Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Author Archive

Thomas Schmidt’s talk on Oct 7, Monday in John Freely 507 at 17h

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“Moral Obligation, Moral Reasons, and Supererogation”

Thomas Schmidt, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Sometimes, an action has something morally in its favour, but it is not morally required since an alternative action is favoured by moral considerations that have, in the context, a greater normative weight. Cases of this sort suggest that it is one thing for an action to be favoured by a moral consideration, or reason, and quite another for it to be morally required, or obligatory. In view of this, it makes sense to ask how moral reasons and moral obligations are related to one another. In my talk, I suggest and defend an answer to this question.
More specifically, I show that there is an initially plausible and theoretically defensible way of explaining moral obligations in terms of moral (and other) reasons, i.e. of complementing the following scheme:

There is a moral obligation to  if, and only if (and because), … [moral (and other) reasons].

As has been observed by several authors, the key to accomplishing this task is to make appropriate room for the possibility of supererogation. I argue that the view that I propose does this in a particularly promising way: it turns out to be not only consistent with the possibility of supererogation, but to entail a plausible general account of what makes an action supererogatory in the first place. Moreover, it can be shown to entail an attractive view about how deontic moral categories and all-things-considered categories are related to one another.

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September 27, 2019 at 5:55 pm

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Panos Eliopoulos’ talk on August 2, Friday in John Freely 507 (BU) at 17h

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Panos Eliopoulos, PhD, Lecturer, University of Ioannina- Greece
NOTIONS OF NON-VIOLENCE IN ROMAN STOICISM; Abstract: In the moral philosophy of the late Stoa, there is a significant turn to the recognition of values of non violence. Starting from the point where the philosophers of the Ancient and the Middle Stoa acknowledge man’s relation with the Cosmos and with each human being separately due to Logos, some of the most prominent Stoics of the Roman period (namely Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, but even Cicero who fosters many of the earlier Stoic ethical views, despite his attachment to the doctrines of the Academy) enrich the content of this theorization by offering an expansion of the concept of the Greek “philanthropy”. Through the practical means of individual correction, which leads to the therapy of passions, the Stoic sage returns to society in order to emancipate the human being and to ensure that man will recover his ontological worth, his “dignitas”. Moral repercussions are only part of this change of emphasis in the Stoic dogma; there are certain political insinuations that confront the role of the individual in the political system of the epoch. This effort is grounded on benevolent and mild action, which aims to correct rather than to discipline both individual and collective ways of being. It is this particular contribution of theirs in the history of philosophy that I aim to discuss in connection with issues directly related with a non violent, eudaimonistic way of life in the context of social peace.

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July 27, 2019 at 12:41 pm

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Kant workshop on May 24, Friday in Bogazici University (second update)

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14:00 Anita Leirfal (University of Bergen), “On the perception of forces: Some Kantian reflections”

15:30 Lucas Thorpe (BU), “Kant on character and calculus”

17:00 Ken Westphal (BU), Kant’s Two Models of Human Actions;

The talks will be in John Freely 507. Everyone welcome.

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May 22, 2019 at 8:13 am

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Walter Veit’s talk in Bogazici

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“From Scaffolding to Natural Selection”; May 23, Thursday at 17h; John Freely Building Room #’s 507 and 508; Abstract: Darwin provided us with a powerful tool to explain the evolution of living systems: the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Traditional approaches, however, merely relying on natural selection have proven insufficient to explain the emergence of new levels of selection, i.e. the major transitions. The problem is one of circularity for evolutionary explanations: how to explain the evolution of Darwinian properties without already invoking them at level they are supposed to emerge. Recent advances in experimental evolution suggest a way forward: Rainey et al. (2017) argue that Darwinian properties could be exogenously imposed via ecological scaffolding allowing natural selection to commence. This could solve the ‘black box’ dilemma faced by Darwinian explanations relying on natural selection. However, despite scaffolding recently becoming a popular theme in the study of cognition, culture and evolution, the concept has suffered from vagueness and ambiguity. In this paper, I develop scaffolding from a mere metaphor used in a vague sense of environmental support into a proper scientific concept able to do explanatory work. In doing so, I introduce a much needed distinction between what I call evolutionary scaffolding and developmental scaffolding that has not been recognized in the literature, analysing the significance of scaffolding for evolutionary biology.

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May 21, 2019 at 2:31 pm

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Paul Hoynigen-Hüne will give a talk on May 17, Friday at 17h in John Freely Building 507+508 (Bogazici University)

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Paul Hoynigen-Hüne; ‘The human sciences between quantification and hermeneutics’; Abstract-Abstract: I begin by a clarifying the terms “quantitative” and “qualitative”, which appear to characterize the contrast between the main approaches to the human sciences. I then present a framework, within which the question of the appropriate procedures in the human sciences
can be described and evaluated; it is systematicity theory (see P. Hoyningen Huene: Systematicity, OUP 2013). First, I discuss the aims of quantification, and its possible application in the human sciences. Second, I discuss the “counter-program” of hermeneutics, in which the notion of “understanding [verstehen] of meaning” plays a central role. I shall argue that understanding, in a specified sense, is indeed essential to the human sciences, especially in our attempts to make sense of actions. The result will be this. Also in the human sciences, quantification is attractive because it strongly supports the defense of knowledge claims, i.e. the scientific status of the human sciences. On the other hand, the core concept of the human sciences, meaning, so far completely resists quantification. This is a tension that the human sciences will have to face for some time to come.

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May 13, 2019 at 2:01 pm

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Hanna Read and Rafael Ventura will give a joint talk on April 26, Friday at 17h in JF507 (Bogazici)

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Hanna Read and Rafael Ventura (both from Bilkent University) “Signaling Polarization” ABSTRACT: Most accounts of the harm done by derogatory terms focus on the targets of derogation. In this paper, we argue that some forms of derogatory speech harm not only the targets of derogation, but also their users. By signaling lack of cooperation, derogatory language hinders communication. This deteriorates communication across the entire community, which has practically, epistemically, and morally harmful consequences.

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April 18, 2019 at 1:03 pm

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Two talks on April 12, Friday at Bogazici

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“Moral Certainty in the Light of Wittgenstein”
Ryan Manhire, Åbo Akademi, Finland and Flinders University, Australia
April 12, Friday at 15:00 JF 507

“Ethical Commitment Between Political Theory and Social Science”
Dr Campbell, Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value, Czech Republic
April 12, Friday at 17:00 JF 507

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April 11, 2019 at 8:00 am

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Johanness Frietsche’s talk on April 5, Friday

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“Skillful coping, experience, and the universality of Kant’s table of judgments”
April 5, Friday at 17h in JF 507

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March 24, 2019 at 6:11 pm

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Istvan Aranyosi will talk on perception and memory on April 1, Monday at 13h in NB 119

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“Perception and Memory, ABSTRACT: I am going to explore the relationship between perception and memory, after which I draw some consequences critical to extant philosophical accounts of memory and put forward an alternative view of my own.

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March 24, 2019 at 6:08 pm

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meeting on March 22, Friday for a follow up to last week’s qualia talk

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The discussion will focus on how the view presented last time might be improved upon. Stephen Voss will run the discussion. Place: John Freely 507; Time: 17h

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March 18, 2019 at 9:15 pm

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Stephen Voss’ qualia talk on March 15, Friday at 17h in JFB

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Stephen Voss, Are there Qualia? March 15, Friday in John Freely 507 at 17h

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March 9, 2019 at 10:13 pm

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Ilhan Inan’s talk on Feb 22, Friday at Bozazici (JF507 at 17h)

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Awareness of Ignorance

ABSTRACT: Humans may be the only species on earth that have the aptitude to become aware of their own ignorance. This peculiar skill plays a pivotal role in our daily deliberations, decisions and actions, and our communication with others; it is what allows us to enjoy the mental state of curiosity, being the primary motivator for us to ask a question to others (as a speech act) or to ourselves (as a mental act) and then inquire into the unknown, individually or collectively; without it science, philosophy, technology, literature, religion and advanced forms of art which have shaped modern human cultures would not have been possible. Though the notion of awareness of ignorance and its close cousins have been in use within the philosophical literature for more than two millennia, there are a host of interesting philosophical questions concerning awareness of ignorance that have not been discussed in depth by philosophers, some not even ever addressed. How is it all possible for a being to become aware of their ignorance? Is it a mental state? Does aware of ignorance require the mental representation of an unknown? Is ignorance gradable, i.e. does it come in degrees? How does awareness of ignorance relate to the asking of a question? Does awareness of ignorance always have
propositional content? Is the acquisition of propositional knowledge always sufficient to eliminate one’s ignorance? There are various specialized areas of research within philosophy and cognitive science in which these questions could have been addressed as a special topic of interest; they relate to various ongoing debates within epistemology, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, as well as a host of related specific fields such as action theory, mental representation, meta-cognition, theory of mind, the logic of
questions and answers, the philosophy of curiosity, and virtue epistemology. In what follows I wish to address these questions, though I shall only have space to discuss some of them in depth. The focus of the discussion will be on the awareness of one’s own ignorance, rather than the awareness of the ignorance of others.

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February 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm

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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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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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Talk by Sevgi Dogan at Bosphorus

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What is the Place of the Individual in Marx’s Philosophy?

Sevgi Dogan

Wednesday 13 June 2018, JF 509, 15-17:00 (3-5pm)

ABSTRACT: The problem of the individual is still the overriding political problem of contemporary society, which takes individual freedom to be the basic political principle. However, while the existing political system is accessible for the people and is dependent on the government of the people, it does not permit the people to govern; it is not governed by the people. It merely pretends that people govern the political state. In this paper, the individual will be considered as the single individual as distinct from the species-being which was particularly highlighted by young Marx. Or, speaking in terms of logic, we will distinguish the individual from the universal. It can be easily observed that Marx does not treat the problem of the individual in the same way that, for instance, Hegel did. In other words, he does not take up the subject systematically as regards its ontological, logical, political and ethical dimensions. Nevertheless, it is a fundamental question for Marx. He tries to answer in which way or through which political manner society can attain such a level of “freedom” and “equality” as to embrace every single being—individual— in this planet as a social being under the same sun and stars. In this respect, the concept of the individual will be elaborated in terms of the concepts of freedom, alienation, labor (specifically in relation to capital), species-being, society and finally, the state through an analysis of Marx’s texts. For Marx, the problem is not only associated with the political existence of the individual in the modern state; it is directly interconnected with the economy. That is what differentiates Marx from Hegel because Hegel in particular concentrates on the ontological existence of the individual and society. However, the economic aspect is largely missing in his philosophy. The basic question is whether the individual is really overlooked by Marx’s project. I will focus on the problem of the individual especially in Marx’s early texts. It is my intention to analyze the problem of the individual in the modern state in light of Marx’s farsightedness. Marx’s early texts can be analyzed according to the ontological and political existence of the individual. From a Marxist ontological perspective, which has decided an economic dimension, the individual must be analyzed in the context of the notion of “relation.” In this regard, the first argument of this paper is that the individual in modern society is separated from his social relations and reduced to market relations. The relationship between all individuals and their relationships with institutions such as the state are dependent on and governed by exchange value. Marx presents this argument in his well-known work, Grundrisse, by way of an analysis of the producer-consumer dialectic, but he had already begun to develop these ideas, albeit in less elaborate form, in the Manuscripts of 1844. Therefore, the Manuscripts can help to elaborate this concept of “relation.” Depending upon the first argument— which focuses on the ontological perspective—, this second argument will demonstrate from a political perspective, that the claim that the individual is a political being is what, paradoxically, separates individuals from their political activity. Here Marx demonstrates that individuals are real individuals as long as they realize themselves within politics. However, political emancipation is not the only road to or the full development of emancipation. I would like to draw attention to the fashionable view that Marx is not concerned with the problem of the individual and focuses on society only. In his early writings, for example, in the Manuscripts of 1844, in his critiques of political economy (as well as his critiques of Hegelian dialectic) Marx speaks of the individual. I believe that Marx, through his economic and ontological analyses, first indicates how the individual loses his/her relationships and by an elaborated and extensive investigation in the Critique, Marx shows the—loss of—relationship of the individual to the state and civil society. At the end, having looked in detail at and analyzed Marx’s writings, particularly those in which he speaks of the state, society, and man in detail, I find that Marx is indeed interested in the problem of the individual.

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June 9, 2018 at 8:18 am

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Talk by Geoff Bowe at Bosphorus (Time change: it starts at 15:00)

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Aristoteles Latinus: How Scholastic Philosophy could have benefited from Alexander’s
Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Doç. Dr. Geoff Bove, Istanbul Technical University

Date: June 8, Friday
Time: 15-17:00
Place: JF 507
Abstract: In their respective commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, both Albertus Magnus (1200-1280) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) interpret Aristotle as advocating the banishment of wonder in metaphysical inquiry. These readings of Aristotle rely on the Latin translations of the Metaphysics of James of Venice (d. 1141), and William of Moerbeke (1215-1286). It is not until the translation of Bessarion of Trabzon (1403-1472), that the Latin world gets a proper sense of Aristotle’s true understanding of the aim and scope of metaphysical wonder. I argue that Latin translators like James, Michael Scot (1175-1232) and Moerbeke, and commentators like Duns Scotus (1266-1308), Aquinas and Albert all lacked one thing that Bessarion did not, namely a copy Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentary on the Metaphysics, which was extant only in Constantinople. Bessarion’s translation of the Metaphysics reflects his use of this commentary, and

corrects the faulty conception of Aristotle as a banisher of wonder. Bessarion’s translation suggests that Aristotle calls upon us to wonder at how all things in the heavens and below the moon, from the political, to the biological, to the mechanical, imitate the Unmoved Mover.

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June 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

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Talk by Geoff Bowe at Bosphorus

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Aristoteles Latinus: How Scholastic Philosophy could have benefited from Alexander’s
Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Doç. Dr. Geoff Bove, Istanbul Technical University

Date: June 8, Friday
Time: 15-17:00
Place: JF 507

Abstract: In their respective commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, both Albertus Magnus (1200-1280) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) interpret Aristotle as advocating the banishment of wonder in metaphysical inquiry. These readings of Aristotle rely on the Latin translations of the Metaphysics of James of Venice (d. 1141), and William of Moerbeke (1215-1286). It is not until the translation of Bessarion of Trabzon (1403-1472), that the Latin world gets a proper sense of Aristotle’s true understanding of the aim and scope of metaphysical wonder. I argue that Latin translators like James, Michael Scot (1175-1232) and Moerbeke, and commentators like Duns Scotus (1266-1308), Aquinas and Albert all lacked one thing that Bessarion did not, namely a copy Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentary on the Metaphysics, which was extant only in Constantinople. Bessarion’s translation of the Metaphysics reflects his use of this commentary, and

corrects the faulty conception of Aristotle as a banisher of wonder. Bessarion’s translation suggests that Aristotle calls upon us to wonder at how all things in the heavens and below the moon, from the political, to the biological, to the mechanical, imitate the Unmoved Mover.

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June 5, 2018 at 3:16 pm

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