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Apr 1, 2019

Our Next Visiting Speaker April 5 - Dr. Anne Baril

Dr. Anne Baril, Lecturer in Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, will be giving a talk in our department on Friday, April 5. Her talk, titled "A High-Quality Picture of the World,” will be given from 2-4pm in 175 McCain Hall (note the change from our usual room!). Her abstract is as follows:

Knowledge is often said to be worthy of pursuit “for its own sake” or an “end in itself”. According to some philosophers, knowledge is among the “basic goods”: the things that directly benefit a person.
On the other hand, it’s easy to generate examples of knowledge that are so trivial that they add little or nothing to the prudential value of a life. Some instances of knowledge even seem to make their possessor worse off. And the idea that knowledge is valuable in itself can seem baffling, or even fetishistic. Thus a principal of a Scottish university has asserted: “‘Knowledge for its own sake’ is no better as a pedagogical statement than ‘spinach for its own sake’ would be as a nutritional one.”
This paper represents an attempt to sort through these competing intuitions. I will give a broad-strokes account of the epistemic good that I believe is the best candidate for inclusion on a pluralistic list of basic goods: not knowledge, understanding, or even wisdom, but a high-quality picture of the world.

We hope to see you there!

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