Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for May 2016

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized