Two seminars: Reasons and Norms

Two Departmental Research Seminars will be held in Spring 2016, as part of the Reasons and Norms series. Both are on the Open University’s main Walton Hall campus in Milton Keynes.

3rd February 2016: Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett (University of Birmingham), ‘Epistemic normativity and biological function’. 2pm – 4pm, Wilson A, Meeting Room 05

Summary My focus is on epistemic normativity, in particular: beliefs about beliefs. With many others, I claim that our mechanisms for belief production have the biological function of producing true beliefs. However, I also claim that beliefs about epistemic normativity are false. We might say that in virtue of their falsity, beliefs about epistemic normativity are not doing what they are supposed to do, that they are malfunctioning beliefs. Here I argue that in this case we do not have accidental false belief, but rather we have a case of false belief produced by mechanisms doing exactly what they should be doing. Such beliefs are biologically useful, but not as an approximation to truth.

2nd March 2016: Dr Eileen John (University of Warwick), title tbc. 2pm – 4pm, Wilson A, Meeting Room 05

All welcome. Contact Carolyn Price ( for more information on these events and on the Reasons and Norms research group.