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Conferences & lectures

Canadian Society for Epistemology Conference

Date & time

Friday, November 15, 2019 –
Saturday, November 16, 2019
8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Winnie Ma (Kings College London), Thomas Shea (UMass Amherst), Kay Mathiesen (Northeastern University), Jeremy Fantl (University of Calgary), Don Fallis (Northeastern University), Matt Carlson (Wabash College), Kathleen Creel (University of Pittsburgh), Karen Frost-Arnold (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Peter Tan (Middlebury College), Anne-Marie Boisvert (UQÀM), Christophe Malaterre (UQÀM), Koray Karaca (University of Twente), Travis LaCroix (UC Irvine), and Yoshua Bengio (Université de Montréal)


This event is free and open to all.


J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Room LB-362 in the Webster Library

Wheelchair accessible


Canadian Society for Epistemology

The digital age poses new challenges for epistemology. Digital technologies have become central to how we form, revise, and maintain our beliefs. How should we approach this recent development as epistemologists? What is the epistemological significance of our increasing reliance on anonymous online sources, social media, personalized news feeds, and search engines? What does the widespread use of AI and opaque algorithms mean for our lives as knowers, testifiers, and reasoners? Do new epistemic responsibilities arise in the digital world? How can we, as epistemologists, contribute to making sense of these developments?

One thing we can do is help identify the epistemic risks associated with these technological trends. As some have already noted, technologies using AI and opaque algorithms might very well, e.g., perpetuate and accentuate biases against marginalized groups, promote epistemic bubbles and echo chambers, help the spread of toxic misinformation (propaganda, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, “fake” news, “deepfakes”), and produce outputs that lack justification. Some of these risks constitute obstacles to acquiring knowledge or justified beliefs about important matters. Others may constitute or perpetuate various forms of epistemic injustice. Epistemic injustices may, e.g., be present in labeled data sets that are used to train artificial neural networks. These are some of the questions we’d like to discuss at this year’s annual meeting of the Canadian Epistemological Society.

These are days two and three of the three-day Canadian Society for Epistemology conference.

Schedule of events:

Friday, November 15

8:30-9:00: Breakfast

9:00-9:50: Winnie Ma (Kings College London) “Information Overload, Bounded Emotionality, and Doxastic Impurism”

10:00-10:50: Thomas Shea (UMass Amherst) “Homophily, the Internet, and Motivated Reasoning”

11:10-12:00: Kay Mathiesen (Northeastern University) “An Ethical and Epistemological Analysis of Solutions to Fake News”

12:10-13:00: Jeremy Fantl (University of Calgary) “Fake News vs. Echo Chambers”

13:00-14:00: Lunch

14:00-14:50: Don Fallis (Northeastern University) “Deepfakes, the Infopocalypse, and the Epistemic Value of Photographs”

15:00-15:50: Matt Carlson (Wabash College) “Skepticism and the Digital Information Environment

15:50-16:10: Break

16:10-17:00: Kathleen Creel (University of Pittsburgh) “Anti-Reductionist Machine Testimony”

17:10-18:30: Keynote Karen Frost-Arnold (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

19:00: Conference Dinner

Saturday, November 16

8:30-9:00: Breakfast

9:00-9:50: Peter Tan (Middlebury College) “The Social Epistemology of Deep-Learning Methods in Science”

10:00-10:50: Anne-Marie Boisvert (UQÀM) & Christophe Malaterre (UQÀM) “The AI Explainability Challenge”

10:50-11:10: Break

11:10-12:00: Koray Karaca (University of Twente) “Inductive Risk and Values in Machine Learning”

12:10-13:00: Travis LaCroix (UC Irvine) & Yoshua Bengio (Université de Montréal) “Learning from Learning Machines: Optimisation, Rules, and Social Norms”

The languages of the symposium are English and French. Pre-registration is encouraged. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

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