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Title: “Are Justice and Truthfulness Reflectively Stable?” 


Description: We humans live by high-minded ideals such as justice, knowledge, and truth. These are familiar philosophical notions, but we rarely think of these ideas in terms of their point or practical function. In this talk, I argue that we should think of our conceptual practices as tools serving practical needs. I then explore whether these practices are 'reflectively stable'. A common view (endorsed by Hume, Bernard Williams, and others) is that our commitments to justice, truthfulness, and other ideals are 'stable' under philosophical reflection. That is, Hume and Williams claim we can remain committed to justice and truthfulness while recognizing the instrumental function of these practices. In contrast, I question whether our commitment to justice and truthfulness is threatened once we come to understand the importance of these practices in instrumental terms.


Speaker Bio: Michael Hannon is Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham. Hannon works in epistemology, especially the social and political aspects of epistemology. He is primarily interested in the relationship between knowledge and practical life.

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