Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Bilkent Philosophy on Twitter

leave a comment »

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

leave a comment »


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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

leave a comment »

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.

leave a comment »

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

leave a comment »

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

Talk at Bogazici, Stephen Snyder (Bogazici), “A Critical Hermeneutical Reading of Danto’s Narrative Philosophy of History and the Problem of Style”

leave a comment »

Please join us,

Friday, November 6, 5-7pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Bogazici University

Title and Abstract:

A Critical Hermeneutical Reading of Danto’s Narrative Philosophy of History and the Problem of Style

This essay explores the benefits of a critical hermeneutic reading of Arthur Danto’s aesthetic theory.  In his early writings on critical hermeneutics, Jürgen Habermas credits Danto with having reconciled analytic philosophy with hermeneutics.  The essay argues that Habermas’ acceptance of Danto’s narrative philosophy of history would support a critical hermeneutical reading of his aesthetic philosophy, but a problem could be encountered with Danto’s theory of style.  A critical hermeneutic interpretation of Danto’s work, however, would point to a new understanding of style that would resolve a problem in his claim that art’s history entails a cognitive progression. The resolution is shown through an examination of the Sartrean roots of Danto’s account of style, a shift in Sartre’s later writings toward a hermeneutical understanding of subjective consciousness, and the benefit Danto’s theory brings, according to Habermas, to a critical hermeneutic reading of Gadamer.

Written by markedwardsteen

October 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Conference at Bogazici University: Analytical Existentialism

leave a comment »

14-15 November, 2015

Kriton Curi Room (in Albert Long Hall)

Papers in the analytic style (broadly understood), addressing topics that existentially matter to human experience

Saturday, 14 November

11:00 – 12:30 Paul Prescott (Syracuse University) “The Secular Problem of Evil”

The existence of evil is held to pose philosophical problems only for theists. I argue that the existence of evil gives rise to a philosophical problem which confronts theist and atheist alike. The problem is constituted by the following claims: (1) human beings must trust the world if they are to think and act within it; (2) the world is not trustworthy (i.e., sufficient evil exists). It follows that we think and act only by maintaining a state of radical self-deception. Theists resolve this problem by rejecting (2), only to confront the problem of evil as traditionally understood. Atheists also reject (2), but without grounds for doing so.


13:30 – 15:00 Workshop on NGOs and Analytic Philosophy – Invited Speaker: Itır Erhart (Bilgi University), co-founder of the charity running organization Adım Adım

“How, if at all, can the tools of analytic philosophy be put to use to understand first-person experiences of participation in civil society?” Following her talk there will be an open forum on this question.

15:30-17:00 Invited Speaker: Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College) “Blazing Darkness and Drinking with Christ: the Phenomenology of Immortality (1200-1400)”

Discussions of immortality in the Middles Ages have tended to focus on metaphysical issues such as the nature of the rational soul and the prospect for its continued existence after the death of the body. In this paper, I focus instead on the phenomenology of immortality–that is, the question of how medieval figures expected to experience unending life. Christian doctrine demands a resurrection of the body, for instance, while Platonic influences push towards the transcendence of matter (and perhaps even individuality) in merging with the Divine. This tension comes to a head in the High Middle Ages. Apophatic philosophers and contemplatives portray human immortality as static contemplation of the universal good, where any experience of the individual self is transcended. In contrast, the ‘affective’ tradition (which includes a number of female mystics)  portray our experience of immortality as dynamic and active: they stress Jesus’s metaphor of heaven as a wedding feast, and they talk about living in unending community with God *and* neighbor. This tension between contemplative vs. active experience of immortality both tracks earlier debates (e.g., over Aristotle’s conception of happiness in Nicomachean Ethics book 1 vs. 10) and carries through in the Reformation, with Protestants (generally) advocating the more active and Catholics (generally) advocating the more contemplative view of the afterlife.

The 17:30-19:00 session (Sandrine Berges (Bilkent University) “From Slavery to Everyday Sexism – The Role of Self-Deception in Oppression”) is unfortunately canceled.

19:30 Dinner, followed by Keynote: Eric Schliesser (University of Amsterdam) “When becoming a parent means becoming a moral monster; with an argument against Rawls’s set up in the original position” (at BUMED Cafe)

This paper argues, first, that fatherhood, unexpectedly, generates immoral preferences. By this I do not mean, as one might expect, that (a) having a child is bad for the environment (and especially future people living in much poorer countries), although it is undeniably harmful to the environment to have children, or that (b) one favors one’s own children at the expense of other human ties (although undeniably one does do this). Rather, I focus on ordinary incidents that may occur in the process of raising a child.

Second, I use my argument to explore two important concepts in Rawlsian political philosophy: (i) a rational plan of life; (ii) Knightian uncertainty. I will argue that fatherhood is a species of Knightian uncertainty that causes trouble for Rawlsian rational plan of life.

Sunday, 15 November

The 9:00-10:30 session (Anna M.C. de Bruyckere (Durham University) “Conceptual vs Existential Work: Understanding Life and Self”) is unfortunately canceled.

11:00-12:30 Keynote: L. A. Paul (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) “Preference Capture”

I discuss two problems of preference capture arising from puzzles for decision-making under radical epistemic and personal change. The first problem of preference capture concerns the way that we might be alienated from the perspectives of who we are making ourselves into. The second problem of preference capture involves the way that we might fear that an experience could capture our preferences, making repugnant, counterfactually distant future selves closer to actuality.


13:30-15:00 Workshop on Under-studied Topics in Analytic Philosophy – Speaker and Discussant: Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins (University of British Columbia) -via Skype-

In this workshop we will have students tell us about things that matter to them existentially which they have not seen treated in the analytic literature. Prof. Ichikawa Jenkins, with other speakers of the conference will be guiding the students on how to utilize tools of analytic philosophy in those areas.

15:30-17:00 Patrizia Pedrini (University of Florence) “The Lives We Can’t Live – A Study of Self-Deception”

According to Alfred Mele’s motivationalist account (2001), self-deception is caused by the biasing working of a desire that p be the case over the cognition relevant to the formation of the belief that p. I will assess the prospect of Mele’s account vis à vis the formulation of what I call the “causal problem” of self-deception. The causal problem of self-deception is generated by an objection to early versions of Mele’s motivationalism due to Bermùdez (2000), known as the “selectivity problem” of self-deception. The objection shows that self-deception is more selective than the presence of a desire that p be the case in the psychology of a subject can predict, as there are cases of people in the grip of a desire that p be the case who do not end up self-deceptively believing that p. I will argue when a desire that p be the case biases a subjects’s cognition so as to lead him or her to self-deceptively believe that p this happens because the desire that p be the case is not causally equivalent to the desire that p be the case which operates in the subject who does not end up self-deceiving.

Rather, it is a desire that is made causally suitable to let the subject reach the self-deceptive belief by the overall psychology of a subject. The causal theory of self-deception I will outline will also help us to do justice to the psychological complexity and the existential significance of the phenomenon of self-deception in the life of the subject who experiences it.

17:30-19:00, Camil Golub (New York University) “Biographical Identity and Regret”

All of us could have had better lives, yet we often find ourselves unable to wish that our lives had gone differently, especially when we contemplate alternatives that vastly diverge from our actual life course.  In this paper I ask what, if anything, accounts for such attitudes.  First I examine some answers offered in the literature: (i) the lack of direct (“first-personal”) psychological connections with our merely possible selves; (ii) a general conservatism about value; (iii) the importance of our actual relationships and long-term projects.  I find them all wanting.  Then I develop my own proposal, inspired by R.M. Adams’ (1979) answer to the problem of evil: we cannot regret many things in our past because they contributed to who we are.  Our biographical identities constrain the live options for our retrospective attitudes.

19:30 Dinner (location TBA)

Written by Irem Kurtsal Steen

October 28, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,253 other followers