Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

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Talk at Bogazici, Jonathan Cohen (UCSD), “On the Presuppositional Behavior of Coherence-Driven Pragmatic Enrichments”

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Please join us for this talk.

Monday, June 27, 5-7pm in TB 130:
Jonathan Cohen (UCSD), “On the Presuppositional Behavior of Coherence-Driven Pragmatic Enrichments” (joint work with Andrew Kehler)
abstract:
Consider (1) and (2):
(1) Every time the company fires an employee who comes in
late, a union complaint is lodged.
(2) If the company fires an employee who comes in late, a
union complaint will be lodged.
Now suppose there is an employee, Snodgrass, who is fired because he
was discovered to have been embezzling, and that the firing occurred
on a day on which he had happened to come in late. And suppose the
union does nothing about it. In this situation, it seems that (1) and
(2) can still be true.If so, there must be an enrichment at play that affects truth
conditions: even though Snodgrass came in late and was fired, the fact
that Snodgrass wasn’t fired *because* he was late causes the
event to sit outside of the domain restriction of (1), and, likewise,
not to satisfy the antecedent of the conditional in (2). Importantly,
this enrichment has no linguistic mandate, and therefore is clearly
pragmatic. So why does it intrude upon the truth conditions of (1) and
(2)?

We argue that this behavior arises as a result of the way in which the
enrichments interact with pragmatic presupposition. In particular, in
producing examples (1)-(2) with the intention to communicate the
enrichment, a speaker presupposes that a causal relation necessary to
make the inference is part of the common ground, and intends that
presupposition to restrict the interpretation of the
quantifier/antecedent in (1)/(2).

The analysis connects the associative inferences that underlie the
establishment of coherence relations between sentences in a discourse,
a class of intrasentential enrichments that result from the same
principles, and the manner in which presuppositions constrain the
interpretation of quantified expressions and conditionals.

If you have any questions, please email mark[DOT]steen[at-symbol]boun.edu.tr

Written by markedwardsteen

June 20, 2016 at 9:50 am

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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)
 Abstracts:
  • “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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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”

ABSTRACT:

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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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”

ABSTRACT:

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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Conference at Bogazici: Aristotelian Themes in Contemporary Metaphysics, and, Kathrin Koslicki Book manuscript Workshop

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Announcement - Aristotle Conference Web Version.jpg

Written by markedwardsteen

April 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm

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Workshop at Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, ‘The Death of God. Politics and Subjectivity’

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POSTER WORKSHOP1

Written by markedwardsteen

April 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Andrea Rossi (Koc), “After God: Finitude, Economy, Individualization”

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Please join us for the following talk.

Location:

Bogazici University

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

5-7pm

Friday, April 15

 

Abstract:

After God: Finitude, Economy, Individualization

This paper delves into the experience of finitude underpinning Western political-economic apparatuses in the aftermath of the death of God. It takes its cue from the observation that modern societies have not merely neglected or sought to conceal our being-towards-death, but they have codified it in an explicit and precise fashion, epistemically as well politically. In order to illustrate this point, the paper first looks at biology’s conceptualization of mortality starting from the turn of the nineteenth century. Whereas natural history typically viewed death as a moment functional to the preservation and reproduction of the ‘great chain of being’ (i.e. natural order), with Cuvier and, later, Darwin, death began to appear as ‘the blind sculptor’ of life (Canguilhem), i.e. as the force defining the constitution, form and evolution of organic life. The argument then moves on to consider how, with Adam Smith, economics came to mediate this understanding of mortality politically, through the notion of scarcity, conceived of as a radical feature of man’s relation to his biological milieu of existence. It will be argued that political economy, in its modern form, appears as an ecology of rarity and a biopolitics of labour-intensities. The paper concludes by showing how this ‘positive’ rationalization of finitude, freed from the prospect of in-finte redemption, has contributed to delineate the understanding of agency and subjectivity in contemporary regimes of power.

Written by markedwardsteen

April 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Andrew Irvine (UBC), “Two Theories of Academic Freedom”

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Please join us for this timely talk:

Bogazici University

Wednesday, April 13th, 5-7pm

location: NBZ119

“Two Theories of Academic Freedom”

Abstract: Is academic freedom best justified on the basis of the Millian view, the view, due largely to John Stuart Mill, that academic freedom is necessary for the advancement of knowledge? Or is academic freedom best justified on the basis of the Dworkin-Mercer view, the view, due largely to Ronald Dworkin and Mark Mercer, that academic freedom is necessary for the advancement of intellectual autonomy? In this paper I will argue that how we choose to answer these questions turns out to be of more than theoretical interest. I will also argue that our answer has wide-ranging implications for society beyond the academy.

More information about Prof. Irvine can be found here.

 

 

Written by markedwardsteen

April 6, 2016 at 9:05 pm

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Talk at Bogazici: Fredrik Haraldsen (Marie Curie Fellow at the Slovak Academy of Sciences), “Where is Sherlock Holmes?”

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Please join us for a talk at Bogazici University, Friday, March 25, 5pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall).
 

“Where is Sherlock Holmes?”

Fredrik Haraldsen, SASPRO/Marie Curie Fellow,

Slovak Academy of Sciences

Abstract

David Lewis famously argued that according to fiction f, p is true should be analyzed as in the closest possible worlds in which f is told as known fact, p. Despite its intuitive appeal – and the ease with which the analysis provides the intuitive correct truth-values (and even explanations) for claims about fiction – the approach has surprisingly few followers. The problem is in part the implication that fictional characters are possible (but non-actual) objects, a consequence that has engendered objections both from metaphysics and from philosophy of language. In this talk I will defend possibilism with an emphasis the language-related problems. I will in particular provide a response to Saul Kripke’s very influential objection to possibilism and show that if names are directly referential, which they are, then fictional characters should be possible objects. In general, I will argue that fictional and modal discourse should receive the same interpretation with regard to referential relations and ontology, and if possible worlds provide good models for modality they provide good models for fiction, too.

Written by markedwardsteen

March 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm

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Arda Denkel Festival at Boğaziçi University

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arda_denkel

Arda Denkel Festival: December 1920, 2015

Arda Denkel was an excellent metaphysician and a profoundly influential figure in popularizing analytic philosophy in Turkey. Denkel was also a founding member of the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department. Denkel died at 50, far too young, after battling brain cancer. To honor Denkel’s legacy, the Boğaziçi University Philosophy Department will host the Arda Denkel Festival on the 19th and 20th of this month. And it will institute an annual Arda Denkel Prize. The first of these Prizes will be awarded at this month’s Festival.

Both the speakers at the Festival and the winners of the Prize will be drawn from alumni of the Philosophy Department that Arda Denkel helped to create who have gone on to earn the PhD.

All are welcome. Registration is free—please email mark[dot]steen[at-symbol]boun.edu.tr if you wish to attend. The Festival Dinner will be free to all who register. All sessions are in New Hall 203 on Boğaziçi’s North Campus.

Festival Schedule:

Friday evening, December 18

Informal gathering at Keçi, near the University’s Etiler gate.

Saturday, December 19

10.00 – 11.15. Nazım Gökel. “The Lonely Walker’s Guide to Representation: Object, Representation and Mind”

11.30 – 12.45. Pakize Arıkan Sandıkcıoğlu. “Fineness of Grain of Perceptual Richness”

Lunch

2.00 – 3.15. Nazif Muhtaroğlu. “Al-Bāqillānī’s Cosmological Argument From Agency”

3.30 – 4.45. Uygar Abacı. “Existence and Kant’s Revolutionary Theory of Modality”

5.00 – 6.15. Barış Şentuna. “Death as ‘So Near’ and Death as ‘So Far'”

Dinner

8.30 – 10.00. Keynote talk. Çetin Eren

Sunday, December 20

10.30 – 11.45. Cem Şişkolar. “On the Content of Assertıons”

Lunch

1.00 – 2.30. Keynote talk. Zeynep Direk

2.45 – 4.00. Alper Türken. “Hegel’s Logic of Ought and the Origins of Normativity”

 

conference organizer: Stephen Voss: shvoss[at-symbol]gmail.com

 

Written by markedwardsteen

December 14, 2015 at 10:34 am

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Talk at Bogazici U., Julia Jorati (Ohio State), “Leibniz on Control, Weakness of Will, and Compulsion”

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Please join us:

 

Julia Jorati, Ohio State

Monday, December 21st, 5-7pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)

 

Abstract:
Leibniz is a compatibilist: he holds that freedom is compatible with determinism. My paper examines Leibniz’s responses to three problems that plague many compatibilists, namely (a) the problem of explaining in what sense free agents have control over their actions, (b) the problem of explaining what goes on in ostensibly weak-willed actions, and (c) the problem of distinguishing weak-willed from compelled actions. Leibniz explicitly discusses the notion of control—or, as he usually calls it, ‘mastery’—and, this paper argues, he manages to make room for a meaningful and desirable type of control. For Leibniz, we possess control to the extent that our rational judgments and rational desires are able to influence our actions. He acknowledges that we sometimes lack direct control, namely when our passions are so powerful that they would outweigh even the strongest rational desire. Yet, Leibniz insists, there are indirect ways to control our actions; we can take steps ahead of time that reduce the influence of our passions drastically. Some of the resources that allow Leibniz to give a powerful account of control also allow him to acknowledge a form of weakness of will. That is surprising because he holds that all intentional actions are determined by what the agent perceives as good. Moreover, Leibniz can capture the difference between weakness and compulsion—another notoriously difficult problem for determinists.

 

 

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December 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

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Two Events, Kelly James Clark (Kaufman Interfaith Institute,GVSU)

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Please join us at Bogazici University for two events with Kelly James Clark, Senior Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute.

Workshop: The Cognitive Science of Alliance and Conflict

The cognitive and evolutionary science of religion argues that religion played a crucial role in securing human cooperation. Big Gods were essential to the development of increasingly larger non-kin human groups. Thus, alliance. Yet the very cognitive dispositions that create, define and shape in-group likewise create, define and shape out-group. Thus, conflict.

1-3pm, Wednesday, December 16

TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)

 

 

Talk: God and the Brain: the science of the mind and the rationality of belief/unbelief

Are we hardwired to form our most precious beliefs? Cognitive science has shown that the human mind/brain is hardwired for god-beliefs. If there is a cognitive science of religion, though, is there likewise a cognitive science of irreligion? Recent psychological studieshave shown connections between atheism and a cognitive good (inferential thinking), on the one hand, and atheism and a cognitive defect (autism), on the other. Does the former make atheism rational and the latter make atheism irrational?

 

5-7pm, Wednesday, December 16

location: M 1171

Written by markedwardsteen

December 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

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Talk at Istanbul Technical University, Mark Steen (Boğaziçi University), “God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”

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Tuesday, December 8, 1:30pm
Insan ve Toplum Bilimleri Seminer Odasi
ITU Fen-Edebiyat Fakultesi, Maslak
“God’s Consciousness of Our Consciousness: Why Theists Should Be Materialists About the Human Person”
Abstract:
Does God know what it is like to be us? According to traditional Abrahamic monotheisms, God is omniscient–or knows everything which can be known. This would include knowledge of all mental states of all of His creatures. But it seems reasonable to suppose that one can only ‘know what it is like’ (KWIL) to have experiences (e.g. the taste of cantaloupe) by undergoing them (or undergoing ones like them). So, God either i) undergoes or KWIL to have every creaturely experience, ii) undergoes or KWIL to have only some creaturely experiences, or iii) does not know what it is like to have any creaturely experiences. I will argue that (i) is untenable–there are multiple reasons for denying that God undergoes every experience. I will also argue that (ii) is ad hoc. So we are left with (iii), that God doesn’t KWIL to have any creaturely experience. But this apparently goes against traditional theism by denying God knowledge of His creatures’ experiences. I argue that a good way to accept both that God doesn’t KWIL to be us and God’s omniscience is to be a (token) physicalist. God knows everything about our mental lives by knowing what all of our physical states are. We, and all of His creatures with mental lives, are wholly physical beings. There are no ‘qualia’, or non-physical experiential states which are irreducible to physical ones. I then deal with some objections, such as the possibility of non-physical beings with mental lives (e.g. angels), and the worrying possibility that God is a zombie (i.e., a being with no phenomenal consciousness).
sources:
Alter, Beyer, Foss, Jackson, Knight, Merricks, Milliere, Nagel, Lewis, Nagasawa, Nemirow, Mander, Zagzebski

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December 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm

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Final Call for Papers/Abstracts/Commentators – Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics and Koslicki Book Workshop

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Call for Abstracts/Papers/Commentators
(Revised) Deadline: November 20, 2015
Conference: Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics and Koslicki Book Workshop
April 29th-May 1st
2016
Boğaziçi University 
Istanbul, Turkey
We are seeking extended abstracts (600-900 words) or papers (suitable for 30-40 minute presentations) related to themes in Aristotle’s metaphysics (e.g. substance, substrata, hylomorphism, essentialism, metaphysical categories, etc.), very broadly construed, for a two- to three-day international conference at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.
One day will be a workshop on Kathrin Koslicki’s new book manuscript, Form, Matter, Substance,
while the other day(s) will be devoted to talks and commentary on Aristotelian themes. Please prepare your abstract or paper in a format suitable for blind review.
In addition, we need commentators for papers and Koslicki’s manuscript chapters. If you wish to be a commentator, or chair, please let us know by November 20. If you would like to comment on a chapter of Koslicki’s ms, please email your request to marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com. The decisions about who will comment will be made by November 30, and the decisions about whose papers/abstracts are accepted will be made at the latest by December 15, but likely earlier. Commentators will receive their material to comment on by January 31st, and  comments are due by April 15. Once the final list of commentators is selected, we will begin a procedure of determining/negotating who will comment on which portions of the manuscript.
Abstracts or papers are due November 20.
Volunteering or commenting deadline: November 20.
Send all anonymized submissions to metaphysicstanbul[at-symbol]gmail.com
Send all inquiries and volunteer offers (for commenting/chairing) to marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com
Confirmed Speaker: Professor Kathrin Koslicki (Alberta)
All are welcome. While registration is not strictly speaking required, it would be helpful to us, for organizing purposes, if you registered by merely indicating that you will attend by contacting us via marksteen[at-symbol]gmail.com. Registration is free, but airfare, lodging and meals (except for one dinner, and continental breakfasts) are not covered. Affordable lodging is likely available–email Mark Steen for information.
Submissions and volunteering by women, minorities, graduate students, and independent scholars are strongly encouraged. We will adhere to guidelines as suggested at the Gendered Conference Campaign.

Written by markedwardsteen

November 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Stephen Snyder (Bogazici), “A Critical Hermeneutical Reading of Danto’s Narrative Philosophy of History and the Problem of Style”

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Please join us,

Friday, November 6, 5-7pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Bogazici University

Title and Abstract:

A Critical Hermeneutical Reading of Danto’s Narrative Philosophy of History and the Problem of Style

This essay explores the benefits of a critical hermeneutic reading of Arthur Danto’s aesthetic theory.  In his early writings on critical hermeneutics, Jürgen Habermas credits Danto with having reconciled analytic philosophy with hermeneutics.  The essay argues that Habermas’ acceptance of Danto’s narrative philosophy of history would support a critical hermeneutical reading of his aesthetic philosophy, but a problem could be encountered with Danto’s theory of style.  A critical hermeneutic interpretation of Danto’s work, however, would point to a new understanding of style that would resolve a problem in his claim that art’s history entails a cognitive progression. The resolution is shown through an examination of the Sartrean roots of Danto’s account of style, a shift in Sartre’s later writings toward a hermeneutical understanding of subjective consciousness, and the benefit Danto’s theory brings, according to Habermas, to a critical hermeneutic reading of Gadamer.

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October 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Patrick Roney (Koc U), “On Hannah Arendt’s ‘Banality of Evil’. Between Thoughtlessness and Sensus Communis”

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Please join us

Bogazici University

TB 130, 5-7pm

October 23

TITLE: “On Hannah Arendt’s ‘Banality of Evil’. Between Thoughtlessness and Sensus Communis.”

ABSTRACT

The aim of my presentation is to argue that Hannah Arendt develops her concept of the banality of evil through a phenomenological appropriation of Kant’s theory of judgment and of his principle of sensus communis in particular. Even though Arendt initially defined the banality of evil as a form of thoughtlessness grounded upon her understanding of thinking as an inner dialogue of the ‘two-in-one’, I will attempt to show that she develops the concept much more extensively in relation to Kant’s doctrine of reflective judgment and the possibility of a sensus communis as a pre-conceptual model of unforced consensus for the public space. In contrast with interpretations of Arendt’s conception from the point of view of political philosophy—with a view, that is, to the question of rationally grounded norms for political action—I claim that Arendt seeks to ground political judgment on aesthetic judgment, and that the latter forms a necessary condition for the former, particularly in the era of modernity. I will thus show the ways in which her reading of Kant is carried out together with both an existential-ontological re-appraisal of appearances and its relation to the transcendental imagination.

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October 13, 2015 at 10:30 am

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Talk at Bogazici, István Aranyosi (Bilkent), “All God Had to Choose”

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Please join us,

Bogazici University

October 16, Friday

TB 130

5-7pm

Title and Abstract:

All God Had to Choose

There is a theological creationist metaphor that some theorists of supervenience physicalism like to put forward in order to illustrate what the thesis is supposed to exactly mean. To think that supervenience physicalism is true is to think that once God created all microphysical facts about our world, there was nothing left for Him to do—He was done creating the world per se. I would like to put forward an alternative theological metaphor as a better heuristic for the formulation and understanding of physicalism. Instead of focusing on what God had to do, we should better focus, I will argue, on what God had to choose in order to make our world the actual one. This new approach is based on the once popular Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). If I am right, this device is more useful than the creationist one, and it has some interesting implications for the formulation of physicalism.

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October 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

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Talk at Bogazici, Beril Idemen Sozmen (ITU), “Anattā and Animal Ethics”

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Talk at Bogazici, Beril Idemen Sozmen

Thursday, October 15, 5-7pm, TB 310 (Anderson Hall), Bogazici University.

Please join us.

Title and abstract:

Anattā and Animal Ethics
In this talk I am going to argue that anattā – the Pali term for the Buddhist concept of no-self – has implications for ethics in general and for animal ethics in particular: Anattā as the most fundamental realisation of pañña (wisdom) is a condition of becoming the ideal moral agent. Buddhist ethics in its most comprehensive form cannot be understood without anattā but interpreted in this way it provides us with both challenge and inspiration for traditional Western debates in ethics. One of these is the tension between agent-centred and patient-centred moral theories, which also appears in the disagreement between Gary Francione and his critics. My particular thesis here is that the connection between anattā and Buddhist ethics provides us with tools, especially with the Buddhist concept of dukkha (suffering) to argue that Francione’s abolitionism is too focused on the purity of the agent and thereby fails to give due consideration to the consequences of acts of harm-reduction. Contrary to the position of Donaldson and Kymlicka in the question of suffering in the wild, some forms of dukkha continue to be moral tragedies but the Buddhist call for skilful means in dealing with dukkha taken together with anattā leads to particularist and strategic results. These do not simply conceptualise humans as moral agents and other animals as moral patients but consider them both to be at different constellations of agency and responsibility in a given encounter. One consequence of such an understanding of the moral situation is therefore the rejection of the relational aspect of abolitionism, i.e. of the minimisation of inter-species relations as Francione proposes.

Written by markedwardsteen

October 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Nick Stang (Toronto), “Is Kant’s Critique of Metaphysics Obsolete?”

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Come join us:

Friday, September 18, 5-7pm, TB 130

Title and Abstract:

Is Kant’s Critique of Metaphysics Obsolete?
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant took himself to have shown that metaphysics of a certain kind is impossible for human beings. However, two hundred years later we find metaphysics flourishing in analytic philosophy. On the one hand analytic metaphysics can seem continuous with early modern rationalism, focusing on many of the same concepts (e.g. modality) and even the same doctrines (e.g. the principle of sufficient reason, substance monism). On the other hand, analytic metaphysics differs in crucial respects from its pre-Kantian forebears; it is less epistemically ambitious and is not as wedded to its a priori status. Does Kant’s critique of metaphysics apply to contemporary analytic metaphysics, or, in the words of Kant’s 1790 essay On a discovery, has it been rendered obsolete?
website for Nick Stang

Written by markedwardsteen

September 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

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Talk at Bogazici, Balder ten Cate (UC Santa Cruz), “Guarded Negation”

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We have a logic talk coming up a week from today, details below,
Balder ten Cate, UC Santa Cruz
Monday, July 20th, 17:00, TB130
“Guarded negation”
Abstract:
One of the major themes of mathematical logic in the twentieth century has been the satisfiability problem for first-order formulas, also known as the classical decision problem and as Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem. In full generality, the problem was shown to be undecidable by Alonso Church and Alan Turing in the 1930s. In order to circumvent this negative result, which is sometimes called “Church’s Curse”, various decidable fragments of first-order logic have been proposed (i.e., syntactic fragments of first-order logic for which the satisfiability problem is decidable). These fragments typically involve restrictions on quantifier alternation, on the number of variables used in formulas, or allowed patterns of quantification. In this talk, I will discuss a recently developed, different approach to taming first order logic, that restricts the allowed use of negation in formulas. It turns out that this leads to expressive decidable fragments that generalize a number of existing formalisms and use cases from different areas of application, such as data management and temporal logic.

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July 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Georgiana Turculet (Central European University), “Whose Responsibility is the Syrian Refugee Crisis? From Justice between States, to Justice for Refugees.”

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There’s an upcoming philosophy and political science talk coming up a week from Friday, details below:

The talk will be preceded by a screening of a ten minute documentary made my the speaker about the Syrian refugee crisis.

Talk, Georgiana Turculet, Central European University

July 24th, 4-6pm, TB 130

Whose Responsibility is the Syrian Refugee Crisis? From Justice between States, to Justice for Refugees.

Abstract:

Very little effort has so far been expended by migration theorists to explain the character of a just distribution of refugees between states. Most studies instead have offered ample explanations regarding why refugees and migrants move to some states rather than others (Gibney, 2009). Since an adequate baseline from which to judge the justice of the distribution of refugees between states is still lacking, any new patterns of movement we might advocate creates possibilities for new unjust distribution patterns, a normative scrutiny that takes into consideration justice to refugees (besides justice between states) is of paramount importance. In this paper I analyse few of the main proposals of refugee distribution among states from a perspective of justice and argue in favour of the burden-sharing model that prioritizes justice to refugees.

Specifically, I briefly analyse the “Syrian refugee crises” and I conceptualize it as an “engineered regionalism”, according to which the most conspicuous number of refugees end up seeking refuge in the region of their origin. In the second section, I explain why engineered regionalism is problematic from a justice perspective, and therefore explore alternatives we commonly think of in the literature as burden-sharing options. In the third section I argue that the respective alternatives are also morally unsatisfactory. They are all based on the presupposition that a right to free movement is what will entitle the refugee to (re)- settle to the country of one’s choosing, whereas this right is grounded on a philosophically informed principle of non-refoulement (as the ‘fire’ illustration proves). I attempt in the last section to propose a new model that is informed by the latter principle.

This paper was written while I was a Marie Curie Fellow at the Migration Research Center Mirekoc and the Department of International Relations at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. I am grateful to the Director of the Center, Ahmed Icduygu, and the colleagues from the Center for their support. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 316796.

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July 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Alper Turken, “Hegel’s Concept of True Infinite and the Idea of a Post-Critical Metaphysics”

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Please join us:

Friday, June 5th, 5-7pm, TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)

Abstract:

I argue for an interpretative and a philosophical claim in this paper. My interpretative claim is that a viable interpretation of Hegel, in distinction from a philosophical position that is merely inspired from him, should accommodate the concept of true infinity in a manner faithful to its meaning for Hegel. The choice of true infinite is not arbitrary. In Hegel’s words, “it is the basic concept of philosophy”1 and “it gives us the nature of speculative thought displayed in its determining feature”2 and involves the conceptual kernel of all of the richer speculative concepts of Logic. An overview of Hegel’s concept of true infinity is presented and its incompatibility with non-metaphysical interpretations of Hegel are defended with particular reference to Pippin and Brandom.

My philosophical claim is the philosophical correlate of my interpretative proposal. The speculative turn was purposefully introduced by Hegel to rehabilitate some important deficiencies that he believed was inherent in Kant’s critical philosophy. Hegel’s Logic was intended as a completion of Kant’s project as the true critique of pure reason. The concept of true infinity is at the heart of this speculative turn and represents Hegel’s primary conceptual innovation. According to this, Hegel is neither a metaphysical thinker in the pre-critical sense, nor was he a non-metaphysical thinker. His project was formulating the possibility and actual carrying out of a post-Kantian ontology based on the innovative conceptual resources he introduces through his speculative turn. Understanding Hegel’s speculative turn in these lights and recognizing the centrality of his concept of true infinite in that project should be a step forward in assessing his legacy and domesticating his key insights into contemporary discussions on metaphilosophy as well as the nature of self-consciousness, normativity and autonomy.

 1 G.W.F. Hegel, The Encyclopedia Logic, trans. T. F. Geraets, W. A. Suchting, H. S. Harris (Indianapolis, Cambridge: Hacket Publishing Company, 1991), 191.

2 Ibid., 152.

Written by markedwardsteen

May 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

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Workshop and Conference on Causality and Occasionalism

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Please join us. It is open to the public. Please click on the link below for the conference poster which has more details.

June 2nd, Tuesday-workshop: 10.00-17.50
June 4th, Thursday-workshop: 10.00-17.30
June 6th, Saturday-conference: 8.40-18.20
June 7th, Sunday-conference: 10.00-13.00
Occasionalism Conference Poster-Pdf

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May 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm

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Talk at Bogazici, Eric Boynton (Allegheny), “Building on Trauma”

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Please join us for this talk.

Monday, May 25th, 5-7pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall 130)

Abstract:

In this paper, I consider the anti-monuments or counter-monuments of German installation artist, Horst Hoheisel, “built” to commemorate victims of the German National Socialist Movement.  Linking the work of Emmanuel Levinas to Hoheisel’s constructions gives ethical significance to Hoheisel’s attempt to bring to presence that which is essentially absent.

BIO

Eric Boynton is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Allegheny College in Western, Pennsylvania. He is both chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department and Director of Interdisciplinarity.  In 2006, he was awarded the Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2015 the Jullian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching. He received an MA from Vanderbilt University and Ph.D. form Rice University in philosophy of religion. His research involves the study of Continental figures such as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, and Hannah Arendt and his interests include the question of evil, current debates in meta-ethics, and the relation of philosophy, art, film, and theology.  He has published articles on the Continental philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and film.  He guest-edited a special issue of the journal Janus Head on contemporary considerations of evil and is currently working on his third edited volume titled: “Trauma and Transcendence: Limits of Theory and Prospects in Thinking” with Fordham University Press.

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May 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

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Talk and Workshop at Bogazici University, David Liebesman (Calgary)

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Next week we’ll have David Liebesman (Calgary) in town for a read-ahead paper workshop and a talk. Please join us. Here are some details:

Read-ahead paper Workshop:

“Counting as a Type of Measuring”

Thursday, May 28th, 3-5pm, TB 365 (Anderson Hall)

Abstract:

There is an intuitive contrast between counting and measuring. Counting, the thought goes, consists of correlating non-identical objects with cardinal numbers. Measuring, on the other hand, seems to require more: invoking a conventional scale that allows for more-fine-grained values. I argue that this contrast doesn’t bear scrutiny. When we appreciate the full range of counts, it becomes clear that counting is a type of measuring.

(please email marksteen@gmail.com for a copy of the manuscript if you would like to attend).

Talk:

“Criteria of Partiality and the Mass/Count Distinction”

Friday, May 29, 4-6pm, TB 130 

Abstract:

Why can’t we count using mass nouns like “water”? A familiar idea is that mass nouns don’t come with a built-in criteria of individuation. This familiar idea is now unpopular. I argue that it contains a grain of truth. The difference between mass and count nouns is not that the former lack a criteria of individuation, but, rather, that they lack a criteria of partiality. The notion of a partial house is perfectly sensible. A partial water, however, is not. On the view I develop, this contrast underlies the mass/count distinction.

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May 19, 2015 at 10:22 am

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Talk at Bogazici, Ayca Boylu (İzmir Kâtip Çelebi Üniversitesi), “Capturing Moral Behavior in Human Interactions”

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Please join us.

Bogazici University

Monday, May 18, 5pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Capturing Moral Behavior in Human Interactions

Abstract:

Iris Murdoch claims that “the center of ‘the moral’ ” is generally taken by moral philosophers to be “the situation of a man making a definite choice” and “the moral life of the individual is a series of overt choices which take place in a series of specifiable situations”. I call this prevailing view, “moral situationism”. It is one of the marks of moral situationism to treat actions and their circumstances as “given”. On this view, actions and their circumstances can be extracted from our lives and be described in purely non-moral terms. Therefore, describing human behavior is taken to be extraneous to moral philosophy. The task of moral philosophy begins after that, as it were, when it is time to morally evaluate human behavior. To put it differently, according to moral situationism, there are no moral descriptions in moral philosophy. In this paper, I argue that moral situationism falls short of capturing at least a good portion of human behavior so as to set the stage for moral evaluation. To be more specific, I argue that moral situationists can pick out neither the human behavior in human interactions nor the relevant circumstances in non-moral terms. Moral philosophy demands that we describe, at the very least, human behavior in human interactions, in moral terms. Thus, describing human behavior cannot be thought to be extraneous to moral philosophy.

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May 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm

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Talk at Bogazici University, Sanem Soyarslan (NCSU), “Spinoza’s Critique of Humility in the Ethics”

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Please join us

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Tuesday, May 12, 5pm

Abstract: In the Ethics, Spinoza defines humility as a “sadness born of the fact that a man considers his own lack of power” (Part III, Proposition 55, Scholium). Furthermore, he declares that “humility is not a virtue, or does not arise from virtue” (Part IV, Proposition 53). This declaration is significant, given that humility was considered to be an important virtue in traditional theological morality that was prevalent in the seventeenth century. Even though philosophers like Descartes held that humility could be excessive, Spinoza is arguably the first philosopher to categorically deny humility’s virtue. Importantly, the Ethics is not the only place in Spinoza’s corpus where he takes up the issue of humility. In one of his earlier works, the Short Treatise, Spinoza offers a favorable appraisal of humility that is seemingly at odds with his mature position in the Ethics. How can we explain this change in Spinoza’s evaluation of humility? Neither this question, nor Spinoza’s revisionary assessment of humility in the Ethics, has received scholarly attention beyond some passing references. In this paper, I attempt to fill this gap by developing an elaborate understanding of Spinoza’s critique of humility in the Ethics. I suggest that notwithstanding Spinoza’s explicit denial of humility’s virtue in his masterpiece, there is room for, what we might call, a virtuous form of humility arising from an accurate assessment of our lack of power via reason. My reading, if correct, will enable us to see Spinoza’s account of humility in the Ethics as continuous with his stance in the Short Treatise. Moreover, it will suggest that, when properly understood, Spinoza’s account reveals to be more complex and less radical than it initially appears.

Written by markedwardsteen

May 5, 2015 at 9:43 am

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Talk at Bogazici, Hikmet Unlu (Yeditepe), “Aristotle and the Problem of Unity”

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Please join us.

Monday, April 27

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

5pm
Hikmet Unlu (PhD Yeditepe, MA Amsterdam)
“Aristotle and the Problem of Unity”
Abstract:
According to Aristotle the material aspect of matter-form compounds is ultimately reducible to the four elements, for it is from these four elements (earth, water, air, fire) that everything in the sublunary realm is made. Living beings are a special case of matter-form compounds, and they owe their unique status to the alleged interaction between the soul and the elements. Such an account is highly problematic, however, because the elements already have particular inclinations, and it is difficult to conceive how the soul could override these inclinations. The interaction problem threatens not only the unity of living beings but also the substancehood of substances, which in turn leads us to question the basic assumptions of Aristotelian ontology.

Written by markedwardsteen

April 21, 2015 at 10:29 am

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Talk, Zeynep Talay-Turner (PhD, Polish Academy of Sciences), “Self-deception as a Philosophical Problem”

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Please join us:

Bogazici University

Friday, April 10, 5-7pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Abstract:

Self-deception as a Philosophical Problem
 
 
Approaches to self-deception range from those that see it as the product of individual strategies and decisions to those that see it as the consequence of emotions, from those that see it as a failing to those that see it as part of the contingency of personhood.  After reviewing some of this material I try to test the plausibility of these ways of talking about self-deception on two cases: Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and the memoirs of Albert Speer.  I argue that, rather than a matter of holding contradictory beliefs, self-deception may be better viewed as the evasion of a truth.  

Written by markedwardsteen

April 5, 2015 at 11:23 am

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