstract is below:

There is little discussion of epistemic autonomy in current literature on epistemic normativity, which is particularly surprising in light of the fact that since epistemic consequentialism has come under fire, there has been a renewed interest in non-consequentialist accounts. Even more notably, the few epistemologists who have attempted to explore Kantian inspired alternatives to epistemic consequentialism don’t seem to have considered the potential of epistemic autonomy, limiting their discussions to epistemic versions of deontology or respect for truth instead. I believe that this lack of enthusiasm for epistemic autonomy can be accounted for by the fact that recent discussions of it describe it as an account that champions epistemic individualism to the point that the subject is the only legitimate source of her beliefs. If this is an accurate description of epistemic autonomy, then there are obvious reasons we should be suspicious of it. While different reasons have been put forward in the literature, they tend to converge on the claim that insofar as human knowledge requires epistemic cooperation, epistemic autonomy, insofar as it champions epistemic individualism, is at best an unreachable ideal, and at worst a non-starter. The aim of this paper is to put forward a Kantian account of epistemic autonomy that doesn’t fall prey to these objections and thus show that it is a promising way of thinking about epistemic normativity. To support this claim, I argue that epistemic autonomy rightly understood isn’t individualistic; nor is it self-reliance, epistemic independence, or even seeing the subject as the only legitimate source of belief, as is often portrayed. Rather, on the Kantian proposal I defend, epistemic autonomy requires the epistemic contributions of others. Epistemic autonomy and epistemic communitarianism are thus two sides of the same coin – you can’t have one without the other since epistemic autonomy requires not just others, but a community with others, as its condition of possibility. In this sense, and contrary to what is usually thought, not only is epistemic autonomy compatible with epistemic communitarianism, the latter is a necessary condition of the former. Being a responsible epistemic agent consists in seeing myself as part of a community of agents who share a world (i.e., epistemic communitarianism) and are equally committed to reason’s demand (i.e., epistemic autonomy).

Submissions:

The commentators will be selected on the basis of a call for abstracts. We thus invite submissions of anonymized abstracts of a maximum length of 500 words. Submissions from academics from underrepresented groups in philosophy are especially encouraged. 

The submission deadline is: February 26, 2021.

Abstracts should be ready for double-blind review. We thus ask you to remove any identifying details from the abstract. We kindly ask you to send the author’s name, paper title, and affiliation in the body of the e-mail.

All submissions and inquiries should be sent to: s.schmidt@uni-koeln.de.

Expect notifications about the outcome by: March 5, 2021.

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