Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for March 2017

Talk at Bilkent 31 March: Mehmet Elgin

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Mehmet Elgin (Muğla University)

“Why Do Evolutionary Biologists Formulate A Priori Laws Rather Than Empirical Laws?”

Friday 31 March, 2017, 11-12:30, G160.



Abstract: Unlike any branch of physics, evolutionary biology is peppered with a priori mathematical models. It is important to explain why this is the case. I will argue that when we examine the principle of natural selection carefully, we see that this law relates fitness to gene frequencies. Fitness appealed to in this law is stripped away from any physical or biological details and it represents a mere mathematical value. When we relate this value to gene frequencies, we are relating two mathematical values. As a result we end up with a priori laws. I will then provide a more general argument for this fact: Fitness is a genuine multiply realizable property. Only laws that can be formulated about genuinely multiply realizable states are a priori laws. Therefore, only laws that can be formulated about fitness are a priori laws. I will finally argue that such a priori laws in evolutionary biology have very important functions: They are essential for us to be able to formulate empirically testable causal hypotheses about the evolution of specific populations and they are also indispensable in developing causal explanations systematically.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Sehir University Philosophy Talks 28 // Some Ethical and Philosophical Implications of Modern Genomics Studies

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Written by metindemirsehir

March 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

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Talk on T.S. Eliot and Bertrand Russell at Bilkent

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Dr. April Pierce (PhD, University of Oxford): “Telling the Truth: T.S. Eliot and the Linguistic Turn”

Wednesday, March 15, at 4 pm in G-160.

Abstract: What is truth? More specifically, how do we know that what we say attributes to the external world? This lecture looks at the way a young T.S. Eliot, modernist and proto-post-modernist poet-philosopher, posed the question of truth in his early years as a philosophy student. We will visit Eliot’s early ideas about language, closely examining his relationship to Bertrand Russell, a forefather for analytic philosophy of language. First, we will consider the modernist “moment” as it pertains to language theory, then look at Eliot’s early work in philosophy of language. Eliot and Russell’s relationship, both personal and philosophical, will be described, and their perspectives on the question of truth-telling will be compared and contrasted. Finally, we will consider a few ways Eliot’s poetry “answers” questions posed by his early philosophy, looking at themes and devices used in his later writing.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

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Joint Bogazici/Southampton Workshop on Constitutivism at Southampton (03/04/2017)

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A joint Boğaziçi/Southampton workshop on Constitutivism, to be held at Southampton University on April 3rd, 2017. Everybody welcome.


Monday, April 3, 2017
10 – 6pm
Avenue Campus, Room 65/1097
University of Southampton

10-11:30 Daniel Elstein (University of Leeds): ‘Shmagency, Inescapability and Anti-Realist Constitutivism’ / Response: Alex Gregory (University of Southampton)
11:30-11:45 Coffee

11:45 -1:15 Paul Katsafanas (Boston University): ‘’Can Constitutivism Provide a Response to Nihilism?’ / Response: Neil Sinclair (Nottingham)

1:15 – 2:45 Lunch

2:45-4:15 Jack Woods (University of Leeds): ‘Constructivism, yes! Constitutivism, no! (or probably not, for Humeans and Conventionalists)’ / Response: Ulrike Heuer (University of Leeds)

4:15-4:30 Coffee

4:30-6pm Lucas Thorpe ( Bogazici University): ‘What’s wrong with constructivist readings of Kant?’/ Response: Sasha Mudd (University of Southampton)

This workshop is organised as part of the joint Boğaziçi -Southampton Newton-Katip Çelebi project AF140071 “Agency and Autonomy: Kant and the Normative Foundations of Republican Self-Government” run by Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi) and Sasha Mudd (Southampton)


Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

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Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at Bilkent

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1st Bilkent Undergraduate Students Philosophy Conference on April 29th. Submission Deadline April 15th.

yeniyeni poster-01.jpeg

We are happy to invite undergraduate students to take part in the first Bilkent Undergraduate Students Philosophy Conference to take place on April 29th. The purpose of this conference is to give a chance to the undergraduate students to share their arguments with their peers. Students from all universities and departments are welcome to participate with philosophy papers they have written for their upper-level undergraduate courses or in their spare time. Accepted submissions will be presented by their authors on the day of the conference, with a commentator’s presentation on the paper to follow up in response.

The conference will take place at I.D. Bilkent University, on April 29, 2017. Participants are encouraged to apply from outside Ankara, and we will do our best to arrange accommodation, if needed.

Accepted submissions will be announced on April 21, 2017.

Presentation Details:
Presentation: 30 Minutes
Commentator: 15 Minutes
Question-Answer: 10 Minutes

Submission Guidelines:
1. There is no restriction on subject matter, but papers are restricted to present a philosophical argument.
2. Not only philosophy students but also students from other departments are welcomed.
3. Submissions, and all other enquiries should be sent by e-mail to: philstudentconf@bilkent.edu.tr
4. Please attach one copy of your paper, with its title on top, but is otherwise anonymous and does not in anyway give away the identity of the author.
5. Please include in the body of the e-mail submission your full name, the title of your paper and your contact information (such as your e-mail address).
6. Participants should send an abstract of their paper that is between 800-1000 words.
7. The submitted abstracts and the presentations should be in English.
8. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2017

Submissions will be evaluated by a student committee from the Department of Philosophy, Bilkent.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm