Historisk-filosofiska fakulteten

Stefan Buijsman: "A limited role for hypothesis testing"

  • Datum: 2017-09-21 kl 10:15 12:00
  • Plats: Engelska parken - Eng2-1022
  • Arrangör: Filosofiska institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Matti Eklund
  • Seminarium

Högre seminariet i teoretisk filosofi

Stefan Buijsman, Stockholms universitet: "A limited role for hypothesis testing"

It is initially plausible to think that a lot of our concepts are acquired through a learning procedure. One of the main objections against the idea that concepts are acquired through learning is Fodor’s argument that the most likely learning procedure, hypothesis testing, presupposes that the rel- evant concept has already been acquired. I offer a response to this argument, by identifying a situation in which it is possible to test hypotheses, by appeal to authorities, without having acquired the relevant concept. This situation is familiar from the literature on concept externalism as that where the attribution conditions of a concept are satisfied. I argue that this situation satisfies Fodor’s minimal requirement on hypothesis testing without having the problematic consequence that the concept is already acquired. I also argue that it is a sufficient situation to acquire the concept through hypothesis testing. Hypothesis testing can thus be used to acquire a concept, but only in a limited number of cases – those where there is an authority available.