Cog-Sci/Philosophy Workshop at Bogazici, Friday, May 18th.
“Brains, Minds and Language #1”
A workshop Jointly organised by the Bogazici University Philosophy Department and Cog-Sci Program.
Friday May 18th, 1.00pm-5.30 pm, M2180 (Engineering Building).
1.00 – 2.30 pm Alper Açık (Yeditepe/Osnabrück) “”What can a neuroscientist do with phenomenology?”
2.30 – 4.00 pm Kirk Michaelian (Bilkent) “Epistemology and Metacognition”.
4.00 – 5.30 Serife Tekin (Dalhousie/Pittsburgh) “Making Mental Disorders Amenable to Empirical Investigation: Beyond Natural Kinds”
Abstracts Under the fold:
Alper Açık “”What can a neuroscientist do with phenomenology?”
Abstract: The vast majority of studies investigating human cognition rely on paradigms where the goal is to gather third-person data, that is, variations in observable measures as a function of experimental manipulations. First-person data, introspective reports about a subject’s experience, are employed extremely rarely due to the subjectivity involved. Here we make a case for research that combines biological and/or behavioral measures with first-person methods inspired from the phenomenology tradition. We focus on one experiment where subjects were constantly stimulated with information about the direction of north relative to their body; akin to the compass sense possessed by some animals. After weeks of training 2 out of 4 subjects reported remarkable changes in their perception of space. It is shown that this finding can be combined with bio-behavioral data in order to understand this new sense. Finally, we will speculate on how experimental paradigms in perception research can be enriched after assuming a phenomenological perspective. Combining phenomenological explorations of subjective experience with third-person data can be a valuable tool in order to go beyond the limits set by current experimental paradigms.
Kirk Michaelian: “Epistemology and Metacognition”
Abstract: What entitles you to rely on information received from others? What entitles you to rely on information retrieved from your own memory? Intuitively, you are entitled simply to trust yourself, while you should have reasons for trusting others. This talk makes a case for inverting the intuitive view, arguing that metacognitive monitoring is fundamental to the reliability of memory, while monitoring of others does not play a significant role in ensuring the reliability of testimony.
Serife Tekin: “Making Mental Disorders Amenable to Empirical Investigation: Beyond Natural Kinds”
Abstract: Empirical research on mental disorders aims to “carve nature at the joints.” Philosophers consider the viability of this goal primarily by discussing whether mental disorders are natural kinds, such as animals and quarks. Natural kinds are thought to provide a framework for formulating scientifically relevant inductive generalizations and predictions about mental disorders and thus some philosophers of psychiatry argue that it is necessary for mental disorders to be taken as natural kinds in order to make them amenable to empirical investigation. In the first part of my talk I challenge this claim. I demonstrate that the debate on the ontological status of mental disorders has so far overlooked the complexity of the self, as well as the complexity of the encounter with mental disorder, and thus has failed to make a fruitful contribution to the empirical investigation of psychopathology. In the second part, I offer a constructive proposal that reintroduces these complexities into the debate by developing an empirically and philosophically plausible model of the self, which I have termed as the multitudinous self. Multitudinous self, incorporating insights offered by cognitive sciences and first-person accounts of psychopathology, offers a richer understanding of mental disorders. By virtue of being empirically tractable, multitudinous self undercuts the need to take mental disorders as natural kinds to make them amenable to scientific investigation.
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