Into Question: An Account of Inquiry
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractInquiry is central to our lives as knowers. From the quotidian ‘where did I leave my keys’ to the most momentous of research questions, we update our beliefs via inquiries large and small every day. Plausibly then, we achieve a much more complete picture of agents’ epistemic lives when we take into account not just what they believe or know but also the questions they have open for inquiry. Such is the approach to epistemology that motivates my dissertation. The enclosed papers present an account of inquiry from the perspective of philosophy of mind. The account provides sufficient conditions on being in inquiry and also has much to say about the attitudes of inquiring and questioning agents, like doubt and suspension of judgment. The account thus provides a framework for determining which questions an agent has open for inquiry and is a starting place for an inquiry-based epistemology.
In “Is Suspension an Inquiring State of Mind?,” I put pressure on Jane Friedman’s claim that suspending judgment is sufficient for being in inquiry. While the main force of the argument is critical, the paper unfolds the terrain of the mental states of inquirers and sets the terms in which my own view is framed. “Committing to Inquiry” then is the heart of my account. The project of the paper is to lay out sufficient conditions on an agent’s being in inquiry. I argue that inquiry begins with a commitment to a focal question, this commitment takes the form of an intention, and only such an intention is sufficient for inquiring. Finally, in “Room for Doubt” I explore an application of the picture defended in the previous chapters. I argue that, in my framework, doubt is best understood not as a doxastic attitude but as the process of considering whether to revise one’s belief-commitments.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:39945331
- FAS Theses and Dissertations