The Aristotelian Society

The Aristotelian Society

est. 1880

2016 Joint Session


Symposium II

Alessandra Tanesini | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Warwick

"calm down dear": intellectual arrogance, silencing and ignorance


alessandra tanesini (cardiff)



Abstract

In this paper I provide an account of two forms of intellectual arrogance which cause the epistemic practices of conversational turn-taking and assertion to malfunction. I detail some of the ethical and epistemic harms generated by intellectual arrogance, and explain its role in fostering the intellectual vices of timidity and servility in other agents. Finally, I show that arrogance produces ignorance by silencing others (both preventing them from speaking and causing their assertions to misfire) and by fostering self-delusion in the arrogant themselves.

Biography

Alessandra Tanesini is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University. She is the author of An Introduction to Feminist Epistemologies (Blackwell, 1999), of Wittgenstein: A Feminist Interpretation (Polity, 2004), and of several articles in feminist philosophy, the philosophy of mind and language, epistemology and on Nietzsche. She is a member of the Society of Women in Philosophy (UK). Her current work lies at the intersection of ethics and epistemology.

Sanford Goldberg | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Warwick

“arrogance, silence and silencing"

sanford goldberg (northwestern)



Abstract

Alessandra Tanesini’s insightful paper (2016) explores the moral and epistemic harms of arrogance, particularly in conversation. Of special interest to her is the phenomenon of arrogance-induced silencing, whereby one speaker’s arrogance either prevents another from speaking altogether or else undermines her capacity to produce certain speech acts such as assertions (Langton 1993, 2009). I am broadly sympathetic to many of Tanesini’s claims about the harms associated with this sort of silencing. In this paper I propose to address what I see as a lacuna in her account. I believe (and will argue) that the arrogant speaker can put those he silences in the morally outrageous position in which their own silence contributes to their oppression. While nothing in Tanesini’s account would predict or explain this, the wrinkle I propose will aim to do so in a way that is in the spirit of her account. To do so, I will need to expand the focus of discussion: instead of concentrating on (arrogance-induced) silencing, I will consider the phenomenon of (arrogance-induced) silence. When one is silent in the face of a mutually observed assertion (whatever the cause of this silence), one’s silence will be interpreted by others. I argue that (1) under certain widespread conditions, a hearer’s silence in the face of the arrogant speaker’s assertions is likely to be falsely interpreted as indicating her assent to the assertion, and (2) such an interpretation of the hearer’s silence will bring new harms in its wake—in particular, harms to the hearer who was silenced, and also harms to the community at large. When we combine these new harms with the ones Tanesini identified in her paper, we reach the further conclusion that (3) the harms of silencing (whether arrogance-induced or otherwise) are potentially far worse than many have imagined.

Biography

Sandy Goldberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University, and from 2012-2015 he was Professorial Fellow at Eidyn and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He works in the areas of epistemology and the philosophy of language, with a special focus on topics at the intersection of these areas as well as topics in social epistemology. He is author of Anti-Individualism (CUP, 2007), Relying on Others (OUP, 2010), and Assertion (OUP, 2015), and he recently completed a book manuscript tentatively entitled To the Best of our Knowledge.


further info

LXXXVX


Cardiff University


8 - 10 July 2016

School of English, Communication and Philosophy
John Percival Building
Cardiff University
Colum Road
Cardiff CF10 3EU


Local Organisers: Nicholas Shackel

Programme edited by Matthew Soteriou (Warwick)

Visit the Official 2016 Joint Session Website | View the Open & Postgraduate Session CFP| View the Schedules for Future Joint Sessions | Listen to Joint Session Podcasts | Learn about the Supplementary Volume

future joint sessions

LXXXVXI
2017 joint session:
Edinburgh

7 - 9 july 2017

LXXXVXII
2018 joint session:
Oxford

july 2018

LXXXVXIII
2019 joint session:
TBC

july 2019





supplementary volume

The inaugural address and symposia for the Joint Session are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, which is published digitally and in hardcover every June. The Supplementary Volume is sent to subscribing members of the Society in categories 4 and 5.

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Cardiff University Joint Session Call for Papers

past conferences

LXXXVIX
2015 joint session:
warwick

10 - 12 july 2015

lxXxviii
2014 joint session:
Cambridge

11 - 13 july 2014

lxXxvii
2013 joint session:
Exeter

12 - 14 july 2013





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