Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Author Archive

Workshop at Bilkent: Consciousness and First-Person Access

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Mini-Workshop on Consciousness and First Person Access

Friday 23rd February, 2018

1030-1230 & 1400-1700

Bilkent University, Main Campus, Room: H-232

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

Click here for program and abstracts. 























Morning session

1030-1040 Welcome

1040-1130: Key note – Murat Aydede (UBC, Philosophy) “Is the Pain Experience Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities

1140-1155: Respondent – Istvan Aranyosi (Bilkent, Philosophy)

1155-1210: Respondent – Tufan Kıymaz (Bilkent, Philosophy)

1210-1245: Discussion


Afternoon session

1440-1525: Mina Elhamiasl (Bilkent, Neuroscience/ UMRAM) “Health Anxiety: Where Interpretation Bias and Sensitivity to Bodily Sensations Meet”

1535-1620: Tufan Kıymaz (Bilkent, Philosophy) “Is Consciousness Phenomenal Conceptualization of the Physical?”

1630-1715: Bill Wringe (Bilkent, Philosophy) “First Person Access, Collective Emotions and Other Minds”


Written by Sandrine Berges

February 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm

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Nicholas Di Bella at Bilkent 15 February

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Probabilistic Proof of an External World”

Nicholas Di Bella (Stanford, Philosophy)

Thursday 15th February, 2018, 1540-1715, H-232


Abstract: I provide a novel internal critique of skepticism about the external world. Appealing to premises that an external-world skeptic could accept, I argue that the skeptic should (by her own lights) be extraordinarily confident that an external world exists. These premises include commitments to various forms of a priori reasoning–including commitments to classical logic, set theory, and probabilistic reasoning–as well as radical empiricism about evidence. As I argue, these premises entail that the skeptic should, by her own lights, be at least 99.99999% confident–just shy of certain–that an external world exists.

Written by Sandrine Berges

February 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

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Talk by Rafael Ventura (Duke) at Bilkent 5 February

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“Ambiguous Signals, Partial Beliefs, and Propositions”

Rafael Ventura (Duke, Philosophy)

Monday 5th February, 2018, 1640-1800, H-232.


Abstract: Propositions are usually taken to help explain the behavior of rational agents. However, a closer look at signaling games suggests otherwise: rational agents often acquire partial beliefs, and many of their signals are ambiguous. Signaling games also suggest that it is rational for agents to mix their behavior in response to partial beliefs and ambiguous signals. But as I show in this talk, propositions cannot help explain the mixing behavior of rational agents. My suggestion is that we should abandon propositions in explanations of rational behavior and adopt instead a probabilistic notion of content.

Written by Sandrine Berges

January 30, 2018 at 11:16 am

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Talk by Sara Aronowitz at Bilkent, 2 Feb

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“Memory is a Modeling System”

By Sara Aronowitz (University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Philosophy)

Friday 2nd February, 2018, 1100-1230, H-232


Abstract: This talk addresses the question: how does memory help us learn? I start by re-thinking the epistemic problem that memory systems solve in light of memory successes and failures in humans, rodents, and artificial systems. Rather than merely functioning to store information or to preserve justification, I argue that the core function of any memory system is to support accurate and relevant retrieval. This problem formulation has consequences for which structures and mechanisms make up a memory system. In brief, memory systems are modeling systems. This means that they generate, update and manage a series of overlapping, simplified, relational representations that map out features of the world. Succeeding at building and maintaining models requires the kind of active knowledge generation traditionally associated only with deliberative reasoning.

Written by Sandrine Berges

January 25, 2018 at 5:53 pm

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Ben Lennertz (Western Kentucky, Philosophy)  at Bilkent, 3 January

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“Two Varieties of Appropriation and the Pragmatic Theory of Slurs

Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018, 1500–1700, H-232.



Abstract: Most theorists accept that slurs are derogatory and their use causes warranted offense. However, there are situations in which uses of slurs are neither derogatory nor offensive. The process that allows for this is called appropriation or reclamation. There are two sorts of appropriation – language-wide appropriation, where any speaker of the language can use a term without derogating or causing warranted offense, and in-groupappropriation, where only members of the group targeted by the slur can do so. In this presentation, I highlight this distinction and show how it causes trouble for an account of slurs that is growing in popularity – a pragmaticaccount where the offense caused by the use of a slur arises primarily because of the speaker’s choice to use it rather than an inoffensive neutral counterpart (as in Bolinger 2017). I conclude by offering suggestions for how a theory of slurs might explain the two sorts of appropriation.

Web: https://lennertz.weebly.com/

Written by Sandrine Berges

January 2, 2018 at 4:29 pm

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Talk at Bilkent: Saniye Vatansever

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“Kant’s Response to Hume in the Second Analogy: A Critique of Buchdahl’s and Friedman’s Accounts”

Saniye Vatansever (Yeditepe, Philosophy)

Wednesday 20th December, 2017, 1640-1745, H-232


Abstract: While commentators mostly agree that in the Second Analogy Kant responds to the “Humean problem,” there is not yet an agreement on exactly which Humean problem he aims to solve. L.W. Beck, Gerd Buchdahl, Graham Bird and Henry Allison, among others, argue that the Second Analogy addresses Hume’s “problem of causation,” which is a problem concerning the justification of the concept of causation and the Causal Principle. In this paper, I focus particularly on Buchdahl’s interpretation of the Second Analogy, to which I refer as the “modest reading” because on his reading the Second Analogy has a modest goal of solving only Hume’s problem of causation. In response to Buchdahl’s modest reading,Michael Friedman, among others, argues for the “strong reading” of the Second Analogy, according to which Kant addresses not only Hume’s problem of causation, but also the problem of induction. The problem of induction is a problem about the validity of inductive inferences and a satisfactory solution to it requires demonstration of the validity of the principle of the uniformity of nature.In contrast with Buchdahl’s and Friedman’s influential readings, which view the Second Analogy as addressing one or the other of the Humean problems, I argue that the Second Analogy achieves more than addressing the problem of causation,and yet falls short of solving the problem of induction. The alternative reading I offer consists of the following three theses (i) contra Buchdahl, the Second Analogy argument proves both the necessity of the Causal Principle and the existence of its particular determinations, i.e., necessary empirical causal laws; (ii) contra Buchdahl and Friedman, empirical laws express two different kinds of necessity that are not reducible to each other; and finally, (iii) contra Friedman,even though the Second Analogy proves the existence of (necessary and strictly universal) empirical laws, it does not establish the uniformity of nature, which in turn means that the Second Analogy argument does not solve Hume’s problem of induction.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 18, 2017 at 10:35 am

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Talk by Michelle Adams at Bilkent, 15 December (NSC/Psychology)

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Michelle Adams (Bilkent, NSC/Psychology)

“Cognitive Aging and its Relationship to Neuronal Structure and Function

Friday, 15th December, 2017, 1240 – 1330, A-130

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


Abstract: Normal aging is accompanied by a range of biological changes that diminish quality of life. Understanding the changes contributing to memory decline is important for developing strategies to prevent or lessen cognitive problems. What are the specific changes that take place during aging which lead to decrements in neural function? What are the intrinsic biological determinants of those changes? What factors can ameliorate these changes? I will present data from the laboratory examining the neural consequences of aging on behavior and the brain. In addition, I will discuss the effects of an intervention, caloric restriction, which alters the course of neural aging.

About the Speaker: Dr. Adams received her PhD in Neuroscience in 2001 from the New York University – Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  Her PhD work focused on the relationship among brain aging, cognitive decline, estrogen, and glutamate receptors.  Dr. Adams did a postdoctoral fellowship at the HHMI in Brown/MIT examining the functional consequences of altering glutamate receptor levels and then in 2004 she went to the Neurobiology and Anatomy Department at Wake Forest University School of Medicine to study the effects of caloric restriction on synaptic glutamate receptors.  In 2005 Dr. Adams became an assistant professor at Wake Forest University and then in 2009 she moved to Bilkent University where she is currently an associate professor in the Psychology Department and director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Neuroscience.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 6, 2017 at 9:47 am

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