Archive for May 2014
The Transformative Ascent from Ordinary Life to Blessedness in Spinoza’s Ethics
North Carolina State University
27th May 2014, at 13:30
Seminar Room, Department of Humanities and Social Science, Faculty of Science and Letters, Central Campus Istanbul Technical University (by ITU metro station)
Abstract: The origin of Spinoza’s philosophizing is the ethical dissatisfaction with ordinary life and its values. An ordinary life, for Spinoza, is prone is bondage to the passions, as it is a life dominated by the pursuit of transitory goods like honor, sensual pleasure and wealth. According to Spinoza, human happiness and wellbeing do not lie in ordinary life. Rather, the good human life is a life according to the order of the intellect. This is because for Spinoza there is an intrinsic relationship between the pursuit of understanding and the pursuit of the good life, where the latter consists in increasing the power of the mind over the passions and, thereby, becoming free and virtuous. Life according to the order of the intellect is marked by two ways of understanding (adequate knowledge) according to Spinoza’s taxonomy of knowledge [cognitio] in the Ethics: reason (ratio) and intuitive knowledge (scientia intuitiva). In this paper, I give an account of the transition from ordinary life to life according to the order of the intellect with a particular emphasis on intuitive knowledge, which Spinoza describes as the source of the highest human happiness. While reason has received much attention from Spinoza scholars with regard to its power and limits in restraining the passions, the power of intuitive knowledge vis-à-vis the passions has been largely overlooked. Drawing on this neglected aspect of Spinoza’s thought, I propose that the above mentioned transition (a) is achieved by way of a transformative ascent that culminates in intuitive self-knowledge—i.e. adequate knowledge of our own essence as it directly follows from God’s essence, and (b) consists in a change in perspective that helps us to reorder our desires and, consequently, become less prone to harmful passions in this life.
Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Fanaticism (2010; Turkish translation: 2013), The Theatre of Production (2006) and the forthcoming Cartographies of the Absolute (co-authored with Jeff Kinkle). He has translated numerous works by Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri and others. He edits The Italian List for Seagull Books and is a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.
Bilgi University (Istanbul): The Sources of Pluralism – Metaphysics, Epistemology, Law and Politics. May 15th-20th, 2014.
The topic of the Istanbul Seminars (at Bilgi University in Istanbul) this year will be:
The Sources of Pluralism – Metaphysics, Epistemology, Law and Politics.
The program can be found here. Among the participants are Seyla Benhabib, Richard Bernstein, Alessandro Ferrara, Maurizio Ferraris, Nilüfer Göle, Amr Hamzawy, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Cécile Laborde, Avishai Margalit , David Rasmussen, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
A full list of participants can be found here.
Talk on Cosmology at Bogazici, “Is there a Dark Sector or was Einstein Wrong?” Scott Dodelson, Fermilab
Sorry that this is last-minute, but I heard about it last-minute
“Is there a Dark Sector or was Einstein Wrong?”
Observations over the past decade suggest that most of the energy in the Universe is in the form of Dark Energy and Dark Matter. The hunt is on for the identity of these new substances as we strive to understand how they fit in to the rest of physics. Recently, attention has turned to another possibility: there is no dark sector but Einstein’s theory of gravity needs to be modified. We are now faced (again!) with a contest between two competing ideas: Change the fundamental laws of Nature OR Introduce new substances. Which will win and how will we find out?
Albert Long Hall
8 Mayis Persembe saat 15:30-16:30
(saat 15:00-15:30 kahve & cay)
Scott Dodelson received his PhD in physics at Columbia University, did post-doctoral work at Harvard and then at Fermilab. He was hired on to the staff as scientist and since has served as head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group and co-founder and Interim Director of the Fermi Center for Particle Astrophysics. He is the author of Modern Cosmology, a graduate textbook, and 150 papers exploring the connections between particle physics, the very small, and cosmology, the very large. Dodelson is currently focusing on the Dark Energy Survey in Chile and the South Pole Telescope, which measures radiation left over from the earliest moments of time.
Scott Dodelson is one of the first people that showed that the spatial geometry of the universe is “FLAT”!
Talk at Sabancı: Selim Berker (Harvard), A Graph-Theoretic Approach to Coherentism about Epistemic Justification
A Graph-Theoretic Approach to Coherentism about Epistemic Justification
by Selim Berker (Harvard University), May 14, 2014 at 15:00 in FASS 2034, Sabancı University*
Abstract: Some of our beliefs depend for their justification on other beliefs we hold, which in turn depend on yet other beliefs. Where does such a regress end? This is the regress problem in epistemology. Fifty years ago, coherentism — according to which each thread of support for a justified belief eventually loops back on itself — was probably the dominant response to this problem, but in recent decades that view has fallen into disrepute. In my talk I will sketch a new way of thinking about coherentism, and show how it avoids many of the problems often thought fatal for the view, including the isolation objection, worries over circularity, impossibility results derived from probability theory, and concerns that the concept of coherence is too vague or metaphorical for serious theoretical use. The key to my approach is to take a familiar tool from discussions of the regress problem — namely, directed graphs depicting the support relations between beliefs — and to use that tool in a more sophisticated way than it is standardly employed.
*Free shuttle service will be provided from Boğaziçi University (Güney Kampüs) at 13:30