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Colloquium: Anna Boncompagni
December 12, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Anna Boncompagni (University of California Irvine)
‘Peirce and Wittgenstein on doubt and certainty’
12 Dec 2018 • 3:30pm–5:30pm • USU–304
Abstract: Peirce and Wittgenstein show surprising similarities in their accounts of doubt and certainty: both oppose the Cartesian idea (and ideal) of doubt as the starting point of philosophy and highlight instead the primacy of the background common sense certainties in our everyday epistemic (and not only epistemic) activities. After briefly delineating some commonalities between the two, I will focus on the recent proposal of ‘hinge epistemology’, which takes inspiration from the later Wittgenstein’s notion of hinges in order to build a new strategy against the skeptical challenge. Although acknowledging that pragmatists held similar ideas, some hinge epistemologists affirm that the pragmatist response to skepticism fails, because it advocates pragmatic and not epistemic reasons for holding hinges. I will claim instead that, for Peirce too, certainty is not only a matter of practical indispensability; more generally, the pragmatist conception of belief as a habit of action, similarly to the later Wittgenstein’s approach, questions the very distinction between epistemic and pragmatic reasons.