Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Metaphilosophy’ Category

Center, Periphery, Philosophy

leave a comment »

The recently created online Directory of Philosophers from Underrepresented Groups in Philosophy (UPDir) is supposed, according to its promoters, “to provide an easy-to-use resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the work of philosophers who belong to underrepresented groups within the discipline.”

Though I fit one of the categories, I have not registered myself, and do not intend to. I might offer my reasons in some future post, but for now I want to focus on something else, namely, the epistemic neo-colonialist thinking, or rather mental reflex, that underlies some assumptions behind this project and behind some other phenomena in our field.


My problem is with the way the category “Philosophy”, or “the discipline”, is explicitly understood if we are to take it for granted the some groups are “traditionally underrepresented” within it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by István Aranyosi

December 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Talk at Bogazici by Nurbay Irmak (Miami) on “The Privilege of the Physical and Metaontology” 17/07/2013

leave a comment »

Nurbay Irmak (Miami)  will give a talk next Wednesday (17/07/2013) at Bogazici University, TB130 from 5-7pm. Everyone welcome.


“The Privilege of the Physical and Metaontology.”

ABSTRACT: Theodore Sider in his latest book provides a defense of the substantivity of the first-order ontological debates against recent deflationary attacks. He articulates and defends several realist theses: (a) nature has an objective structure, (b) there is an objectively privileged language to describe the structure, and (c) ontological debates are substantive. Sider’s defense of metaontological realism, (c), crucially depends on his realism about fundamental languages, (b). I argue that (b) is wrong. As a result, Sider’s metaontological realism fails to establish the substantivity of certain ontological disputes. Nonetheless, I will argue denying metaontological realism does not require giving up on the realism about structure, (a), that most of us would like to preserve: namely the idea that there are objective similarities and differences in the world that we try to wrap our minds around.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

July 12, 2013 at 6:11 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

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

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

Common Sense and Seduction by Grammar.

with 4 comments

In the Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche suggests that because, grammatically, every verb requires a subject we naturally think that every deed requires a doer. This natural belief he argues is a result of being seduced by grammar; we confuse the need for a grammatical subject with the existence of a real subject. Nietzsche’s argument here is reminiscent of Kant’s argument in the Paralogisms of Pure Reason that rational psychology is the result of confusing the need for a logical subject of thought with the intuition of a real subject. Similarly, in “On Denoting” Russell argues that philosophers need to look beyond the surface grammatical structure of natural language to discover the underlying logical structure. In my previous post (here), I suggested that many contemporary philosophers have been seduced by a contingent feature of the grammar of Indo-European languages.

My argument might suggest that I am sceptical of appeals to the way natural languages work in philosophy. Unlike, Nietzsche, however I am not, in general, a sceptic about appeals to natural language in philosophy. Like Thomas Reid I I am sympathetic to the view that we can use certain features of natural language as defeasible evidence for (or against) philosophical positions. Although Reid is often seen as a forerunner of ordinary language philosophy I think that it is more plausible to describe him as a “universal language philosopher”, for what has philosophical significance for Reid is the agreement of all languages on a certain point, not the contingent features of a particular language.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm