Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Mind’ Category

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

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

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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


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CFA: Enriching Embodied Cognition (Boğaziçi) 9-11/06/2015

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Call For Abstracts: Enriching Embodied Cognition
Boğaziçi University, Istanbul
June 9th-11th, 2015

Keynote Speakers: Daniel Hutto (Wollongong) and Erik Myin (Antwerp)

This workshop will be centered around material for the manuscript of Hutto and Myin’s latest book, Enriching Embodied Cognition: A Unified Enactivist and Ecological Framework, which is a follow-up to their 2013 book Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content.

Articles and draft material will be circulated to the participants in advance, and in the morning sessions Hutto and Myin will present and discuss core arguments with the participants. In the afternoon participants will present papers. These papers should be on themes discussed in the book, but do not have to be direct responses to Hutto and Myin’s work. If you would be interested in presenting a paper at the workshop, please send a short abstract to istanbulembodied@gmail.com by April 20th. Successful applicants will be informed by April 25th.

Enriching Embodied Cognition: A Unified Enactivist and Ecological Framework will provide an enriched understanding of embodied cognition: showing just how embodied it is and just how it is embodied. This book integrates what is best in the replacement approaches, advancing the sciences of the mind by providing a novel framework for non-representational embodied cognition ­ one that refines and critically synthesizes the main insights of the enactivist and ecological traditions. Hutto and Myin argue that once unified replacement approaches have all that is needed to do the necessary enriching work. In making their case Hutto and Myin highlight a recognized danger ­ call it the Retention Worry ­ that many applications of embodied, enactive cognition, (with headline cases in psychology, psychiatry and sports science) are missing the point. The Retention Worry arises for any account of embodied cognition that retains too much traditional thinking about the role of mental representations in cognition, for such accounts fail to successfully motivate any role for the body or environment, let alone the one identified in the research]. Only by clarifying what, if any, role representations play in cognitive science explanations will we gain a deeper and clearer understanding of the nature of embodied cognition.

This workshop is organized as part of Lucas Thorpe’s Tubitak project: Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action.

The proposed chapter structure of the book can be found below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

2nd International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science, April 19, Sunday, 2015, ODTU (METU), Ankara.

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Dear colleagues,
ISBCS 2015, the 2nd International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science,
is going to be held in April 19, Sunday, 2015, at ODTU (METU), Ankara.

ISBCS wants to be a gathering in Turkey for cogsci researchers worldwide, and for cogsci researchers in Turkey. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by István Aranyosi

January 15, 2015 at 11:14 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.

Cog Sci Talk at Yeditepe: Fuat Balcı (Koç) on “Psychological Time and Decisions: An Overarching Approach” (02/05/2014)

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by Fuat Balcı (Koç University) on May 2, at 16.00, in Law Building Room 332.

“Psychological Time and Decisions: An Overarching Approach”

 ABSTRACT: Interval timing refers to the ability to perceive, remember, and organize responses around durations ranging from seconds to minutes. This fundamental ability is observed in many species (e.g., fish, pigeons, mice, rats, humans) with virtually the same statistical properties. In this talk, I will briefly introduce interval timing along with its psychophysics. Then, the relation of interval timing to decision-making will be explored at the level of the underlying processing dynamics and with respect to optimality (reward maximization). Different model-based approaches to time perception will be discussed and evaluated in terms of their neural plausibility. To this end, I will specifically introduce our drift-diffusion model of interval timing and extend the scope of its application to temporal decision-making. I will demonstrate that the processing dynamics that underlie interval timing and account for its psychophysical properties within the framework of the drift-diffusion model can also account for the accuracy and latency (i.e., response times) of decisions about time intervals. Finally, the importance of interval timing for reward maximization in temporal and non-temporal decision-making will be discussed with an emphasis on the role of temporal noise characteristics in determining optimal decision strategies.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 2, 2014 at 12:16 am

Artificial Intelligence Day at Bilkent

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Bilkent Philosophy Society will hold an all day long conference on artificial intelligence at April 05, Saturday. Details can be found on the following links:

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/466549326779678/

Registration: http://goo.gl/k7THzM

Written by Doğan Erişen

April 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Early Career Scholars Conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry: Overcoming Mind-Brain Dualism in 21st Century Medicine

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21-22, November 2014

Center for Philosophy of Science, 817 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA USA 15260

Conference website: http://www.pitt.edu/~pittcntr/Events/All/Conferences/others/other_conf_2014-15/11-21-14_mindbrain/mindbrain-cfp.html

We invite the submission of extended abstracts by early career scholars (graduate students, post-docs, and untenured faculty) for individual paper presentations (limit 30 minutes). Submissions should include a 1,000 word abstract, a 1-2 page CV, and should be in .doc/.docx or .pdf format via email.Deadline: May 5, 2014

Notification By: July 7, 2014

Email submissions to: pittmindbrainmedicine14@gmail.com

For questions and comments, contact Serife Tekin, serife.tekin@daemen.edu

Summary: The goal of this conference is to address the crisis in psychiatric research and treatment by exploring the ways in which the mind-brain dualism can be overcome in contemporary psychiatry.

Psychiatry’s aspirations as a branch of medicine are often in conflict with its aspirations as a branch of science. As a branch of medicine, it aims to clinically address the complaints of individuals with mental disorders, including the subjective, mental, and first- person aspects of psychopathology (such as feelings of worthlessness and hallucinations). As a branch of science, on the other hand, it targets the objective, embodied, and third-person correlates of mental distress (such as atypical brain mechanisms and behavioral anomalies). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the psychiatric taxonomy used in the US and increasingly around the world, has traditionally been employed to identify both the scientific and medical targets of psychiatry, as well as in the service of sociological, pedagogical, and forensic projects. In attempting to be everything for psychiatry, however, the manual has succeeded in fully pleasing no one. The virtually universal dissatisfaction with contemporary nosology has led to a tension between critics who argue the way forward is focusing on the needs of the clinic and those who believe psychiatry should work harder to resemble the sciences.

We believe that the resolution of this dilemma is hindered by a contemporary form of dualism, in which psychiatric disorders are seen as either disembodied problems in living or as subtypes of somatic disease. There is a tendency to perceive the etiology of psychiatric disorders as either brain-based (organic or biological), to be investigated by the biomedical sciences, or mind-based (functional or psychological), to be investigated by behavior-based schemas such as the DSM or patient-centered approaches that take a more holistic approach to disorder. There is also a tendency to divide psychiatric treatments into those that directly target the brain, e.g., antidepressants, and those that purportedly target the mind, e.g., cognitive behavior therapy, — often to the detriment of the latter. While significant work has been done to overcome the dualistic conception of persons in the contemporary philosophy of cognitive science and in the philosophy of neuroscience, the results of these debates have not been fully transferred to the domain of psychiatry.

The goal of this conference is to address the crisis in psychiatric research and treatment by exploring the ways in which the mind-brain dualism can be overcome in contemporary psychiatry through an integration of approaches from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science (including philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience) and philosophy of medicine. One goal of such re-evaluation is to reconcile the claim that psychopathology needs to be scientific with the claim that it needs to keep the experience of the sufferer at its core.

Format of Conference: The conference will take place over two days. Eight papers by early career scholars (graduate students, postdocs, and untenured faculty) will be commented on by senior philosophers who have expertise in philosophy of science, philosophy of neuroscience, or philosophy of medicine.

By matching each junior presenter with a senior commentator, our aim is to give junior scholars an opportunity to receive thoughtful and targeted feedback on their work and to facilitate lively discussions. Further, this format will initiate junior-mentor relationships that will help strengthen the philosophy of psychiatry community.

Each presenter will be given 25 minutes for his or her paper, followed by 15 minutes for commentary and 15 minutes for discussion.

If you are a senior scholar and would like to participate in the conference as a speaker or commentator, please contact Serife Tekin, at serife.tekin@daemen.edu.

Organizing Committee: William Bechtel, Trey Boone, Mazviita Shirimuuta, Peter Machamer, Edouard Machery, Ken Schaffner, Kathryn Tabb, and Serife Tekin.

Keynote speakers:
Jennifer Radden, PhD (Professor Emerita of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Boston).
John Sadler, MD (Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Services, University of Texas Southwestern).

Mazviita Chirimuuta (University of Pittsburgh)
Peter Machamer (University of Pittsburgh)
Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh)
Kenneth F. Schaffner (University of Pittsburgh)
Jacqueline Sullivan (Western University)
Jonathan Tsou (Iowa State University)

1st Int. Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science

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When & Where: 20 April 2014, full day, Boğaziçi University

Link: http://cogsci.boun.edu.tr/isbcs/2014/

Submission Deadline: 8 March 2014


Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary research field that seeks to understand the nature of the human mind, in all its implications. The International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) invites research from all the fields that are connected to cognitive science. The individual disciplines include Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Anthropology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Education. Each discipline brings a set of tools, perspectives, and questions to the table. However, the big picture of the human mind cannot emerge by studying this multi-layered problem with a single lens. Communication and collaboration are essential for the cognitive scientist. It is under these premises that we initiate ISBCS.

One mission of ISBCS is to be a premier academic meeting of the cognitive science community. Established jointly by Bogazici University, Middle East Technical University and Yeditepe University (i.e. by the three universities that offer cognitive science programs in Turkey), ISBCS is planned to be held annually to gather researchers and students from leading national and international centers working on all areas of cognitive science. Our aim is to establish a platform where students can learn about recent research in cognitive science, researchers can network and initiate collaborations, and the participants can receive valuable feedback on their work.


Prof. Garrison W. Cottrell (UCSD)
Prof. Erol Basar (Istanbul Kültür University)


Organizing Committee:

Albert Ali Salah, Bogazici University
Cem Bozsahin, Middle East Technical University
Simay Ikier, Yeditepe University

Program Committee (only confirmed members listed here)

Ata Akin, Bilgi University
Varol Akman, Bilkent University
Ethem Alpaydin, Bogazici University
Sonia Amado, Ege University
Canan Aykut Bingöl, Yeditepe University
Haluk Bingöl, Bogazici University
Hüseyin Boyaci, Bilkent University
Resit Canbeyli, Bogazici University
Banu Cangöz, Hacettepe University
Kürsat Çagiltay, Middle East Technical University
Hilmi Demir, Bilkent University
Tamer Demiralp, Istanbul University
Ulas Basar Gezgin, Istanbul Gelişim University
Didem Gökçay, Middle East Technical University
Bülent Gözkan, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University
Burak Güçlü, Bogazici University
Sami Gülgöz, Koç University
Hakan Gürvit, Istanbul University
Altay Güvenir, Bilkent University
Bipin Indurkhya, Jagiellonian University
Aylin Küntay, Koç University
Mine Nakipoglu, Bogazici University
Sumru Özsoy, Bogazici University
Işık Özge Öztürk, Princeton University
Ilhan Raman, Middlesex University
Cem Say, Bogazici University
Gün R. Semin, Utrecht University
Serkan Sener, Yeditepe University
Oguz Tanridag, Üsküdar University
Ali Tekcan, Bogazici University
Lucas Thorpe, Bogazici University
Aziz Zambak, Middle East Technical University
Deniz Zeyrek, Middle East Technical University

Written by albertalisalah

March 2, 2014 at 3:01 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

International Conference for Autism, Antalya, November 14-16, 2014

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The theme of INCA 2014 is “All Facets of Autism: From Research to Practice”. The conference is expected to attract hundreds of participants from all around the World. Details can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

February 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm

CFP: 1st International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS) 20 April 2014, Bogazici University, Istanbul

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1st International Symposium on Brain and Cognitive Science (ISBCS)
will take place on 20 April 2014, Bogazici University, Istanbul

Deadline for submission of papers is 2 March 2014. Details can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

January 31, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Deleuze conference and summer school in Istanbul in July 2014.

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7th International Deleuze Studies Conference
Models, Machines and Memories 
Istanbul, July, 14-16th 2014

Details can be found here.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

January 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Talk at Koc – Peter Hagoort (Radboud): “On Speaking Terms with the Social Brain” 23.12.2013

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Peter Hagoort (Radboud) will give a talk at Koc University on Monday December 23rd from 5-7pm. on:

“On Speaking Terms with the Social Brain”

Details can be found here.

ABSTRACT: Despite a large amount of genetic overlap between humans and other primates, the expansion of the human brain is both substantial and remarkable. Two interrelated evolutionary developments might have provided the selectional pressures that resulted in our enlarged brains. One is the increased complexity of the social organization in human tribes. The other is the emergence of an intricate and open-ended communication system: language. I will discuss recent evidence from brain imaging that provides insights into the psychological and neurobiological infrastructure for our social behaviour and for human communication. I will show that social conformity in humans is regulated by dopamine in the reward system. I will also show that inferences about the intentions behind the exchange of linguistic utterances depend on the Theory of Mind network in the brain. Moreover, the brain measures indicate substantial individual differences, explaining why not all humans are equally equipped with social and communicative skills.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

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

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

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  • 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: Radu Bogdan (Tulane) on “Imagination: Roots and Reasons.” 24/05/2013

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Radu Bogdan (Tulane) will give a talk on Friday, May 24th, from 5-7pm in TB130:

“Imagination: Roots and Reasons.”

Radu Bogdan is a professor of philosophy of and director of the cognitive science program at Tulane university. He is the author of numerous articles and five books: Our Own Minds: Sociocultural Grounds for Self-Consciousness (MIT, 2010), Predicative Minds: The Social Ontogeny of Propositional Thinking (MIT 2009), Minding Minds (MIT, 2003), Interpreting Minds (MIT, 2003) and Grounds for Cognition (Psychology Press, 1994).

ABSTRACT: The human mind is able consciously, deliberately and reflectivey to vault itself cognitively out of the enclosure of  current perception, motivation, emotion and action, and leap over to future or past or possible or even impossible facts, situations or scenarios. This is what imagination (in a strong, suppositional, propositional sense) does.The central argument is that imagination is uniquely human,  with no apparent precursors in the animal world. This is one evolutionary puzzle. Furthermore, the capacities to imagine do not seem to have dedicated genetic bases or specialized brain sites, do not operate as modules, and are domain versatile. It is also not obvious what specific pressures in what specific domains may have selected for imagining, which is why the standard explanation by gradual natural selection is unlikely to work. The way out of these puzzles is to reorient the evolutionary analysis toward human ontogeny, regarded as a genuine space of evolution, with its specific and often dated pressures and its adaptive responses. Imagination results from ontogenetic responses to the mostly sociocultural and sociopolitical pressures of later childhood.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

May 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Distributed cognition and memory research

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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

The Peripheral Mind (OUP, 2013) now on pre-sale

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My debut book, The Peripheral Mind. Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System (OUP, 2013) now on pre-sale. Check out the official FB page of the book for all the relevant links. The cover art by Alex Robciuc, as well as advance praise by Shaun Gallagher are pasted below. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Talk at Bogazici: Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) on “Body Representation and Self-Consciousness: From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood” 04/12/2012

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Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) will give a talk at Bogazici on Tuesday, December 4th, from 5-7pm in TB130:

“Body Representation and Self-Consciousness: 
From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.”

ABSTRACT: As a philosopher, I am interested in the relationship between body representation and the deep structure of self-consciousness. My epistemic goal in this lecture will be the simplest form of phenomenal self-consciousness: What exactly are the essential non-conceptual, pre-reflexive layers in conscious self-representation?  What constitutes a minimal phenomenal self? Conceptually, I will defend the claim that agency is not part of the metaphysically necessary supervenience-basis for bodily self-consciousness. Empirically, I will draw on recent research focusing on out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and full-body illusions (FBIs). I will then proceed to sketch a new research program and advertise a new research target: “Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood”, ending with an informal argument for the thesis that agency or “global control”, phenomenologically as well as functionally, is not a necessary condition for self-consciousness.

Thomas Metzinger is a leading contemporary German philosopher. He has been active since the early 1990s in the promotion of consciousness studies as an academic endeavour. As a co-founder, he has been particularly active in the organization of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), and sat on the board of directors of that organisation from 1995 to 2008. He served as president of the ASSC in 2009/10. Metzinger is director of the MIND group and has been president of the German cognitive science society from 2005 to 2007. In 2003 Metzinger published the monograph Being No One. In this book he argues that no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. He argues that the phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a “transparent self-model.” In 2009 Metzinger published a follow-up book to Being No One for a general audience: The Ego Tunnel. In English he has also published two edited works, Conscious Experience (1995), and Neural correlates of consciousness: empirical and conceptual issues (2000).

Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Philosophy/Cog-Sci Workshop at Bogazici. Saturday 24/11/2012

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Brains, Mind and Language #2

A philosophy/cognitive science workshop.

Saturday 24/11/2012, 1pm-6pm Venue: TB130 [This is on the ground floor of the philosophy department. As the building is closed at weekends, one should enter from the back of the building).


13:00 – 14:30 
Emrah Aktunc (Philosophy)
“Resolving Duhemian Problems in Cognitive Neuroscience”

14:45 – 16:15
Annette Hohenberger (Cognitive Science Department, Informatics Institute, ÖDTU)
“The Understanding of Normativity, Free Will and Emotions in Preschool Children.”

16:30 – 18:00
Oliver Wright (Psychology, Baçheşehir)
“The Whorfian (linguistic relativity) Hypothesis and Empirical Investigations in the Domain of Color.”

Abstracts below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Aziz Zambak (Yeditepe) on “The Frame Problem: A Solution From an Agentive Perspective” 16/11/2012

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Aziz Zambak (Yeditepe) will give a talk at Bogazici on Friday November 16th  5-7pm, in TB130:

“The Frame Problem: A Solution From an Agentive Perspective”

Aziz Fevzi Zambak received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He is currently a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. His areas of specialization include Wittgenstein, artificial intelligence, philosophy of information, and logic.

ABSTRACT. “Yes, but you will never get a machine to do X” This is a commonsensical objection to AI in which X refers to the main problems of AI such as pattern recognition, creativity, free will, autonomy, systematicity, understanding, learning etc. The frame problem is at the intersection of all these problems. In AI, the realization of X depends on the solution of the frame problem. The frame problem has three aspects namely, metaphysical, logical, and epistemological. Three aspects of the frame problem consider the issue from a designer point of view. The frame problem is not the problem of a machine intelligence designer but the problem of the machine intelligence. I propose three steps in order to build an autonomous approach to the frame problem. These steps are (1) the agentification of the frame problem, (2) a control system approach, and (3) a trans-logical model peculiar to AI. Each step towards building an autonomous approach to the frame problem depends on each other.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm

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

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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

Istanbul Technical University Talk (23.10 at 13:00). Zsolt Bátori (Budapest University of Technology and Economics). Philosophy of Perception Meets photography

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“Philosophy of Perception Meets Photography”
Zsolt Bátori
Budapest University of Technology and Economics

23.10. 2012, Tuesday, 13.00

Istanbul technical University

Faculty of Science and Letters

Department of Humanities and Social Science, Seminar Room

In this paper I consider an important aspect of photographic realism that is strongly connected to the debate over photographic transparency, and to the question of what types of processes are to be considered perception proper. Photographic transparency theory holds that in photographs we see the scene photographed as we see objects through eyeglasses or in mirrors. I discuss some of the major arguments for and against transparency, and then I argue that formulating a position first requires an explication of one’s position about the nature of perception (seeing). In order to show what decisions one must make to arrive at a position about seeing, I consider beings with perceptual systems more or less different from ours. This discussion not only enables us to see how relative our notion of photographic realism is to our specific visual capacities, but it also helps to explicitly formulate a position about what conditions one might or might not consider necessary for seeing.! Although I do not argue for or against any of these specific conditions here, my considerations show through what steps the transparency debate may be resolved. This discussion also sheds some light on how to proceed when arguing for or against the (proper) perceptual status of specific perceptual mechanisms.

Written by Barry Stocker

October 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Is “to immediately perceive” a split infinitive?

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Stylists and editors really don’t like split infinitives such as “to boldly go”. I’ve been revising a paper on Reid’s account of colour perception and I sometimes use the expression “to immediately perceive”. So, for example, I will talk about “the capacity to immediately perceive” certain qualities.  The editors have suggested that I don’t use “to immediately perceive” as it is a split infinitive.

I’m not sure, however, that “to immediately perceive” is a split infinitive. Here’s my thinking: We talk about immediate perception and indirect perception. I’m not sure that there is such a thing as indirect perception, but in order to deny the fact that there is such a thing as indirect perception, we have to allow the expression “indirect perception” into our language. So I have no problem with the expression. Anyway my worry is that if we think that “to immediately perceive” is a split infinitive, then we should say “to perceive immediately” and “to perceive indirectly”. This would suggest, however, that “perceiving p immediately” and “perceiving p indirectly” are two ways of doing the same thing. And this doesn’t seem right to me. I think these are two quite distinct types of attitudes towards p. So my thought is that there are really two quite distinct verbs here: “to immediately perceive” and “to indirectly perceive”. “Immediately” here is not really functioning as an adverb. We can distinguish between how and what questions. And I think the “immediately” in “to immediately perceive” is part of the answer to a what question, rather than the full answer to a how question? Q: What is he doing? A: He is immediately perceiving a particular quality. As opposed to: Q: How is she perceiving the quality? A: immediately.

So I’d to keep the expression “to immediately perceive”. Any thoughts here? Have I been living abroad for too long and lost my intuitions about what counts as correct English?

Written by Lucas Thorpe

October 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Emrah Aktunc on “Determining the Underdetermined: Evidence, Inference, and Knowledge in Cognitive Neuroscience.” 18/10/2012

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Emrah Aktunc (Koc) will be giving a talk at Bogazici on

Determining the Underdetermined: Evidence, Inference, and Knowledge in Cognitive Neuroscience.”

Thursday, October 18th from 5-7pm in TB130 (in the philosophy department).

Everyone welcome.

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

October 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm

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

Dan Zahavi at Bogazici, September 27th.

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Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen) will be giving a talk at Bogazici university on Thursday, September 27th from 5-7pm, entitled ‘”Figuring the self: Can we learn anything from philosophy?”

Jointly organised by the Bogazici philosophy department and cognitive science program.

Venue: Turgut Noyan Salonu (North Campus, next to the library)

Abstract: In both ancient and modern times, the existence of self has been called into question. Frequently, the claim of the self-skeptics has been that the self, if it exists, must be some kind of unchanging and ontologically independent entity. Given that no such entity exists, there is no self. In my talk, I will argue that this philosophical definition of self contrasts rather markedly with how the self is approached, understood, and explored in a variety of empirical disciplines, including developmental psychology, social psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry. I will consider two cases in particular, namely research in autism and the study of facial self-recognition. On the basis of these examples, I will discuss how one ought to conceive of the relationship between philosophical analysis and empirical investigation when it comes to the study of self.

Here are some papers that might be good for background reading:

Dan Zahavi: “The experiential self: Objections and Clarifications. ” In M. Siderits, E. Thompson, D. Zahavi (eds.): Self, no self? Perspectives from Analytical, Phenomenological,  & Indian Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 56-78.

Dan Zahavi: “Is the self a social construct?” Inquiry 52/6, 2009, 551-573.

Dan Zahavi: “Self and other: The limits of narrative understanding.” In D.D. Hutto (eds): Narrative and Understanding Persons. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 60.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007,  179-201.

Dan Zahavi is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen. Zahavi writes on phenomenology and especially the philosophy of EdmundHusserl. He is co-editor of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, and author of Intentionalität und KonstitutionHusserl und die transzendentale IntersubjektivitätSelf-awareness and AlterityHusserl’s PhenomenologySubjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the first-person perspective,Phänomenologie für Einsteiger, and (with Shaun GallagherThe Phenomenological Mind.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

September 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

I. Aranyosi, The Peripheral Mind, forthcoming at OUP

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An excerpt from the preface:

My approach in this monograph could easily be classified as part of the currently burgeoning “embodied mind” school or trend in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Where it differs from most other works in this field is, I would say, in that (a) it offers a somewhat more focused view of embodiment via offering a conceptual role to the PNS as such in analyzing mental phenomena rather than keeping the discourse at the level of notions like “body” or “action”, (b) it interprets the idea of the embodied mind not as most other philosophers, namely, representationally, as the body in the mind , but literally, namely, the mind as truly distributed over the body (in this sense, viz. of distinguishing it from most other popular approaches, I would rather call my approach “enminded body” than “embodied mind”), and (c) it relies a lot more on first-personal, phenomenological reflection when evaluating various theories about how things stand with the mind, without ending up in purely a priori conceptual analysis, but taking a lot of inspiration from empirical science (almost exclusively from neuroscience). Although most arguments I offer, and even the problems I raise in the book are, to my knowledge, new, the general points enumerated above, (a) to (c) are not totally absent from the current literature. I would especially like to express my intellectual debt to Shaun Gallagher’s work, whose methodology and general approach to various issues was a great inspiration, even if the particular issues and debates he has been involved with are not present in this work.

(cover design: I. Aranyosi, own body PET scan)

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