Perspectival Complacency, Open-Mindedness and Amelioration

Professor Elisabeth Camp - Thacher Endowed Lecture 2020

Professor Elisabeth Camp, Rutgers University; GW Department of Philosophy 2020 Thacher Endowed Lecture

Please join the GW Department of Philosophy for our 2020 Thacher Endowed Lecture presented by Professor Elisabeth Camp!
Friday, March 27 | 3:30 p.m. | Duques 151

Perspectival Complacency, Open-Mindedness and Amelioration

Perspectives are intuitive modes of interpretation, which can be encapsulated in slogans, memes, and novels. We deploy and attribute perspectives every day, in thinking and arguing with one another about politics, art, science and everyday life. But epistemically, they are double-edged swords. On the one hand, perspectives help us to understand and fluidly navigate complex domains. On the other, they can induce epistemic complacency, blinding us to interpretive distortion and unknown unknowns. Perspectival open-mindedness is the best antidote to complacency; but such flexibility is itself dangerous, by potentially perverting our cognitive resources. I argue that the solution is not to eschew perspectives in pursuit of ‘pure rationality’, but rather to marshal internal and external resources for probing and improving their aptness.

Speaker Biography
The Department of Philosophy is proud to present Professor Elisabeth Camp as the speaker for the Thacher Endowed Lecture 2020. Elisabeth Camp is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers. She obtained her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, did a post-doc at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania before coming to Rutgers in 2013. Her research focuses on thoughts and talk that doesn't fit the standard philosophical model of a propositional calculus. In the realm of communication, this includes phenomena like metaphor, sarcasm, slurs and insinuation. In the realm of minds, it covers maps, non-human animal cognition, imagination, and emotion. She has published in journals including Analytic Philosophy, Nonsite, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Perspectives, and Philosophical Studies, and is currently editing a volume of philosophical responses to the poetry of Emily Dickinson. 

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