Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for December 2012

Talk at Bogazici: Saniye Vatansever (UIC) on “KANT’S ACCOUNT OF THE HIGHEST GOOD: WHAT CAN WE HOPE FOR? AND WHO ARE “WE”?” (04/01/2013)

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Saniye Vatansever (UIC) will give a talk this Friday (04/01/2013) at Bogazici University in TB130 from 5-7pm on:


ABSTRACT: In the second Critique Kant argues that for the Highest Good to be possible we need to postulate the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. There Kant implies that the Highest Good is attainable only in the noumenal world. In his later writings, however, he argues that the Highest Good is attainable in the phenomenal world through mere human agency. It seems that Kant has two different and competing conceptions of the Highest Good, namely a theological and a secular conception. In this paper, I argue against both the theological and the secular readings. Instead of focusing exclusively on either the early or the latter writings, I argue that we need to understand why Kant writes in different and seemingly incoherent ways about the Highest Good.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm


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June 6-8 2013

Convenors: Prof. Dr. Manuel Andreas Knoll (mknoll@fatih.edu.tr), Nurdane Şimşek, M.A. (nsimsek@fatih.edu.tr), Department of Philosophy, Fatih University  

Call for Abstracts

Following Rawls, the prevailing political thought aims at some form of consensus about justice. Rawls conceives of this as a consensus about an initial choice situation for principles of justice, as a rational consensus about which principles to choose, or as an “overlapping consensus”, which a pluralist society should reach with regard to the political conception of justice he proposes.

The idea of a consensus on justice was questionable from the beginning. For some theorists this was made evident through Robert Nozick’s strong disagreement with Rawls’s fundamental moral intuition that the inequalities of natural endowments are undeserved and call for social redress or compensation. Likewise, Rawls’s idea that individuals are equal as moral persons does not allow for a consensus. Going back to Aristotle, John Kekes argued that people who habitually harm others have a lower moral worth than people who habitually do good. In this case, isn’t Rawls’s rationalist creed that all persons should be convinced by the same arguments, and must therefore reach a rational consensus on principles of justice, highly questionable? In her systematic study of justice Dagmar Herwig showed, as early as 1984, that throughout the history of political philosophy there are irreconcilable conceptions of social and political justice. While egalitarians hold it is just to establish arithmetic, numeric or simple equality, non-egalitarians like Plato, Aristotle or Nietzsche conceive of a just distribution of goods as a distribution in proportion to existing inequalities. For non-egalitarians, it is just to allot equal shares only to equals, not to everyone.

The conference takes as its point of departure the well-researched conviction that there are fundamental disagreements about social and political justice. On the one hand, the conference strives for a more detailed comprehension of the various aspects of the irreconcilable pluralism of conceptions of justice. On the other hand, it investigates the reasons for the fundamental opposition of existing moral intuitions and conceptions of justice. Are these reasons social, cultural, psychological, historical, or even biological? One main focus of the conference will be the relation between conceptions of justice and images of humanity. Do the opposing conceptions of justice derive mainly from opposing anthropological convictions about the equality, or inequality, of men? Do the different understandings of human worth, or value, provide a key to comprehending the fundamental disagreements about social and political justice? In addressing these questions, the conference aims at a more adequate understanding of the concept of justice and the human sense of justice, which can be achieved beyond the idea of the consensus.         

Abstracts of no more than one page for talks and suggestions for panels should be sent to both convenors by March 1, 2013. Decisions will be made within two or three weeks. The length of the talks will depend on how many proposals are accepted, but will be at least 25 minutes. The registration fee of 100 USD covers three lunches and the final conference dinner on a boat on the Bosporus. For students who want to participate in the conference the registration fee is reduced to $ 50.

CONFIRMED INVITED SPEAKERS: Professor Renato Cristi (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada), Professor Maria Dimitrova (Sofia University, Bulgaria), Professor Giovanni Giorgini (Bologna University, Italy), Louis I. Jaffe Professor Lawrence Hatab (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, USA), Professor Michael Haus (Heidelberg University, Germany), Professor Christoph Horn (Bonn University, Germany), Professor Peter Koller (Graz University, Austria), Professor Angelika Krebs (Basel University, Switzerland), Professor Chandran Kukathas (London School of Economics), Professor Francisco L. Lisi (Carlos III University Madrid), Professor Lukas Meyer (Graz University, Austria), Professor John Skorupski (University of St Andrews, Scotland), Professor Ulrich Steinvorth (Hamburg University), Assist. Prof. Barry Stocker (Istanbul Technical University), Professor Kok-Chor Tan (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Professor Harun Tepe (Hacettepe University, Ankara), Professor John Tomasi (Brown University, Providence, USA), Professor Jonathan Wolff (University College London)

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

New PhD programme Philosophy (in English), Fatih University, Istanbul

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Philosophy PhD programme (English) at Fatih University Istanbul approved by Higher Education Board (YÖK)

From the spring term 2013, Fatih University Istanbul is offering a PhD programme in philosophy (taught in English).

For information about the department, see http://felsefe.fatih.edu.tr/?&language=EN

To find out about the areas of specialisation of the faculty, go to http://felsefe.fatih.edu.tr/?staff&language=EN

Informal inquiries to the head of department, Şengül Çelik scelik@fatih.edu.tr and the convening professors Manuel Knoll mknoll@fatih.edu.tr and Marc Rölli marcmroelli@gmail.com

Welcome to Istanbul

Written by rainerbroemer

December 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Seminar on Human Nature (in Turkish) at BETİM 29 Dec. 2012

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Tarih : 29 Aralık 2012
Yer : Beşikçizade Tıp ve İnsani Bilimler Merkezi (BETİM)


Sempozyum Programı (below the fold)

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Written by rainerbroemer

December 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

Posted in Events in Turkey

Dominic O’Meara on Proclus, Geometry and the Architecture of Hagia Sophia

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As a part of the conference, Arxai: Proclus Diadochus of Constantinople and his Abrahamic Interpreters, Prof. Dominic O’Meara (Université de Fribourg) will present a public lecture entitled, “Geometry as an Image of the Divine in Proclus and in the Architecture of Hagia Sophia”. The lecture will take place on Saturday December 15, 2012, at 8pm at Santa Maria Draperis Church on Istiklaal. (In the direction of Tunel, the church is about 160 m past Galatasaray Lisesi, on the left, down a set of stairs.)

Together with the lecture,  the CorISTAnbul Chamber Choir and Orchestra, featuring Kevork Tavityan, baritone.

For further information about the choir, see http://coristanbul.com/.

About the conference:

The conference as a whole is sponsored by the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a part of the celebration of “400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey”, and the Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul. The university sponsors are Fatih University, Bogazici University and Yildiz Technical University. The conference takes place under the auspices of the ISNS.

For further information, see http://arxai.org/conferences/abrahamictrilogy/program and for questions, email David Butorac at davidbutorac@arxai.org.

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Written by davidbutorac

December 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Ralf Bader (Oxford) on “Kant’s Theory of the Highest Good” 21/12/2012

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Ralf Bader (Oxford) will give a talk at Bogazici University on Friday, December 21st, from 5-7pm in TB130.

“Kant’s Theory of the Highest Good”

ABSTRACT: The highest good is the culmination of Kant’s ethical theory. It systematically combines all objects of practical reason, integrating everything that is good into an unconditioned totality. By doing so, it bridges the dualisms between moral and pathological value, between duty and prudence, as well as between virtue and happiness. It thereby gives rise to a unified necessary system of ends. This paper provides a systematic account of Kant’s theory of the highest good, addressing in particular the question why happiness is included in the highest good, why it should be distributed in proportion to virtue, and in what sense the highest good is something that we are meant to bring about.

Ralf Bader received his phd at St Andrews university. He was then a Bersoff Fellow and Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of Philosophy at NYU. He is currently a research fellow and University Lecturer at Oxford University. His research primarily focuses on value theory (axiology, intrinsic value, organic unities, agent-relativity, population ethics), contemporary metaphysics (intrinsicality, supervenience, coinciding objects, counterpart theory, dispositions, causation, identity, mereology), and Kant scholarship (highest good, happiness, imperatives, tables of categories, transcendental idealism). He is also interested in neo-Kantian and early analytic philosophy, as well as in political philosophy. Some of his publications can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

TALK: Siyaves Azeri (Queens, Canada) on “Conceptual Cognitive Organs: Toward a Historical Materialist Theory of Scientific Knowledge”, 17/12/2012

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Siyaves Azeri (Queens, Canada) will give a talk at Bogazici on Monday, December 17th from 5-7pm in TB130.

“Conceptual Cognitive Organs: Toward a Historical Materialist Theory of Scientific Knowledge”

ABSTRACT: The relation between scientific concepts and reality cannot be satisfactorily explained unless the empiricist supposition that dramatically differentiates “appearance” and “reality” is dropped. Concepts are components of sign systems, which function as tools of cognitive activity. Conceptual cognition, qualitatively speaking, is not different than perceptual cognition. Concepts are extensions of human sense organs. They are particular higher cognitive organs the function of which is cognitive activity.
Unlike empiricists that locate perception and cognition in human mind, Vygotsky’s historical approach locates perception and cognition outside the psyche or consciousness. It is the degree of abstraction and generalization that differentiates between perceptual and cognitive activities and between different forms of cognition. Scientific concepts and conceptual systems (theories) appear to be a particular form of higher mental activity. They are cognitive tools that provide the ability of systematic cognition of phenomena, which are not available to the grasp of ordinary sense organs. They are tools of scientific “groping” of phenomena. Scientific concepts free perceptual and cognitive activity from determination of “biological” sense organs by providing a high degree of cognitive abstraction and generalization. Scientific cognition, like perceptual activity, is actualized by consciousness but outside the consciousness.

Keywords: Activity, cognition, concept, consciousness, empiricism, reality, science, theory, Vygotsky

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm