Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for May 2013

How to move from a Turkish institution to a UK one

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Or not. Read all about it in Istvan Aranyosi’s Times Higher Ed article, here.

For those of you who don’t know Istvan, he is not crazy, and he is one of the most pleasant colleagues it has been my pleasure to work with.

He’s also got some pretty good people writing references on his behalf. So it’s truly a mystery how this happened to him. Or rather, it’s a sign, as he persuasively argues, that there’s something wrong with the system.

NewApps has replied to the article, here.

Note that Eric Schliesser describes Bilkent as a ‘fantastic institution’! It had occured to me that one of the obstacles Istvan faced was that people outside Turkey perhaps did not think of Bilkent as a fantastic place, but more as a ‘have you ever heard of it?’ place. I’ll be glad if I’m wrong.

Written by Sandrine Berges

May 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

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Bioethics talk at Fatih University (Andreas Hetzel, Darmstadt)

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Next Monday, Fatih Üniversitesi is honoured to host a talk by a distinguished German colleague,

Prof. Andreas Hetzel (Darmstadt), on the topic:

“Why should we save species from extinction? The biodiversity crisis as a challenge for bioethics”


Date: 27/05/2013

Time: 13.00 (1 pm)

Room: M-229 (opposite the library entrance)

 To reach Fatih Üniversitesi from the metrobus stop Hadımköy, take a regular bus (418, 76F, HT18, 144A) direction Hadımköy/Fatih Üniversitesi; by car, exit the TEM motorway at Hadımköy gişeleri and follow the signs for Fatih Üniversitesi

All welcome!

Written by rainerbroemer

May 23, 2013 at 10:33 am

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Talk at Bogazici: Jesse Prinz (CUNY-Graduate Center) “Neo-Empiricism: Grounding Concepts in Perception” (05/06/2013)

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Jesse Prinz (CUNY- Graduate Centre) will give a talk on Wednesday (05/06/2013) from 5-7pm, at Bogazici (Room TB130) on:

“Neo-Empiricism: Grounding Concepts in Perception”

Jesse J. Prinz is a Distinguished Professor of philosophy and director of the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at theCity University of New York, Graduate Center. He took his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the direction of Murat Aydede. His books include: Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis (MIT: 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (OUP: 2004), The Emotional Construction of Morals (OUP: 2007), Beyond Human Nature (Penguin/Norton: 2012).

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Two-Day Conference on Neurology, Philosophy of Biology, and Artificial Intelligence, organized by Koç University Philosophy Department (Venue: Beyoglu – RCAC)

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  • Speakers include but are not limited to: Bernard Stiegler (Université de Technologie Compiègne), Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley), Barry Smith (University of London), and Güven Güzeldere (Harvard University)Poster

Conference Program

May 25th  Saturday

9.30 Opening

9.45-11.45 First Session

  Hilmi Demir: “A Recent History of Philosophy of Mind: Convergence Points between Cognitive Sciences and Phenomenology”

 Barış Korkmaz: “Self: Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis”

Aziz Zambak: “Plasticity: The Forgotten Principle in Artificial Intelligence”

11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00  Second Session

Bernard Stiegler: “From Neuropower to Noopolitics”

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30:16:30 Third Session

Patrick Roney: “Neuro-aesthetics”

Zeynep Direk: “Neuroethics and the question of alterity”

Stephen Voss: “What do I mean when I say I”

May 26th Sunday

 9:30-10:30 First Session

Alva Noë: “The Fragile Manifest: Presence in Thought and Experience”

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break 

10:45-12:45 Second Session

Barry Smith: “Are Flavours in the Brain? The Phenomenology and Neuroscience of Flavour Perception”

Güven Güzeldere: “Unity of Consciousness in a Divided Brain?” 

 12:45-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:30 Third Session

Fuat Balcı: “Reward Maximization: The Role of Time and its Psychophysics”

Emrah Aktunç: “On Bickle’s ‘Ruthless Reductionism in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience: What are they Reducing?”

Hakan Gürvit: “Plasticity: Via Regia to the Neuroscientific Subjectivity”

Venue: Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations – Beyoglu

Venue Map

Roderick Long (Auburn University, Philosophy) at Bilgi University, Istanbul, 23.05.13;17:00.

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Written by Barry Stocker

May 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm

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Aret Karademir (USF) will give a talk on Thursday, (23/05/2013) from 5-7pm in TB130 on


ABSTRACT: The names of Judith Butler and Martin Heidegger rarely come together in Butler and Heidegger scholarship. As a matter of fact, the basis for the lack of a dialogical exchange between Butlerian and Heideggerian scholars is straightforward. After all, it seems prima faciethat there is an unbridgeable gap between Butler’s and Heidegger’s philosophical and political stances. For example, while Butler is a social constructivist, Heidegger, at least in Being and Time, interrogates the universal structures of human existence. While Butler is a radical democrat, Heidegger supported National Socialism whole-heartedly in the years of 1933 and 1934 and, even in his last interview in 1966, stated that “I am not convinced that it is democracy” that can solve the shortcomings of modernity. Be that as it may, I believe, the critical encounter between Butler and Heidegger might be philosophically/politically promising—especially for inquiring into the relationship between freedom and marginalization. My aim in this paper is to re-appropriate Butler’s philosophy from the perspective of the Heidegger of Being and Time. That is, I will read Butler with the aid of Heideggerian concepts such as “Being-in-the-world,” “Being-towards-death,” “(in)authenticity,” “anxiety,” “guilt,” “authentic solicitude.” Due to this reading, I will claim that one’s freedom is dependent on the resuscitation of socially-murdered racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, and sectarian/confessional minorities. More specifically, I will claim that the socially-sanctioned subject’s freedom is dependent on the marginalized Other’s freedom, and, conversely, the marginalized Other’s freedom is dependent on the socially-sanctioned subject’s freedom.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Radu Bogdan (Tulane) on “Imagination: Roots and Reasons.” 24/05/2013

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Radu Bogdan (Tulane) will give a talk on Friday, May 24th, from 5-7pm in TB130:

“Imagination: Roots and Reasons.”

Radu Bogdan is a professor of philosophy of and director of the cognitive science program at Tulane university. He is the author of numerous articles and five books: Our Own Minds: Sociocultural Grounds for Self-Consciousness (MIT, 2010), Predicative Minds: The Social Ontogeny of Propositional Thinking (MIT 2009), Minding Minds (MIT, 2003), Interpreting Minds (MIT, 2003) and Grounds for Cognition (Psychology Press, 1994).

ABSTRACT: The human mind is able consciously, deliberately and reflectivey to vault itself cognitively out of the enclosure of  current perception, motivation, emotion and action, and leap over to future or past or possible or even impossible facts, situations or scenarios. This is what imagination (in a strong, suppositional, propositional sense) does.The central argument is that imagination is uniquely human,  with no apparent precursors in the animal world. This is one evolutionary puzzle. Furthermore, the capacities to imagine do not seem to have dedicated genetic bases or specialized brain sites, do not operate as modules, and are domain versatile. It is also not obvious what specific pressures in what specific domains may have selected for imagining, which is why the standard explanation by gradual natural selection is unlikely to work. The way out of these puzzles is to reorient the evolutionary analysis toward human ontogeny, regarded as a genuine space of evolution, with its specific and often dated pressures and its adaptive responses. Imagination results from ontogenetic responses to the mostly sociocultural and sociopolitical pressures of later childhood.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Karim Sadek (AUB) on “Honneth’s Recognition-based Theory and the Recognition of Islamic Identity” (22.05.2013)

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Karim Sadek (AUB) will give a talk on Wednesday 22.05.2013 from 5-7pm in TB130.

“Honneth’s Recognition-based Theory and the Recognition of Islamic Identity”

Dr. Sadek received his phd in philosophy from Georgetown University and is currently a Post-Doc at the American University of Beirut.
Abstract: This paper investigates the ability of Axel Honneth’s recognition-based theory to explain and evaluate the demand for the public recognition of Islamic identity. Drawing on Rached al-Ghannouchi’s dissident thought as representative of a trend in Islamic revivalism, I reconstruct his social and political demands in terms of a demand for the public recognition of Islamic identity. I also argue that to fully and properly capture Ghannouchi’s demand for recognition, we should distinguish between a negative and a positive interpretation of that demand. I then show that while Honneth’s theory succeeds in capturing and addressing the demand for the public recognition of Islamic identity understood negatively, it fails to do so with the positive construal of that demand. This failure, however, can be remedied. Drawing on two sympathetic critics of Honneth’s theory and its contribution to the politics of identity, I put forward an upgraded version of the recognition model that is capable of both normatively grasping Ghannouchi’s demand and adequately responding to it. The outcome of this encounter between Honneth and Ghannouchi not only empowers the recognition model, but also allows for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Ghannouchi’s demands for the public recognition of Islamic identity.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Conference at Bilgi University: The Sources of Political Legitimacy, 16th-22nd of May, 2013

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The 6th annual Istanbul Seminars will take place at Bilgi University from May 16th -22nd. The theme this year will be:

The Sources of Political Legitimacy: From the Erosion of the Nation-State to the Rise of Political Islam

Amongst the participants will be: Fahmy HoweidyStathis KalyvasSeyla BenhabibDavid Rasmussen and Roberto Toscano.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Richmond Campbell (Dalhousie) “Pragmatic Naturalism and Moral Objectivity” (14/05/2013)

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Richmond Campbell (Dalhousie)

“Pragmatic Naturalism and Moral Objectivity” 

Tuesday, TB130, 5-7pm. Everyone welcome.

A copy of the talk can be found here. And the handout here.

ABSTRACT: In Kitcher’s “pragmatic naturalism” moral evolution contains only pragmatically motivated moral changes in response to practical difficulties in social life. No moral truths or facts exist that could serve as an “external” measure for moral progress. We propose a psychologically realistic conception of moral objectivity consistent with this pragmatic naturalism yet alive to the familiar sense that moral progress has an objective basis that transcends convention and consensus in moral opinion, even when these are products of serious, extended, and collaborative reflection.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Symposium Rendering History Visible – The use of images for historical research

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Written by rainerbroemer

May 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

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Nietzsche in Assos

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Nietzsche in Assos

Written by Sandrine Berges

May 7, 2013 at 7:34 am

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Two Cognitive Science events at Bogazici University

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The Cognitive Science program of Bogazici University cordially invites all interested parties to the following events.

1) Philosophy-Cognitive Science Workshop: The Quest for Rationality

Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to the Library]

Oguz Tanridag (Uskudar University and Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul),
“Decision Making in the Brain.”
Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research),
“Pondering about Rationality and its Meanings: Being Rational, Irrational, and In-Between.”

2) Cognitive Science Lunch Talk

Thursday, 9 May 2013, 11:00-12:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to the Library]

Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research)
“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”

Abstracts and bios are below.

“Pondering about rationality and its meanings: Being rational, irrational, and in-between”
Rationality is an overloaded term viewed differently from different perspectives. In this talk I will contrast two perspectives: The one derived from “Homo Economicus” underlying standard economic theory, and the psychological one based on psychological theory and related experiments. While Standard economic theory is founded on formal requirements of rationality (derived from a logico- mathematical perspective), human behavior is often based on more loose criteria of intuitions and commonsense. Experimental demonstrations will be presented exhibiting some incongruence between the economic view and actual human behavior. In an attempt to reconcile between the two perspectives, I propose that rationality is not about objective states of the world but about mental representations of these states which have to be taken into account on any discussion pertaining to rationality.

“Decision making in the brain”
Decision making process has been one of the recent research areas in neuroscience. Despite the fact that its monumental case, Phineas Gage, appeared in the literature in mid-19 th century, brain mechanisms underlying decision making have not come to the attention of neuroscientists until mid- 20 th century when behavioral neurology was re-established. There are five functional networks in the human brain; executive, language, limbic, what and where networks. Decision making in the brain takes place in one of them: executive network. There are mainly three functional sub-units of the executive network which lie into the prefrontal cortex; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), Ventromedian Prefrontal Cortex (vmPFC) and Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC). DLPFC is the area of cognitive control, vmPFC is the area of brain’s attention and reward mechanisms and OFC is the area of emotional control. It has been suggested that vmPFC play crucial role in decision making. The hypothesis of this action is Somatic Marker Hypothesis in which bodily receptors called somatic markers urge brain whenever a new event happens which requires decision making. The brain center of the somatic markers has been located in vmPFC by functional imaging studies. However,more recent studies suggested that this area would not be a single area for decision making and additional mechanisms are warranted such as cultural factors, age and two other areas of the prefrontal cortex; dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal cortices, because decison making also requires cognitive and emotional controls.

“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”
The ubiquity and robustness of framing effects [i.e., interpreting the same message in different ways depending on how it is formulated]  in different domains of psychology and beyond it can hardly be denied. Framing, in its most abstract interpretation, implies the composition of different parts of a message according to a particular design. It can refer to a construction (e.g., frame of a building), to a surrounding or a border (e.g., frame of a picture), to a state of mind (e.g., she is in a happy frame of mind), or to the linguistic composition of a sentence or an utterance. What all these usages have in common is that they afford a certain structural basis or, in perceptual terminology, determine the Gestalt of the message. My presentation will center on linguistic and psychological aspects of framing, examining the consequences of employing different message frames. I will review different types of framing effects, linguistic and non-linguistic ones, underlining both their theoretical and applied facets. Framing can be analyzed within different theoretical frameworks which will be briefly described. While no unifying theory of framing exists, the analogy with basic perceptual processes will be accentuated. Applications of framing effects in different domains such as health care, the court, marketing and Experimenter-subject interaction in an experiment, will be discussed. Implications of framing for rational choice theory will be examined.

Prof. Gideon Keren studied Economics and Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is presently at TIBER (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research), Dept. of Social Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Prof Keren’s research is in decision making and behavioral economics. His research areas include coping with uncertainty and calibration of probabilities, interpretations of probability, gambling behavior, unique vs. repeated gambles, framing, and trust. His books include “Statistical and methodological issues in psychology and social sciences research” (1982), “A Handbook for Data Analysis in the Behavioral Sciences:Methodological Issues” (1993), “Perspectives on Framing” (2010).

Prof. Oğuz Tanrıdağ, MD, is a professor at Uskudar University, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, and the head of the Neurology unit of NPI, the Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul. Dr. Tanrıdağ studied medicine at the Istanbul University (1975), and was a researcher at Vanderbilt University Neurology Department, and GATA Neurology. He became a full professor in 1993. He served as the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Journal of Neurology. He initiated the International Cognitive Neuroscience Meetings, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and is one of the most important gatherings of the Turkish cognitive science community.

Participation is free. If you have any questions, you can contact Albert Ali Salah at salah@boun.edu.tr or at 0212 359 7774.

Written by albertalisalah

May 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm