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Jennifer Morton
Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Pennsylvania

The pursuit of challenging, long-term goals is characterized by our frequent encounters with setbacks and challenges that threaten our confidence. In other work, Sarah Paul and I have argued that it is in responding to these obstacles that the exercise of gritty agency is useful. Agents who can recognize the challenges in front of them but, nonetheless, maintain confidence in the continued pursuit of the goal when the evidence permits exercise an important agential capacity we term epistemic resilience. But how should the agent think of the obstacles in front of her?

In this talk, I argue that there is an important role to be played by how agents interpret the setbacks they encounter. The evidence is often compatible with multiple interpretive frameworks. I draw on work in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science on perspectives to make the case. I aim to show that these interpretive frameworks play an important role in shaping the practical challenge we encounter, how we understand the evidence, and our practical and epistemic agency. This talk is drawn from a book manuscript I’m co-authoring with Sarah Paul on Striving.

Event Details

  • Artemis Chen
  • Izabela Karch
  • Indigo Kopp
  • Mark Klitzke

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