Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for December 2018

Call For Papers: 3rd Bilkent Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

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We are happy to invite undergraduate students to take part in the 3rd Bilkent Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at Bilkent Library Art Gallery. 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. Participants are encouraged to apply from outside Ankara, and we will do our best to arrange accommodation if needed.
Presentations will be of two types: 25-minute talks and poster presentations.
Each presenter will receive a certificate of participation.
Submission Guidelines:
1. There is no restriction on subject matter, as long as a philosophical argument is presented.
2. Not only philosophy students but also students from other departments are welcome.
3. Submissions and all other inquiries should be sent by e-mail to philstudentconf@bilkent.edu.tr
4. Participants should send a long abstract of 800-1000 words to be considered for a talk, or a short abstract of 300-500 words to be considered for the poster session. If you submit a long abstract, please indicate whether you would like your abstract to be considered for the poster session as well, in case it is not accepted for verbal presentation.
5. Please attach one copy of your long or short abstract, with its title on top, but is otherwise anonymous and does not in any way give away the identity of the author.
6. Please include in the body of the e-mail submission your full name, university affiliation, the title of your paper and your contact information (such as your e-mail address).
7. The submitted abstracts, the talks and the posters should be in English.
8. Standard poster size is 36×48 inches (about 91 x 122 cm) or A0. For more information about poster sessions: https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/poster-presentations-13907939
9. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2019. Accepted submissions will be announced on March 15, 2019.
Organizers:
Bilkent University Department of Philosophy
Bilkent Literature Society | Philosophy Committee
Bilkent Legal Philosophy and Sociology Club
See the call on the Bilkent Philosophy webpage here.
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Written by Sandrine Berges

December 26, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

New Publication: The Leibniz-Arnauld Correspondence, Translated and Edited by Stephen Voss (Boğaziçi), Yale University Press

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A review from the Journal of the History of Philosophy can be found here

Stephen Voss writes:

I’d like to alert you to my book The Leibniz-Arnauld Correspondence, which Yale University Press has recently published. The aim has been to establish the French text of this correspondence and to translate it into English.

This correspondence is a crucial element in the development of Leibniz’s mature metaphysics. While Leibniz is one of the towering synthesizing intellects in western philosophy, Antoine Arnauld is an equally towering Socratic critic. In 1686 Leibniz seeks Arnauld’s critical response to the unique new metaphysics of the Discourse on Metaphysics, wondering whether a follower of Descartes can accept his creative use of Aristotle. The ensuing correspondence lights a fire that continues today to illuminate the relations between freedom and necessity, mind and body, God and creatures, truth and substances.

Establishing the text of this correspondence first required establishing the text of 62 manuscripts of letters and preliminary studies, drafts, and copies, held in archives throughout Europe. Since we lack complete manuscripts of 19 of the actual letters, it then required reconstruction, with the aim of coming as close to a letter’s missing manuscript as drafts and copies warrant. That in turn required an appendix enumerating all the variations among the documents, to make available to the reader the evidence used in the reconstruction.

The need for a fresh translation was clear. H. T. Mason’s version is the closest we’ve had to a standard English translation, but Mason translates not from original documents but from inaccurate older French editions, and translates drafts when we lack manuscripts of actual letters even when we have reliable copies of those letters. He translates only 80% of our text.

Yale has set up a web page associated with this book, which I encourage you to visit here. In one file I outline my approach to creating an accurate transcription and translation of these seminal letters. Another file lists discrepancies that I’ve found between the manuscripts and the editions by Geneviève Rodis-Lewis and the Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften. A third file lists the significant variations as Leibniz moved from a draft to an actual letter and then to a later reflection as, years later, he contemplated publishing this correspondence. I’ve set up a fourth file on this web page to record readers’ corrections and comments on the book, and I encourage you to contribute to it.

Stephen Voss

shvoss@gmail.com

 

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 24, 2018 at 4:40 pm

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MBB Seminar: Burcu Ayşen Ürgen at Bilkent, 21 December.

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Burcu Ayşen Ürgen (Bilkent, Psychology/NSC)

“Visual perception of actions: An interdisciplinary work between cognitive neuroscience and social robotics”

Date: Friday, 21st December, 2018

Time: 1240 – 1330

Place: A-130

Organized by the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Group at Bilkent University.

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Abstract: One of the most important skills organisms possess is the ability to perceive the actions of other organisms in their environment. This skill is supported by a network of brain regions including occipito-temporal cortex, parietal cortex, and premotor cortex in primates, known as the Action Observation Network. Despite a growing body of literature, the functional properties of this network remain largely unknown. We take a multi-modal, interdisciplinary, and computational approach to characterize the functional properties of this network in humans. To this end, we 1) collaborated with a robotics lab to vary various aspects of actions including visual appearance and movement kinematics of the agents, 2) used a wide range of brain measurement modalities (fMRI and EEG) together with state-of-the-art computational techniques while human subjects performed action perception tasks. While our findings improve our understanding of the Action Observation Network, the interdisciplinary work with robotics also allows us to address questions regarding human factors in artificial agent design in social robotics and human-robot interaction such as uncanny valley, which is concerned with what kind of artificial agents we should design so that humans can easily accept them as social partners.

About the speaker: Burcu Ayşen Ürgen is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology and the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program, Bilkent University. She is also affiliated with Aysel Sabuncu Brain Research Center and National Magnetic Resonance Research Center (UMRAM). She directs the Cognitive Computational Neuroscience Lab. She received her PhD in Cognitive Science from University of California, San Diego (USA) in 2015. Prior to her PhD, she did her BS in Computer Engineering at Bilkent University, and MS in Cognitive Science at Middle East Technical University. Following her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma (Italy). Dr. Ürgen’s primary research area is human visual perception with a focus on biological motion and action perception. In addition to behavioral methods, she uses a wide range of invasive and non-invasive neuroimaging techniques including fMRI, EEG, and intracranial recordings to study the neural basis of visual perception. Her research commonly utilizes state-of-the-art computational techniques including machine learning, computer vision, and effective connectivity. Besides her basic cognitive neuroscience research, Dr. Ürgen also pursues an interdisciplinary research between social robotics and cognitive neuroscience to investigate the human factors that are important for successful interaction with artificial agents such as robots. She received an Interdisciplinary Scholars Award during her PhD studies at the University of California San Diego for her interdisciplinary work between cognitive neuroscience and social robotics.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 17, 2018 at 7:50 am

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Talk by Cem Erkli at Bilkent 20 December

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“A Complementary Scientific Approach to Eratosthenes’ Calculation of the Earth’s Circumference”

By Cem Erkli (Simon Fraser University, Philosophy)

Date: Thursday, 20 December, 2018

Time: 1640-1800

Place: H-232

 

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Abstract: Eratosthenes (276 – 194 BC) is the Hellenistic scientist known for calculating the earth’s circumference by using the shadow of a sundial. Today, he is commended for getting admirably close to the currently accepted value for the earth’s circumference. In this paper, I examine Eratosthenes’ experiment through the lens of integrated history and philosophy of science. By using a complementary scientific approach, I point out the conceptual difficulties involved in the instruments and measurements available to him at the time, and argue that his experiment did not warrant the degree of accuracy he is commended for. I suggest that Eratosthenes’ apparent accuracy should be interpreted not as a scientific feat, but as the lucky result of experimental error.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 17, 2018 at 7:47 am

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Dino Jakušić from University of Warwick will give a talk on Dec 21, Friday at 17:00 in JF 507 (Bosphorus U)

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“Hegel and Aristotle on First Philosophy”

ABSTRACT:

In what way, and to what extent, is Hegel’s Logic metaphysical? One attempt to answer this question, shared by both metaphysical and non-metaphysical interpreters alike, consists in comparing Hegel’s system of metaphysics to Aristotle’s. The belief seems to be that by making Hegel’s philosophical system analogous to Aristotle’s one can unhitch it from rationalist or idealist elements that might be unpalatable to contemporary philosophers.[1]

Whether one draws this analogy to argue for a metaphysical or non-metaphysical interpretation of Hegel is ultimately dependent on one’s understanding of the structure and nature of Aristotle’s philosophy. But if one wishes for possible similarities to relate in a substantial rather than accidental way, one must demonstrate a fundamental affinity between their conceptions of metaphysics. Without such an affinity, any similarities between their metaphysical claims are likely to be mere coincidences, or even misinterpretations, rather than substantially similar ideas that could better our understanding of either thinkers.

In this paper I will argue that there is no such fundamental affinity between the way metaphysics as a science is conceived by Hegel and Aristotle. I thus challenge those interpretations of Hegel’s metaphysics that are grounded in analogies with Aristotle. While there certainly are similarities between the conclusions Hegel and Aristotle come to regarding specific philosophical questions, I will claim that their conceptions regarding the nature, the object, and the method of metaphysics are ultimately incompatible.

While Hegel occasionally presents Aristotle’s conception of metaphysics as analogous to his own, I will argue that their views on the nature of first/primary philosophy are incompatible.[2] This incompatibility rests on several interconnected issues that I develop by comparing Hegel and Aristotle’s conceptions of metaphysics and first philosophy. I argue for this by reference to Hegel’s greater and lesser Logic (especially the section on the first Stellung of Thought) and in Aristotle’s Metaphysics (especially books A, E, and Z). For example, Aristotle conceives of primary philosophy as a science of entities qua entities – τὸ ὂν ᾗ ὄν – while from its beginning Hegel’s Logic investigates BeingSein. I argue that the conception and the development of Sein as elaborated in Hegel does not have a correlate in Aristotle’s metaphysics, either in τὸ ὂν or in οὐσία. At the same time Hegel’s Logic cannot be understood as the investigation into the nature of entities (τὰ ὄντα). Furthermore, and relatedly, there is a significant methodological discrepency between them: for Aristotle metaphysics cannot serve as a starting point of philosophy while I argue that it can for Hegel.

By highlighting these fundamental distinctions I intend to present a fundamental challenge to the interpretations of Hegel’s Logic that rely on its similarities with Aristotle. The ultimate aim is to pave the way for future metaphysical interpretations of the Logic that prioritise Hegel’s rationalist, rather than Aristotelian, influences.

[1] Elements that Ameriks, for example, calls ‘clearly extravagant’. See ‘Hegel and Idealism’, The Monist, 74 (1991), pp. 386-402, p. 397.

[2] See, for example, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, v2 (1986), pp. 137-8 and p. 212.

Written by sundemirili

December 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

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Shmulik Nili at Bilkent Friday 14 Dec.

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“Unconditional Commitments, Integrity, and the Polity ”

By Shmulik Nili (Northwestern/ANU)

Date: Friday 14 December, 2018

Time: 1100-1230

Place: H-232

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Abstract: An important philosophical position holds that an agent’s moral integrity is entirely parasitic upon morality’s overall requirements. According to this “integrity skepticism,” we can only know what our moral integrity requires once we know how, all things considered, we morally ought to act. In this essay’s opening part, focused on individual ethics, I present two main arguments against integrity skepticism. The first argument is that since agents have important moral reasons to incorporate certain unconditional commitments into their self-conception, it is unfair to criticize agents who go on to treat these commitments as an independent factor in their moral deliberation. The second argument links agents’ unconditional moral commitments to their duty to sustain self-respect. In the essay’s latter part, I seek to show that parallel versions of these two arguments provide even stronger grounds for resisting integrity skepticism regarding collective affairs. Specifically, I contend that integrity skepticism fails when it comes to liberal-democratic polities as collective agents: such polities have their own morally important integrity, which is not parasitic upon them “doing the right thing.” Rather, a liberal polity’s moral integrity is an independent moral factor informing the analysis of what the polity ought to do.

About the speaker: Dr Nili’s current work focuses on three related themes. First, how we should think about the collective agency of “the sovereign people,” both as a matter of abstract philosophy and as a matter of concrete public policy (see The People’s Duty, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press). Second, what political philosophy can contribute when facing obvious moral failures in public policy. Finally, the moral value of integrity, whether applied to ordinary people, to authoritarian demagogues, or to collective institutions.

Dr Nili’s inquiries into these three themes started with a focus on corruption issues. In particular, global corruption related to the “resource curse” and in philosophical questions that this “curse” raises about public property and democracy, as well as about the practical tasks of political philosophy. More recently, Dr Nili has sought to connect his global theory arguments to domestic politics, paying special attention to morally fraught dynamics in various developing countries, in the United States, and in his native Israel.

Dr Nili has publications in a number of journals including, Ethics, Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of Political Philosophy and History of Political Thought.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

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Shmulik Nili will give a talk on Dec 17, Monday at Bosphorus

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Shmulik Nili (Northwestern University). “Unconditional commitments, integrity, and the polity.” ABSTRACT: An important philosophical position holds that an agent’s moral integrity is entirely parasitic upon morality’s overall requirements. According to this “integrity skepticism,” we can only know what our moral integrity requires once we know how, all things considered, we morally ought to act. In this essay’s opening part, focused on individual ethics, I present two main arguments against integrity skepticism. The first argument is that since agents have important moral reasons to incorporate certain unconditional commitments into their self-conception, it is unfair to criticize agents who go on to treat these commitments as an independent factor in their moral deliberation. The second argument links agents’ unconditional moral commitments to their duty to sustain self-respect. In the essay’s latter part, I seek to show that parallel versions of these two arguments provide even stronger grounds for resisting integrity skepticism regarding collective affairs. Specifically, I contend that integrity skepticism fails when it comes to liberal-democratic polities as collective agents: such polities have their own morally important integrity, which is not parasitic upon them “doing the right thing.” Rather, a liberal polity’s moral integrity is an independent moral factor informing the analysis of what the polity ought to do.

Written by sundemirili

December 2, 2018 at 7:42 pm

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