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Philosophy Candidate: Dr. Julia Smith

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Thursday, January 26, 2023 5pm

257 Columbia Avenue, Holland, MI 49423-3692

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Please join the Philosophy Department as we welcome Dr. Julia Smith, a candidate for a position in the Philosophy Department. Her lecture will be in Martha Miller 242 at 5pm on Wednesday, January 25 and is titled: Inquiry and Metacognitive Feelings.

Abstract: The activity of inquiry involves gathering evidence. Often, the evidence-gathering that is central to inquiry is motivated by an interrogative attitude such as curiosity, wondering, or questioning. We can refer to evidence-gathering that is motivated by this kind of attitude as a question-driven inquiry. Some authors have argued that we should never engage in question-driven inquiry towards a question whose answer we already know. (If I already know who is coming to the party, I shouldn’t be curious about it!) Smith draws on the psychological literature on metacognitive feelings, in particular the ‘feeling of knowing’, to show that there are many ordinary cases in which it is appropriate to inquire into a question whose answer one already knows. What’s more, in many such cases it is appropriate for one to inquire into a question whose answer one knows that one knows. This result has important implications concerning the purpose and aim of question-driven inquiry: inquiry does not aim merely at knowledge, but at putting an agent in a position to put knowledge to work in deliberation and action. 

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