Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for August 2012

Conf. Health, Culture, and the Human Body 13-15 Sept 2012

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Conf. Health, Culture, and the Human Body 13-15 Sept 2012

Demographic change in a globalized world raises not only social and economic issues but also ethical problems within the medical system of aging societies. Medical care for elderly people cannot be conceptualized and organized without considering a cultural understanding of aging and the economic and social circumstances of a given society. In this regard this conference will focus on ethical, historical and epidemiological perspectives of aging in a global world. Further subjects of the conference are the beginning of life and sexually transmitted diseases, which will also be discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective.
This conference will focus on selected cases from Turkey, Germany, and other countries closely connected by substantial migration processes, as they had been earlier through medical scientific exchanges and common clinical practice. After the well received first round held in Germany (Mainz) in 2010, the aim of the Istanbul conference is to establish a discussion platform for different ethical considerations among historically connected countries.


Written by rainerbroemer

August 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

Clinical Ethics · Concepts, Problems and Challenges (Workshop Istanbul)

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On 17 September 2012, the second workshop will be held at the new Besikcizade Medical Humanities Center (Beşikçizade Tıp ve İnsani Bilimler Merkezi, BETİM), launched by hayatvakfı (http://www.hayatvakfi.org.tr/ ).


Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Sass (USA/Germany) will lead a one-day workshop on the topic ‘Clinical Ethics · Concepts, Problems and Challenges’ from 9.15am to 4pm.

Description of the Workshop:

In parallel with the scientific developments in modern medicine we observe an increase in the number of ethical problems arising in medical practice. Solving these problems has become a complex task. Especially in the last 20 years, clinical ethics has come to the fore as an academic discipline addressing these issues. In this workshop, world-renowned philosopher Hans Martin Sass will first outline the historical development of clinical ethics in the Western world and then discuss ethical decision making in clinical everyday life and its challenges. Subsequently, he will introduce the Bochum Working Paper, which he himself developed as a tool for solving medical ethical problems. Finally, his concept will be analyzed in its application to interesting and complex clinical cases.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Marin Sass is a Founding Member of the Zentrum für Medizinische Ethik (Center for Medical Ethics) at Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, and Emeritus Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, as well as Honorary Professor at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China, and Academic Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He read philosophy and religious studies in Erlangen, Marburg and Münster, Germany. He earned his PhD 1962 at Münster University with a thesis on Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion. Having published widely on Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger, for the last 30 years Sass has focused on Political Philosophy and Applied Ethics.

Workshop languages are Turkish and English (with simultaneous translation provided).

Registration is required electronically by 7 September 2012, please, contact betim.bilgi@yandex.com, providing your name, institutional affiliation, mobile phone number, and e-mail address

how to get there

how to get there

Written by rainerbroemer

August 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

Medical History Workshop at New Research Institution for Medical Humanities in Istanbul

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On 11 September 2012, the first ever event will be held at the new Besikcizade Medical Humanities Center (Beşikçizade Tıp ve İnsani Bilimler Merkezi, BETİM), launched by hayatvakfı (http://www.hayatvakfi.org.tr/ ).


Prof. Dr. Werner Kümmel from Mainz University Medical Center (Germany) will lead a one-day workshop on the topic ‘Medicine and National Socialism’ from 9.15am to 3.30pm.

Workshop languages are Turkish and German (with simultaneous translation provided).

Registration is required electronically asap, please, contact betim.bilgi@yandex.com, providing your name, institutional affiliation, mobile phone number, and e-mail address

how to get there

Written by rainerbroemer

August 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

CfP Proclus Conference in Istanbul Dec. 2012

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Archai: Proclus Diadochus of Constantinople and his Abrahamic interpreters

In commemoration of the 1600th anniversary of the birth in Constantinople of Proclus, fourth last head of the Platonic Academy, we invite scholars to present papers both on all aspects both of Proclus’ own thought and of his reception in the Abrahamic traditions. The conference will be hosted by Fatih University and Yildiz University (Istanbul) from December 12-16, 2012 in Istanbul.

Prof. Carlos Steel (K.U. Leuven) will give the keynote lecture for the entire conference. There will be three plenary lectures: Prof. Wayne J. Hankey (Dalhousie University / University of King’s College (Halifax)) on the Christian reception; Prof. Richard C. Taylor (Marquette University; visiting professor at K.U. Leuven & Universidad Panamericana) on the Islamic reception; and Prof. Tzvi Langermann (Bar-Ilan University) on Jewish reception. Prof. D. O’Meara (Universität Freiburg) will give a public lecture on Proclus’ influence on the architecture of the Haggia Sophia, together with a choral concert of sacred music by the chamber choir, ChorISTanbul. A conference outing will be planned for Sunday, December 16.

Papers will be 20-25 minutes long, although there may be some flexibility given some merit. Please submit an abstract of approximately 300-500 words by Friday, September 14, 2012 to David Butorac at Proclusinistanbul@gmail.com, with letters of acceptance issued by Monday, September 17.

For further details:
[The site should be up any day!]

The advisory committee includes:
David Butorac (Fatih University)
Süleyman Dogan (Yildiz University)
Carlos Steel (K.U. Leuven)
Dominic O’Meara (Universität Freiburg)
Wayne J. Hankey (Dalhousie / University of King’s College (Halifax))
Dimitri Gutas (Yale University)
Caroline Macé (K.U. Leuven)
Marije Martijn (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)
Bert van den Berg (Universiteit Leiden)

Confirmed speakers include:
Carlos Steel, Dominic O’Meara, Wayne J. Hankey, Tzvi Langermann, Stephen Gersh (University of Notre Dame), Helen Lang (Villanova University), Thomas Curran (University of King’s College, Halifax), Sarah Klitenic-Wear (Stubenville University), Menahem Luz (University of Haifa), Tim Riggs (University of Jyväskylä), Michele Trizio (University of Bari), J.M. Charrue (Université de Lille III, Paris), Levan Gigineishvili (Ilia State University), Andras Kraft (Central European University), Frederick Lauritzen (Fondazione per la Scienza Religiose), Georgios Steris (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), Gheorghe Pascalau (Universität Heidelberg), Gary Gabor (Boston College), Torrance Kirby (McGill University), Danny Layne (Georgia Southern University), John Walbridge (Indiana University), Eugene Afonasin (Novosibirsk State University) and Anna Afonasin (Novosibirsk State University)

Additional conference funding will be sought through TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey).

Written by rainerbroemer

August 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

Jeremy Bell at Fatih Üniversitesi

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Taking Pains: Plato on the Care of Self and Others

Mon. 10 Sept. 2012 12:00 noon

Hadımköy Campus, room A-306 (İbn-i Haldun Anfisi, previously known as Blue Hall)

Speaker’s abstract:

In this paper, I analyze the relationship between ethics and politics in Plato’s thought in order to demonstrate that Plato understood this relationship to be characterized by an ineradicable element of agonism and instability.  Drawing upon texts such as the Apology, Alcibiades I, Gorgias, and Symposium, as well as upon Foucault’s late works, I take the epimeleia heautou, “the care of the self,” as the organizing theme of my analysis, in order to show that this agonism has the aporetic result that, though Plato conceived of the ethics of the care both of oneself and others as the truest form of statesmanship, he was nevertheless unwilling or unable to generalize it into an unproblematic political system.

How to reach us:

By public transport: Thankfully, the metrobus extension has been completed. Direction TÜYAP, get off one stop before terminus (misleadingly called Hadımköy), take the blue bus 418 or the yellow (sometimes green or red and white) HT18 towards Hadımköy (ca. 15 min. to Fatih Kampüsü)

By car: leave the TEM at Hadımköy gişeleri, turn right and follow the signs for Fatih Üniversitesi

Casting a Shadow on Lewis’s Theory of Causation

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A Shadowy Puzzle:

In the above diagram L is a distant light source, A and B are two opaque rectangular objects with equal width.  If only A had been present, it would have cast the shadow R+S on the ground; and if only B had been present, it would have cast the shadow S.  In the situation above, P is the shadow A casts on B (which coincides with the area of B facing A).

Question: Clearly, the shadows R and P are caused by A.  But which one of A and B is causally responsible for the shadow S?

(1) B cannot be causing S, because B is not receiving any light, as A blocks the light from reaching B.  And an object which doesn’t have any light impinging on it cannot cast any shadow.

(2) A cannot be causing S, because A’s casting S is prevented by A’s casting P on B.  And an object can cast only one shadow in the presence of one light source.  In this case, A’s full shadow due to L is R+P; so we cannot claim that A casts S in addition to casting P.

(3) Since neither A nor B is causally responsible for S, we can’t say A and B overdetermine S.  For in overdetermination situations, there are two or more causes each of which is causally responsible for the same effect.  Nor can we say that one of A and B is preempting the other and itself causing S—for neither is a cause of S.

Then what is causing S?

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Written by Erdinç Sayan

August 12, 2012 at 1:31 am

Posted in Metaphysics

Talk at Bogazici next Tuesday (Aug 7th, 2012) by Russell Powell on ‘“Biological Evolution in a Technological Species”

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Russell Powell (Boston University) will give a talk at Bogazici University next Tuesday, August 7th, from 17.00 to 19.00 in TB130.  Everyone welcome
“Biological Evolution in a Technological Species”
Abstract: It is common in both scientific and humanistic disciplines to claim that biological evolutionary rates in modern humans are significantly impeded if not totally negated by the robust cultural and technological capabilities of the human species. I call this the ‘human evolutionary equilibrium argument’. The aim of this talk is to make sense of and evaluate this claim. I first develop the argument that humans are ‘insulated’ from ordinary evolutionary mechanisms in terms of our contemporary biological understandings of phenotypic plasticity, niche construction, and cultural transmission. I then consider two obvious objections to the human evolutionary equilibrium argument based on the growing literatures related to gene-culture coevolution and recent positive selection on the human genome, and I offer a pair of less common objections relating to the connection between plasticity, population size and evolvability. Finally, I argue that the human evolutionary equilibrium argument is premised on a fundamental conceptual flaw: namely, it takes biological stasis for granted. I conclude that biological evolution is a permanent and ineradicable fixture of any species, Homo sapiens included.
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Written by Lucas Thorpe

August 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm