David Danks (Carnegie Mellon): “Ubiquity of goal-relativity"

Abstract: Goals are widely recognized to play a key role in decision making, but are often thought to have (or should have) little impact on our epistemic, scientific, and ethical practices. At best, goals might mildly constrain the content deemed to be relevant to some practice. In this talk, I will instead argue that goals should and do play a key role in all three practices. What we learn and know is shaped by the goals we have in everyday life. Our best theories of the world are influenced by the reasons why we do science. And one type of ethical practice—the ethical development of technology—is guided by multiple kinds of goals. This ubiquitous goal-relativity might suggest a collapse into hopeless relativism, but I will conclude the talk by arguing that we can have all of the objectivity that we might want or need.

Date & time

Thu 19 Sep 2019, 3:30pm to 5:30pm


Coombs Ext Rm 1.04


David Danks


School of Philosophy


Updated:  18 September 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications