Center for Ethics in Society
“Practice Views Revisited”
DATE: Thu 11 February 2016
PLACE: G-160, Bilkent University, Ankara
Thomas Scanlon and others have argued that ‘practice views’ give
the wrong kind of reasons for moral duties, which shows up in the fact
that they identify the wrong addressees of these duties. The reason
why I must not break my promise to you, for instance, should lie in
the harm that this does to you—rather than in the harm that it does to
the practice of promising or to our community. I demonstrate that the
wrong reason objection indeed applies to some practice views, notably
rule-conquentialism and (Hobbes’) contractarianism. Drawing on ideas
by Elizabeth Anscombe, however, I offer an alternative understanding of
the role of the practice in ethical justifications.
According to “conventionalist” or “practice views,” at least some moral
duties exist within social practices, and these practices play an important
role in justifying the respective duties. Among others, the theories of Hobbes,
Gauthier, Hooker and Rawls are commonly classified as practice views.
Thomas Scanlon has levelled a formidable and widely used objection against
practice views: They give the wrong reasons for our duties, which shows up
in the fact that they identify the wrong addressees. The reason why I must
not break my promise to you, for instance, should lie in the harm that this
does to you—rather than in the harm it does to the practice of promising or
to all the participants in that practice.
I grant that Scanlon’s objection applies to the mentioned theories. But I offer
a surprising diagnosis: (i) I argue that the conventionalism of these theories
is superficial. (ii) I show that the objection applies to them precisely because
they are not genuinely conventionalist and that (iii) any genuinely conventionalist
theory gives the correct reasons and identifies the correct addressees of our duties.
As a last step, (iv) I outline one such theory, using the understanding of the practice
in moral justifications that I find in Elizabeth Anscombe’s work. (v) My particular
proposal has an interesting application to rights: It enables us to be conventionalists
about rights without being cultural relativists about rights.
Talk at Bilkent by Ulf Hlobil (Pittsburgh): “Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”
Department of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh
“Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”
DATE: Wed 10 February 2016
PLACE: G-160, Bilkent University, Ankara
What, if anything, is wrong with acting on moral beliefs that we accept
merely on the say-so of others? Why could it be problematic to act on a
moral belief that we take to be true without understanding why it is true?
I defend a qualified and novel version of what is called “pessimism” in
the controversy over pure moral testimony. I argue that we can rationally
come to hold the premises of moral reasoning through testimony, but that
moral testimony is problematic in cases where the agent lacks the ability
to make the correct practical inference. The problem is that inferential
abilities cannot be shared via testimony. The role that moral testimony
can play in our moral lives is therefore limited. My account gives the
correct verdicts for common examples in the literature on moral testimony.
It, moreover, incorporates many of the optimists’ insights and is more
general and informative than rival accounts.
Yeditepe University, Department of Philosophy
Istanbul, May 5-6th 2016
The workshop is organized in the frameworks of the newly instituted hub “Turkish European Network for the Study of Women in Philosophy” and of the newly instituted Joint Master Program “History of Women Philosophers/History of Philosophy” (University of Paderborn-Yeditepe University Istanbul). The overall aim of these two projects is the study of women philosophers and of the changes in the canonical history of philosophy resulting from a thorough consideration of the women contribution. Within this broader framework, this workshop addresses the women philosophers’ contribution to a particularly relevant topic: the notion of autonomy. Autonomy, together with its cognate concepts (self-determination, self-mastery, self-government etc.), is among the central concepts across the whole history and the whole spectrum of the philosophical debate, yet the women philosophers’ contribution to its development has been seldom investigated.
For the list of participant, see here.
18 December 2015 Friday, 15:00
Sehir Üniversitesi, West Campus, Room 2008
Prof. Kelly James Clark
Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University
Are we hardwired to form our most precious beliefs? Cognitive science has shown that the human mind/brain is hardwired for god-beliefs. If there is a cognitive science of religion, though, is there likewise a cognitive science of irreligion? Recent psychological studies have shown connections between atheism and a cognitive good (inferential thinking), on the one hand, and atheism and a cognitive defect (autism), on the other. Does the former make atheism rational and the latter make atheism irrational?
* The conference will be conducted in English.
* Everyone is welcome.
Arda Denkel Festival: December 19–20, 2015
Arda Denkel was an excellent metaphysician and a profoundly influential figure in popularizing analytic philosophy in Turkey. Denkel was also a founding member of the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department. Denkel died at 50, far too young, after battling brain cancer. To honor Denkel’s legacy, the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department will host the Arda Denkel Festival on the 19th and 20th of this month. And it will institute an annual Arda Denkel Prize. The first of these Prizes will be awarded at this month’s Festival.
Both the speakers at the Festival and the winners of the Prize will be drawn from alumni of the Philosophy Department that Arda Denkel helped to create who have gone on to earn the PhD.
All are welcome. Registration is free—please email mark[dot]steen[at-symbol]boun.edu.tr if you wish to attend. The Festival Dinner will be free to all who register. All sessions are in New Hall 203 on Boğaziçi’s North Campus.
Friday evening, December 18
Informal gathering at Keçi, near the University’s Etiler gate.
Saturday, December 19
10.00 – 11.15. Nazım Gökel. “The Lonely Walker’s Guide to Representation: Object, Representation and Mind”
11.30 – 12.45. Pakize Arıkan Sandıkcıoğlu. “Fineness of Grain of Perceptual Richness”
2.00 – 3.15. Nazif Muhtaroğlu. “Al-Bāqillānī’s Cosmological Argument From Agency”
3.30 – 4.45. Uygar Abacı. “Existence and Kant’s Revolutionary Theory of Modality”
5.00 – 6.15. Barış Şentuna. “Death as ‘So Near’ and Death as ‘So Far'”
8.30 – 10.00. Keynote talk. Çetin Eren
Sunday, December 20
10.30 – 11.45. Cem Şişkolar. “On the Content of Assertıons”
1.00 – 2.30. Keynote talk. Zeynep Direk
2.45 – 4.00. Alper Türken. “Hegel’s Logic of Ought and the Origins of Normativity”
conference organizer: Stephen Voss: shvoss[at-symbol]gmail.com