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Philosophy Café – What am I? by Dr Conor McHugh
Lecturer Dr Conor McHugh challenged the audience at the University of Southampton Philosophy Cafe to consider what makes a person. He asked them to ponder what would happen if scientists swapped individual’s brains from one person to another: “Which, if either, of the resulting people is you? What if the scientists erase all of my memories and scan them into your brain? In that case, it will seem to you that it was you who, for example, wrote these words. Is this impression illusory?” Conor’s lively session, encouraging people to think about such questions, was aimed at helping us to get clearer on personal identity and on our concern for our own futures.

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Philosophy Café: 'The Problem of the Criterion: Is Knowledge too Hard or too Easy? Dr Conor McHugh
'The Problem of the Criterion: Is Knowledge too Hard or too Easy?' We acquire knowledge through methods such as perception and reasoning and, according to an intuitively plausible principle, acquiring knowledge through such a method requires us first to know that this method is reliable. But it has long been recognized that this seems to give rise to a vicious regress, making knowledge impossible. Rejecting the principle, on the other hand, seems to make knowledge too easy: we could come to know that a method is reliable by using that very method! So how might we solve this ancient puzzle? We acquire knowledge through methods such as perception and reasoning and, according to an intuitively plausible principle, acquiring knowledge through such a method requires us first to know that this method is reliable. But it has long been recognized that this seems to give rise to a vicious regress, making knowledge impossible. Rejecting the principle, on the other hand, seems to make knowledge too easy: we could come to know that a method is reliable by using that very method! So how might we solve this ancient puzzle?

Profile PictureSara Mailis
Shared with: World

This list was generated on Mon Sep 16 09:46:00 2019 BST.