University of Bonn, September 30 - October 2, 2013

Safety-based accounts of knowledge typically claim that knowledge is true belief that could not easily have been wrong. Originally (in the nineties), they were meant to answer the Gettier problem as well as the problem of skepticism. Moreover, safety turned out to possess some interesting further properties. For example, it nicely captures our intuition that knowledge excludes epistemic luck. It also seems to preserve the closure principle, unlike another prominent constraint on knowledge, namely sensitivity.

Over the last decade or so, safety-based accounts of knowledge have been discussed extensively and quite controversially. Some problems turned out to be extremely persistent: notorious counterexamples to safety as a necessary or sufficient condition on knowledge; the fact that safety-based accounts render knowledge of necessary truths or modally robust contingent truths too easy, while knowledge of some mundane truths becomes too hard; the threat that safety violates closure after all.

We think that time has come for a general assessment of the problems and prospects of safety. Our conference will provide a platform for such an assessment. We also will try to achieve a more precise understanding of safety itself (what determines the set of possible worlds in which error must be excluded? what is the proper object of assessment: beliefs or methods?) and to clarify the relation between safety and related notions like epistemic luck or probability.

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Dominik Balg (University of Cologne) – Safety and the Halloween Party Case - a Defense

Sven Bernecker (University of California, USA) – Epistemic Safety Methods

Elke Brendel (University of Bonn) – Saving Method Safety

Juan Comesaña (University of Arizona, USA) – Safety in Numbers? Epistemic Logic and Margins for Error

Julien Dutant (University of Geneva, Switzerland) – Safety and Inference

Linus Eusterbrock (University of Cologne) – Problems with Method Safety as a Necessary Condition on Knowledge

Florian Fischer (University of Bonn) – Why Safety saves Closure

Wolfgang Freitag (University of Heidelberg) – Safety and ‘Distant’ Epistemic Luck

Sanford Goldberg (Northwestern University, USA) – Safety and the Value of Knowledge

Thomas Grundmann (University of Cologne) – Safe Methods. Saving Safety from Counterexamples

Frank Hofmann (University Luxembourg) – In Defense of Strong Virtue Epistemology: How to Explain Success by Ability

Christoph Kelp (Centre for Logic and Analytic Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium) – Safety, Virtues and Lotteries

Jens Kipper (University of Cologne) – Safety and the Flow of Information

Christian Piller (University of York, UK) – Why Safety Has No Place in Epistemology

Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University, USA) – Safety, Luck, and Competence

Erik Stei (University of Bonn) – Iterations of Safety

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9:45-10:15Welcome / Introduction 10:15-11:15Ernest Sosa 11:15-11:30Break 11:30-12:30Frank Hofmann 12:30-14:30Lunch 14:30-15:30Wolfgang Freitag 15:30-15:45Break 15:45-16:45Juan Comesaña 16:45-17:00Break 17:00-18:00Julien Dutant

9:00-10:00Thomas Grundmann 10:00-10:15Break 10:15-11:15Sven Bernecker 11:15-11:30Break 11:30-12:30Erik Stei

Florian Fischer
12:30-14:30Lunch 14:30-15:30Dominik Balg

Linus Eusterbrock
15:30-15:45Break 15:45-16:45Jens Kipper 16:45-17:00Break 17:00-18:00Elke Brendel

9:00-10:00Sanford Goldberg 10:00-10:15Break 10:15-11:15Christoph Kelp 11:15-11:30Break 11:30-12:30Christian Piller

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The conference has ended.

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The Conference Venue is the University of Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, Stucksaal (Meckenheimer Allee 171, 53115 Bonn)

View Conference Locations in a larger map

All of the following hotels are located close to the conference venue (walking distance):

Hotel Bristol Bonn (This hotel offers special prices for visitors of the University of Bonn. Please mention that you attend the conference when you book a room.)
Haus Daufenbach
Hotel Eden – Am Hofgarten
Hotel Königshof Bonn
Hotel Mercedes
President Hotel
Sternhotel Bonn

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If you have any requests, please contact


Prof. Dr. Elke Brendel
Universität Bonn
Institut für Philosophie
Lennéstr. 39
53113 Bonn

Prof. Dr. Thomas Grundmann
Universität zu Köln
Philosophisches Seminar
50923 Köln