[SydPhil] Reminder: Alison Wylie @ Thu 8 May 2014 15:00 - 17:00 (Current Projects)

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Fri May 2 15:00:15 AEST 2014

This is a reminder for:

Title: Alison Wylie

How Archaeological Evidence Bites Back: Scaffolding, Critical Distance, and  

In the mid-1950s a profoundly pessimistic discussion of "The Limitations of  
Inference in Archaeology" appeared in the (British) Archaeological  
Newsletter. The author, field archaeologist M. A. Smith, concluded that it  
is "a hopeless task" to attempt to attempt to move from one to the other  
"by argument"; between "the human activities we should like to know about"  
and the "visible results which survive from them" there is "logically no  
necessary link" (Smith 1955: 4). The standard of epistemic credibility that  
to which Smith appeals is deductive certainty, and the focus throughout is  
on the vagaries of isolated inferences from fragmentary material "finds."  
Just a few years later Stephen Toulmin published Uses of Argument (1958), a  
philosophical critique of the preoccupation, among logicians, with just the  
kind of idealized (deductive) argument Smith had invoked. His central  
objection: the formalism that had bewitched logicians led them to  
systematically read out of account a wide range of warranting conditions  
that are, in fact, crucial to justificatory argument. Although Smith's  
conclusions were extreme, she made explicit premises that continue to  
structure debate about the credibility of evidential reasoning in  
archaeology. In this paper I explore the road not taken, outlining a model  
of evidential reasoning in archaeology that focuses on the kinds of  
scaffolding, and strategies for exploiting epistemic independence between  
multiple lines of evidence that, in practice, put archaeologists in a much  
stronger epistemic position than Smith, and many since, have been prepared  
to recognize.

When: Thu 8 May 2014 15:00 - 17:00 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre
Calendar: Current Projects
     * Kristie Miller- creator

Event details:  

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