Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Epistemology’ Category

Int. Workshop on Theory (Re-)Construction in the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (TRC2020), 7-8 NOV 2020 (online or on-site)

leave a comment »

***please distribute widely; apologies for x-posting***

Int. Workshop on Theory (Re-)Construction in the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (TRC2020)

Sat & Sun, 7-8 NOV 2020 (online or on-site)

Boğaziçi University, Dpt. of Philosophy & Cognitive Science Program, 34342 Bebek/Istanbul, Turkey


It has been repeatedly observed that the Empirical Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESBS) lack well-developed theoretical superstructures, structures that researchers could apply to generate (point-)predictive empirical hypotheses. The MTR project treats this lacuna as an important reason to explain, and to treat, the ongoing replicability crisis in the ESBS.

We invite abstracts from any scientific field addressing this lacuna via reconstructions of empirical theories (from the ESBS or not), research on frameworks (or methods) for theory reconstruction, synchronic or diachronic work on concept formation/ontology in the ESBS, and explanatory accounts why this lacuna persists. We particularly invite applied work on how to go about constructing an ESBS theory.

Participation is on-site or online. There are no fees. Please submit an abstract (max. around 500 words) plus key references by 15 SEPT 2020.

What now?

Submit abstract https://easychair.org/my/conference?conf=trc2020

Receive e-mail updates https://bit.ly/TRC2020-registration

Registration https://bit.ly/TRC2020-registration

Learn more about MTR  https://mtrboun.wordpress.com/home-2/project/about/

Important Dates

Deadlines are at midnight, GMT+3.

Abstract submission 15 SEPT 2020
Acceptance letters sent 30 SEPT 2020
Registration for speaker 15 OCT 2020
Program ready 22 OCT 2020
Registration for discussants by 1 NOV 2020


Zeynep Burçe Gümüşlü




Talk at Bilkent 31 March: Mehmet Elgin

leave a comment »

Mehmet Elgin (Muğla University)

“Why Do Evolutionary Biologists Formulate A Priori Laws Rather Than Empirical Laws?”

Friday 31 March, 2017, 11-12:30, G160.



Abstract: Unlike any branch of physics, evolutionary biology is peppered with a priori mathematical models. It is important to explain why this is the case. I will argue that when we examine the principle of natural selection carefully, we see that this law relates fitness to gene frequencies. Fitness appealed to in this law is stripped away from any physical or biological details and it represents a mere mathematical value. When we relate this value to gene frequencies, we are relating two mathematical values. As a result we end up with a priori laws. I will then provide a more general argument for this fact: Fitness is a genuine multiply realizable property. Only laws that can be formulated about genuinely multiply realizable states are a priori laws. Therefore, only laws that can be formulated about fitness are a priori laws. I will finally argue that such a priori laws in evolutionary biology have very important functions: They are essential for us to be able to formulate empirically testable causal hypotheses about the evolution of specific populations and they are also indispensable in developing causal explanations systematically.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Lucas Thorpe at Bilkent

leave a comment »

Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi University)

“Knowledge Doesn’t Entail Belief: Avoiding the Seductive Charm of Indo-European Grammar and Remembering Unbelievable Kisses”


Date: Thursday 22 December, 2016

Time: 1040-1230

Place: G160

Abstract: In this paper I will sketch a model of the relationship between perceptual knowledge and belief. My position is influenced by the work of the 18th century Scottish common sense philosopher Thomas Reid. I will argue that knowledge is a much simpler mental state than belief and that the capacity to know is developmentally prior to the capacity to believe. I will argue that perceptual knowledge is objectual whereas beliefs are propositional attitudes; perceptual knowledge involves grasping the world conceptually, whereas belief involves taking an attitude towards our concepts, namely marking them as instantiated. Belief require some capacity for meta-cognition, whereas perceptual knowledge does not. It is possible to deploy a concept in an act of perception without also taking an attitude towards this concept. If this is right then we need to drop what I call the entailment thesis: namely the claim that knowing entails believing. I will suggest that philosophers such as Tim Williamson who support a “knowledge first” epistemology have no good reason to accept the entailment thesis. I will also provide a number of thought experiments and appeal to some recent empirical research to support my position.

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 19, 2016 at 11:59 am

Eylem Özaltun at Bilkent

leave a comment »

Eylem Özaltun (Koç University)

“Acting as a Way of Knowing the World”

Abstract: Philosophers generally agree that agents bear a special epistemic relation to their own intentional actions. But what exactly does an agent know aboueylem-o%cc%88zaltunn2-01t her action by acting intentionally? The traditional two-factor account answers this question as follows: what an agent knows in virtue of acting intentionally is her intention, and what actually happens is known separately, by observation or inference. Against the traditional account I defend the view that what an agent knows in virtue of acting intentionally is what actually happens; acting intentionally is a way of knowing how things are outside of the mind and body. In this talk I do not argue for this view directly but by way of undermining the appeal of the traditional account. I focus on the reasons provided by epistemologists of action in favor of the two-factor approach. I show that what motivates the traditional account is a genuine difficulty of giving a unified analysis of two important, but seemingly incompatible, features of knowing by acting: immediacy and fallibility. Then I argue that these features are not specific to an agent’s knowledge of her actions; in fact they are the necessary features of our epistemic activities in general, and they are no easier to account for in the case of perception. I conclude that the two puzzling features of an agent’s knowledge do not by themselves give us a reason to deny that action is, in its own right, a way of knowing the world.

Date: Friday 16 December, 2016

Time: 1640-1800

Place: G160


Written by Sandrine Berges

December 13, 2016 at 2:29 pm

İlhan İnan at Bilkent

leave a comment »

“Is the Speed of Light Knowable A priori?”

İlhan İnan (Boğaziçi University)

i%cc%87lhan-i%cc%87nan-poster-01Abstract:  Given the current “definition” of the concept of meter a simple argument appears to show that some scientists could come to know the answer to the question “how many meters does light travel in a vacuum in one second?” without having to do any observations or calculations. It would then seem that their knowledge of the speed of light would have some unusual epistemic properties such as being certain, infallible and indubitable, and perhaps also analytic. What is more shocking is that we may also be able to conclude that these scientists know the speed of light a priori. This appears to be a new version of the puzzle about how long the “standard meter bar” is, which Wittgenstein discusses in his Philosophical Investigations, later taken up by Saul Kripke in Naming and Necessity yielding the puzzling conclusion that certain contingent truths are knowable a priori. In this talk I discuss how the new version of the puzzle differs from the old one, why Nathan Salmon’s and Keith Donnellan’s “solutions” to the old puzzle are really not solutions, how the current literature on mental files can be employed to approach the puzzle. I then argue the notion of apriority employed in the argument requires further elaboration so that we may conclude, following Nenad Miscevic, that “interesting a priori knowledge cannot be gotten for cheap.”

Date: Wednesday 7 December, 2016

Time: 1100-1230

Place: G160

Written by Sandrine Berges

December 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Three talks at Bilkent, 15-18 February

leave a comment »

John Shaheen
Department of Philosophy
University of Gent
Is Metaphysical Explanation Only Metaphorically Explanatory?

DATE: Monday 15 February 2016
TIME: 16:40-18:30
PLACE: G-160

Abstract: In this talk, I will present evidence of a systematic ambiguity in our explanatory terminology, as well as my preferred account of that ambiguity: the causal metaphor account of metaphysical explanation. I will then discuss how that account explains the attraction of grounding skepticism. I will close by considering whether, in addition, it can be the basis of a convincing argument for grounding skepticism.

Adam Murray 
Department of Philosophy
University of Toronto

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by István Aranyosi

February 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Talk at Bilkent by Ulf Hlobil (Pittsburgh): “Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”

leave a comment »

Ulf Hlobil
Department of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh

“Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”

DATE: Wed 10 February 2016
TIME: 15:40-17:30
PLACE: G-160, Bilkent University, Ankara


What, if anything, is wrong with acting on moral beliefs that we accept
merely on the say-so of others? Why could it be problematic to act on a
moral belief that we take to be true without understanding why it is true?
I defend a qualified and novel version of what is called “pessimism” in
the controversy over pure moral testimony. I argue that we can rationally
come to hold the premises of moral reasoning through testimony, but that
moral testimony is problematic in cases where the agent lacks the ability
to make the correct practical inference. The problem is that inferential
abilities cannot be shared via testimony. The role that moral testimony
can play in our moral lives is therefore limited. My account gives the
correct verdicts for common examples in the literature on moral testimony.
It, moreover, incorporates many of the optimists’ insights and is more
general and informative than rival accounts.

Written by István Aranyosi

February 4, 2016 at 8:12 am

Prof. Osman Bakar // The Epistemologies of al-Farabi and al-Ghazzali: Comparative Perspectives

leave a comment »

Istanbul Sehir University Philosophy Talks 17



“The Epistemologies of al-Farabi and al-Ghazzali: Comparative Perspectives”

Prof. Osman Bakar

Distinguished Professor and Director Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Al-Farabi (870 AD– 950 AD) and al-Ghazzali (1058 AD – 1111 AD) are among the intellectual giants in the history of Islam. They were separated in time by nearly two centuries but judging from their writings they appeared to have been contemporaries. They belonged to two different intellectual schools of thought, al-Farabi to the Peripatetic school and al-Ghazzali to the school of kalam (“dialectical theology”). Their thoughts have both similarities and differences. Professor Bakar will discuss their similar ideas such as in their acceptance of the ideas of hierarchy of knowledge and tawhidic epistemology as well as their differences with regard to their understanding of the relationship between intellect-reason and revelation, their notions of philosophy, and the relationship between religion and philosophy. Professor Bakar presents arguments that despite their differences on many intellectual issues they are united in their thinking at a deeper level and as such are to be regarded as coming from the same intellectual universe of Islam.


Written by metindemirsehir

December 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Professor Kenneth Westphal has joined the Bogazici University Philosophy Department.

with one comment

Professor Kenneth Westphal, the internationally renowned Kant and Hegel Scholar, has joined the Bogazici philosophy department as a full-time member.

Ken Wesphal is the author or editor of 8 books, including, as author:

(1)  Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism (Oxford University Press)

(2) Hegel’s Epistemology: A Philosophical Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit (Hackett)

(3) Hegel’s Epistemological Realism: A Study of the Aim and Method of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Springer)

(4) Hegel, Hume und die Identitat wahrnehmbarer Dinge (Klostermann)

And as editor:

(1) The Blackwell Guide to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (Blackwell)

(2) Realism, Science, and Pragmatism (Routledge)

He has also published more than a 100 papers and articles.  Ken will be a valuable addition to the philosophy community in Turkey, and we welcome him to the department and to Turkey.

Kant Reading Group at Bogazici (Mondays, 5.15-7pm)

leave a comment »

Lucas Thorpe and Ken Westphal will be running a Kant Reading Group at Bogazici University that will meet every Monday from 5.15pm-7pm in TB365 (starting on Monday October 13th 2104).

We will start by reading the manuscript of Ken Westphal’s new book – Moral Constructivism: Hume’s and Kant’s Natural Law Constructivism.

Once we have finished this we will decide collectively what to read next. If you would like to join the reading group, be sent a copy of the manuscript, and be added to our mailing list, please email Zubeyde: zkaradag(at)gmail.com.

Everyone welcome.


Written by Lucas Thorpe

October 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Philosophy/Cog-Sci Reading Group: Concepts and Beliefs, from Perception to Action (Wednesdays, 17.15-19.00, Bogazici University, TB365)

leave a comment »

As part of a three year Tubitak 1001 project on “Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action” we will be running a weekly reading group, that will meet on Wednesdays from 17.15-18.00 in TB365 at Bogazici University. If you would like to participate and be added to our mailing list (and receive copies of the readings) please contact Merve Tapinc (mrvtpn@gmail.com)

Hopefully we will have a website for the project up and running in a month or so.

The schedule for the first 5 weeks of the reading group will be as follows:

(1) September 24th, 2014
Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis, ‘Concepts and Cognitive Science’ in Concepts: Core Readings, Edited by Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence, MIT Press (1999), pp. 3-83

(2) October, 1st, 2014
Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis, ‘Concepts and Cognitive Science’ in Concepts: Core Readings, Edited by Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence, MIT Press (1999), pp. 3-83 (continued)

(3) October 8th, 2014
Lawrence and Margolis (cont.)

(4) October 15th, 2014
James Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, LEA Publishers, 1979

(5) October 22nd, 2014
Gibson (cont.)



Written by Lucas Thorpe

September 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Talk at Bilkent – Adam Crager (Princeton): “Aristotle on the Finitude of Essence”

leave a comment »


Adam Crager form Princeton University will give a talk at the Bilkent University, Department of Philosophy on April 10, 2014 Thursday at 17:40 o’clock, Room G160.

Written by Doğan Erişen

April 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

Talk at Yeditepe by Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Sehir) on “Consciousness and Misrepresentation” (21/03/2014)

leave a comment »


“Consciousness and Misrepresentation”

by Assist. Prof. Dr. Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Şehir University), on March 21, at 16.00, in Law Building Room 332.

Abstract: No one denies that we humans differ significantly from what one might call our cognitive relatives, i.e. complex machines such as robots or other forms of living beings. However what marks the difference is difficult to pin down. Consciousness has been taken to be one of the best candidates to account for this difference but an account of consciousness is just as difficult to give. In this talk I focus on one particular theory of consciousness, viz. the higher-order theory of consciousness and a troubling aspect of this theory. Higher-order theories assert that a mental state is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of that mental state. For instance the perception of a blue chair is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of the perception. But since representations are not infallible, higher-order theorists embrace the possibility of having a conscious perception of a blue chair where there is a perception of a red chair or even where there is no perception. The former is usually called a misrepresentation and the latter radical misrepresentation. Even though higher-order theories have many virtues, I suggest that the possibility of a radical misrepresentation undermines some of those virtues. As such either the possibility of a radical misrepresentation needs to be denied or the phenomenon of a radical misrepresentation needs to be understood in a different way.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Conference at Boğaziçi: Curiosity – Epistemics, Semantics, Ethics (7-8/03/2014)

leave a comment »

There will be a conference at Boğaziçi University on Friday and Saturday, March 7th and 8th on the Philosophy of Curiosity: Epistemics, Semantics, Ethics.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Two-Day Conference on Neurology, Philosophy of Biology, and Artificial Intelligence, organized by Koç University Philosophy Department (Venue: Beyoglu – RCAC)

leave a comment »

  • Speakers include but are not limited to: Bernard Stiegler (Université de Technologie Compiègne), Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley), Barry Smith (University of London), and Güven Güzeldere (Harvard University)Poster

Conference Program

May 25th  Saturday

9.30 Opening

9.45-11.45 First Session

  Hilmi Demir: “A Recent History of Philosophy of Mind: Convergence Points between Cognitive Sciences and Phenomenology”

 Barış Korkmaz: “Self: Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis”

Aziz Zambak: “Plasticity: The Forgotten Principle in Artificial Intelligence”

11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00  Second Session

Bernard Stiegler: “From Neuropower to Noopolitics”

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30:16:30 Third Session

Patrick Roney: “Neuro-aesthetics”

Zeynep Direk: “Neuroethics and the question of alterity”

Stephen Voss: “What do I mean when I say I”

May 26th Sunday

 9:30-10:30 First Session

Alva Noë: “The Fragile Manifest: Presence in Thought and Experience”

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break 

10:45-12:45 Second Session

Barry Smith: “Are Flavours in the Brain? The Phenomenology and Neuroscience of Flavour Perception”

Güven Güzeldere: “Unity of Consciousness in a Divided Brain?” 

 12:45-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:30 Third Session

Fuat Balcı: “Reward Maximization: The Role of Time and its Psychophysics”

Emrah Aktunç: “On Bickle’s ‘Ruthless Reductionism in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience: What are they Reducing?”

Hakan Gürvit: “Plasticity: Via Regia to the Neuroscientific Subjectivity”

Venue: Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations – Beyoglu

Venue Map

Distributed cognition and memory research

leave a comment »

Our special issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology is now out:



  • Kourken Michaelian, John Sutton. Distributed Cognition and Memory Research: History and Current Directions
  • Robert D. Rupert. Memory, Natural Kinds, and Cognitive Extension; or, Martians Don’t Remember, and Cognitive Science Is Not about Cognition
  • Deborah P. Tollefsen, Rick Dale, Alexandra Paxton. Alignment, Transactive Memory, and Collective Cognitive Systems
  • Georg Theiner. Transactive Memory Systems: A Mechanistic Analysis of Emergent Group Memory
  • Martin M. Fagin, Jeremy K. Yamashiro, William C. Hirst. The Adaptive Function of Distributed Remembering: Contributions to the Formation of Collective Memory
  • Robert W. Clowes. The Cognitive Integration of E-Memory
  • Santiago Arango-Muñoz. Scaffolded Memory and Metacognitive Feelings
  • Nils Dahlbäck, Mattias Kristiansson, Fredrik Stjernberg. Distributed Remembering Through Active Structuring of Activities and Environments
  • Paul Loader. Is my Memory an Extended Notebook?

Written by Kourken Michaelian

March 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Adam Green (University of Innsbruck) “Knowledge as a Team Sport” (08/03/2013)

with one comment

Adam Green (University of Innsbruck) will be giving a talk on March 8th:

“Knowledge as a Team Sport”

Friday, 5-7pm, TB130

ABSTRACT: Virtue epistemology and credit theories of knowledge think about knowledge as a kind of achievement. Knowing is achieving a true belief through cognitive excellence or, at least, through reliable faculties. Virtue epistemology has a lot of strengths to recommend it, especially its account of the normativity and the value of knowledge. Many, however, consider it to be a non-starter because of a growing list of problems some of the most well known of which concern testimony, that is, coming to believe things on the say-so of others. There are at least three problems for virtue/ credit views associated with testimony. First, if anyone deserves the credit for one coming by a true testimonial belief, it would seem to be the testifier not the recipient of testimony. Second, one commonly predicates testimonial knowledge of children despite the fact that they are gullible and thus not skillful recipients of testimony. Third, results from social psychology challenge the idea that we are at all reliable in monitoring others for trustworthiness, deceit, or competence. In this talk, I develop an anti-individualistic virtue epistemology, and I use it to resolve these three supposed shortcomings of virtue epistemologies and credit theories of knowledge.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Margot Strohminger (St Andrews) on “Imaginability Maxims and Appearances of Possibility” (21.02.2012)

leave a comment »

Margot Strohminger (St Andrews)

Thursday, 21/02/2012,  5-7pm, TB130

“Conceivability, inconceivability and modal intuitions”

Abstract. According to conceivability maxims, a kind of conceivability is a guide to possibility. According to inconceivability maxims, a kind of inconceivability is a guide to impossibility. Conceivability and inconceivability maxims face a challenge from defenders of intuitions as a source of justification. They claim that the epistemically relevant kind of (in)conceivability will have to involve an intuition of (im)possibility in order for the maxims to come out true; hence, the modal intuitions are doing all of the epistemic work. The aim of this talk is to argue that a number of options are available to the defender of a conceivability or inconceivability maxim in response.

Information about upcoming events at Bogazici can be found here

Written by Lucas Thorpe

January 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Two talks by Ken Westphal at Bogazici. (29 & 30/11/2012)

leave a comment »

Ken Westphal (East Anglia/ Bielefeld), the internationally renowned Kant and Hegel scholar, will give two talks at Bogazici next week.

Thursday November 29th, 5-7pm, TB130
“Natural Law, Social Contract & Moral Objectivity: Rousseau’s Natural Law Constructivism”

Friday November 30th, 5-7pm TB130
“Conventionalism & the Impoverishment of the Space of Reasons”

Ken Westphal has published almost 100 articles and the following books:

As Author:

Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism.
Hegel’s Epistemology: A Philosophical Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit.
Hegel, Hume und die Identität wahrnehmbarer Dinge: Historisch-kritische Analyse zum Kapitel Wahrnehmung in der Phanomenologie von 1807.
Hegel’s Epistemological Realism: A Study of the Aim and Method of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.

As Editor:

The Blackwell Guide to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.
Pragmatism, Reason, & Norms: A Realistic Assessment.
An Introduction to Hegel’s Logic , by Justus Hartnack.
Pragmatism and Realism , by Frederick L. WILL (Foreword by Alasdair MACINTYRE).
William Caldwell: Pragmatism and Idealism – and Responses and Reviews (with John Shook).

Abstracts below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 22, 2012 at 12:26 am

Talk at Bogazici: Erhan Demircioglu on “Recognitional Identification and the Knowledge Argument” 02/11/2012

leave a comment »

Erhan Demircioglu will be giving a talk this Friday (02/11/2012) at Bogazici on “Recognitional Identification and the Knowledge Argument”. The talk will take place from 5-7pm in TB130. Everyone welcome.
ABSTRACT: Frank Jackson’s famous Knowledge Argument asks us to consider Mary, a perfect scientist who has all physical knowledge about experiencing red and yet who has not experienced red before. The intuition is that when Mary leaves her room and sees a ripe tomato, she will be surprised and exclaim “So, that is what it is like to see red!”, and thus will acquire a new piece of information about experiencing red. And, since physicalism implies that given her complete physical knowledge, Mary knows everything about experiencing red, Jackson argues, physicalism is false. Some physicalists (e.g., John Perry) have countered against this argument by arguing that what Mary lacks before experiencing red is merely a piece of recognitional knowledge of an identity, and that since having (or lacking) a piece of recognitional knowledge of an identity is not, or does not entail, having (or lacking) any pieces of knowledge of worldly facts, physicalism is safe.  I will argue that what Mary lacks in her room is not merely a piece of recognitional knowledge of an identity and that some physicalists have failed to see this because of a failure to appreciate that Mary’s epistemic progress when she first experiences red has two different stages. While the second stage of her epistemic progress can be plausibly considered as acquiring a piece of recognitional knowledge of an identity, there is a good reason to think that the first epistemic stage cannot be thus considered.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

October 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Dan Korman (UI-UC) on ‘Debunking Perceptual Beliefs about Ordinary Objects’ Monday, 08/10/2012

leave a comment »

Dan Korman (UI-UC) will be giving a talk on ‘Debunking Perceptual Beliefs about Ordinary Objects‘ on Monday October 8th from 17:00-19:00 at Bogazici University, room TB130 (in the philosophy department).

A draft copy of the paper can be found here. And the handout here.

ABSTRACT: On our natural way of “carving up” the world into objects, some collections of objects together compose something (e.g., the trunk and branches of a palm tree) and others do not (the trunk and the dog lying beside it). Reflection on the sorts of factors that might underwrite or influence such judgments about which objects there are give rise to powerful (and under-appreciated) “debunking arguments” against our perceptual beliefs about ordinary objects. I assimilate these arguments to arguments that arise in meta-ethics and the philosophy of math, and I examine a variety of way of trying to resist the arguments.  

Written by Lucas Thorpe

September 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Conference: ‘Ideals and the Ideal in Kant’, Bogazici University, May 23rd-26th, 2012

with one comment

All talks will be in the Turgut Noyan Salonu (North Campus, next to the library). Details can be found here.

The program (including links to some handouts) is below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Philosophy in Assos, July 2-5, 2012: “Passions and Emotions in Ancient and Modern Philosophy”

with one comment

The program is now up for the Philosophy in Assos summer event. For those of you who have never been before, this is one of the nicest events on the Turkish philosophical calendar.

Assos is a very small seaside village and is a natural venue for philosophy events as Aristotle lived there for many years.  The events (organised every year by Örsan Öymen) are really good philosophically, and lots of fun.

This years speakers are: Fulvia De Luise (University of Trento), Stephen Leighton (Queen’s University), Pascal Engel (University of Geneva), Amy Schmitter (University of Alberta), Simon Blackburn (University of Cambridge), Kevin Mulligan (University of Geneva) and Toni Ronnow-Rasmussen (Lund University).

Further information can be found here. The program is below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

April 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Robert Gordon (UM-St. Louis) at Bogazici, May 2nd, 5-7pm.

leave a comment »

Robert Gordon will be giving a talk jointly organised by the Bogazici cognitive -science program and the philosophy department, on May 2nd from 5-7pm. Venue: M2170 (Engineering Building)

Professor Gordon is the founder of Simulation Theory. As far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong about this) he introduced this expression in his extremely influential 1986 paper ““Folk Psychology as Simulation”.

“The Shared World in Which Minds Meet”


The title is based on William James, writing against Berkeleian idealism:

“Practically, … our minds meet in a world of objects which they share in common…. Your objects are over and over again the same as mine. If I ask you where some object of yours is, our old Memorial Hall, for example, you point to my Memorial Hall with your hand which I see. If you alter an object in your world, put out a candle, for example, when I am present, my candle ipso facto goes out.” (Radical Empiricism)

In the spirit of this quote, I defend a kind of externalist account of folk psychology, grounded in a hypothesis about shared neural representation. Shared representation (strongly overlapping neural implementation) is well‐established for visualizing and seeing, to give just one example; also, for pain and the perception of pain in others. I describe a kind of shared external representation that would cause us to frame our understanding of others in terms of a Jamesian shared world, by default. It is implicit in this default understanding that others have epistemic access to the world – that is, that the facts (as we ourselves believe them to be) are known to others. Shared representation of this sort would seem to support Williamson’s “knowledge first” thesis in epistemology. Although shared external representation would be consistent with a simulation account of folk psychology, it would be consistent with a pluralistic account as well; however, it would not support your typical “belief‐desire theory” theory.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

April 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Epistemic Realism and the goal of Epistemology

with 21 comments

I’m teaching a class this Semester on ‘The British Realist Tradition from Reid to Williamson’, and I tell my students that I’m an ‘Epistemic Realist’ and this post is an attempt to work out what I mean by this. Anyway here’s a first, inadequate, stab at explaining what I mean by epistemic realism: “There is such a thing as knowing, and one central goal of epistemology is to understand more clearly what sort of thing it is”.  I think that knowledge is something like a mental natural kind (or perhaps a set of distinct natural kinds) and the task of epistemology is not primarily to get a better understanding of our concept of “knowledge”, but to discover truths about knowledge and to provide a better conceptualization of this aspect of the mental. A central question for an epistemic realist has to do with the relationship between our epistemic language and epistemic facts – and on this I’m sympathetic to Thomas Reid.

Following Reid: (1) I’m a believer in the defeasible authority of common sense. (2) I think that it is not immediately clear what belongs to common sense and what does not. And (3) I take the fact that a certain distinction is found in all natural languages to be a defeasible indication that the distinction is part of common sense. Thus I think that if a distinction is to be found in all languages, this is a good indication that it reflects a real distinction in the world. (I discussed this briefly in a previous post here)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Philosophy Seminar at Istanbul Technical University, 13th March

leave a comment »

David Horst (University of Leipzig) will present a seminar paper on ‘Practical Knowledge’ (abstract below)

Day: Tuesday, 13th March

Time: 13:30

Place: Seminar Room, Department of Humanities and Social Science, Faculty of Science and Letters, Istanbul Technical University, Ayazağa Campus (which is in Maslak not Ayazağa!), on the metro line from Taksim.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Barry Stocker

March 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Wenglish: A Language with No Sentences

with 39 comments

It has been more than a year since I have been working on the idea that truth is in fact a form of reference. I started writing a text last year around this time, intending it to be a journal article, but then it got so long that I am now thinking of turning it into a book. The idea first came up when I was working on one of the chapters of my book on curiosity which just recently came out. I hold that being curious requires one to attempt to refer to something unknown to him/her. This allowed me to deal with the wh-questions easily but I had a serious problem with direct questions, or better yes/no questions. Initially I used Frege’s theory to tackle with it but it was too artificial. I liked the Fregean idea that sentences are in fact referring expressions, but I could not convince myself that true sentences refer to the True (whatever that may be)– and even worse is that false sentences refer to the False. So I started searching for an alternative theory which is what led to this work. I then revised and made substantial additions to my curiosity book, but it was at best scratching the surface. In the past year or so I gave four separate talks on it, originally with the title *TRUTH IS REFERENCE*, in Virginia, Milan, St Andrews, and Bogazici.  The part of the talk that attracted the most amount of attention is where I develop a hypothetical language that I call *Wenglish*. This is a language which is just like English except that it does not have declarative sentences. Well that’s what I say, and though most of my listeners seemed to agree with me someone in the audience in one of my talks objected to it (I think it was in Virginia and it might have been Trenton Merrics, but I have to check this).  Wenglish also does not have a separate truth predicate, but of course it has the notion of *reference*. *Reference* is not a predicate though, because Wenglish does not have any predicates either. Rather it has descriptional functions that do same job.  Anyway I argue that whatever that we can say in English we can say in Wenglish. If this is correct it shows all three things that I wish to show: truth is a form of reference; to say that a sentence is true is to say that it refers; and to say that a sentence is false is to say that it fails to refer. Anyway here is a short passage in Wenglish for you to figure out how it works:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ilhan inan

March 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

Knowledge is not a Propositional Attitude (at least, not in Turkish)

with 24 comments

I’m writing a paper at the moment arguing that knowledge does not entail belief.  Part of my argument is that knowing is not a propositional attitude, whereas believing is. I think there is a clear ontological distinction between facts and propositions and that what can be known are facts (and perhaps also states of affairs, and  Objects) whereas the objects of belief are propositions. The essential difference between facts and propositions is that facts are not truth apt, whereas propositions are. Amongst philosophers today the claim that knowing is not a propositional attitude is extremely idiosyncratic, however  historically something similar to the position I defend was probably the view of the majority of philosophers. In a later post I’ll give some evidence to back up this historical claim. In this post I want to point out that what I believe to be one of the strongest motivations for the claim that knowing is a propositional attitude is based on a contingent feature of English (and other Indo-European languages).

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm