Institut Jean Nicod

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Truth relativism about epistemic modals and the argument from ignorant assessors

Matias Gariazzo, PETAF visiting student from the University of London :
"Truth relativism about epistemic modals and the argument from ignorant assessors"

Tuesday, October 16, at 16.30 in the salle de reunion. 

ABSTRACT :
The data on rejection and retraction that has been appealed to for
supporting truth relativism about epistemic modals involve (i) a
better-informed subject that assesses a claim made by a less informed
subject and (ii) a retraction made by the latter based on the
assessment made by the former. Richard Dietz (2008) argues that we do
not obtain data on rejection and retraction supporting truth
relativism once we consider the opposite type of situation where
someone assesses a claim made by a better-informed subject. This
criticism has been taken to imply that at most epistemic modal claims
are asymmetrically assessment sensitive : they are assessment sensitive
insofar as the assessor knows more than the speaker. Based on such a
construal of the objection MacFarlane (2011, 2012) and Egan &
Weatherson (2011) have replied to it. I argue that the Dietz’s
objection can be generalized in order to show that the accuracy of
epistemic modal claims cannot be taken to be assessment sensitive in
any case.


EHESSCNRSENS