Sarah Paul (Wisconsin - Madison), "Believing in Others"  Add To Calendar

  • Dates: 22 – 22 Jan, 2018
All Colloquia Talk will be held at 4:00pm, in room 1430 University Hall, Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 South Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607. For additional information call (312) 996-2490 or email

Suppose some person 'A' sets out to accomplish a difficult, long-term goal such as writing a passable Ph.D. thesis.  What should you believe about whether A will succeed?  The default answer is that you should believe whatever the total accessible evidence concerning A's abilities, circumstances, capacity for self-discipline, etc. supports.  But could it be that what you should believe depends in part on the relationship you have with A?  I will argue that it does, in the case where A is yourself.  The capacity for "grit" involves a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of evidence suggesting that one might fail, and this makes it rational to respond to the relevant evidence differently when you are the agent in question.  I will then explore whether similar arguments extend to the case of "believing in" our significant others—our friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, and mentees.