Kicking off the spring quarter, Dr. Naomi Reshotko spoke to the philosophical roots of knowledge in her lecture for the Josef Korbel School Speaker Series “The Spector of Ignorance.”
Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Denver, Dr. Reshotko spoke at the Josef Korbel School about the paradox of knowable objects and the need for precision and determination in undertaking our quest for knowledge.
Ultimately Reshotko posited that in order to even talk about ignorance, you must ascribe to what she called an “outside knowledge” model.
“We can’t be right unless we can also be wrong,” said Reshotko. The existence of objective knowledge outside human experience is what makes a thing right or wrong, namely how closely it corresponds to its objective outside form. Reshotko’s theory pulled heavily from Plato, whose cave shadows illustration is one of the most famous examples of this theory.
The talk centered around the need for empiricists, those who rely solely on experience, to broaden their conception of knowledge because experience cannot create knowable objects, according to Reshotko.
“What we really want to study isn’t the list, it’s the principle we made to compile that list,” she said. For strict empiricists, principles aren’t strictly part of observable experience.
The talk brought the Josef Korbel School Speaker series down to its philosophical roots. While speakers throughout the year have addressed all manners of epistemic processes in the social sciences, Reshotko went deeper to outline the model of knowledge she believes social scientists must ascribe to in order to even consider reaching a sort of truth about their claims.
“I think I’m giving you a license to be more robust about things like social forces,” said Reshotko in response to a question about the natural flux of social science and how precision is difficult for moving targets.
The Josef Korbel School Speaker Series continues through the spring quarter. A list of upcoming events can be found here.
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies