Philosophy speaker series: Agnes Callard (University of Chicago) “Mandatory Questions”

September 25, 2020 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm America/Toronto Timezone

In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates distinguishes "the subjects of difference that cause hatred and anger"--namely questions about justice, beauty and goodness--from those questions people can disagree about without fighting, such as ones that can be resolved by measurement.  I argue that questions of the first kind are mandatory questions, which is to say, questions to which every person always needs an answer. Questions of the second kind, being non-mandatory, make it possible to suspend judgment long enough to engage in a procedure of "checking" for the answer, such as measurement. Usually, it is a pre-condition on asking a question that you see yourself as lacking an answer to it. How, then, is it possible to ask mandatory questions?