Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

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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.

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Written by sundemirili

December 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

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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.

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December 2, 2018 at 7:42 pm

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Joshua Norton at Bosphorus on Nov 2, Friday at 15:00

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“Incubating a Future Metaphysics: quantum gravity”

Joshua Norton, American University of Beirut

ABSTRACT: In this paper, I will argue that metaphysicians ought to utilize quantum theories of gravity (QG) as incubators for a future metaphysics. In §2, I will argue why this ought to be done. In §3, I will present case studies from the history of science where physical theories have challenged both the dogmatic and speculative metaphysician. In §4, I will present two theories of QG and demonstrate the challenge they pose to certain aspects of our current metaphysics; in particular, how they challenge our understanding of the abstract-concrete distinction. The central goal of this paper is to encourage metaphysicians to look to physical theories, especially those involving cosmology such as string theory and loop quantum gravity, when doing metaphysics.

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November 1, 2018 at 10:38 am

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Joana Serrado’s talk at Bosphorus on Nov 2, Friday (17:00) in JF 507

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Can a Female Slave be a Philosopher? Rosa Maria, the Transatlantic Black Slave answers to Immanuel Kant

In the 21st century demand democratisation of history of philosophy and, and most particularly the recuperation of feminist lineages, the angst of influence is still most prevalent. Anne Conway must be included insofar she influenced Leibniz, Emile du Chatelet because she translated and commented Isaac Newton´s Principia, or Elisabeth of Bohemia due to her correspondence with Descartes. However, insisting on the networks of elitism, power only serve to reinforce the role of privileged women in the history of philosophy, failing thus the basic purpose of feminism itself- which is a social and political transformation that enables women and men in their plurality to be more than represented be full agents in their own right in the construction of a society based on values of justice, diversity and inclusivity. A decolonial turn therefore When researching on the subtle archive of former enslaved women, Rosa Maria, a Egipcíaca, who lived during the eighteenth-century in three diferente continental and cultural worldviews: born and captured in Benin, West Africa, trafficked to Brazil, and persecuted in Lisbon, Kant would be an improbable philosophical partner to choose from. However this is my goal in this paper . I would like to reflect upon diverse themes that constitute a ‘slave subjectivities’. – the records of inquisition as a memory or archive for the ‘slave subjectivity’ and test this textual artifact as a product of negotiating ideas; – The ‘poaching’ or trafficking tactics (Michel de Certeau) that are used back and forth from the mystical and scholastic tradition – Rosa´s mystical practices and teachings of healing which unveil Rosa Maria not only as a theologian as a proto-ethicist of care.Joana Serrado

 

Joana Serrado (BA, Coimbra 2001, MA, Porto 2005, Phd Groningen 2014) is currently researcher at the Instituto de Filosofia, University of Porto. Previously she was the Gordon Milburn Junior Research Fellow in Mysticism at the University of Oxford (2013-2017), visiting lecturer at Cambridge (2016), assistant Professor in Oslo (2012/13) Fulbright Fellow at Harvard Divinity School (2010). Her research focus on medieval and early modern history of ideas, philosophy and theology, in dialogue with in feminist theory. Serrado´s work has appeared at Early Modern Women and Medieavalia: Textos e Estudos and forthcoming is an edition at the series “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe” and a chapter Routledge. Her doctoral thesis on anxiousness in the Cistercian Joana de Jesus (1617-1681) forthcoming at Brill was reviewed included in the latestthvolume of Bernard McGinn´s History of Christian Mysticism. This research is part of her next book “Touch me Closer. The God of Women Philosophers in Portuguese Baroque World” under contract with Amesterdam University Press.

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October 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

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Talk on Monday 25 June by Imge Oranli at Bosphorus

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The Inscrutability of Evil in Arendt and Levinas

İmge Oranlı,

Koç University, Department of Philosophy

June 25

15:00 (3pm)

JF 507

Abstract Since the attacks of 9/11, there has been a revival of interest in philosophical studies of evil, which suggest that we are forced to rethink the category of evil as we face acts of terrorism on a global scale. In almost all of these studies, Kant, Arendt and Levinas appear as key thinkers of evil. This paper traces the idea of the inscrutability of evil as a common lens through which we associate the category of evil with the phenomena we identify as evil. This idea finds its first modern formulation in Kant’s theory of radical evil. Although Arendt and Levinas challenge the Kantian framework of evil through their accounts, I argue that they nevertheless presuppose this framework. Regardless of their difference from Kant, my argument stresses that Arendt’s identification of Nazi evil as banal (i.e., without depth) and Levinas’ description of evil as “useless” are both developed in the trajectory of thought facilitated by Kantian philosophy. This trajectory is marked by evil’s non-theological root and its basis in human freedom. My analysis concludes that the idea of the inscrutability of evil is common to all three approaches, yet their accounts of why evil is inscrutable differ considerably.

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June 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

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Talk by Hande Tuna at Bosphorus

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Imaginative Resistance and Disgust

Emine Hande TUNA

Friday, 22 June 2018, 15–17:00, JF507

ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of imaginative resistance refers to the psychological difficulties we might have in engaging with the particular imaginative activities prompted by works of fiction. To get a grip on this, suppose that Crime and Punishment were modified so that the narrator told us that Raskolnikov’s crime was the morally right thing to do. Even though we would then have no problem imagining the rest of the story as it is and accepting the narrator’s authority in telling us what is true in the story, we encounter a problem imagining that Raskolnikov is indeed morally justified. A related question immediately arises: Does this problem we experience in trying to imagine the modified parts of Crime and Punishment compromise the work aesthetically? This problem opens up an explanatory lacuna as well as a possibility for understanding the relationship between the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of our engagement with works of art. Unfortunately, although some valuable diagnoses have emerged in recent work on the phenomenon (genre and gender make a difference), on the whole the discussion has been straying away from this original research question. In this talk I will attempt to provide an alternative interpretation of the phenomenon, which not only furnishes a theoretical framework that can accommodate these compelling diagnoses but also helps to highlight a specific instance of imaginative resistance that might give us interesting insights with respect to the causes of aesthetic displeasure. I argue that the reason why we find it almost impossible to engage in the imaginative activity prompted by a fictional work is grounded not only in the moral disapprobation it generates but also in the emotion of disgust that mingles with and amplifies the disapprobation.

 

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June 19, 2018 at 10:21 am

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Talk on Monday: Basak Aray

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MONDAY 18 June, 15-17:00 (=3-5pm), JF507

Internationalism in early analytic philosophy

Basak Aray 
The emergence of analytic philosophy towards the early 20th century shows interesting parallelisms with the concomitant international auxiliary language movement. Both these projects are characterized by their universalist assumptions and their constructive approach to language. Even though international auxiliary language is more clearly political in its objective of unifying people through national borders, many important figures of the early analytic philosophy also supported internationalism. Beyond the fact that some of these (like Peano, Couturat and Carnap) also took part in the movement for an international auxiliary language, we argue that the Enlightenment- inspired rationalism of the early analytic philosophy connects it to political and linguistic internationalism on a deeper level.

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June 15, 2018 at 10:36 am

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