Projects

Suspension of Belief Project: its nature and its norms (2020-2024)

The project on suspension of judgment is led by Prof. Dr. Anne Meylan and Dr. Benoit Gaultier at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and funded by the National Swiss Foundation (SNSF) and will start in September 2020 at the University of Zurich.

Suspension of judgement undeniably has a very rich history in philosophy. It emerges in the Stoics’ discussions of the possibility of knowledge. It is central to Sextus Empiricus’s Pyrrhonian views and is obviously closely related to doubt, which plays a crucial role in Descartes’ theory of knowledge. Strikingly, however, suspension of judgement has received little attention in the intense epistemological debates of the past fifty years. The aim of this project is to remedy this situation and to demonstrate how fruitful the study of suspension of judgement is for contemporary epistemology by exploring the nature and normativity of suspension of belief. The project is thus divided into two parts, a descriptive and a normative one. The first tries to give an account of the metaphysical nature of suspension of judgment. The second investigates the specific normativity of suspension of judgment specifically in comparison to belief.

Read more about the project here.

Cognitive Irrationality Project (2015-2020)

The Cognitive Irrationality Project is a project led by Prof. Dr. Anne Meylan at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and funded by the National Swiss Foundation (SNSF). It  began in September 2015 at the University of Basel and moved to the University of Zurich in August 2018. 

 

The Cognitive Irrationality Project’s general purpose is to offer an account of cognitive irrationality. Certain beliefs or judgements are indisputably irrational. When a victim of the Capgras  delusion “believes” that her husband has been replaced by an impostor, her belief is definitely irrational. But irrationality is not confined to mental illness. Self-deception, wishful thinking, and denial are widespread, non-pathological cognitive phenomena that are also irrational People in perfect mental health deceive themselves about their chances of winning the lottery, the intellectual talents of their kids, the fidelity of their husbands/wives, the probability that they receive a salary increase, etc. In short, mentally healthy people hold irrational beliefs in diverse kinds of circumstance. Do these various irrational beliefs have something in common? Is there anything that makes them all irrational? As its name suggests, the general purpose of this project is to answer these questions and to offer, thereby, a philosophical account of cognitive irrationality.

Read the full project here.

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