Hesperus is Bosphorus

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Archive for the ‘Metaphysics’ Category

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

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***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




Bilkent Philosophy Colloquium, Tufan Kıymaz

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“The Fine-Tuning Argument: For God or Against Physics?”

By Tufan Kıymaz (Bilkent, Philosophy)

Thursday 9th November, 2017, 1540-1730, H-232.


Abstract: The physical constants and laws of nature in our universe appear to be finely-tuned to secure the emergence of life. The best explanation of this appearance of fine-tuning for life is that the physical constants and laws of nature are in fact finely-tuned, that is, they are designed. Therefore, the finely-tuned appearance of our universe constitutes good (if not conclusive) evidence for the existence of God. This is the Fine-Tuning Argument and it is arguably the most influential argument for the existence of God in contemporary philosophy of religion. But, it is a bad argument, or so I argue. In this talk, I propose a counter-argument, which follows the same inferential approach that underlies the Fine-Tuning Argument, to a conclusion that is incompatible with its soundness. I argue, more specifically, that one can use the same kind of consideration that the Fine-Tuning Argument rests on to argue not for the existence of God but against the reliability of our current fundamental physics. This poses a serious problem for the Fine-Tuning Argument since it is essential for the argument that our current fundamental physics is reliable.

Written by Sandrine Berges

November 3, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Talk at Bilkent: “Revisionary Ontology with No Apologies”, by Dávid Kovács

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“Revisionary Ontology with No Apologies”

By Dávid Kovács,

Department of Philosophy, Cornell University

DATE: Thursday 24 March 2016

TIME: 15:40 – 18:00

PLACE: H-355, Bilkent University, Ankara


Revisionary ontologies appear to disagree with common sense about which material objects there are. There are powerful arguments for these views, but even after having provided them, their proponents face the Problem of Reasonableness: they need to explain why most reasonable people hold beliefs apparently incompatible with the true ontology. According to mainstream approaches to this problem, the mismatch between ordinary belief and the true ontology is either merely apparent or superficial. In their place, I propose my unapologetic view, which consists of a causal and an evaluative component. In the causal component, I argue that our tendencies to form beliefs about material objects were influenced by selective pressures that were independent from the ontological truth. In the evaluative component, I draw a parallel with the New Evil Demon Problem and argue that whatever is the best treatment of this problem, the revisionary ontologist can apply it to ordinary people’s beliefs about material objects. I conclude that the unapologetic view emerges as an attractive, stable, and hitherto overlooked solution to the Problem of Reasonableness.

Written by István Aranyosi

March 23, 2016 at 8:26 am

Three talks at Bilkent, 15-18 February

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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

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Written by István Aranyosi

February 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

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

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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

Metaphysics & Language Symposium at METU (Nov. 19, 2015)

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METU Metaphysics & Language symposium

Schedule below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by István Aranyosi

November 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

Professor Kenneth Westphal has joined the Bogazici University Philosophy Department.

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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.

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

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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

2 reading groups at Boğaziçi this semester (spring 2014)

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There are a couple of philosophy reading groups at Boğaziçi this semester. Here are the details.

(1) UPDATE: We have now moved the reading group to Mondays from 5.15- 7pm, meeting in TB365
In the following 2 weeks we will be reading:
(a) 17/03/2014
Chapter 1 of Peter Carruthers “The Architecture of Mind”
on “The case of Massively Modular Models of Mind”
(2) 24/03/2014
The artful mind meets art history: Toward a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation
Nicolas J. Bullota1 and Rolf Rebera

Feel free to join. If you want more information you can email me (Lucas): lthorpe(at)gmail.com

(2) Matt Jernberg is organizing a reading group on Thursday evenings, from 5-7pm, on Timothy Williamson‘s new book Modal Logic as Metaphysics. This group will meet in the TB building. Anyone interested should contact Matt: mattcat83(at)gmail.com

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Talk in Istanbul: Uygar Abaci (University of Richmond) on ‘Modality and Morality in Kant: A Theory of Practical Cognition’ 24/12/2013

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Uygar Abaci (University of Richmond) will give a talk at Istanbul Technical University, on Tuesday  December 24, 2013 at 13:30 in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

ABSTRACT: In his preface to the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant defines “the enigma of the critical philosophy” in terms of the following conundrum: how can we, as epistemic subjects, retain a theoretical agnosticism with respect to the reality of objects such as freedom, God and the immortality of the soul that lie beyond the limits of our possible experience, and yet assert the reality of these objects “from a practical point of view”, that is, when it comes to considering ourselves as moral subjects (5:5). The solution to the enigma, I suggest, lies in the practical application of Kant’s critical conception of modality. According to this conception, modal concepts such as possibility, actuality and necessity signify the ways in which objects are related or given to the subject rather than the ways objects themselves are. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant insists that in the theoretical domain objects can only be given to us through a connection with sensible intuition, which makes it impossible for us to grant a real modal status to these supersensible objects and thus renders their concepts merely “problematic” ideas for theoretical reason. However, Kant’s account of moral action in the Critique of Practical Reason assumes that in the moral-practical domain objects are given to us through a connection with the moral law. I argue that it is this special relation that enables us to make modal assertions even of those objects that cannot be given to us in sensible intuition.


Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 23, 2013 at 4:08 am

David Butorac at ODTÜ / METU: Demiurgic Blues: can there be a Neoplatonic Science of Nature?

The paper will look at the Neoplatonic reception of the “Timaeus”, along with other Platonic conceptions about the nature of the sensible, and how this relates to the Platonic demand for stable objects of thought. However, I will argue, because everything other than the first principle – both the content of thought and the constitution of the sensible – is composed of the Dyad of limit and unlimited, it renders the human soul incapable of having stable object, apart from the One. A science of nature is, in principle, impossible. Further, I will show that Proclus was trying to overcome precisely the problem of the One’s separation from multiplicity and to ground a science in that principle, but could not achieve this end.

Monday, December 16, ODTÜ / METU, room B103 in the Beşeri Binası at 14.40.

Written by davidbutorac

December 16, 2013 at 5:22 am

Books released

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Books released

Both my books are now released. You can check them out on my Amazon author page (link above) and ask your library to order them, if you think it’s worth.

Written by István Aranyosi

August 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

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

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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

Talk at Bogazici: Juhani Yli-Vakkuri (Oxford and CSMN/University of Oslo) on “Propositions and Compositionality” (22/02/2012)

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Juhani Yli-Vakkuri (Oxford and CSMN/University of Oslo)

“Propositions and Compositionality”

Friday, 22/02/2012, TB130 5-7pm

ABSTRACT: In his classic paper 1980 paper, “Index, Context, and Content”, David Lewis argued that the existence of “shifty phenomena” like tense rules out semantic theories for natural languages which are both compositional and treat propositions (relative to contexts) as the semantic values of sentences. Since Jeff King’s 2003 paper “Tense, Modality, and Semantic Values“, Lewis’s argument  has been widely thought to admit of a fairly easy reply: it has been thought that Lewis’s mistake was to treat shifty constructions as sentence operators rather than quantifiers, and that once this mistake is corrected, we can have both proposionality (i.e., propositions as the semantic values of sentences) and compositionality. I argue that the shifty constructions discussed by Lewis preclude the combination of composionality and propositionality independently of whether they are treated as sentence operators or quantifiers. In fact, Lewis’s critics, who argue for the treatment of certain kinds of shiftiness as quantification, are really playing into the hands of his arguments. The inconsistency between propositionality and compositionality arises even more clearly on a quantificational treatment, from consideration of the relation between free and bound variables. The phenomenon of variable-binding itself is sufficient to rule out the combination of compositionality and propositionality.

Information about upcoming events at Bogazici can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

January 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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

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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

God, Mind, and Logical Space (forthcoming at Palgrave Macmillan)

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My second book manuscript, titled God, Mind, and Logical Space, is now accepted for publication and enters  the production stage. It will come out this year with Palgrave Macmillan, as part of the new series, Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion. As with my other book (The Peripheral Mind, Oxford University Press forthcoming), the cover will feature work by Alex Robciuc.

Instead of a summary, I thought I offer a little teaser in guise of some quotes on a few of the many topics I discuss. Here they are:

Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Taylor on the Islamic Reception of Proclus

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As a part of the conference, Arxai: Proclus Diadochus of Constantinople and his Abrahamic Interpreters, Prof. Richard Taylor (Marquette University & KU Leuven) will present a lecture entitled, “Proclus Arabus and Divine Primary Causality in the Arabic/Islamic Tradition”. The conference will take place on Friday December 14, 2012, at Bogazici University (South Campus), at 5:30 pm, İbrahim Bodur Oditoryumu.

Abstract:  In this presentation I first provide information on the works of Proclus influential on the Arabic / Islamic philosophical tradition.  As an illustration of that importance, I then turn to the philosophical issue of primary  causality and show the importance of Proclus in the metaphysical thought of al-Kindi and Ibn Sina / Avicenna on the nature of God’s causal influence over all created being.

About Prof Taylor:

He is the chief organizer for the “Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group,” a group of philosophers deeply interested in Arabic / Islamic philosophy in its own right and in its influence on European thought. They are very interested in collaborations with scholars of similar interests throughout the world.  They have annual conferences in Europe (early Summer now usually 2 conferences) and in North America (Fall) but hope soon to expand our connections to North Africa and the wider Middle East. See www.AquinasAndTheArabs.org.

He also organises annual summer conferences on “Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions” at the University of Denver and Marquette University in alternate years.

From November 2011-November 2012 he was president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and had the privilege of naming the conference theme for the November 2012 annual meeting which was on “Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions.”

For further information about Prof Taylor see:


About the conference:

The conference as a whole is sponsored by the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a part of the celebration of “400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey”, and the Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul. The university sponsors are Fatih University, Bogazici University and Yildiz Technical University. The conference takes place under the auspices of the ISNS.

For further information, see http://arxai.org/conferences/abrahamictrilogy/program and for questions, email David Butorac at davidbutorac@arxai.org.

Proclus in Istanbul Conference POSTER SMALL

Written by davidbutorac

December 13, 2012 at 12:30 am

István Aranyosi (Bilkent) receives honourable mention in prestigious APA essay prize.

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István Aranyosi (Bilkent) receives honourable mention in the American Philosophical Association annual essay prize for his paper, “A New Argument for the Mind-Brain Identity“. Details can be found here.

Congratulations Istvan!

Written by Lucas Thorpe

September 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

Logic of plurals reading group at Bogazici.

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Thomas McKay (Syracuse) is going to be visiting Bogazici for a week in early October, and we’re organizing a workshop and a couple of talks around his visit.

In preparation for his visit some of us at Bogazici are organizing a reading group to work through his book Plural Predication. Our first meting will be this Monday (17/09/2012) at 2pm in the Bogazici philosophy department, TB365. At the first meeting we’ll plan a schedule and work through chapters 1 and 2, which are not particularly technical.

If anyone would like to join us (even if you cannot make the first session) feel free to  email me (lthorpe@gmail.com) and I can send a copy of the readings.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

September 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Cog-Sci/Philosophy Workshop at Bogazici, Friday, May 18th.

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“Brains, Minds and Language #1”

A workshop Jointly organised by the Bogazici University Philosophy Department and Cog-Sci Program.

Friday May 18th, 1.00pm-5.30 pm, M2180 (Engineering Building).

1.00 – 2.30 pm  Alper Açık (Yeditepe/Osnabrück) “”What can a neuroscientist do with phenomenology?”

2.30 – 4.00 pm Kirk Michaelian (Bilkent) “Epistemology and Metacognition”.

4.00 – 5.30 Serife Tekin (Dalhousie/Pittsburgh) “Making Mental Disorders Amenable to Empirical Investigation: Beyond Natural Kinds”

Abstracts Under the fold:

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Talk by İrem Kurtsal Steen (Bogazici) at Bogazici: “The Argument from Anthropocentrism and Endurantism”, May 9th, 2012

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İrem Kurtsal Steen (Bogazici): “The Argument from Anthropocentrism and Endurantism”

Wednesday, 9 May 2012, M 2170 (Engineering Building), 5-7pm.

Abstract:  Many philosophers hold that any old filled region in spacetime is the specific spatiotemporal location of some object, that besides objects like tables and cats there are indefinitely many others: left-halves of cats, things that are made up of upper-halves of cats and lower-halves of dogs, and things that are made up of cats on weekdays and tables on weekends. The “argument from anthropocentrism” is the argument that such a liberal ontology is the realist’s only option for avoiding an anthropocentric and even culturally biased chauvinism in her ontological theory. I argue that to the extent that this is a strong argument for the liberal ontology, a parallel argument gives us reasons to reject the perdurence theory of persistence (temporal parts theory)  in favor of the endurance theory. This should be very interesting, because most liberal ontologists are perdurantists.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm

The Liar and the Liar Denier – Or “Will the real Liar please stand up and then sit down where she’s told to?”

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Here are some thoughts (by a non-logician) on our recent workshop on semantic paradoxes.

Some Turkish philosophers have strange dreams. Erdinc’s are so weird and wonderful that he cannot even tell us about them. And after our two day workshop on paradoxes with Graham Priest and Stephen Read, Ilhan told us about a strange dream in which he met ‘The True’ who appeared as to him as a small talking metallic sphere. And I think it makes some sense to think of sentences as such spheres. So let’s suppose that sentences are small shiny metallic spheres that (a) can be named and (b) tell us what they mean. And let’s think of three such spheres. One of them is called “The Liar” and the second is called “The Liar-Denier” The third is called “The Liar-Affirmer”. The Liar and The Liar-Denier are twin sisters. The Liar-Affirmer is their younger sister. [Perhaps they’re all daughters of ‘The True’ who Ilhan met in his dream.] Anyway, this is what we know about each sphere:

(1) The Liar says: “What the Liar says is False”.

(2) The Liar-Denier says: “What the Liar says is False”.

(3) The Liar-Affirmer says: “What the Liar says is True”

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

April 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Two talks by Andreas Blank at Bogazici (March 22nd and 23rd, 2012)

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Andreas Blank (Hamburg) will give two talks at Bogazici on March 22nd and March 23rd.

“Henry More on Existential Dependence and Immaterial Extension”, Thursday March 22nd, TB365, 5-7pm

“Aquinas and Soto on Derogatory Judgment and Noncomparative Justice”,  Friday March 23rd, M1170 (Engineering Building) , 3-5pm.

Respondent: Lars Vinx (Bilkent)

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

On causes of causal regularities

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According to a standard construal, Hume proposed the following analysis of causation:

Event C caused event E iff (1) C was temporally prior to E, (2) C and E were contiguous in space and in time, and (3) events of type C are always followed by events of type E.

This is the prototype of the regularity or constant-conjunction theories of causation. Causation is linked to regularity of occurrence of events similar to C with events similar to E.

In every corner of the universe scratched matches light (when there is presence of oxygen and absence of water sprinklers around, etc.). Let me now ask a childish question: Why is this uniformity? How come scratched matches behave the same way everywhere? Do matches have telepathic communication, saying to each other, “Let’s light whenever we are scratched”? What “coordinates” or “oversees” them, so that they can display similar or repeated patterns of behavior all over the universe?

This is the same question as the question of what ensures the sameness of a law of nature in the entire universe. If one wants to say that something’s being a “law of nature” just means that it applies uniformly all over the universe, OK, then I am asking, “What sustains those laws to be effective everywhere?”. Two electrons repel each other, and an electron and a positron attract each other everywhere in the universe (or so we believe). In virtue of what is the uniformity of the behavior of the electrons and positrons and other things guaranteed? In other words, what causes regularities to hold everywhere? What is the causal infrastructure underlying regularities in nature?

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Written by Erdinç Sayan

March 5, 2012 at 1:04 am

Posted in Metaphysics

A new twist on Zeno’s Arrow Paradox

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Zeno of Elea’s arrow paradox, like some of his other extant paradoxes, aims to show that our observations of change and becoming in the world are illusions. Our senses suggest that there are all kinds of change and motion of things around us, but our reason concludes otherwise. As good philosophers, we should listen to the voice of our reason, rather than the evidence of our senses, and reject the reality of motion and change in the world.

Here’s how the Arrow Paradox is supposed to help show the unreality of motion. (What follows is a common reconstruction of Zeno’s argument.) Consider an object like an arrow which our visual experience describes as moving in its trajectory in the air. Zeno claims that at every instant of its supposed flight, the arrow occupies a region of space exactly coinciding the size and shape of the arrow. But if an object occupies a region of space coinciding with the size and shape of the object, then the object must be at rest. The arrow at every instant during its supposed flight, therefore, is at rest; it is at no moment in that time interval in motion. So, contrary to the judgment of our senses, motion is impossible.

A popular solution to Zeno’s Arrow Paradox is Russell’s “at-at theory of motion.” According to Russell, an object cannot be in motion (nor can it be at rest) at an instant. To be in motion is to be at different locations at different times. (And to be at rest during an interval of time is to occupy the same location at every instant of that time interval.) Location of an object at a single instant does not tell us anything about its kinematic status.

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Written by Erdinç Sayan

February 25, 2012 at 12:36 am

Posted in Metaphysics