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Harvard University
The Rejection of Epistemic Consequentialism

Selim Berker is an associate professor of philosophy at Harvard University. His primary research interests are in ethics and epistemology, which he sees as two aspects of the same field, ethics being the study of what we ought to do, and epistemology being the study of what we ought to believe.

During his residency at Radcliffe, Berker is working on a project at the intersection of the two. Consequentialism is the view that oughtness is a matter of what best promotes certain good outcomes, such as happiness or true belief. Although consequentialism is hotly contested in contemporary ethics, it is—rather surprisingly—the dominant view in contemporary epistemology. Berker’s project involves arguing against this consequentialist consensus in recent epistemology and developing a positive alternative. He also aims to show how his alternative helps resolve a vexed problem for contemporary philosophers—namely, how to vindicate their practice of relying on intuitions without appealing to intuitions during that vindication in a viciously circular manner.

Berker holds a PhD in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an AB and MA in physics from Harvard University. He will be combining his Radcliffe Fellowship with a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. He has also received fellowships from Princeton’s University Center for Human Values and the Hertz Foundation.

2013–2014 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
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