Event Detail

Thu Sep 14, 2023
Howison Library
4–6 PM
Philosophy Colloquium
Justin Khoo (MIT)
Judging for Ourselves

Suppose I hear from a trusted friend that The Shining is scary. Believing them, I decide not to watch the film. Later, talking with someone else about the movie, I say, “The Shining is scary!” Somehow, my assertion here is inappropriate—since I haven’t seen the film and judged whether it’s scary myself, I shouldn’t have said what I did (maybe instead I should have said that I’ve heard The Shining is scary). But why? I’ll motivate the case that this phenomena is actually quite puzzling – it’s not explained by a knowledge norm of assertion, nor is it due to a purely lexical feature of words like scary. Rather, I’ll argue that it is an instance of a general norm on authoritative speech (following work by Jennifer Lackey), together with the fact that, in a sense, we are all authorities about what is scary.