School of Humanities Complex


Event Detail


Law, Reason and Value Talk: Deborah Hellman (UVA)

Department: Philosophy

Date and Time: December 7, 2017 | 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Event Location: LAW 3500

Event Details

"The Epistemic Commitments of Nondiscrimination"

Three kinds of epistemic commitment might underlie antidiscrimination norms.  First, those norms may require more skepticism of the truth of generalizations about protected groups than is epistemically warranted.  Second, when we are convinced of the reliability of such observed differences, nondiscrimination norms appear to suggest we should be inclined to believe these differences are the result of social rather than biological factors.  Third, even where we accept the reliability of generalizations about protected groups, nondiscrimination norms may require us to resist integrating that data into our conclusions about individual people.  All three commitments are epistemic in nature because they affect either what we believe or how we form our beliefs.

Are such epistemic commitments permissible?  Epistemically?  Morally?  Or are they merely wishful thinking or even dogma? Perhaps they are not only permissible but required.  If we are committed to nondiscrimination, must we adopt these epistemic practices?

Please join us Thursday, December 7th, at 5pm for the next meeting of Law, Reason and Value, the new colloquium in jurisprudence co-sponsored by the School of Law and the School of Humanities.  

Our speaker will be Deborah Hellman, the David Lurton Massee, Jr., Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, who will discuss her paper, “The Epistemic Commitments of Nondiscrimination.”

The talk will run 5-6:30pm in Law 3500. There will also be a faculty dinner following the discussion; if interested please email Thank you!