Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for May 2016

Workshop at Boğaziçi: Interactivism and Enactivism with Mark Bickhard (1/06/2016)

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There will be a workshop at Boğaziçi on 1/06/2016 with Professor Mark Bickhard (Lehigh) on Interactivism and Enactivism from 3pm-7pm in TB130. Everyone welcome.

mark poster

3pm-5pm The Interactivist Model

Abstract: A shift from a metaphysical framework of substance to one of process enables an integrated account of the emergence of normative phenomena. I show how substance assumptions block genuine ontological emergence, especially the emergence of normativity, and how a process framework permits a thermodynamic-based account of normative emergence. The focus is on two foundational forms of normativity, that of normative function and of representation as emergent in a particular kind of function. This process model of representation, called interactivism, compels changes in many related domains. The discussion ends with brief attention to three domains in which changes are induced by the representational model: perception, learning, and language.

5pm – 7pm Interactivism and Enactivism: Some Thoughts and Comparisons

Abstract: Interactivism and enactivism spring from some similar insights and intuitions. There are, however, some arguably significant divergences, and I will explore a few of the important similarities and differences. Topics addressed include the basic notions of how cognition and mind emerge in living systems; how growth, learning, development, and adaptation can be modeled within the basic frameworks; and how phenomenological investigations can be taken into account and their phenomena modeled.

This talk is organised as part of Lucas Thorpe‘s TÜBİTAK project “Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action” ( 114K348).


Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 26, 2016 at 5:53 pm

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Three Scholarships for Turkish academics and graduate students to attend UK Kant Society Conference in Southampton from the 5th to 6th of September 2016

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2016 UK Kant Society Annual Conference: Kant, Normativity, and Naturalism

As part of the joint Boğaziçi -Southampton Newton-Katip Çelebi project  “Agency and Autonomy: Kant and the Normative Foundations of Republican Self-Government” (Jointly run by Lucas Thorpe and Sasha Muddwe have three scholarships of of £750 for Turkish academics and graduate students to participate in the 20016 UK Kant Society conference to be held in Southampton from 5 – 6 September 2016. Any academics and graduate students based in Turkey are eligible to apply. 

Those interested should send an abstract (excluding any self-identifying information) of between 800 and 1000 words to turkant@gmail.com by July 1st 2016. Successful applicants will be informed by July 10th.

(UPDATE: a couple of people have already asked me if the deadline for Turkish applicants is JULY 1st, and the answer is yes).

Details about the conference can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Cory Nichols (Princeton), “Strict Conditional Accounts of Counterfactuals”

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Please join us.

Tuesday, May 24th, 3-5pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall)


“Strict Conditional Accounts of Counterfactuals”
Cory Nichols

Until recently, the idea that counterfactuals — conditionals of the form “If A were the case, then C would be the case” — might simply be strict conditionals — universal modal quantifiers scoping over material conditionals — was not taken seriously. For a strict conditional says that in all worlds, if A is the case then C is the case. But this seems too demanding: it might be true that if I had gone to the party, then I would’ve had a good time; but surely there is some possible world where I go to the party and don’t have a good time, e.g. if a fire breaks out halfway through.

In the last 15 years, however, Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies have offered similar analyses of counterfactuals according to which they are strict conditionals supplemented with dynamic modal domains, i.e. modal domains of quantification that change systematically from one context to the next. A major motivation of their view is the asymmetry of so-called Sobel sequences, which sound fine in one direction but infelicitous in the reverse, such as:

If Jeff had come to the party, it would’ve been great. But if Jeff and Lars had come to the party, it would’ve been awful (because they would’ve fought).
If Jeff and Lars had come to the party, it would’ve been awful. #But if Jeff had come to the party, it would’ve been great.
The orthodox view of counterfactuals, due to David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker, doesn’t seem to predict this asymmetry, but the von Fintel-Gillies view does. So a new view is now on the table that challenges the standard approach to counterfactuals of the last 40-50 years.
But so far the relevant literature has focused primarily on a narrow class of cases. What is needed is a thorough examination of the predictions of the dynamic strict conditional view for a broader range of data. In this paper I do just this, and discover several classes of cases that are problematic for the strict conditional view. I then entertain some possible responses and “fixes” for the view, finding none to be especially satisfying.

Written by markedwardsteen

May 20, 2016 at 9:48 am

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Talk and Workshop at Bogazici, Samuel Fletcher (U. of Minnesota)

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Please join us for a talk and a two-part workshop at Bogazici University, both by Samuel Fletcher. Details below. All are welcome.

All events take place in TB 130 (Anderson Hall).

26 May 15:00-16:00 The Logic of Severe Testing I (Workshop)
26 May 17:00-19:00  “The Principle of Stability” (Colloquium)
27 May 16-18:00  The Logic of Severe Testing II (Workshop)
  • “The Principle of Stability” (Colloquium) How can inferences from idealized models to the phenomena they represent be justified when those models deliberately distort the phenomena? Pierre Duhem considered just this problem in part II, chapter III (“Mathematical Deduction and Physical Theory”) of The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (1914), arguing that inferences and explanations from mathematical models of phenomena to real physical applications must also be demonstrated to be approximately correct when the (idealized) assumptions of the model are only approximately true. Despite being included in Duhem’s most influential contribution to philosophy of science, this chapter and the principle it contains is little discussed among philosophers. Yet mathematicians and physicists both contemporaneous with and subsequent to Duhem took up this challenge (if only sometimes implicitly), yielding a novel and rich mathematical theory of stability. My goals in this presentation are thus twofold: first, to trace some of the history of this principle of stability and its precursors in reference to their application in science, and second, to present a modern version of the principle, exploring some of its applications and implications, as well as comparing it to related notions that have received more attention.
  • The Logic of Severe Testing (Two-part Workshop) Deborah Mayo has for many years advocated for a modified version of classical Neyman-Pearson statistical testing as the correct account of inductive inference, most famously in her monograph Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge (Chicago, 1996).  While this approach uses probabilities, it does not assign them to hypotheses or propositions as Bayesians would.  Instead, testing procedures assign “fit” and “severity” scores to hypotheses or propositions based on observed data.  Those hypotheses or propositions passing a sufficiently high threshold for both receive justification for being fallibly inferred: they have been severely tested.  This work is an attempt to develop a general logical framework for Mayo’s account of severe testing that is a generalization from the specific examples she gives (usually z-tests).  The framework involves a two-dimensional many-valued logic–one dimension each for “fit” and “severity”–that is superintuitionistic: stronger than intuitionistic logic but weaker than classical logic.  This is a welcome result, since a particular hypothesis (e.g., “this chemical causes cancer”) not being severely tested should sometimes but not in general entail that its negation is severely tested.


If you have any questions, please contact mark.steen@boun.edu.tr

Written by markedwardsteen

May 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm

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Sehir University International Workshop Time, Eternity, Cosmology in Islam and Byzantium: Aristotelian Receptions—and Beyond

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PHILOSOPHY_workshop_mailing-01 (1)

Tuesday 24 May, 15.00-17.30

Time, Eternity, Cosmology in Islam and Byzantium: Aristotelian Receptionsand Beyond
An international workshop in Philosophy at Istanbul Şehir University
Convener: Sotiris Mitralexis

Speakers include:
İshak Arslan (Istanbul Şehir University)
Sotiris Mitralexis (Istanbul Şehir University & University of Winchester)
Dionysios Skliris (Université Paris IV—Sorbonne)
İbrahim Üçer (Istanbul Medeniyet University)
While both Medieval Islamic and Byzantine Christian philosophical conceptions of time have been studied to some extent, a comparative approach to the diverse notions of temporality that are to be traced within those broad traditions emerging in neighboring geographical areas of the globe has never been explicitly attempted. In this workshop, scholars focusing on the philosophical understanding of temporality that can be found in a variety of Medieval Islamic philosophers and thinkers—most notably Ibn Sina (Avicenna)—one the one hand and in Byzantine philosophy—most notably Maximus the Confessor—on the other will come together with the purpose of attempting a comparative approach. Our main focal point will consist in tracing the lines of Aristotelian philosophy’s reception in Islamic and Byzantine philosophical cosmology as far as questions on time and eternity are concerned, with the hope of unveiling philosophically fecund similarities and differences. Each speaker will make a 15-minutes presentation of his area of expertise, after which the main discussion will commence.

Written by metindemirsehir

May 18, 2016 at 5:19 pm

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New philosophically oriented Master’s in Science, Technology and Society at Istanbul Technical University

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STS Afis

Written by Barry Stocker

May 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm

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New Group for Women Philosophers in Turkey

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Please check out our new page and join!

The purpose of this society for women in philosophy is to make things a bit easier, to give our current female undergraduates a better chance of succeeding as well as their male counterparts; and to give those of us who struggle in our jobs for promotion or recognition a forum where we can get together and help each other. More specifically, this society aims to foster exchanges between women philosophers studying or working in the field in Turkey, but also to involve Turkish women studying or working in philosophy abroad who want to stay in touch with developments here. To this end we intend to instigate an annual SWIP-TR conference, where any woman philosopher can submit a paper and, after a process of blind refereeing, present this paper. In time, we also want to hold workshops, e.g. on professional development for graduate students, and set up a mentoring scheme, so that younger members of the profession may benefit from the experience of others and learn about funding opportunities. We also aim to create links with SWIP groups in other countries, so as to facilitate the international networking of our members.

Written by Sandrine Berges

May 17, 2016 at 11:29 am

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New Master’s in Philosophy at Bilkent

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The Department of Philosophy at Bilkent University is very pleased to announce a new Master’s program starting this September.

Students enrolled in the program will get the opportunity to spend a semester at the Australian National University. All successful applicants will be awarded a full scholarship. Philosophy and non-philosophy majors are encouraged to apply.

The M.A. degree in philosophy is designed to develop an advanced understanding of philosophical problems, especially those in contemporary analytic philosophy and the history of philosophy. It provides students with an understanding of key philosophical debates and problems, and encourages them to develop and defend their own argumentative position. Coursework will often have an interdisciplinary character. Many courses will explore the impact of empirical and theoretical developments in other disciplines on contemporary philosophical debates.

The deadline for application is: Friday 10 June 2016.

Written exams will take place at Bilkent on : Wednesday 15 June 2016.

And interviews on: Friday 17June 2016.


For details on entry requirements and application procedure please go to : http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/bilkent/academic/graduate/gra-req20.html


Written by Sandrine Berges

May 13, 2016 at 8:38 am

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Talk at Bogazici, Ville Paukkonen (Helsinki), “Berkeley and the Metaphysics of Substance”

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There is a talk this coming Friday, May 13th, at 5pm, in TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130) at Bogazici University. All welcome.


“Berkeley and the Metaphysics of Substance”


After rejecting what has come to be known as the ”bundle theory” of the substance, Berkeley goes on to assert that mind is a substance. But what does Berkeley mean by substance? I will examine the Scholastic, Cartesian and Lockean legacies of thinking about the concept of being as they form the philosophical background for Berkeley’s understanding of spirit or mind as a substance. I will argue that Berkeley was well aware of the disputes and various interpretations concerning the nature of most fundamental being, substance, and critically considered and eventually rejected most of his contemporaries’ answers to the question “what is it to be a thing/being?”. The outcome of this critical evaluation is an emergence of a novel understanding of what it means to be a substance, which Berkeley hoped would avoid some of the major problems that he found the older theories to suffer from.

I will evaluate several interpretations that have been offered on Berkeley’s metaphysics of mind – most importantly mind as Cartesian thinking (perceiving) thing and mind as a propertyless Lockean substratum – and will argue that all of these interpretations face serious difficulties and were in fact explicitly rejected by Berkeley. I will discuss some of the major arguments Berkeley offered against these ways of understanding substance. Moreover, these interpretations, which try to locate Berkeleyan minds into broader metaphysical scheme, be it Cartesian or Lockean, fail to acknowledge the novelty of Berkeley’s metaphysics, namely the emphasis on the minds activity. However, this understanding of the being as fundamentally active was by no means a novelty introduced by Berkeley but has it’s root’s both in Aristotelian-Scholastic and Platonic traditions, of which Berkeley was well aware. I will end by offering an interpretation of Berkeley’s conception of mind as a substance in Siris as radicalization of the platonic themes of his earlier metaphysics of mind, which, surprisingly enough, has a strong affinity with the conception of substance offered by Spinoza.

Written by markedwardsteen

May 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

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Sehir University Philosophy Talks 24: Alberto Siani

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Europe and Philosophy. Hegelian Perspectives

13 May 2016, 15:00

The presentation begins by formulating and articulating the thesis that the appeal to philosophical foundation and argumentation strategies in the ethical-political realm constitutes a distinctive trait of the European identity.  The choice of philosophical strategies over what I call “positive” strategies (religious, nationalistic, mythological, etc.) is intimately intertwined with the idea that the freedom of the subject is the ultimate source of all normative claims (I). I then proceed to argue more in particular that the critical reconstruction, foundation and legitimation of the actuality of freedom in the ethical-political forms of modern Europe is one of the deepest motives of Hegel’s philosophy (II). Finally, I discuss five attractive features (III) and three problematic traits (IV) of the Hegelian philosophy with regard to the Europe-philosophy connection.



Written by metindemirsehir

May 10, 2016 at 1:11 am

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Democracy and the Enlightenment, Işık University, May 24-26

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5 th International Conference of the Mediterranean Society for the Study of Scottish Enlightenment

Democracy and the Enlightenment

May 24-26, 2016, Isık University, Istanbul.


Tuesday, May 24

10:30-11:00 Welcoming Session

Sirin Tekinay (Isik University / Rector)

Greeting and Opening Speech

Dionysis G. Drosos (University of Ioannina):

Opening Remarks

Örsan K. Öymen (Isik University):

Opening Remarks

11:00-13:00 1st Session

Chair: Halil Turan (Middle East Technical University)

Dogan Gocmen (Dokuz Eylul University):

Enlightenment and Democracy: Ancient and Modern

Ioannis A. Tassopoulos (University of Athens):

Hobbesian Reciprocity and the Discourse of Factionalism and Democracy in the Federalist Papers: Some Comments on the History of Impartiality

Dionysis G. Drosos (University of Ioannina):

Modernity, Liberalism and the Lost Promise of Democracy

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 2nd Session

Chair: Fania Oz-Salzberger (University of Haifa):

Sam Fleischacker (University of Illinois-Chicago):

Hume’s and Smith’s Worries about Democracy  

Spyros Tegos (University of Crete):

The Problem of Authority in David Hume and Adam Smith

 Gloria Vivenza (University of Verona):

Adam Smith and Democracy

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-18:30 3rd Session

Chair: Dogan Gocmen (Dokuz Eylul University):

Nir Ben-Mosche (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign):

Comprehensive or Political Liberalism?: The Impartial Spectator and the Justification of Political Principles

 Yiftah Elazar (Hebrew University of Jerusalem):

The Impartial Patriot: Adam Smith’s Theory of Enlightened Patriotism

Gokhan Murteza (Kırklareli University):

Democracy and Education in Adam Smith

Wednesday, May 25

10:30-12:30 4th Session

Chair: Örsan K. Öymen (Isik University)

Halil Turan (Middle East Technical University):

Inequality and (Loss of) Freedom

Stavroula Balafa (University of Ioannina):

Liberty and Equality in Rousseau’s “Republique”

Özlem Ünlü (Middle East Technical University):

Rooting out Rousseauesque Conscience from the Unity of Reason

 12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:30 5th Session

Chair: Dionysis G. Drosos (University of Ioannina):

Fania Oz-Salzberger (University of Haifa):

From “Republic of Letters” to “Democracy of Letters”: The Ambivalent Transition of Europe’s Translation-Culture in the Late Eighteenth Century

Saniye Vatansever (Bilkent University):

Kant’s Two Conceptions of Enlightenment

Christos Grigoriou (University of Crete):

Schiller’s Letters on Aesthetic Education. Republicanism and Democracy

Eylem Yolsal-Murteza (Kırklareli University):

Democracy as the Dissolution of the Markers of Certainty and the Empty Place of Power

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-18:00 6th Session

Chair: Sam Fleischacker (University of Illinois-Chicago):

Schmuel Feiner (Bar Ilan University):

Dreams and Nightmares: Moses Mendelssohn`s Battle for Religious Tolerance

Roberto Rodriguez Milan (Hellenic Open University):

The Spanish Enlightenment and Democracy: From “Sinapia” to “La Pepa”

Örsan K. Öymen (Isik University):

Atatürk, Democracy and the Turkish Enlightenment

Thursday, May 26

11:00-18:00 Visit to the Hagia Sophia, Citadel, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace & Archeological Museum.

Written by Sandrine Berges

May 9, 2016 at 3:29 pm

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BETİM seminar Taner Edis: Who is Afraid of Scientism? 14 May 2015

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Kim korkar bilimcilikten?

Who is Afraid of Scientism?

Seminar by Taner Edis

Truman State University (Missouri)

Saturday 14 May 2016, 2.15 pm

Language of the event: Turkish (no simultaneous translation)

Taner Edis Afis

Click on poster to enlarge

All welcome, registration not required.

for directions see



Written by rainerbroemer

May 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm

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BETİM seminar Amy Bix: Women in American Medicine: History, Politics, and Current Issues 13 May 2016

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Women in American Medicine: History, Politics, and Current Issues

Seminar by Amy Bix

Iowa State University

Friday, 13 May 2016, 5.15pm

Language of the event: English (no simultaneous translation)

Amy Bix Afis

Click on poster to enlarge

All welcome, registration not required.

for directions see




Written by rainerbroemer

May 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Alan Coffee (King’s College London), “Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft on the One Fault Women of Honour May Not Commit with Impunity”

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There will be a talk this Wednesday, May 4th, at 5pm at Bogazici University by philosopher Alan Coffee (King’s College London). The location is TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130). Please join us.

“Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft on the One Fault Women of Honour May Not Commit with Impunity”


Republican theory is often regarded as being patriarchal and hostile to women. Even in its revived, inclusive contemporary form, non-domination, feminists often ask the question, ‘can republicanism be good for women?’ And yet, not only is there a long history of women writing within this political tradition, but they have written some of its most significant and innovative work. Nevertheless, their contribution remains almost entirely unknown. From Livy, through Machiavelli and Milton, to the eighteenth century revolutionaries, the accepted canons of republican sources are exclusively male.

A great many women were writing during this revolutionary period across Europe and in America. I focus on two of the most prominent. Catharine Macaulay could plausibly claim to be the greatest of all republican writers. She was highly influential in her own time and may even have first introduced the phrase ‘the equal rights of men’. Although her monumental History of England and her Letters on Education stand as exemplary republican treatises, as rigorous and detailed as any, there are no currently widely available published editions, and she remains an obscure figure in intellectual history. Her influence on Mary Wollstonecraft was very profound. While Wollstonecraft is celebrated today for her inspiration to feminists, her achievements as a broad-ranging philosopher and political theorist in her own right have been neglected (I argue elsewhere for their continuing relevance, especially in securing equal freedom for all in diverse populations).

Taken together, Macaulay and Wollstonecraft provide a thorough, insightful and still relevant blueprint for analysing and remodelling the structural forms of domination that combine to prevent women from acting as free agents and citizens on their own terms. Legal, political and economic dependence on men play their part but their ultimate source of oppression is cultural. Wollstonecraft in particular shows how collaboratively rebuilding social values and practices with men and women both contributing must form the basis of any lasting social and political equality.

Written by markedwardsteen

May 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm

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3rd Int. Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science

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ISBCS 2016

Web: http://isbcs2016.yeditepe.edu.tr/
Date: 8 May 2016, Sunday
Place: Yeditepe University
Program Highlights:
-Marcin Milkowski: ‘To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ Unification by transposition in cognitive science
-Johannes Fahrenfort: Neuronal integration in visual cortex, or how your brain can be conscious without you knowing it
-Ilhan Raman: Recent advances in psycholinguistic research: The case of Turkish orthography
-Deborah Talmi: Memory for emotional experience: Insights from cognitive neuroscience
-Erol Sahin: Affordances: The elephant that can talk
-Beyza Sümer & Asli Özyürek: What do our hands tell us about language, communication and cognition?: Insights from deaf and hearing individuals

Plus, more than 35 posters will be presented… Registration and participation is FREE. Visit http://isbcs2016.yeditepe.edu.tr/registration.html to get a name tag ready.

Written by albertalisalah

May 2, 2016 at 12:03 am

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Philosophy/Cog-Sci talk at Boğaziçi: Marcin Miłkowski (Polish Academy of Sciences) on ” Situatedness and embodiment of computational systems” (09/05/2016)

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Marcin Miłkowski (Polish Academy of Sciences) will give a talk at Boğaziçi University next Monday (09/05/2016) on the “Situatedness and embodiment of computational systems”. The talk will take place from 5-7pm in TB130. Everybody welcome.


This talk is organised as part of Lucas Thorpe‘s TÜBİTAK project “Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action” ( 114K348).

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm

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Philosophy/Cog-Sci talk at Boğaziçi: Jonathan Knowles (NTNU) “Anti-representationalism about thought and about perception” (05/05/2016)

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Jonathan Knowles (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) will give a talk this Thursday (05/05/2016) at Boğaziçi University from 5-7pm in TB130, on “Anti-representationalism about thought and about perception”. Everyone Welcome.


ABSTRACT:  The term ‘anti-representationalism’ and its counterpart ‘representationalism’ are used in a variety of different contexts in contemporary philosophical discussion. In this largely exploratory talk I will try to relate three of these different contexts to one another and sketch a more overarching anti-representationalist theory that draws on elements from each, hopefully thereby increasing the credibility of anti-representationalism both at local and global levels (so to speak). I take as my starting point the neo-pragmatist anti-representationalism associated especially with Richard Rorty and Huw Price. According to this (‘anti-representationalism about thought’, or ART) thoughts are not to be understood in terms of substantive relations of reference or truth to reality, an idea which is also meant to undermine many of the traditional metaphysical and epistemological concerns of philosophy.  Following Price’s lead, I will nevertheless pursue the question whether ART can be vindicated in a naturalistic setting. To this send, I first consider the representationalist versus anti-representationalist debate in cognitive science, suggesting that ART is not  inconsistent with either camp, though more naturally gels with the latter (ARCS). I then also consider a final debate where the distinction has been used, namely that about the nature of perception and perceptual experience. Here I suggest ART is in serious tension with representationalism about perception (since this involves, in Burge’s terms, a ‘non-deflationary’ conception of content), and consider different forms of anti-representationalist accounts that might instead be allied to it (i.e. of ARP). I argue however that neither the official neo-pragmatist nor recent so-called naïve realist accounts of perception are satisfactory to this end. I end with suggesting that a variant of enactivism ­– a form of both ARCS and ARP ­– can be seen as a more promising bed-fellow for ART and indeed as also standing to benefit from its alliance with the latter.

This talk is organised as part of Lucas Thorpe‘s TÜBİTAK project “Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action” ( 114K348).


Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm

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Şehir Uni Philosophy Talks 23: Truth and Rightness in Legal Reasoning Vihren Bouzov 02 May

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The efficiency in court’s proceedings has procedural, moral (social) and economic dimensions.  Several competing “right” solutions can fight in a court game within a framework set up by rules of procedure. It is impermissible to go beyond its rules, they are enacted in texts of law (procedural aspect of efficiency). The moral aspect comes down to sharing the benefits of legal justice as specific rights and obligations. Very important is the economic aspect of the case connected to an individual and the social benefits and losses. It can be successfully analyzed by means of the decision-theoric methodology of Law and Economics School. Their approach must be complemented by a social explanatory theory of legal method of solving conflicts.

Written by metindemirsehir

May 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized