Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Science’ Category
Title: The Gulf Between Practical and Theoretical Reason
Abstract: I will argue that it’s a great mistake to blur the line between practical and theoretical forms of reasoning (as done for instance in the pragmatistic traditions of epistemology, which are now prominently exemplified in Subjective Bayesianism), not least because the diagnosis of bias in science becomes distorted if the line is blurred. In this talk I will articulate the distinction between practical and theoretical reasoning in terms of differences in the norms themselves, with the most important being asymmetries in their preemption patterns. Elements of this account have roots in lines of argument found in Aristotle and Kant. The differences between practical and theoretical I will adduce will explain a certain puzzle: why is it that we (correctly) judge Buridan’s ass to be completely above reproach when he picks (randomly, if necessary) between two identical and equally convenient bales of hay, but that a detective or judge faced with identical evidence for the guilt of two different suspects is decidedly at fault if she should simply “pick” one as the guilty party. The answer is—as it must be—that the standards of reasoning to which we hold the principals accountable in these contrasting cases are categorically different.
Date: Monday 5 December, 2016
Biography: Mariam Thalos is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. Her work focuses primarily on foundational questions in the sciences, especially the physical, social and decisional sciences, as well as on the relations amongst the sciences. Her book on these subjects, called Without Hierarchy: The Scale Freedom of the Universe, was published in 2013, by Oxford University Press. She has just completed her second book, called A Social Theory of Freedom (Routledge, 2016), which offers a new answer to the timeless philosophical question of human freedom, one that engages with social science but repulses the relevance of questions around determinism, biological and otherwise. It thus advances the cause of an existential theory of freedom in new ways—and it does so without denying the relevance of science, especially social science, for illuminating human agency. She is currently being funded by the National Science Foundation to study precautionary decision making in relation to catastrophic risk, especially in public contexts.
She is the author of numerous articles on causation, explanation and how relations between micro and macro are handled by a range of scientific theories; as well as articles in political philosophy, action theory, metaphysics, epistemology, logical paradox and feminism. Her work has been published in journals such as The Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophy of Science, American Philosophical Quarterly, Synthese and Philosophical Studies. Her work has won the Royal Institute of Philosophy inaugural Essay Prize (2012), and again in 2013, and the American Philosophical Association’s Kavka Prize (1999). She is the former fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Australian National University, the Tanner Humanities Center, the University of Sydney Center for Foundations of Science, and the Institute of Philosophy, University of London.
Early Career Scholars Conference in Philosophy of Psychiatry: Overcoming Mind-Brain Dualism in 21st Century Medicine
21-22, November 2014
Center for Philosophy of Science, 817 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA USA 15260
Notification By: July 7, 2014
Email submissions to: email@example.com
For questions and comments, contact Serife Tekin, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
Organizing Committee: William Bechtel, Trey Boone, Mazviita Shirimuuta, Peter Machamer, Edouard Machery, Ken Schaffner, Kathryn Tabb, and Serife Tekin.
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)
TALK: Siyaves Azeri (Queens, Canada) on “Conceptual Cognitive Organs: Toward a Historical Materialist Theory of Scientific Knowledge”, 17/12/2012
Siyaves Azeri (Queens, Canada) will give a talk at Bogazici on Monday, December 17th from 5-7pm in TB130.
“Conceptual Cognitive Organs: Toward a Historical Materialist Theory of Scientific Knowledge”
ABSTRACT: The relation between scientific concepts and reality cannot be satisfactorily explained unless the empiricist supposition that dramatically differentiates “appearance” and “reality” is dropped. Concepts are components of sign systems, which function as tools of cognitive activity. Conceptual cognition, qualitatively speaking, is not different than perceptual cognition. Concepts are extensions of human sense organs. They are particular higher cognitive organs the function of which is cognitive activity.
Unlike empiricists that locate perception and cognition in human mind, Vygotsky’s historical approach locates perception and cognition outside the psyche or consciousness. It is the degree of abstraction and generalization that differentiates between perceptual and cognitive activities and between different forms of cognition. Scientific concepts and conceptual systems (theories) appear to be a particular form of higher mental activity. They are cognitive tools that provide the ability of systematic cognition of phenomena, which are not available to the grasp of ordinary sense organs. They are tools of scientific “groping” of phenomena. Scientific concepts free perceptual and cognitive activity from determination of “biological” sense organs by providing a high degree of cognitive abstraction and generalization. Scientific cognition, like perceptual activity, is actualized by consciousness but outside the consciousness.
Keywords: Activity, cognition, concept, consciousness, empiricism, reality, science, theory, Vygotsky
Tim Williamson (Oxford) will be giving a talk at Bogazici on Friday December 7th, in TB130 from 5-7pm. The title of his talk is:
“Logics as Scientific Theories”
Tim Williamson is the Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford, and is perhaps the most influential philosopher currently working in the UK. In addition to his talk on Friday, Tim will also be visiting my graduate seminar on Thursday.
ABSTRACT: Logic is often regarded as a neutral arbiter between substantive theories in science and metaphysics. Neutrality is also invoked as a criterion for deciding whether to count a truth as a logical truth. The lecture will argue that logic is much more like other branches of science than such a view allows. An alternative will be developed based on Tarski’s account of logical consequence. In particular, an abductive methodology will be explained for assessing proposals to revise logic; it uses standard criteria for scientific theory choice.