Varieties of Self-Knowledge: Workshop at Harvard

Version 2

Painting by Byron Davies

On Friday March 11 and Saturday March 12 2016 the Harvard Philosophy Department will be hosting a workshop titled “Varieties of Self-Knowledge.” Please visit the workshop’s website here. Information about the workshop is below:

 

The Varieties of Self-Knowledge

Thompson Room, Barker Humanities Center

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Friday March 11 – Saturday March 12, 2016

 

Organizers: 

Matthew Boyle (Harvard University)

Richard Moran (Harvard University)

 

Presenters:

Alex Byrne (MIT)

Dorit Bar-On (University of Connecticut)

Lucy O’Brien (University College London)

Sarah Paul (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Christopher Peacocke (Columbia University)

Sebastian Rödl (Universität Leipzig)

Kieran Setiya (MIT)

 

Description:

The workshop aims to bring together philosophers who have worked on the topic of self-knowledge from diverse standpoints to discuss what varieties of self-knowledge are worth distinguishing and how they might matter to a characteristically human life.  Questions about the epistemic basis of self-knowledge, and the extent to which we humans possess it, will undoubtedly play a part in the discussion, but our primary goal is not so much to adjudicate these issues as to consider such questions as the following:

  • What should be our attitude toward the famous Delphic injunction to “know thyself”?  Are there forms of self-knowledge that are crucial to a successful human life?  Are there ways in which self-knowledge might be an obstacle to our lives?
  • What connection is there, if any, between rationality and self-knowledge?  Does rationality entail some capacity for privileged self-knowledge?  Is some form of self-knowledge necessary for rationality?
  • What is the relationship between self-knowledge and self-consciousness?  Must a subject who is capable of thinking of herself first personally (or having “de se” representations of herself) be capable of certain forms of self-knowledge?  What forms of self-awareness should we distinguish, and what relations of dependency (if any) hold between them?
  • What difference of principle (if any) does our capacity for self-knowledge make to our cognitive capacities in general?  Is self-knowledge just more knowledge, potentially useful in the way that any knowledge might be, or does our capacity for some form of self-knowledge transform our very capacity to know in some important way?
  • What might it mean to speak of a “first person perspective” on mind, and how might a consideration of that perspective be important to the philosophy of mind?
  • How (if at all) are capacities for self-awareness drawn on in more specific forms of human activity such as: intentional action, contentful communication, understanding and interacting with other people, etc.?

This will be a read-in-advance workshop.  Papers will be pre-circulated, and will not be presented in full.  To register for the workshop and receive access to the papers, please email Olivia Bailey at obailey@fas.harvard.edu.

 

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