The Ockham Society (Week 4, TT18)

Ockham Society

"Generalising Fitch's result"

Fitch showed that if every truth is knowable, then every truth is known. The standard proof of the result in a bimodal logic relies simply on the assumption that the knowledge operator is factive and distributes over conjunctions. Thus, Fitch's result holds not just for knowledge but for any factive operator that distributes over conjunctions. So, the result obtains for any modal operator whose logic extends the modal system KT.

I'll show that Fitch's result holds not only in KT but for an extremely large class of modal systems. This means that Fitch's observation plausibly generalises to various modal operators, including ones that are not indisputably factive, such as belief, evidence, and justification. This generalised result has interesting implications for epistemology as well as many other areas of philosophy. I'll briefly explore some of its epistemological implications—in particular, its implications for the debates on level-bridging principles (like KK) and on epistemic akrasia.

"What Can Epistemology Do For Economics? The Radical Implications of Foundationalism in Economic Modelling"

This paper aims to analyse the structure of justification underlying classical economic modelling, and draw out the implications for the discipline. This is shown to be generally foundationalist, proceeding from certain assumptions taken as basic to conclusions by mathematical inference. It is then shown how this is problematic. Often in such modelling the basic assumptions are justified pragmatically, whereas the conclusions are taken to be justified epistemically. This cannot hold in these structures. A close analysis of recent works in climate economics suggests that this provides a problem not just in theory but in practice, given how such models are intended to be used. It follows that either a change is needed in how such models are intended to be used, or how the assumptions they use are made. Orthodox models should seem to be discarded wholesale in favour of ‘generativist’ or experimental approaches, where assumptions are grounded empirically.


Chair: Sebastian Liu

Ockham Society Convenor: Charlotte Figueroa | Ockham Society Webpage