Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Boğaziçi: Yasemin Sarı (Northern Iowa)on “Refugees and Artificial Equality” (10/08/2018)

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Yasemin Sarı (Northern Iowa) will give a talk on:

Refugees and Artificial Equality

August 10th, Friday 17:00, JF 507.

Abstract: In this work, I examine the structural complexities at play in the ongoing refugee crisis by reassessing the rule characteristic of the nation-state and its exclusive logic of citizenship. Taking seriously Arendt’s conception of a “right to have rights,” developed in the Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), my work aims to reassess the principle of equality embodied in human rights discourse. In doing so, I deal with what is owed to the refugee by reassessing the principles of “non-refoulement” and “equal treatment” to understand what equality entails for the rights of the refugee; and explore the recognition of the refugee as a potential political agent in society. Such recognition invokes the need for “artificial equality,” a term referring to the preconditions for the political effectivity of citizens and refugees, understood as a means to allow the refugees to claim their human rights.


Written by Lucas Thorpe

August 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

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Talk at Boğaziçi: Angelica Kaufmann (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) ““Do animals represent the passage of time?”(07/08/2018)

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Angelica Kaufmann (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will give a talk on August 7th, 17:00, at JF 507

“Do animals represent the passage of time?”

Abstract: Complex actions extend through time. The capacity to plan complex actions (perhaps, as opposed to basic actions), necessitates a capacity to represent objective temporal magnitudes (Peacocke, 2017), the fundamental of which are succession and duration (Zakay, 2016). These representational capacities are the building blocks of the experiential dimension of time. If the experiential dimension of time is characterized as the capacity to represent time, what does this capacity involve? What distinguishes genuine representation of such temporal magnitudes from mere sensitivity to these magnitudes? This is the Constitutive Question of the nature of temporal representation. An answer to this question is crucial to any empirical evaluation of the role of temporal representations (rather than mere sensitivities) in action planning. To make such empirical evaluation possible, we begin with an analysis of Peacocke’s (2017) criteria for temporal representation. We argue that a crucial feature of all genuine representation is missing in Peacocke’s account, namely, its context-independent operation. This provides us with a modified account of temporal representation, which we then test on a series of empirical findings that, we argue, Peacocke’s account fails accurately to describe as instances of genuine representation of temporal magnitudes (as opposed to mere sensitivity).

Written by Lucas Thorpe

August 3, 2018 at 12:43 pm

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Talk at Boğaziçi: Jakub Mácha (Masaryk University), “On the use and misuse of opium. Is religion the opium of the people, or maybe for the people?” (31/07/2018)

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On the use and misuse of opium. Is religion the opium of the people, or maybe for the people?

Jakub Mácha (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)

July 31st, 17:00, JF 507

Abstract: Religion is the opium of the people, at least as maintained by Marx and Lenin. Yet, although in the same wording, they used this metaphor in different contexts. In this paper, I provide two interpretations of the religion as opium metaphor within Marx’ and Lenin’s thinking. I am going to argue for the following claims: In the Kantian tradition, the praxis of worship is primary, the existence of the object of belief and worship is dependent on it. In contrast to Kant, Marx as well as Lenin thought that historical religions did not acknowledge the true moral law. For Marx, the opium metaphor expresses a certain ambivalence of religion. Religion is an expression of social oppression and kind of consolation. But this is an illusionary happiness. A fight against religion is, indirectly, a fight against this oppression. For Lenin, religion is a kind of spiritual oppression. Religion is a tool being used by the ruling class to keep the oppressed classes submissive. A fight against religion is directly a fight against this oppression. For both, the first step in the abolition of religion is to get rid of its outer manifestation, i.e. of the praxis of worshiping. Religion has to be declared to be a private affair stripped of its political power, while the freedom of belief (in transcendent entities) can be preserved. Yet, if the praxis of worship is primary, getting rid of this praxis will eventually lead to abolishing religion entirely.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

July 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm

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Talk at Boğaziçi: David Kaspar (St. John’s University) on “INTUITIONISM AS A NORMATIVE ETHICAL THEORY ” (27/07/2018)

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David Kaspar (St. John’s University)
Philosophy Colloquium at Boğaziçi
Friday, July 27, 2018.
16:00, JF 507
Abstract: Recent years have seen a resurgence of moral intuitionism. Most of this work has been metaethical in character. However, intuitionism is a theory that naturally spans metaethics and normative ethics. In this talk I’ll first outline intuitionism as a normative ethical theory, and reveal some of its hidden normative ethical virtues. The remainder of the paper shall show how, in comparison with intuitionism, rival normative theories have several overlooked vices. According to intuitionism agents in moral situations always encounter incomplete moral information. What we can know in moral situations is based on our recognition of prima facie duties. More specifically, we recognize moral kinds. Moral kinds are the explanatory properties I’ve introduced to explain phenomena in the moral domain. We’re familiar with moral kinds such as lie, theft, murder, and so on. Here I show how these properties help explain action-guidance and the stringencies of various duties, and show that theories that eschew moral kinds are not in as good an explanatory position as intuitionism.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

July 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

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International Symposium on Mythology

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Although, for modern societies, the term “myth” stands for a tale, an untrue story, a legend, a superstition etc., for archaic societies who existed prior to written culture, myths were narrations of “the ultimate origin of reality” and, in that respect, they were not tales but true stories based on Reality.[1] Therefore, a great philosopher like Plato appealed to muthos as a pedagogical means for telling his views through the Dialogues. On the other hand, along with the transition from mythopoetic thought to cosmological arguments, an irreversible diffraction occurred in the history of ideas, and philosophy parted ways with mythos for a certain while.[2] Centuries later, however, many theorists in both clinical psychology and contemporary philosophy made use of the myth as a symbolic means of expression and pioneered a “mythic-turn” in the social sciences. This fact indicates that mythology remains an essential area of interest for humanities like philosophy and psychology. This is also the case for the disciplines of sociology and socio-cultural anthropology, whose practices developed within the framework of rituals, myths, customs and traditions, indicating that myth and mythology have pervaded into daily life, that they have turned into a reference guide, sometimes due to their guiding spirit and sometimes by being a tool for social control.

[1]Catalin Partenie, Plato’s Myths, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009, 1.

[2]Çiğdem Dürüşken, Antikçağ Felsefesi: Homeros’tan Augustinus’a Bir Düşünce Serüveni, Alfa Yayınları, 2013, 6-8.
The symposium will be held in Ardahan University on 2-5 May, 2019. The detailed information about the symposium (such as deadlines for submissions, registration fees, symposium program, symposium topics…etc) can be found in the web site of the symposium below:

About the Symposium

Written by aran arslan

July 24, 2018 at 11:25 pm

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Workshop at Boğaziçi on Kant, Normativity and Religion (29/06/2018)

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The workshop will take place at Boğaziçi University, on Friday June 29th from 1pm until 6.30pm in JF507. Everyone is welcome.


1.00 – 2.15:    Martin Sticker (Dublin) “Kant on Beneficence”

2.15 – 3.30     Emine Hande Tuna (Brown) TBA

4.00 – 5.15     Taylan Susam (Brown) “Upon this rock: Kant on the Churches Visible and Invisible”

5.15 – 6.30     Saniye Vatansever (Bilkent) “Kant on Miracles”

The conference is organised a part of the joint Boğaziçi -Southampton Newton-Katip Çelebi project “Agency and Autonomy: Kant and the Normative Foundations of Republican Self-Government”, run by Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi) and Andrew Stephenson (Southampton).


Written by Lucas Thorpe

June 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm

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Talk on Monday 25 June by Imge Oranli at Bosphorus

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The Inscrutability of Evil in Arendt and Levinas

İmge Oranlı,

Koç University, Department of Philosophy

June 25

15:00 (3pm)

JF 507

Abstract Since the attacks of 9/11, there has been a revival of interest in philosophical studies of evil, which suggest that we are forced to rethink the category of evil as we face acts of terrorism on a global scale. In almost all of these studies, Kant, Arendt and Levinas appear as key thinkers of evil. This paper traces the idea of the inscrutability of evil as a common lens through which we associate the category of evil with the phenomena we identify as evil. This idea finds its first modern formulation in Kant’s theory of radical evil. Although Arendt and Levinas challenge the Kantian framework of evil through their accounts, I argue that they nevertheless presuppose this framework. Regardless of their difference from Kant, my argument stresses that Arendt’s identification of Nazi evil as banal (i.e., without depth) and Levinas’ description of evil as “useless” are both developed in the trajectory of thought facilitated by Kantian philosophy. This trajectory is marked by evil’s non-theological root and its basis in human freedom. My analysis concludes that the idea of the inscrutability of evil is common to all three approaches, yet their accounts of why evil is inscrutable differ considerably.

Written by sundemirili

June 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

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