Friday

0000000 Experts and Epistemic Authorities
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Emil-Figge-Straße 50, 2.213 Public and political discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the relationship between laypersons and experts, but also, more generally, questions relating to epistemic deference. Should we (as laypersons) believe experts when they make claims within their domain of expertise? If so, how can laypersons identify the correct experts to trust? In what exact way might expert testimony affect our reasons for or against believing a given proposition? What does it mean to be an epistemic authority relative to another person? In this seminar, we will discuss these and similar questions arising within recent debates in social epistemology, such as the preemption debate. Literatur: Literature will be provided on Moodle. Note: Seminar sessions may take place either in person or on ZOOM. The first session will take place in person.

030061 Agent-Based Simulations in Philosophy (Seselja, Straßer)
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In recent years digital aspects have entered philosophy, both in terms of providing a plethora of new topics and by providing new perspectives on old questions. Moreover, the digital age also equips philosophy with new computational methods for tackling philosophical questions, such as computer simulations. This course is dedicated to this topic. Computer simulations in the form of agent-based models (ABMs) have in recent years become a popular method in philosophy, particularly in social epistemology, philosophy of science and political philosophy. In this course we discuss some of the central philosophical questions studied by means of ABMs. For instance, can groups of rational agent polarize, if yes, under which conditions? Can groups composed of agents that reason individually fully rationally (e.g., according to Bayesian standards) still be inefficient as a group? If yes, how so? Other topics concern questions from social epistemology and philosophy of science, such as the division of cognitive labor, cognitive diversity and expertise, opinion dynamics, etc. This course will consist of three parts: 1. In October and November we will cover some of the most prominent modeling frameworks used in the philosophical literature and beyond. The readings will be aimed at preparing students for talks by experts on the topic, which constitute part 2. 2. On the 7-8th of December, 2023 we will have a (full day) workshop in which experts working in this field will come to RUB and present their work. No further classes will take place in December. Instead, students will choose a topic related to one of the talks in the workshop and start their project on it. The topics for student projects will be agreed upon in (individual) online meetings. The project should result in a presentation and an essay. | | | The reading list will be provided during the course.

030062 Philosophy of Models and Simulations (Seselja)
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Models are commonly used across sciences. What is more, they are of central importance in the production of scientific knowledge. Yet, how exactly we can learn from them, how do we determine what a model represents, and what kind of explanation it provides – are questions that are not easy to answer, which is why they have been hotly debated by philosophers. Take, for instance, highly idealized computer simulations, frequently developed in social sciences and in philosophy. What do such models represent? How are they related to the real-world? And when can we take results of such models seriously, for example, as the basis for policy guidance? Or consider opaque machine learning models, which can be used to make predictions. When do they help to increase our understanding of the world? This course will consist of three parts: 1. In October and November we will discuss some of the central publications written on the above topics. The readings will be aimed at preparing students for talks by experts on the topic, which constitute part 2. 2. On the 6th of December, 2023 we will have a (full day) workshop in which experts working in this field will come to RUB and present their work. No further classes will take place in December. Instead, students will choose a topic related to one of the talks in the workshop and start their project on it. The topics for student projects will be agreed upon in (individual) online meetings. The project should result in a presentation and an essay. 3. In January classes will consist of student presentations, focusing on the projects agreed upon in December. We will also cover some additional readings, supplementing the student presentations. | | | The reading list will be provided at the start of the course.