Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Moral psychology’ Category

Talk by Jack Woods at Bilkent, Tuesday 5 December.

leave a comment »

Constructivism, Yes! Constitutivism, No! (at least for serious naturalists)

By Jack Woods (University of Leeds, Philosophy)

Tuesday 5th December, 2017, 1640-1800, H-232



Many contemporary naturalistic pictures of normativity struggle with extensional adequacy. If we tie our reasons to our psychological states, practices, values, or the like, as any serious naturalist should, then we face the problem that our actual psychologies, practices, and values are radically disordered and incomplete. We are limited creatures, after all, and we make many mistakes. We thus need to augment these pictures with ways of ironing out the wrinkles and stretching them to cover all the applicable situations.

Both constructivism and constitutivism offer tempting ways of doing this. The former explains our reasons in terms of acceptable procedures—deliberation, refinement, etc—for ironing out the basic materials we start with. For example, views which start with our values and go on to look at what we’d accept under a process of bringing these into nice accord with each other are constructivist. Constitutivism looks to see what reasons and principles are required by the facts about what we are—agents, rational beings, actors—and uses these to augment what we actually care about, value, or do. Both strategies, and especially their combination, look to solve various problems about the extensional adequacy of contemporary naturalistic views. Unfortunately, it seems to me that both moves, and especially their combination, inevitably come into conflict with the intuitions which motivated these naturalistic pictures of normativity in the first place. In particular, justifying instrumental and theoretical rationality this way requires that we posit either mysterious normativity or psychological unreality.

My aim here is to sketch how we can and why we should lean back on constructivism to flesh out naturalistic accounts of reasons, then to show that using constitutivism to avoid problems for constructivism runs into serious problems. I then propose a way of doing much of the work constitutivist pictures are supposed to do, for a hybrid conventionalist-humean picture, without running into the serious problems which arise for constitutivism. The key idea is to view instrumental and theoretical rationality as just yet more standards which we have independent reason to conform to.

Written by Sandrine Berges

November 28, 2017 at 10:02 am

Talk at Bilkent: Emre Arda Erdenk, “Hume’s Sympathy Mechanism and Perceptual Intuitionism”

leave a comment »

The Department of Philosophy at Bilkent University is pleased to invite you 
to the following talk:
Friday, April 24, 2015, 17:40, at G 160

David Hume’s Sympathy Mechanism and Perceptual Intuitionism

Assist. Prof. Dr. Emre Arda Erdenk

Karamanoglu Mehmetbey University, Department of Philosophy


Read the rest of this entry »

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: Richmond Campbell (Dalhousie) “Pragmatic Naturalism and Moral Objectivity” (14/05/2013)

leave a comment »

Richmond Campbell (Dalhousie)

“Pragmatic Naturalism and Moral Objectivity” 

Tuesday, TB130, 5-7pm. Everyone welcome.

A copy of the talk can be found here. And the handout here.

ABSTRACT: In Kitcher’s “pragmatic naturalism” moral evolution contains only pragmatically motivated moral changes in response to practical difficulties in social life. No moral truths or facts exist that could serve as an “external” measure for moral progress. We propose a psychologically realistic conception of moral objectivity consistent with this pragmatic naturalism yet alive to the familiar sense that moral progress has an objective basis that transcends convention and consensus in moral opinion, even when these are products of serious, extended, and collaborative reflection.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Plato on the Capacity for Beliefs

with 2 comments

There has been, in recent years, a surge of interest in the development of Platonic moral psychology between Plato’s middle and late periods. Much has been written – especially since Bobonich’s influential Plato’s Utopia Recast (2002) – on whether, and in what ways, Plato’s thoughts on moral psychology evolved after he wrote the Republic. A prominent aspect of this subject is the development of Plato’s views on the cognitive and conceptual capacities of the non-rational parts of the tripartite soul. A key question in this context is whether the non-rational parts of the soul are capable of holding beliefs (doxai) in the proper sense, and whether Plato changed his mind on this matter. An emerging view, with noteworthy proponents (such as Lorenz 2006 and Stalley 2007), is that in the Republic, Plato took the non-rational parts of the soul to have such limited cognitive and conceptual capacities that they cannot, strictly speaking, hold beliefs, even though Plato seems to suggest otherwise in various passages. This reading constitutes a rejection of the traditional interpretation of the tripartite soul in the Republic as consisting of agent-like parts. Concerning Plato’s later works, however, there seems to be a general agreement, by scholars on both sides of the debate about the Republic. On this widely held view, in later works such as the Phaedrus, Timaeus and Theaetetus, it is unambiguous that only the rational part of the soul is capable of holding beliefs. Accordingly, the non-rational parts of the soul are, at this point, devoid of any cognitive and conceptual resources, so much so that they are incapable of forming not only beliefs but desires as well. The non-rational parts are thus emptied of content, and the story is of how Plato comes to see them as useless entities, as a result of which he eventually abandons the tripartite theory of soul.

In a recent paper* I argue against not only the emerging view about the Republic, but also the consensus about the later works: (i) Plato does not, in the Republic, deny or cast doubt on the capacity of the non-rational parts of the soul to hold beliefs. The attempts to explain away the evidence for the non-rational parts’ capacity for holding beliefs are unconvincing, and yield uncharitable readings of Plato’s text; and more controversially, (ii) Plato does not, in the later works mentioned, deny the capacity of the non-rational parts to hold beliefs. Due to limited space, I focus in that paper on the Phaedrus, leaving aside the Timaeus and the Theaetetus. I argue that the passages in the Phaedrus cited as evidence for this denial do not, in fact, provide the purported support. It therefore appears that Plato’s tripartite theory of the soul did not, at least in the Phaedrus, deny the capacity of the non-rational parts for holding beliefs. I continue to work on this topic – which I find fascinating – and expect to reach similar results in the Timaeus and the Theaetetus. It seems to me that in those dialogues as well, the textual evidence fails to support the dumbed-down conception of the non-rational parts of the soul. If this is right, that the tripartite theory did not undergo a gradual demotion of the non-rational parts should also shed light on the important question whether Plato came to abandon the tripartite theory in his late works.

Comments are welcome.

*  “Plato on the Capacity for Beliefs”, presented at the 35th Annual Workshop in Ancient Philosophy, The University of Texas at Austin, March 2012.

Written by Mehmet M. Erginel

May 22, 2012 at 6:06 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

Psychiatry: Far From the Madding Grief?

with 2 comments

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the official classification manual developed for use in clinical, educational, and research settings; it is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and is regularly revised. The fifth edition (DSM-5) is expected to appear in May 2013. In the DSM’s current edition (DSM-IV), feelings of sadness and associated symptoms (e.g., insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss), following the death of a loved one are excluded from the criteria for a Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but a cautionary clause states that if these symptoms continue beyond two months and impair the individual’s psychological, social and occupational functioning, she may be given an MDD diagnosis.

The DSM-5 Working Group for the Mood Disorders has recently proposed the removal of the bereavement exclusion from the diagnostic criteria for a Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), arguing that the available evidence does not support distinguishing bereavement from other stressors that underlie MDD.

This proposal has led to a controversial debate on the advantages and disadvantages of distinguishing between the cases that involve individuals who develop major depression in response to bereavement and those who develop depression following other severe stressors. For instance, Allen Frances, the lead editor of DSM-IV, is concerned that removing the bereavement exclusion will result in over-diagnosing and over-treating non-pathological grief by labelling it MDD.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Serife Tekin

February 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm