Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk, Umut Baysan (Glasgow), “How to Save Mental Causation”

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Please join us:

Bogazici University

Friday April 3, 5pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)


How to Save Mental Causation

Non-reductive physicalism holds that mental properties, such as beliefs, desires, sensations and so on, are “nothing over and above” physical properties, but that mental properties are not identical with physical properties. Most non-reductive physicalists also believe that mental properties can be causally efficacious: my belief that it is raining can cause me to open my umbrella. Some opponents of non-reductive physicalism, most notably Jaegwon Kim, argue that if mental properties are not identifiable with physical properties, mental causation is difficult to account for: physical properties do all the causal work, so there is no room for mental causes. In this talk, I will explore the success and the limitations of one particular response to this problem. This response suggests that the causal powers of a mental property are a subset of the causal powers of a physical property that realizes it. Because of this subset relation, mental properties are parts of physical properties, and parts and wholes don’t causally compete. I will argue that this parthood claim is problematic. If it is taken literally, the metaphysical commitments to justify it are implausible. If it is taken metaphorically, then what it takes to respond to Kim’s challenge is available to all non-reductive physicalists. I believe that the parthood claim should be taken metaphorically, and that non-reductive physicalists can successfully respond to Kim’s objection without any appeal to a part-whole relation.

Written by markedwardsteen

March 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Talk, István Aranyosi (Bilkent), “Description, acquaintance, and the a posteriori physicalist response to the Knowledge Argument”

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Bogazici University

5pm, Monday, March 30

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)


One of the popular physicalist responses to the Knowledge Argument (KA) is based on

the idea that knowledge is opaque, hence, according to this response the argument fails

to establish anything about ontology. Rather, what it does establish is that propositions

containing exclusively physical and functional concepts do not a priori entail propositions

that contain phenomenal concepts. Defenders of KA, while acknowledging that

knowledge is opaque, have replied by pointing out that the physicalist have merely

shifted the focus of the problem. KA can be applied to the new items brought in by the

physicalist, such as: the property of having phenomenal concepts, the fact that there

are phenomenal modes of presentation, or that there is a knowing relation to physical

properties involving phenomenal content. All these are not entailed by the totality of

descriptive, physical truths, hence, physicalism is still false.

I will show, based on some ideas related to the difference between knowledge by

acquaintance and knowledge by description, that the concession made by defenders

of KA to the effect that the argument establishes at most the existence of phenomenal

concepts or phenomenal modes of presentations of physical properties leads to the demise

of KA. Yet, if the concession is not made, then KA is begging the question.

Written by markedwardsteen

March 20, 2015 at 11:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Call for Abstracts/Papers/Commentators: Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics and Koslicki Book Workshop

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Call for Abstracts/Papers/Commentators
Deadline: November 1
Conference: Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics and Koslicki Book Workshop
April 29th-May 1st
Boğaziçi University 
Istanbul, Turkey
We are seeking extended abstracts (600-900 words) or papers (suitable for 30-40 minute presentations) related to themes in Aristotle’s metaphysics (e.g. substance, substrata, hylomorphism, essentialism, metaphysical categories, etc.), very broadly construed, for a two- to three-day international conference at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.
One day will be a workshop on Kathrin Koslicki’s new book manuscript, Form, Matter, Substance,
while the other day(s) will be devoted to talks and commentary on Aristotelian themes. Please prepare your abstract or paper in a format suitable for blind review.
In addition, we need commentators for papers and Koslicki’s manuscript chapters. If you wish to be a commentator, or chair, please let us know by November 1. If you would like to comment on a chapter of Koslicki’s ms, please email your request to marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com.
Abstracts or papers are due November 1.
Volunteering or commenting deadline: November 1.
Send all anonymized submissions to metaphysicstanbul[at-symbol]gmail.com
Send all inquiries and volunteer offers (for commenting/chairing) to marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com
Confirmed Speaker: Professor Kathrin Koslicki (Alberta)
All are welcome. While registration is not strictly speaking required, it would be helpful to us, for organizing purposes, if you registered by merely indicating that you will attend by contacting us via marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com. Registration is free, but airfare, lodging and meals (except for one dinner, and continental breakfasts) are not covered. Affordable lodging is likely available–email Mark Steen for information.

Written by markedwardsteen

March 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Talk at Bogazici next Friday: Frank Chouraqui (Koc), The Paradox of Fiction: A Phenomenological Proposal

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Please join us.

Friday, March 13

Bogazici University

Anderson Hall 130 (TB 130)


The Paradox of Fiction: A Phenomenological Proposal

In this talk, I attempt to formulate a solution to the traditional paradox of emotional response to fiction. I begin with a critique of the existing solutions, arguing that they fail the tests of parallelism and/or parasitism. I draw from this critique the requirements for a satisfactory solution. I then propose a solution which involves rejecting neither of the premises of the paradox, but rather rejecting the common view that emotions rely on existence-beliefs. I then proceed to offer an account of the controversial view that the beliefs relevant to emotional responses to fiction may be treated independently from existence-beliefs. I argue that this route, although unavoidable, demand an ontological discussion of the relations between emotion and belief. I finish by discussing the basic outlines of an ontology which could support this view.

if you have any questions, email marksteen[at-symbol]gmail[dot]com

Written by markedwardsteen

March 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Talk at Bogazici, Imge Oranli (DePaul), “The Augustinian-Kantian Legacy and The Inscrutability of Evil”

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Friday, March 6, 5:30-7:30pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

“The Augustinian-Kantian Legacy and The Inscrutability of Evil”


This paper offers a critical examination of the implications of the Augustinian-Kantian legacy on evil. As to the question of “why the human will turns towards evil?” both Augustine and Kant provide the answer that it cannot be known. Thus, in the Augustinian and the Kantian treatment of moral evil, the ground of evil remains inscrutable. Evil is inscrutable because the source of evil, namely, “free choice of the will,” is understood to be internal to the individual. My consideration of Augustine and Kant’s theories of evil attempts to problematize the presupposed ‘freedom’ of the will in the formation of evil-doing. In light of this problematic, I underscore that the objects of choice are communicated to individuals socially.
In my work, I try to point to the inadequacy of understanding the cause of evil with a model based upon the individual alone; it is not only misleading insofar as the chain of causality almost always extends beyond the individual but quite problematic insofar as, methodologically, it removes us from the prospect of the problem of preventing social evils. Borrowing from Adi Ophir, I deploy the notion of the ‘social production of evil’ in an attempt to question the philosophical assumption that treats evil action as grounded solely in the “freely chosen” action of the individual, and I ask, how free are choices really? I am interested in uncovering the implications of the Augustinian-Kantian legacy on evil because of its contemporary force; globally, we live in a political climate where perpetrators of social evil are continuously rendered inscrutable, as if, the source of their motivations is internal and natural.

Written by markedwardsteen

February 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Kant Reading Group at Bogazici (Spring 2015, Thursdays, 5.15-7pm)

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We will be continuing with our Kant reading group at Bogazici this semester. We will meet in TB365 on Thursdays, 5.15-7pm.

We will start this Thursday (12/02/2015) by looking at Kant’s essay “On the Common Saying: that may be true in theory, but is no use in practice”. A copy of the essay can be found here.

During the first meeting we will decide what to read for the rest of the semester.

If you would like more information, or would like to be added to our mailing group, please email Melisa: melisakurtcan@gmail.com

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

Posted in Kant

Philosophy/Cog-Sci Reading Group at Bogazici

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We will be continuing with our cog-sci/philosophy reading group at Bogazici this semester. We will meet on Tueday evenings from 5.15-7pm in TB130. Everyone is welcome.

For the first 4 weeks of the semester we will be reading:

(1) Tuesday, February 10th
Andy Clark, Whatever next Predictive brains, situated agents and the future of cognitive science, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2013) 36, 181–253 (Target Article.)

(2) Tuesday, February 17th
Andy Clark, CONTINUED. (Commentaries and Reply)

(3) Tuesday, February 24th
Pothos and Busemeyer, Can quantum probability provide a new direction for cognitive modeling?  BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2013) 36, 255–327 (Target Article)

(4) Tuesday, March 3rd
Pothos and Busemeyer, CONTINUED. (Commentaries and Reply)

If you would like to attend the reading group, or have any questions, please email Merve at: mrvtpn@gmail.com

This reading group is part of the project “Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action”, funded by Tubitak.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 6, 2015 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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