Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Istanbul Technical University, Mark Steen (Boğaziçi University), “God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”

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Tuesday, December 8, 1:30pm
Insan ve Toplum Bilimleri Seminer Odasi
ITU Fen-Edebiyat Fakultesi, Maslak
“God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”
Does God know what it is like to be us? According to traditional Abrahamic monotheisms, God is omniscient–or knows everything which can be known. This would include knowledge of all mental states of all of His creatures. But it seems reasonable to suppose that one can only ‘know what it is like’ (KWIL) to have experiences (e.g. the taste of cantaloupe) by undergoing them (or undergoing ones like them). So, God either i) undergoes or KWIL to have every creaturely experience, ii) undergoes or KWIL to have only some creaturely experiences, or iii) does not know what it is like to have any creaturely experiences. I will argue that (i) is untenable–there are multiple reasons for denying that God undergoes every experience. I will also argue that (ii) is ad hoc. So we are left with (iii), that God doesn’t KWIL to have any creaturely experience. But this apparently goes against traditional theism by denying God knowledge of His creatures’ experiences. I argue that a good way to accept both that God doesn’t KWIL to be us and God’s omniscience is to be a (token) physicalist. God knows everything about our mental lives by knowing what all of our physical states are. We, and all of His creatures with mental lives, are wholly physical beings. There are no ‘qualia’, or non-physical experiential states which are irreducible to physical ones. I then deal with some objections, such as the possibility of non-physical beings with mental lives (e.g. angels), and the worrying possibility that God is a zombie (i.e., a being with no phenomenal consciousness).
Alter, Beyer, Foss, Jackson, Knight, Merricks, Milliere, Nagel, Lewis, Nagasawa, Nemirow, Mander, Zagzebski

Written by markedwardsteen

December 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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CFP for Adorno Conference at Bogazici, June 2016

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Adorno and Politics

1st Istanbul Critical Theory Conference

2-4 June 2016 at Bogazici University, Istanbul

Welcome to Boğaziçi University

Call For Papers

Without a doubt Negative Dialectics is Theodor W. Adorno’s most systematic attempt to ground social theory on a new philosophical foundation. One of the main concerns behind Adorno’s detailed engagement with Hegelian dialectics was to develop a materialist method for social research that would present an alternative to the increasingly anti-philosophical approach of vulgar Marxism to social reality and politics. This evidently political concern in Adorno’s Negative Dialectics seems not to have received the recognition it deserves even fifty years after its first publication. In fact, when it comes to questions concerning political and social theory, Adorno’s work is all too easily dismissed due to his cryptic style and his wide range of philosophically informed interests that resist the compartmentalization and departmentalization of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, the emancipatory trajectory of Adorno’s thought seems to point to an ambitious political agenda that hardly fits into the theoretical framework provided by contemporary Critical Theory. After all, the shift of paradigm in Critical Theory initiated by Jürgen Habermas and continued by Axel Honneth rests on an immanent critique of emancipatory trajectories such as the one presented by Adorno, while sharing the latter’s central political concerns. While his political agenda is widely criticized, the multifaceted approach of Adorno provides an excellent resource to question some of the pressing issues of social and political reality today in a more direct and concrete way than the competing approaches in social and political theory. To name a few, Adorno’s Critical Theory raises the following crucial questions: What are the perils of authoritarian rule in contemporary societies? How can the universalism of the modern bourgeois legal system cope with the plurality of social and political reality? How can or should politics redefine the relationship between equality and difference? Does art provide an effective medium for political action? What are the possibilities of democratic resistance and struggle in contemporary societies?

In the light of questions such as these, it becomes clear that there is an urgent need to reassess Adorno’s main works in order to gain new insights into the permanent state of social and political crisis of our times. The 50th anniversary of the publication of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in 2016 provides an excellent opportunity to explore the role that Adorno’s work can play for the future of critical theory. This conference will focus on the following topics in Critical Theory inspired by Adorno’s oeuvre:

the relationship between politics and neoliberal economy
art and political action
language, concepts and their political / philosophical significance
the (im)possibilities of political practice
Adorno and modern / contemporary political theory
exploring the paths opened up by Adorno’s thought
with Adorno, beyond Adorno: expanding the horizons of Critical Theory
relations and resonances between Adorno and other critical thinkers, past and present

Keynote Speakers:

Seyla Benhabib (Yale University), Jay M. Bernstein (The New School for Social Research), Susan Buck-Morss (CUNY Graduate Center), Maeve Cooke (University College Dublin)

The conference language will be English. We invite interested scholars at all career levels to send proposals (maximum 400 words) to: adornoconference@boun.edu.tr

Deadline: 20 January 2016

Welcome to Bogazici University

Organizing Chairs:

Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Gambetti
Department of Political Science and International Relations,
Bogazici University Istanbul, Turkey

Assist. Prof. Volkan Cidam
Department of Political Science and International Relations,
Bogazici University Istanbul, Turkey

Dr. Philip Hogh
Adorno Research Center at the Philosophy Department,
Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany

Conference Assistants:

Çağrı Mutaf, cagri.mutaf@boun.edu.tr
Graduate Student, Political Science and International Relations, Boğaziçi University

Mesadet Maria Sözmen, mesadetmaria@gmail.com
Graduate Student, Political Science and International Relations, Boğaziçi University

Written by albertolsiani

December 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

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Bilkent Philosophy on Twitter

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The Philosophy department at Bilkent now has a twitter account. Follow us  for news about events, books, etc.



Written by Sandrine Berges

November 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm

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Talk at Istanbul Şehir University, Özlem Yılmaz (Sabancı Uni), Ancient Philosophy and Modern Science: Aristotle’s Four Causes and Phenotype

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In this presentation causation in phenotype explanation is examined with its similarities to Aristotle’s theory of four causes. The research of the complex pathways of interaction net between genotype, phenotype and environment needs causal investigation which involves more than a single cause. This investigation is similar to the investigation of Aristotle’s material, formal and efficient causes altogether. Final cause will not be used in this consideration because with the theory of evolution, which is a fundamental principle of biology, it is clear that there isn’t any purposive happening in biological phenomena. Still the final cause gets place in many philosophical studies and keeps its importance. Here in this work author doesn’t think that there is final cause in biology, but despite this she will talk about the similarity between final and formal causes and the role of final cause within the gene centered view. Reducing natural phenomena about living things to one cause (for example: genes) is a mistaken way in explaining phenotype which has many different probabilities and complex interactions in every parts of it. It might sometimes be easier to use parts and to reduce some phenomena into single causes while investigating but the student of nature should always keep in mind that this reducing attitude is only a practical way of understanding the features of parts themselves, and these parts are in a complex and interrelated state all together (they have different features when they are together) and they should be thought and investigated (whenever possible) in this context. As Aristotle puts it; there is no form without matter, as it will be stated in this talk: efficient cause is intrinsic to the living things too; then we can say without material, efficient and formal causes there is no proper explanation of phenotype. In other words proper explanation of phenotype is possible with the investigation of environmental, physiological, developmental, genetic and evolutionary factors in the context of their interrelated state. Maybe this research programme; explaning phenotype with evaluating all these factors, can work with asking all possible causal questions in a proper way to the subject phenomena. In this sense, thinking on Aristotle’s formal, material and efficient causes altogether is similar to explaining and investigating phenotype in a most proper way. Examples from plant physiology in a changing climate will be given. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

—- Fr., Nov. 20 2015, 15:00-17:00

—- Istanbul Şehir University (http://www.sehir.edu.tr/en/Pages/Home.aspx)

—- West Campus, Room 2008 (http://www.sehir.edu.tr/en/Pages/EventDetail.aspx?Etkinlik=1079)

Please join us!

Contact: manuelknoll@sehir.edu.tr

Written by manuelknoll

November 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm

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Metaphysics & Language Symposium at METU (Nov. 19, 2015)

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METU Metaphysics & Language symposium

Schedule below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by István Aranyosi

November 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

UNESCO World Philosophy Day, November 19, Bilkent.

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You are warmly invited to a day-long workshop on the interaction between philosophy and art. The event will take place on the UNESCO World Philosophy Day, November 19, 2015 in G-160.  The program is as follows:

09:30  Opening Remarks
09:40  Patrick Fessenbecker “Sympathy, Vocation, and Moral Deliberation in George Eliot”
10:40  Sandrine Berges “Cannibalism, Rape and Liberty in Margaret Cavendish’s Fantasy and Science Fiction”
11:40  William Coker “New Mythology: the Poet as Philosopher”
           Lunch Break  
14:40  Ayşe Çelikkol “Dickens and Organic Form”
15:40  Bill Wringe “Inconsistent Stories, Shady Characters and Fictional Realism”
16:40  Saniye Vatansever “The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetic Pleasure in Kant”

Written by Sandrine Berges

November 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm

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

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Call for Abstracts/Papers/Commentators
(Revised) Deadline: November 20, 2015
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 20. If you would like to comment on a chapter of Koslicki’s ms, please email your request to marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com. The decisions about who will comment will be made by November 30, and the decisions about whose papers/abstracts are accepted will be made at the latest by December 15, but likely earlier. Commentators will receive their material to comment on by January 31st, and  comments are due by April 15. Once the final list of commentators is selected, we will begin a procedure of determining/negotating who will comment on which portions of the manuscript.
Abstracts or papers are due November 20.
Volunteering or commenting deadline: November 20.
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.
Submissions and volunteering by women, minorities, graduate students, and independent scholars are strongly encouraged. We will adhere to guidelines as suggested at the Gendered Conference Campaign.

Written by markedwardsteen

November 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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