Departmental Colloquium: Cathal O'Madagain, École Normale Superieure

Type: 
Colloquia
Audience: 
Open to the Public
Building: 
Oktober 6 u. 7
Room: 
101
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 5:00pm
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Date: 
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Developmental Origins of Objectivity

A concept that we repeatedly lean on as scientists is that of objectivity: the idea that the facts are independent of anyone’s beliefs. This is what motivates us to look for evidence that might confirm or disconfirm a hypothesis, and why we have a ‘reliability coder’ double-check our observations; it might even be said that science is unintelligible without invoking the concept of objectivity. What is the developmental origin of this concept? Here I explore the development of false belief understanding – a key component of the concept – and raise challenges for whether tests developed so far should be thought to really get at an understanding of objectivity. I then present preliminary results from a new study that aims to get closer to a general test for objectivity – a test that requires participants to understand that ‘anyone can be wrong’ about the facts. I end with some considerations for how language and social interaction may play a role in the development of this concept.