Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for December 2015

Şehir Üni. Philosophy Talks 18 Kelly James Clark: God and The Brain

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GOD and THE BRAIN: The Science of Mind and The Rationality of Belief / UnbeliefPT_18_MAILING_SON

18 December 2015 Friday, 15:00

Sehir Üniversitesi, West Campus, Room 2008

Prof. Kelly James Clark
Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University

Are we hardwired to form our most precious beliefs? Cognitive science has shown that the human mind/brain is hardwired for god-beliefs. If there is a cognitive science of religion, though, is there likewise a cognitive science of irreligion? Recent psychological studies have shown connections between atheism and a cognitive good (inferential thinking), on the one hand, and atheism and a cognitive defect (autism), on the other. Does the former make atheism rational and the latter make atheism irrational?

* The conference will be conducted in English.

* Everyone is welcome.


Written by metindemirsehir

December 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

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Arda Denkel Festival at Boğaziçi University

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Arda Denkel Festival: December 1920, 2015

Arda Denkel was an excellent metaphysician and a profoundly influential figure in popularizing analytic philosophy in Turkey. Denkel was also a founding member of the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department. Denkel died at 50, far too young, after battling brain cancer. To honor Denkel’s legacy, the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department will host the Arda Denkel Festival on the 19th and 20th of this month. And it will institute an annual Arda Denkel Prize. The first of these Prizes will be awarded at this month’s Festival.

Both the speakers at the Festival and the winners of the Prize will be drawn from alumni of the Philosophy Department that Arda Denkel helped to create who have gone on to earn the PhD.

All are welcome. Registration is free—please email mark[dot]steen[at-symbol]boun.edu.tr if you wish to attend. The Festival Dinner will be free to all who register. All sessions are in New Hall 203 on Boğaziçi’s North Campus.

Festival Schedule:

Friday evening, December 18

Informal gathering at Keçi, near the University’s Etiler gate.

Saturday, December 19

10.00 – 11.15. Nazım Gökel. “The Lonely Walker’s Guide to Representation: Object, Representation and Mind”

11.30 – 12.45. Pakize Arıkan Sandıkcıoğlu. “Fineness of Grain of Perceptual Richness”


2.00 – 3.15. Nazif Muhtaroğlu. “Al-Bāqillānī’s Cosmological Argument From Agency”

3.30 – 4.45. Uygar Abacı. “Existence and Kant’s Revolutionary Theory of Modality”

5.00 – 6.15. Barış Şentuna. “Death as ‘So Near’ and Death as ‘So Far'”


8.30 – 10.00. Keynote talk. Çetin Eren

Sunday, December 20

10.30 – 11.45. Cem Şişkolar. “On the Content of Assertıons”


1.00 – 2.30. Keynote talk. Zeynep Direk

2.45 – 4.00. Alper Türken. “Hegel’s Logic of Ought and the Origins of Normativity”


conference organizer: Stephen Voss: shvoss[at-symbol]gmail.com


Written by markedwardsteen

December 14, 2015 at 10:34 am

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Prof. Osman Bakar // The Epistemologies of al-Farabi and al-Ghazzali: Comparative Perspectives

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Istanbul Sehir University Philosophy Talks 17



“The Epistemologies of al-Farabi and al-Ghazzali: Comparative Perspectives”

Prof. Osman Bakar

Distinguished Professor and Director Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Al-Farabi (870 AD– 950 AD) and al-Ghazzali (1058 AD – 1111 AD) are among the intellectual giants in the history of Islam. They were separated in time by nearly two centuries but judging from their writings they appeared to have been contemporaries. They belonged to two different intellectual schools of thought, al-Farabi to the Peripatetic school and al-Ghazzali to the school of kalam (“dialectical theology”). Their thoughts have both similarities and differences. Professor Bakar will discuss their similar ideas such as in their acceptance of the ideas of hierarchy of knowledge and tawhidic epistemology as well as their differences with regard to their understanding of the relationship between intellect-reason and revelation, their notions of philosophy, and the relationship between religion and philosophy. Professor Bakar presents arguments that despite their differences on many intellectual issues they are united in their thinking at a deeper level and as such are to be regarded as coming from the same intellectual universe of Islam.


Written by metindemirsehir

December 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Talk at Bogazici U., Julia Jorati (Ohio State), “Leibniz on Control, Weakness of Will, and Compulsion”

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Please join us:


Julia Jorati, Ohio State

Monday, December 21st, 5-7pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)


Leibniz is a compatibilist: he holds that freedom is compatible with determinism. My paper examines Leibniz’s responses to three problems that plague many compatibilists, namely (a) the problem of explaining in what sense free agents have control over their actions, (b) the problem of explaining what goes on in ostensibly weak-willed actions, and (c) the problem of distinguishing weak-willed from compelled actions. Leibniz explicitly discusses the notion of control—or, as he usually calls it, ‘mastery’—and, this paper argues, he manages to make room for a meaningful and desirable type of control. For Leibniz, we possess control to the extent that our rational judgments and rational desires are able to influence our actions. He acknowledges that we sometimes lack direct control, namely when our passions are so powerful that they would outweigh even the strongest rational desire. Yet, Leibniz insists, there are indirect ways to control our actions; we can take steps ahead of time that reduce the influence of our passions drastically. Some of the resources that allow Leibniz to give a powerful account of control also allow him to acknowledge a form of weakness of will. That is surprising because he holds that all intentional actions are determined by what the agent perceives as good. Moreover, Leibniz can capture the difference between weakness and compulsion—another notoriously difficult problem for determinists.



Written by markedwardsteen

December 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

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Two Events, Kelly James Clark (Kaufman Interfaith Institute,GVSU)

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Please join us at Bogazici University for two events with Kelly James Clark, Senior Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute.

Workshop: The Cognitive Science of Alliance and Conflict

The cognitive and evolutionary science of religion argues that religion played a crucial role in securing human cooperation. Big Gods were essential to the development of increasingly larger non-kin human groups. Thus, alliance. Yet the very cognitive dispositions that create, define and shape in-group likewise create, define and shape out-group. Thus, conflict.

1-3pm, Wednesday, December 16

TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)



Talk: God and the Brain: the science of the mind and the rationality of belief/unbelief

Are we hardwired to form our most precious beliefs? Cognitive science has shown that the human mind/brain is hardwired for god-beliefs. If there is a cognitive science of religion, though, is there likewise a cognitive science of irreligion? Recent psychological studieshave shown connections between atheism and a cognitive good (inferential thinking), on the one hand, and atheism and a cognitive defect (autism), on the other. Does the former make atheism rational and the latter make atheism irrational?


5-7pm, Wednesday, December 16

location: M 1171

Written by markedwardsteen

December 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

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December 17: Seminar by Marwan Rashed on the Interaction between Commentator and Translator in Greek and Arabic

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Marwan Rashed (Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), UFR de Philosophie & Centre Léon Robin) will be giving a seminar in English at Galatasaray University on December 17th. Below are the details as well as information from two other sessions in French.

Programme :

– 16 décembre, mercredi, 9h-13h (Salle 323): Groupe de lecture du De anima d’Aristote)

– 17 décembre, jeudi, 17h-19h (Salle E. Teziç): Seminar on the Interaction between Commentator and Translator in Greek and Arabic.

– 22 décembre, mardi, 10h-13h (Salle 322): Atelier de paléographie grecque

Première rencontre du projet géré à l’Université Galatasaray dans le cadre de l’accord entre le CNRS et TÜBITAK – « Une analyse comparative et critique des conceptions de l’âme d’Aristote et d’Avicenne »

Contact: Burak Şaman, e.b.saman@gmail.com (0542 551 45 01)

Written by Ömer Aygün

December 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm

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Talk at Istanbul Technical University, Mark Steen (Boğaziçi University), “God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”

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Tuesday, December 8, 1:30pm
Insan ve Toplum Bilimleri Seminer Odasi
ITU Fen-Edebiyat Fakultesi, Maslak
“God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”
Does God know what it is like to be us? According to traditional Abrahamic monotheisms, God is omniscient–or knows everything which can be known. This would include knowledge of all mental states of all of His creatures. But it seems reasonable to suppose that one can only ‘know what it is like’ (KWIL) to have experiences (e.g. the taste of cantaloupe) by undergoing them (or undergoing ones like them). So, God either i) undergoes or KWIL to have every creaturely experience, ii) undergoes or KWIL to have only some creaturely experiences, or iii) does not know what it is like to have any creaturely experiences. I will argue that (i) is untenable–there are multiple reasons for denying that God undergoes every experience. I will also argue that (ii) is ad hoc. So we are left with (iii), that God doesn’t KWIL to have any creaturely experience. But this apparently goes against traditional theism by denying God knowledge of His creatures’ experiences. I argue that a good way to accept both that God doesn’t KWIL to be us and God’s omniscience is to be a (token) physicalist. God knows everything about our mental lives by knowing what all of our physical states are. We, and all of His creatures with mental lives, are wholly physical beings. There are no ‘qualia’, or non-physical experiential states which are irreducible to physical ones. I then deal with some objections, such as the possibility of non-physical beings with mental lives (e.g. angels), and the worrying possibility that God is a zombie (i.e., a being with no phenomenal consciousness).
Alter, Beyer, Foss, Jackson, Knight, Merricks, Milliere, Nagel, Lewis, Nagasawa, Nemirow, Mander, Zagzebski

Written by markedwardsteen

December 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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CFP for Adorno Conference at Bogazici, June 2016

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Adorno and Politics

1st Istanbul Critical Theory Conference

2-4 June 2016 at Bogazici University, Istanbul

Welcome to Boğaziçi University

Call For Papers

Without a doubt Negative Dialectics is Theodor W. Adorno’s most systematic attempt to ground social theory on a new philosophical foundation. One of the main concerns behind Adorno’s detailed engagement with Hegelian dialectics was to develop a materialist method for social research that would present an alternative to the increasingly anti-philosophical approach of vulgar Marxism to social reality and politics. This evidently political concern in Adorno’s Negative Dialectics seems not to have received the recognition it deserves even fifty years after its first publication. In fact, when it comes to questions concerning political and social theory, Adorno’s work is all too easily dismissed due to his cryptic style and his wide range of philosophically informed interests that resist the compartmentalization and departmentalization of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, the emancipatory trajectory of Adorno’s thought seems to point to an ambitious political agenda that hardly fits into the theoretical framework provided by contemporary Critical Theory. After all, the shift of paradigm in Critical Theory initiated by Jürgen Habermas and continued by Axel Honneth rests on an immanent critique of emancipatory trajectories such as the one presented by Adorno, while sharing the latter’s central political concerns. While his political agenda is widely criticized, the multifaceted approach of Adorno provides an excellent resource to question some of the pressing issues of social and political reality today in a more direct and concrete way than the competing approaches in social and political theory. To name a few, Adorno’s Critical Theory raises the following crucial questions: What are the perils of authoritarian rule in contemporary societies? How can the universalism of the modern bourgeois legal system cope with the plurality of social and political reality? How can or should politics redefine the relationship between equality and difference? Does art provide an effective medium for political action? What are the possibilities of democratic resistance and struggle in contemporary societies?

In the light of questions such as these, it becomes clear that there is an urgent need to reassess Adorno’s main works in order to gain new insights into the permanent state of social and political crisis of our times. The 50th anniversary of the publication of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in 2016 provides an excellent opportunity to explore the role that Adorno’s work can play for the future of critical theory. This conference will focus on the following topics in Critical Theory inspired by Adorno’s oeuvre:

the relationship between politics and neoliberal economy
art and political action
language, concepts and their political / philosophical significance
the (im)possibilities of political practice
Adorno and modern / contemporary political theory
exploring the paths opened up by Adorno’s thought
with Adorno, beyond Adorno: expanding the horizons of Critical Theory
relations and resonances between Adorno and other critical thinkers, past and present

Keynote Speakers:

Seyla Benhabib (Yale University), Jay M. Bernstein (The New School for Social Research), Susan Buck-Morss (CUNY Graduate Center), Maeve Cooke (University College Dublin)

The conference language will be English. We invite interested scholars at all career levels to send proposals (maximum 400 words) to: adornoconference@boun.edu.tr

Deadline: 20 January 2016

Welcome to Bogazici University

Organizing Chairs:

Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Gambetti
Department of Political Science and International Relations,
Bogazici University Istanbul, Turkey

Assist. Prof. Volkan Cidam
Department of Political Science and International Relations,
Bogazici University Istanbul, Turkey

Dr. Philip Hogh
Adorno Research Center at the Philosophy Department,
Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany

Conference Assistants:

Çağrı Mutaf, cagri.mutaf@boun.edu.tr
Graduate Student, Political Science and International Relations, Boğaziçi University

Mesadet Maria Sözmen, mesadetmaria@gmail.com
Graduate Student, Political Science and International Relations, Boğaziçi University

Written by albertolsiani

December 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

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