Hesperus is Bosphorus

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Talk at Bilkent 30 Apr: Saniye Vatansever on Kant and Stoicism (Online Event)

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Consolation of Kant’s Philosophy: The Stoic Elements in Kant’s Letter to Maria von Herbert

By Saniye Vatansever (Bilkent, Philosophy) 

Date: Thursday April 30, 2020 

Time: 1640-1800 GMT+3

Zoom link: This is an online event. All are welcome. If you would like to listen to the talk please click on the following link when the event is due to begin:  https://zoom.us/j/767639034

Abstract: In this paper, I examine the letter correspondence between Kant and Maria von Herbert, an Austrian woman who is well-versed in Kant’s moral philosophy. Herbert writes three letters to Kant and we only have access to Kant’s reply to her first letter. In her letters, Herbert explains her misery and seeks consolation from Kant in person as she claims that she couldn’t find comfort in philosophy. Thus, she raises interesting philosophical questions regarding the immorality of suicide, the dullness of leading a dutiful life, and consolation of philosophy. Whether Kant provides satisfactory answers to her questions is a matter of controversy. According to Rae Langton, Kant’s reply to Herbert simply ignores Herbert’s questions and that negligence on Kant’s part might be due to the underlying assumption that the less said on suicide, the less likely the morbid thoughts will arise. Contra Langton, I argue that by analyzing the nature of Herbert’s actions and the underlying causes of her feelings, Kant attempts to change Herbert’s negative emotions leading to suicidal thoughts. In other words, Kant aims to provide consolation and comfort to Herbert by helping her rationally analyze the causes of her destructive emotions. By doing so, Kant acts as a stoic philosopher attempting to transform the false judgments leading to negative emotions with the correct ones.

About the speaker:  click here.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

April 28, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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Prokopton: Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Bilkent University

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The first issue of Prokopton: Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Bilkent University is online at prokopton.bilkent.edu.tr.

Prokopton is an annual online journal. It is the first refereed international academic journal of philosophy for undergraduate students in Turkey. ‘Prokopton’, is a Greek term used by Stoics, which means making progress toward truth or being a student of wisdom.

The journal includes original research articles, translations, book reviews and interviews by undergraduate students. There is also a section for high-school students, edited by high school students. The managing editorial board of the journal consists of undergraduate students at Bilkent.

Please see the submission guidelines if you would like to submit your work for the next issue.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

April 5, 2020 at 12:01 pm

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Talk at Bilkent 2 Apr: Jonathan Payton on Counting Composites (Online Event)

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Counting Composites  

By Jonathan Payton (Calgary, Philosophy) 

 Date: Thursday April 2, 2020 

Time: 1640-1800 

Zoom link: This is online event. All are welcome. If you would like to listen to the talk please click on the following link when the event is due to begin: https://zoom.us/j/556133950.

Abstract: According to the thesis ‘Composition Entails Identity’ (CEI), a whole is identical to all its parts taken together. CEI seems to imply that things can outnumber themselves, i.e., that there can be more things in a collection than there are. For instance, if two objects, a and b, compose a third object, c, then by CEI, (I) a and b are both many things and one, and (ii) they’re both two things and three. I solve this problem by distinguishing two kinds of number ascriptions – which I dub ‘cardinality ascriptions’ and ‘ipseity ascriptions’ – and hence two ways for some objects to be n things. While no collection can possess two or more distinct cardinalities – and so cannot, in that sense, outnumber itself – a single collection can possess two or more distinct ipseities. 

About the speaker:  Jonathan Payton received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and he is currently SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary. He specializes in and the philosophy of action, drawing heavily on research in the philosophy of language and philosophical logic. He has published in journals such as Australasian Journal of Philosophy,  SyntheseCanadian Journal of Philosophy and Erkenntnis. In addition, he has a book under contract with Cambridge University Press entitled ‘Negative Actions and the Metaphysics of Agency’. 

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

April 1, 2020 at 9:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Talk at Bilkent 5 Mar: Murali Ramachandran on the Paradox of the Ravens

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Hempel’s Paradox of the Ravens

By Murali Ramachandran (Witwatersrand, Philosophy)

Date: Thursday,  5th March, 2020

Time: 1540-1710

Place: H-232

Abstract: Hempel’s paradox of the ravens arises from two very compelling principles, SUPPORT and EQUIVALENCE:

Observations of FGs support (confirm, count as positive evidence for) the hypothesis ‘All Fs are G’, so long as no non-G Fs have been observed.
(E.g. observations of tigers with stripes supports the hypothesis [All tigers have stripes], so long as tigers without stripes have not been observed.)

Evidence that supports a hypothesis equally supports any logically equivalent hypothesis.
(E.g. any evidence which supports [There are Latvian vegetarians] equally supports [There are vegetarian Latvians])

Now consider the following statements:

[Rave]     All ravens are black.
[NoB]      All non-black things are non-ravens.

These are logically equivalent: one cannot be true without the other being true as well. By SUPPORT, observation of a red pencil, say, being an observation of a non-black nonraven, supports hypothesis [NoB], and thus, by EQUIVALENCE, also supports hypothesis [Rave] that all ravens are black.

It is at least prima facie paradoxical that a red pencil should count as positive evidence for a hypothesis about ravens!

This is Hempel’s paradox of the ravens. My goal in this talk is to explain why I think causal realists—that is, just about all of us(!)—escape the paradox.

(Those already familiar with the paradox can get a foretaste of my position by looking at my paper here)

About the speakerMurali Ramachandran’s research is focused on metaphysics, philosophy of language and philosophical logic. He is currently Associate Professor in philosophy at Witwatersrand University.  Previously he taught at Trinity College Dublin, Manchester University and Sussex University. He has published in journals such as MindPhilosophical QuarterlyAustralasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies and Analysis.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

March 3, 2020 at 8:41 pm

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Talk at Bilkent 27 Feb: Anthony Cross on Aesthetic Obligations

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Taking Aesthetic Obligations Seriously

By Anthony Cross (Texas State, Philosophy)

Date: Thursday 27th, 2020

Time: 1540-1710

Place: H-232

Abstract: Are there any aesthetic obligations? The standard story of aesthetic normativity says no: aesthetic value may generate reasons, but these are never obligatory. I first introduce several cases that demonstrate that the standard story is incorrect, and that obligations play a significant role in our aesthetic lives. Taking such obligations seriously raises a number of questions: how are such obligations grounded? And what makes them aesthetic? I argue that aesthetic obligations are grounded in commitments to aesthetic objects with which we have an appreciative relationship. I then concede that there may be nothing distinctively “aesthetic” about aesthetic obligations, besides the fact that they involve commitments to aesthetic objects. The upshot, I argue, is that aesthetic obligations can acquire the same status and importance as other, more familiar forms of commitment. I conclude by considering the question of why we might form obligation-grounding commitments to aesthetic objects; I argue that such obligations are useful tools for fixing our practical identities, for enabling long-term creative and appreciative projects, and for securing the temporal structure of our aesthetic lives.

About the speakerAnthony Cross is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Texas State University. His primary research interests are in aesthetics and ethics; his research focuses on the normative significance of relationships with artworks and cultural objects. In June 2017, he completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University, where his advisors were Alexander Nehamas and Michael Smith. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University. Prior to teaching at Texas State, he was a visiting lecturer at U.C.L.A from 2013-2016. He has published in journals such as The British Journal of Aesthetics and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

February 26, 2020 at 6:15 pm

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CFP for Posters: 7th International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) at Bilkent

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The 7th International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) will be held at Bilkent on May 10. This is an interdisciplinary conference, so submissions from philosophers are welcome!


All accepted papers will be presented as posters during the symposium (See “Notes for Posters” below).

Paper Submission

Submission and reviewing are handled via the EasyChair system. Submission deadline will be announced here.

Papers may be up to four pages long, and should be in a two-column format. The submission language is English. Optionally, authors can submit papers in Turkish, in which case the title and the abstract should be both in English and Turkish. All paper submissions are evaluated by peer reviewers who make recommendations to the Program Committee. The final decision of acceptance is made by the Program Co-Chairs. Accepted papers will be presented at the conference as posters.

The papers will not appear in a printed proceedings volume, and no copyright will be claimed. Therefore, we solicit contributions that are:

1 – Summaries of already published work related to cognitive sciences. These will not be peer reviewed, but the abstracts will be used to determine the program. Please make sure you reference the original paper the submission is based on. We would like to encourage the submission of these papers to disseminate them widely in the Turkish cognitive science community.

2 – Original, unpublished work and work in progress papers. Since we do not claim copyright, you are free to re-submit it elsewhere after the symposium.

All submissions must be made electronically as PDF files.

The files are to be uploaded to the conference submission site (click on EasyChair).

All PDF submissions must be A4 sized, with NO headers/footers and NO page numbers. Please name the submission file in this format:
“authorname_submissiondate.pdf” (e.g., smith_1_28.pdf).

If there are any special fonts required (Turkish, etc) these must be included with the submission (i.e., embedded in the PDF file).

For your convenience, there are files below for Microsoft Word and LaTeX that you can use as templates. With a few exceptions (especially length) the formatting details are the same for all types of submissions. Please do not edit the margins or font settings of these files. These files are slightly modified from the Cognitive Science Society conference style files.

Microsoft Word Zip (includes a .doc sample, and a .dot template)
LaTeX Zip (includes sample .bst, .sty, .bib files as well as a sample .tex file and a .PDF of the sample file)

Notes for Posters

Poster sizes: A0 (Portrait)

Since ISBCS is all about building a community, it would be nice if you could add the photos of all authors in the poster heading.

Conference website: http://isbcs2020.bilkent.edu.tr

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

February 20, 2020 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Talk at Bilkent 18 Feb: Lu Chen on The Metaphysical Explication of Infinitesimals

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A New Metaphysical Explication of Infinitesimals

By Lu Chen (UMass, Philosophy)

Date: Tuesday 18th February, 2020

Time: 1640-1800

Place: H-232

Abstract: Infinitesimals are widely used in physics and mathematics, but are considered merely heuristic due to a lack of rigorous understanding. Smooth Infinitesimal Analysis (SIA), alternatively known as Synthetic Differential Geometry, is the most developed mathematical system for regimenting reasoning that involves infinitesimals. But to have a realistic interpretation of SIA as a foundation of physics, we face a significant obstacle: SIA is formulated in intuitionistic logic and is classically inconsistent. Furthermore, various authors have argued that there can be no classical reconstructions of SIA. If this is true, then infinitesimals will remain merely heuristic for classical logicians. Against this, I argue that there is a realistic interpretation of SIA as a novel theory of space that allows for infinitesimal regions. To argue for this claim, I advance a realistic understanding of the models for SIA proposed by Moerdijk and Reyes (1991), which augment manifolds with infinitesimal ones.

About the speakerLu Chen is a philosophy Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She specializes in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and logic. Her primary research interest is in the metaphysical foundation of physical geometry. Her work has been published in Journal of Philosophical Logic and Synthese.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

February 13, 2020 at 12:35 pm

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Talk at Bilkent 11 Feb: David Schroeren on The Theory of Every Thing

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The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter

By David Schroeren (Princeton, Philosophy)

Date: Tuesday 11th February, 2020

Time: 1640-1800

Place: H-232

Abstract: We are used to thinking that physics describes the world as fundamentally composed of matter: the fundamental building blocks of the world, like elementary particles or quantum fields. But when we look at modern physics and the pronouncements of its practitioners, we find forceful rejections of this familiar picture. We are told that what is fundamental are symmetries (such as Leibniz shifts), whereas matter is ontologically secondary and derivative on them. In this talk, I outline a metaphysics that underwrites this intriguing vision of fundamental reality and detail its implications for a range of issues in metaphysics, including monism, physical necessity, anti-haecceitism, the metaphysics of properties, as well as the metaphysics of space-time.

About the speakerDavid Schroeren, PhD candidate in Philosophy at Princeton. Prior training in philosophy at Oxford, in mathematics at Cambridge, and in physics at Potsdam University. His principal research interests are in Philosophy of Physics, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Science. He also has interests in nearby areas of philosophy, as well as in the Philosophy of Kant, Political Philosophy and Intergenerational Ethics.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

February 6, 2020 at 11:41 am

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CFP: Synthese Topical Collection on Imagination and Its Limits

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Call for Papers:

Synthese Topical Collection

“Imagination and Its Limits”

Guest Editors:

  • Amy Kind (Claremont McKenna College)
  • Tufan Kıymaz (Bilkent University)

Imagination is at the center of contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind. The ontological status of mental imagery, the epistemological status of imagined scenarios in terms of counterfactual and modal claims, and the relationship between imaginative ability and phenomenal knowledge are all rigorously debated in analytic literature. Likewise, the nature and function of imagination is an important and lively area of research in neuroscience and psychology.

We invite contributions for the Synthese Topical Collection titled “Imagination and Its Limits.” Questions about the limits of imagination fall roughly into three categories:

(1) Questions about the nature of imagination, such as: What cognitive phenomena fall under imagination and what cognitive phenomena do not? What are the different kinds of imagination? Is mental imagery necessary for imagination?

(2) Questions about the (proper) function of imagination, such as: In what ways is imagination used? In what ways can it be used? What is the role of imagination in perception, memory, our engagement with fiction, phenomenal knowledge, moral knowledge, self-knowledge, knowledge of conditionals and modals, etc.?

(3) Questions about the reach and range of imagination, such as: Can imagination extend beyond the merely possible to the impossible? Are there some scenarios that cannot be imagined, and if so, why not?

Appropriate Topics for Submission include, among others:

  • The representational content of mental imagery
  • Neurophilosophy of mental imagery
  • Modal knowledge, conceivability and imagination
  • Mental time travel
  • Embodied imagination
  • Imagination in aesthetics and philosophy of fiction
  • Imagination in science
  • Imagination and philosophical intuitions
  • Methodological role of imagination in philosophy

The deadline for submissions is June 7, 2020.

Manuscripts should be submitted online at http://www.editorialmanager.com/synt  

After logging in to the system, please select the option “TC : Imagination and Its Limits” from the Article Type scroll-down menu.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. All manuscripts will be refereed through a peer-review process. All submitted articles should comply with Synthese’s Submission Guidelines:

For further information, please contact Tufan Kıymaz

tufan.kiymaz@bilkent.edu.tr, Department of Philosophy, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

This Topical Collection is based on Exploring the Mind’s Eye: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Imagination, October 25-26, 2019, Bilkent University.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

January 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Posted in cfp

Call for Abstracts: 4th International Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at Bilkent

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The 4th Bilkent International Undergraduate Philosophy Conference will be held on 4-5 April at Bilkent University, Ankara.

Keynote speaker: Heidi Maibom (Professor of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati)

Call for abstracts:
Deadline: February 23, 2020
500-1000 words for talks, 300-500 words for posters, via email: philstudentconf@bilkent.edu.tr

Students from all universities and departments are welcome to participate. Participants are encouraged to apply from outside Ankara, and we will do our best to arrange accommodation if needed.

Presentations will be of two types: 20-minute talks and poster presentations.
Each presenter will receive a certificate of participation.

Submission Guidelines:

1. There is no restriction on subject matter, as long as a philosophical argument is presented.
2. Not only philosophy students but also students from other departments are welcome.
3. Submissions and all other inquiries should be sent by e-mail to philstudentconf@bilkent.edu.tr
4. Participants should send a long abstract of 500-1000 words to be considered for a talk, or a short abstract of 300-500 words to be considered for the poster session. If you submit a long abstract, please indicate whether you would like your abstract to be considered for the poster session as well, in case it is not accepted for verbal presentation.
5. Please attach one copy of your long or short abstract, with its title on top, but is otherwise anonymous and does not in any way give away the identity of the author.
6. Please include in the body of the e-mail submission your full name, university affiliation, the title of your paper and your contact information (such as your e-mail address).
7. The submitted abstracts, the talks, and the posters will be in English.
8. Standard poster size is 36×48 inches (about 91 x 122 cm) or A0.
9. The deadline for submission is February 23, 2020. Accepted submissions will be announced by March 1, 2020.

Click here for photos from last year’s conference.

Bilkent University Department of Philosophy
Bilkent Philosophical Society
Bilkent Cognitive Science Society

For more information: http://www.phil.bilkent.edu.tr

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

December 22, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Posted in cfp, Events in Turkey

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MA and PhD in Philosophy at Bilkent University

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We are now accepting applications for our MA and PhD in philosophy (for those starting in Spring 2020).

Early application deadline: Nov 1
Regular application deadline: Dec 13

All successful applicants will receive a comprehensive scholarship (tuition waiver, housing support, private health insurance, and monthly stipend).

Up to five graduate students each year will have the opportunity to spend a semester at the School of Philosophy at Australian National University. The exchange is fully funded.

We warmly welcome applications from international students, as well as philosophy and non-philosophy majors.

The language of instruction for all aspects of the program is English.

For more information click here.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

October 11, 2019 at 8:21 am

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Talk by Bence Nanay at Bilkent University

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The Fragmented Mind

By Bence Nanay (Antwerp & Cambridge)

Date: Thursday 24th October

Time: 1740-1900

Place: Bilkent University, FFB-06

Abstract: You are bored during this talk, do you check your phone or not? Resist the temptation or yield? Social psychology shows that both are bad options. Yielding establishes bad habits and resisting often leads to cognitive dissonance (when you want to hide from yourself that you had the urge to check your phone). The best thing to do with temptation is to avoid them – leave that phone at home, for example. If we want to understand self-control, we should focus on avoiding, not on resisting temptations. And we have some evidence that the ability to avoid temptations directly correlates to the extent to which our mind is fragmented.

About the speakerBence Nanay is Professor of Philosophy and BOF Research Professor at the University of Antwerp, where he is also co-director of the Centre for Philosophical Psychology and Senior Research Associate at Peterhouse, Cambridge University. He is the author of Between Perception and Action (OUP, 2013) and the editor of Perceiving the World (OUP, 2010), Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception (OUP, 2016) and of Current Controversies in Philosophy of Perception (Routledge, 2016). He has published more than 90 articles on various topics mainly in philosophy of mind and in aesthetics. He used to work as a film critic and served on the jury of various major international film festivals.

This talk precedes “Exploring the Mind’s Eye – An Interdisciplinary Conference on Imagination” (October 25-26), where Prof. Nanay will also be presenting.

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

October 7, 2019 at 11:17 am

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Imagination and Mental Imagery Reading Group at Bilkent

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In preparation for the Exploring the Mind’s Eye interdisciplinary conference, which will take place on October 25-26 at Bilkent, we will have two more meetings of our reading group on imagination and mental imagery where we will discuss some papers by the conference speakers. Having participated in the summer meetings is not a requirement to attend the meetings this semester. The readings (which might be adjusted based on the participants’ suggestions) are as follows:

Session 1: October 8, Tuesday, 17:40-18:40, H-355

Session 2: October 22, Tuesday, 17:40-18:40, H-355

If you are interested in joining the reading group, please contact Tufan Kıymaz.

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

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

October 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm

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Call For Registration: Conference on Imagination at Bilkent

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Exploring the Mind’s Eye: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Imagination will be held at Bilkent University, Ankara on October 25-26, 2019. This conference is organized by the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience.

Confirmed Speakers (in alphabetical order):
Adam Zeman, University of Exeter
Amy Kind, Claremont McKenna College
Anna Abraham, Leeds Beckett University
Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp
David Papineau, CUNY Graduate Center & KCL
Deena Weisberg, Villanova University
Kourken Michaelian, Université Grenoble Alpes
Margot Strohminger, University of Oxford
Tufan Kıymaz, Bilkent University

Conference program: Click here

Registration: imgconf.eventbrite.com
Online registration is free but required.

The day before the conference, Thursday, October 24, Bence Nanay will give a talk at Bilkent University for wider audience. The title of his talk is “The Fragmented Mind.” Everyone is welcome to attend this talk as well.

All questions should be emailed to imgconf@bilkent.edu.tr
For more information about the conference: phil.bilkent.edu.tr

Written by Tufan Kıymaz

September 24, 2019 at 3:28 pm

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