Uehiro Graduate Student Conference 2024

The Benefit of the Doubt: Skepticism, Epistemic and Moral

March 7- 8th, 2024

March 6th – Reception
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Reception in the Philosophy Graduate Student and Faculty Lounge, Sakamaki Hall C308. Food and drinks will be provided.

Tamara Albertini, University of Hawaii
“Title: “Shades of Doubt and Degrees of Certainty: Lessons from al-Ghazālī and Descartes”

Extensive scholarly work has been dedicated to delineating the notable similarities between al-Ghazālī and Descartes. In my lecture, I intend to venture into less-explored terrain, drawing attention to al-Ghazālī’s taxonomy of “doubt”, as expounded in his Book of Knowledge, and Descartes’s concept of “enumeration” from the Rules for the Direction of the Mind [Latin: Ingenium].

Karen Jones, University of Melbourne
“Affective Regulation and Resistance”

Many, including myself, have argued that emotions can put us in touch with values even when we hold ideologically driven beliefs that such emotions are unjustified. In this paper, I argue that this view, while not wholly wrong, ignores the social forces that regulate “outlaw” emotions. Norms for who is to feel what, when, go into making us fit for participation in social relations, including relations of dominance and subordination. Affective regulation is a core, but overlooked, people-making practice. I explore how affective regulation works and the ways in which dominant norms for feeling can be resisted and new norms established. I identify the following strategies: 1. Direct critique in which an emotional response is charged with being unwise, unfitting, out of proportion, or insufficiently grounded in evidence; 2. Enactment or the sincere and readable performance of counter-dominant affective responses aimed at licensing new ways of feeling; 3. Invitation into affect worlds through presupposition and naming; and 4. Embedding, or making available alternative ways of framing situations that support non-dominant affective responses. I explore the prospects for deploying these strategies from positions of relatively greater or lesser social power.

Hans-Georg Moeller, University of Macau
“A Defense of Moral Foolishness: A Daoist View”

This paper argues that moralization has not increased the ability of society or individuals to manage their problems more effectively. Based on Daoist philosophy and contemporary social systems theory, the paper proposes that the contrary is the case: Due to the complexity of society and individuals as well as to the nature of moral communication, moral framing does not bring about social consensus or individual well-being but creates further divisions. Instead of trying to identify a “minimal shared morality,” a Daoism-inspired approach aims at minimizing moral communication to reduce and resolve conflicts. Rather than striving for a minimalist morality, it advocates “moral foolishness.”