Hesperus is Bosphorus

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Int. Workshop on Theory (Re-)Construction in the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (TRC2020), 7-8 NOV 2020 (online or on-site)

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***please distribute widely; apologies for x-posting***

Int. Workshop on Theory (Re-)Construction in the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (TRC2020)

Sat & Sun, 7-8 NOV 2020 (online or on-site)

Boğaziçi University, Dpt. of Philosophy & Cognitive Science Program, 34342 Bebek/Istanbul, Turkey


It has been repeatedly observed that the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESBS) lack well-developed theoretical superstructures, structures that researchers could apply to generate (point-)predictive empirical hypotheses. The MTR project treats this lacuna as an important reason to explain, and to treat, the ongoing replicability crisis in the ESBS.

We invite abstracts from any scientific field addressing this lacuna via reconstructions of empirical theories (from the ESBS or not), research on frameworks (or methods) for theory reconstruction, synchronic or diachronic work on concept formation/ontology in the ESBS, and explanatory accounts why this lacuna persists. We particularly invite applied work on how to go about constructing an ESBS theory.

Participation is on-site or online. There are no fees. Please submit an abstract (max. around 500 words) plus key references by 15 SEPT 2020.

What now?

Submit abstract https://easychair.org/my/conference?conf=trc2020

Receive e-mail updates https://bit.ly/TRC2020-registration

Registration https://bit.ly/TRC2020-registration

Learn more about MTR  https://mtrboun.wordpress.com/home-2/project/about/

Important Dates

Deadlines are at midnight, GMT+3.

Abstract submission 15 SEPT 2020
Acceptance letters sent 30 SEPT 2020
Registration for speaker 15 OCT 2020
Program ready 22 OCT 2020
Registration for discussants by 1 NOV 2020


Zeynep Burçe Gümüşlü




BOUN Phil Colloq in May, Fridays 5pm, on ZOOM

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8 MAY 2020, 5pm
Dilek Huseyinzadegan (Emory University, Atlanta, USA): What is Kant’s Non-Ideal Theory of Politics

15 MAY 2020, 5pm
Ali Emre Benli (Department of Ethics, Law and Politics; Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnics and Religious Diversity; Gottingen; Germany): Should refugees vote?

22 MAY 2020, 5pm
Pascale Roure (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany): Logical Empiricism in Turkish Exile. Hans Reichenbach’s Research and Teaching Activities at Istanbul University (1933-1938)

To view abstracts, find zoom links, and to copy these entries to your personal calendars, go to: https://phil.boun.edu.tr/calendar

Download the zoom browser plugin at https://zoom.us/download



Written by fzenker

April 28, 2020 at 4:08 pm

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Lecture Series at Bogazici, 18, 19, 23 & 24 MARCH 2020: Patricia Rich (University of Bayreuth, Germany): Successful Scientific Communities–Lessons from Epistemology

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Patricia Rich is junior professor of philosophy at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. She teaches among others in the Philosophy & Economics program.

The lectures are open to BA and MA/PhD students.

Rooms to be announced at http://bit.ly/BOUN-PHIL-CALENDAR. Warm welcome!

WED 18 MARCH, 5-7 pm: Values in science

This session presents a challenge to the notion of scientific objectivity, based on the realization that values play an often hidden role in scientific inquiry, and that science is in fact forced to make implicit value judgments. A healthy scientific community is often seen as the only way to achieve a kind of objectivity.

THU 19 MARCH, 5-7 pm: Systems-oriented social epistemology

Traditional epistemology ignores the social context of individual reasoning, and this has increasingly been recognized as a problem. The quickly-growing literature in social epistemology remedies this problem. This session introduces the research program in “systems-oriented social epistemology”, which allows us to address the diversity challenge from the previous session.

MO 23 MARCH, 5-7 pm: Evolutionary epistemology

Much of this new research in epistemology reflects our understanding of humans as evolved beings. Appeals to evolution must be critically assessed and used cautiously, however. This session explains basic principles of evolutionary biology and discusses the conditions under which evolutionary theory could help us to understand scientific communities.

TUE 24 MARCH, 5-7 pm: Knowledge-first epistemology

Traditional epistemology has also taken the notion of ‘belief’ as its most important building block. This session explains why many epistemologists now reject this tradition as well, rebuilding epistemology on the concept of ‘knowledge’ rather than ‘belief’. Ways in which knowledge-first, systems-oriented, and evolutionary epistemology may be mutually-reinforcing developments are explored.

Host: Boğaziçi University (BOUN), Dpt. of Philosophy, Bebek, 34342 Istanbul, Turkey. Local organizer: Dr. Frank Zenker (frank.zenker[AT]boun.edu.tr). Funded by the European Union Erasmus+ teaching exchange program.

Written by fzenker

March 5, 2020 at 11:38 am

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Talk at Bogazici, 10 April 2020, 5.00- 7.00pm: Pascale Roure (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany): Logical Empiricism in Turkish Exile. Hans Reichenbach’s Research and Teaching Activities at Istanbul University (1933-1938)

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ABSTRACT: The purpose of my talk is to shed new light on a less known stage in the development of Hans Reichenbach’s thought, namely his research, output and teaching activities at the University of Istanbul (1933–1938). I argue here that the experience of Turkish exile was decisive in the development of Reichenbach’s philosophical views, as presented in his work written in Istanbul, Experience and Prediction. I therefore suggest a new reading of this book, based on the study of its Turkish context of elaboration and reception. To this end, I will take in consideration not only Reichenbach’s efforts to popularize and extend the program of scientific philosophy in Turkey and other European countries in the 1930’s, but also the Turkish lectures and the work of Reichenbach’s students at the University of Istanbul. By studying these two faces of the Turkish reception of Logical Empiricism and by highlighting the specificity of Reichenbach’s positions, I will show that Reichenbach’s impact was not limited to a unilateral transfer of knowledge, but was also an indirect contribution to the scientific development of philosophical disciplines such as psychology and sociology at the University of Istanbul.
LOCATION: John Freely Hall, Bebek, BÜ Güney Kampüsü No:6, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey (map)

Written by fzenker

March 4, 2020 at 2:15 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, 27 MARCH 2020, 5.00-7.00pm: Alireza Fatollahi (Princeton University, USA): A Statistical Defense Of Predictionism

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ABSTRACT: There has been a long and lively debate in the philosophy of science over predictionism: the thesis that successfully predicting a given body of data typically provides stronger evidence for a theory than merely accommodating the same body of data. However, despite the intuitive appeal of the thesis, it has never been decisively defended. One of the strongest reasons against predictionism is that whether any given datum was predicted or accommodated by a hypothesis is a matter of how the hypothesis was constructed and belongs to the context of its discovery. However, there is an old and popular idea in philosophy of science that one should carefully distinguish the context of discovery and the context of justification of a theory. I will argue that the idea underwriting this celebrated distinction is, at least in its general form, seriously mistaken. My argument is based on the statistical achievements of the second half of the twentieth century on the so-called “model selection” problem. Various model selection criteria tell us that the model (i.e., family of hypotheses) from which a hypothesis is constructed has a significant bearing on how well-supported the hypothesis is. Particularly, in this framework simplicity is a feature of the model from which a hypothesis is designed, not the hypothesis itself. Simplicity, so understood, is shown to be deeply connected to various epistemically valuable features of a theory, viz, its likelihood and predictive accuracy. Thus considerations of simplicity, which are undoubtedly important in theory appraisal, are responsive to parameters in the context of discovery! Moreover, given a specific hypothesis, H, and body of data, D, the model from which H was constructed is typically simpler if H was not constructed to accommodate D (i.e., if H predicted D). This, I argue, provides a convincing argument for a very strong version of predictionism.
LOCATION: John Freely Hall, Bebek, BÜ Güney Kampüsü No:6, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey (map)
Followed by an informal dinner.

Written by fzenker

March 4, 2020 at 2:08 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, 20 MARCH 2020, 5.00-7.00 pm: Patricia Rich (University of Bayreuth, Germany): Epistemic Diversity: A Re-Evaluation

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ABSTRACT: It is a familiar problem that individuals often follow the crowd instead of relying on their own good judgment. Such behavior is especially troubling because it can cause the whole group to go badly astray, for example becoming convinced of falsehoods. Paradoxically, however, the standard view in philosophy is that it is typically the individuals who do *not* follow the crowd who are in fact irrational. If individuals were all perfectly rational, we would have much more conformity than we in fact have. I illustrate this state of affairs using the example of ‘information cascades’; the term is used to describe events as varied as stock market crashes and book, restaurant and fashion trends. In information cascades, individuals follow the crowd because their private evidence is outweighed by public evidence in the form of others’ actions. I explain why the standard analysis, which concludes that the non-conformists are irrational, is problematic, and how it reveals a basic limitation of our modeling approach. I argue that we can only really explain the non-conformist behavior we observe by adopting a game-theoretic perspective. From this perspective, non-conformist behavior is naturally construed as cooperative. I provide new results, using computer simulations, which show that sticking to one’s own evidence can constitute a rational cooperative strategy for individual group members. This shows that the diversity of opinion that we see need not be the result of individual irrationality, contrary to the standard account.

LOCATION: John Freely Hall, Room JF 507, followed by an informal dinner

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: https://www.phil.uni-bayreuth.de/en/people/rich/index.php


Written by fzenker

March 4, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized