John Locke Lecture (Wednesday - Week 6, TT23)

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Recognizing knowledge: intuitive and reflective epistemology

The Faculty is most delighted to welcome Jennifer Nagel as a John Locke lecturer of 2023. Jennifer is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and will give a series of lectures in Trinity Term 2023.

The lectures will take place at 5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays in weeks 6 to 8 of Trinity Term 2023 (29, 31 May and 5, 7, 12, 14 June), at The HB Allen Centre, 25 Banbury Road, Oxford.


Humans have a remarkable capacity to track what others do and do not know. This capacity guides us in everyday social navigation, for example as we switch between the roles of telling and asking in conversation. It also provides raw data to epistemology, in the form of intuitive judgments about possible cases of knowledge. Over the years, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists have discovered a variety of cross-culturally robust patterns of epistemic intuition, patterns that are attractively systematic, but often disturbingly paradoxical. This series of talks examines the natural origins and functions of our capacity to detect knowledge, in search of a better analysis of the data guiding epistemology, and ultimately a clearer view of knowledge itself.


Lecture 1: The strange divergence between intuitive and reflective knowledge attribution

Lecture 2: Knowledge and surprise

Lecture 3: Mental state recognition among animals

Lecture 4: Distinctively human mindreading

Lecture 5: Knowledge possession and knowledge transmission

Lecture 6: Knowledge detection and the nature of knowledge

Please note that once the lecture has started guests will not be allowed in.