Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for June 2013

CFP: Grounding and Fundamentality in Metaphysics and in Ethics

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Conference at Bogazici University, Istanbul

10-12 October 2013

Keynote Speakers: Ruth Chang, Janice Dowell, John Hawthorne

Invited and confirmed participants: Tristram McPherson, Pekka Väyrynen, TBA

The purpose of this conference is to explore implications of recent work in metametaphysics and metaphysics on fundamentality and grounding for ethics and metaethics. The reverse, namely, whether applications of grounding or fundamentality in ethics or metaethics might cast light on fundamentality and grounding generally, is also of interest. We invite papers relevant to these questions, and especially on the following themes.

Suggested themes

The relevance of the (meta-)metaphysical concept of naturalness to metaethical questions

Are there moral kinds? How do they stand with respect to natural kinds?

How should we understand alleged priority relations between goodness/rights/virtue/reasons?

Moral properties as universals

The relationship between traditional metaethical categories (cognitivism/non-cognitivism; naturalism/non-naturalism; reduction/non-reduction) and new work on fundamentality or grounding

The relation between naturalistic moral realisms and the ontological status of the special sciences

The metaphysics of thick moral properties (e.g. courageousness)

Inferences from the semantics of deontic expressions to metaphysical conclusions

Metaphysical explanation in ethics

How are such relations as evaluative dependence, determination and good-making best understood?

Can reality have normative “joints”?

Papers should be presentable in 50 minutes. Please send a detailed abstract (600-900 words) suitable for blind review, and a separate document with personal details to fundamentalnaturalgood@gmail.com

Application deadline: 1 August 2013

Decisions will be announced by 15 August, 2013

Inquiries should be sent to kurtsal(dot)steen(at)gmail(dot)com

Irem Kurtsal Steen

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Philosophy Department

Bogazici University

Bebek, Istanbul



Written by Irem Kurtsal Steen

June 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm

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Women and Vulnerability in Turkey

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Feminist Philosophers

As part of the Columbia center for the study of social difference project : Women Creating Change, Judith Butler and Zeynep Gambetti are hosting a workshop in Istanbul 16-19 September. Although there’s no reference in the blurb to current events, this is clearly very topical.

There is always something both risky and true in claiming that women are especially vulnerable.  The claim can be taken to mean that women have an unchanging and defining vulnerability, and that kind of argument makes the case for paternalistic protection.


And yet, there are good reasons to argue for the differential vulnerability of women; they suffer disproportionately from poverty and literacy, two very important dimensions of any global analysis of women’s condition.

Women have been extremely active in the protests of the last month, as a look at any picture taken in Gezi park, Taksim square in Istanbul, Kizilay or Kuglu park in Ankara, Eskisehir…

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Written by Sandrine Berges

June 30, 2013 at 8:50 am

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Student organised philosophy talk at Bogezici tomorrow: Reiner Mühlhoff (FU Berlin) “Affective resistance: On a Foucauldian notion of critique and social change” (21/06/2013)

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A student writes: “Freie Universitat Berlin, Reiner Mühlhoff (PhD student), is in İstanbul for vacation. We were talking with him
yesterday and I convinced him to give an open lecture/talk to us.” Here are the details:

“Affective resistance: On a Foucauldian notion of critique and social change”.

The talk will be at 5.15pm in TB130 at Bogazici University. 21.06.2013.

ABSTRACT: The aim of this talk is to take a look upon movements of social change from a subject-theoretical perspective. The talk consists of three parts: First, we shall elaborate on Michel Foucault’s notions of critique and subjectivity [1], where we shall see that critique and being critical is something inextricably related to the subject’s self-relation and social existence (“Haltung”, stance, hexis). Second, drawing on this and some additional concepts from Gilles Deleuze, two notions of social change shall be contrasted: The one is dialectical, i.e. based on alterity, contradiction, rational negotiation; the other is differential, meaning a processual notion of change as a motion into an openness, transgressing existing social and epistemic structures. In a third part (if there’s time), I shall outline my ideas on how affectivity and Foucauldian critique is essential to facilitate social and political change of the second kind, i.e. that kind of change which leads to genuine systemic transformations instead of merely shifting power balances _within_ an otherwise untouched system.

[1] On critique see Foucaults essay “What is Critique?” and Judith Butlers (2002) article “What is Critique? An Essay on Foucault’s
Virtue”. On the relation of subjectivity and power, see Foucault, “The Subject and Power” (1982).

Written by Lucas Thorpe

June 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm

A talk on Philosophy of Religion with James Kraft (Huston-Tillotson) at Istanbul Technical University,18.06.13

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James Kraft of  Huston-Tillotson University will give a talk to the Department of Humanities and Social Science at Istanbul Technical University , ‘Using What’s Neutral against What’s Not in Religious Disagreements based on Testimony and Seemings’ on Tuesday 18th June at 13:30 in the department seminar room in the ITU central campus in Maslak (known formally as the Ayazağa Campus).

The campus is next to the Ayazağa-İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi metro station, on the line from Taksim.  There are minibuses and municipal buses to Maslak which go past the campus from Beşiktaş and Sarıyer.  Please be aware that both campus and station are in Maslak not Ayazağa, which is a different though neighbouring district.


Written by Barry Stocker

June 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm

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A workshop on Meta-ethics at Bogazici with John Skorupski (St Andrews) 11/06/2013

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There will be a half day workshop at Bogazici University this Tuesday from 1pm-5.30pm with Professor John Skorupski (St Andrews) in TB130,

Professor Skorupski will discuss a number of topics from his recent book The Domain of Reasons



An overview. Background reading: A Precis of The Domain of ReasonsPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):174-184.


Reason and Feeling. Background reading: The Domain of Reasons, chapters 10-13. (These chapter are available in the departmental dropbox)

Written by Lucas Thorpe

June 10, 2013 at 2:45 am

Philosophy Talk at Bogaizci: Indrek Reiland (USC) on “Rules of Use” [10/06/2013]

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Indrek Reiland (USC) will give a talk at Bogazici on Monday 10/06/2013, from 5-7pm in TB130. Everyone welcome.
“Rules of Use”

ABSTRACT: Throughout the 20th century it was a common idea in philosophy of language that for an expression to be meaningful is for it to be governed by a rule of use. For example, it was mentioned by Peter Strawson, David Kaplan, John Perry, and Scott Soames. However, nobody went past very general remarks in discussing it. Even worse, it came to be widely seen as inconsistent with “truth-conditional semantics” and subject to the so-called Frege-Geach problem. This led other philosophers to view the idea as vague and mystical, too radical and obviously problematic, and think of it as ultimately not really worth our time because of there being clear and tractable formal substitutes like characters. For example, here’s Jason Stanley’s summary assessment of it in his survey article “Philosophy of Language in the Twentieth Century” (my emphasis):

“Whereas the notion of a rule of use is vague and mystical, Kaplan’s notion of the character of an expression is not only clear, but set theoretically explicable in terms of fundamental semantic notions. (Stanley 2008)”

My aim in this paper is to take this idea and first make it precise and demystify it. I then want to show that it’s consistent with “truth-conditional semantics” and thus not radical and that it’s not subject to the Frege-Geach problem and thus not obviously problematic. Finally, I will argue that it is very much worth our time because it can explainwhy doing descriptive semantics in terms of characters works in the first place, and because it enables us to provide a semantics for expressions which we can’t give one in terms of characters.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

June 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Philosophy in Gezi Park: Jesse Prinz (CUNY) on “Passionate Politics: Emotions, Morality, and Social Identity” 05/06/2013

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Due to the event’s in Turkey Jesse Prinz’ talk that was planned to take place at Bogazici University has been reschedule to Gezi Park, Taxim. Here are the details. We’ll meet by the entrance to the park near the Divan hotel between 4.30 and 5pm. My number is 0535 024 5844.

Jesse will be happy to hang around and talk to students after the talk. Bring umbrellas (and surgical masks and swimming goggles).

Professor Jesse Prinz (CUNY- Graduate Centre) will give a talk on Wednesday (05/06/2013) from 5-6, in Gezi park:

“Passionate Politics: Emotions, Morality, and Social Identity”

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

June 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm