PSL Research University

Mathias Girel is Associate Professor with the Department of Philosophy at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. His work centers on the pragmatist tradition, but also on the history and philosophy of science, and environmental and sanitary controversies. He has recently edited an issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism on the “Social Articulation of Doubt” and the French edition of Robert Proctor’s monograph on the Tobacco Industry, Golden Holocaust.



Inquiry Out of Its Joints: Doubt Production and Pragmatist Countermeasures
In numerous environmental and health-related recent debates, new light has been cast on the so-called “merchants of doubt,” on the production of ignorance, on the way artificial controversies can be devised on a variety of subjects, ranging from tobacco hazards to vaccines’ side-effects, global warming, pesticides, and even evolution. Girel shall try and draw some lessons from these strategies: what do they teach us about knowledge? How and why do our inquiries, scientific and civic, lend themselves to such distortions? Two prominent features of pragmatist epistemologies will be useful here: their understanding of knowledge production, as well as their reluctance to admit a first-person privilege in epistemology.

Time: 9:30 pm
Location: Ukrainian Institute of America / Library Room