Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bilkent 7 April: Jan Kandiyali

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Jan Kandiyali (İTÜ) “Marx on Meaningful Work”

Friday 7 April, 2017, 1100-1230, G-160


Abstract: While the idea of meaningful work is historically associated with Karl Marx, recent defences of the idea have tended to eschew Marx’s theory on the grounds that it is is incoherent and not necessarily desirable. In this paper I  argue that this eschewal is a mistake. Marx’s theory, though not without its problems, has the resources to respond to the family of objections that are often thought fatal to it; moreover, his writings continue to provide us with a theory of work from which we can learn. Indeed, it is argued that we find in Marx a plausible theory of meaningful work, one that focuses on the contribution that producing for others can make to our well-being.

Written by Sandrine Berges

April 4, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Talk at Bilkent 31 March: Mehmet Elgin

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Mehmet Elgin (Muğla University)

“Why Do Evolutionary Biologists Formulate A Priori Laws Rather Than Empirical Laws?”

Friday 31 March, 2017, 11-12:30, G160.



Abstract: Unlike any branch of physics, evolutionary biology is peppered with a priori mathematical models. It is important to explain why this is the case. I will argue that when we examine the principle of natural selection carefully, we see that this law relates fitness to gene frequencies. Fitness appealed to in this law is stripped away from any physical or biological details and it represents a mere mathematical value. When we relate this value to gene frequencies, we are relating two mathematical values. As a result we end up with a priori laws. I will then provide a more general argument for this fact: Fitness is a genuine multiply realizable property. Only laws that can be formulated about genuinely multiply realizable states are a priori laws. Therefore, only laws that can be formulated about fitness are a priori laws. I will finally argue that such a priori laws in evolutionary biology have very important functions: They are essential for us to be able to formulate empirically testable causal hypotheses about the evolution of specific populations and they are also indispensable in developing causal explanations systematically.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Sehir University Philosophy Talks 28 // Some Ethical and Philosophical Implications of Modern Genomics Studies

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Written by metindemirsehir

March 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

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Talk on T.S. Eliot and Bertrand Russell at Bilkent

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Dr. April Pierce (PhD, University of Oxford): “Telling the Truth: T.S. Eliot and the Linguistic Turn”

Wednesday, March 15, at 4 pm in G-160.

Abstract: What is truth? More specifically, how do we know that what we say attributes to the external world? This lecture looks at the way a young T.S. Eliot, modernist and proto-post-modernist poet-philosopher, posed the question of truth in his early years as a philosophy student. We will visit Eliot’s early ideas about language, closely examining his relationship to Bertrand Russell, a forefather for analytic philosophy of language. First, we will consider the modernist “moment” as it pertains to language theory, then look at Eliot’s early work in philosophy of language. Eliot and Russell’s relationship, both personal and philosophical, will be described, and their perspectives on the question of truth-telling will be compared and contrasted. Finally, we will consider a few ways Eliot’s poetry “answers” questions posed by his early philosophy, looking at themes and devices used in his later writing.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

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Joint Bogazici/Southampton Workshop on Constitutivism at Southampton (03/04/2017)

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A joint Boğaziçi/Southampton workshop on Constitutivism, to be held at Southampton University on April 3rd, 2017. Everybody welcome.


Monday, April 3, 2017
10 – 6pm
Avenue Campus, Room 65/1097
University of Southampton

10-11:30 Daniel Elstein (University of Leeds): ‘Shmagency, Inescapability and Anti-Realist Constitutivism’ / Response: Alex Gregory (University of Southampton)
11:30-11:45 Coffee

11:45 -1:15 Paul Katsafanas (Boston University): ‘’Can Constitutivism Provide a Response to Nihilism?’ / Response: Neil Sinclair (Nottingham)

1:15 – 2:45 Lunch

2:45-4:15 Jack Woods (University of Leeds): ‘Constructivism, yes! Constitutivism, no! (or probably not, for Humeans and Conventionalists)’ / Response: Ulrike Heuer (University of Leeds)

4:15-4:30 Coffee

4:30-6pm Lucas Thorpe ( Bogazici University): ‘What’s wrong with constructivist readings of Kant?’/ Response: Sasha Mudd (University of Southampton)

This workshop is organised as part of the joint Boğaziçi -Southampton Newton-Katip Çelebi project AF140071 “Agency and Autonomy: Kant and the Normative Foundations of Republican Self-Government” run by Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi) and Sasha Mudd (Southampton)


Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

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Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at Bilkent

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1st Bilkent Undergraduate Students Philosophy Conference on April 29th. Submission Deadline April 15th.

yeniyeni poster-01.jpeg

We are happy to invite undergraduate students to take part in the first Bilkent Undergraduate Students Philosophy Conference to take place on April 29th. The purpose of this conference is to give a chance to the undergraduate students to share their arguments with their peers. Students from all universities and departments are welcome to participate with philosophy papers they have written for their upper-level undergraduate courses or in their spare time. Accepted submissions will be presented by their authors on the day of the conference, with a commentator’s presentation on the paper to follow up in response.

The conference will take place at I.D. Bilkent University, on April 29, 2017. Participants are encouraged to apply from outside Ankara, and we will do our best to arrange accommodation, if needed.

Accepted submissions will be announced on April 21, 2017.

Presentation Details:
Presentation: 30 Minutes
Commentator: 15 Minutes
Question-Answer: 10 Minutes

Submission Guidelines:
1. There is no restriction on subject matter, but papers are restricted to present a philosophical argument.
2. Not only philosophy students but also students from other departments are welcomed.
3. Submissions, and all other enquiries should be sent by e-mail to: philstudentconf@bilkent.edu.tr
4. Please attach one copy of your paper, with its title on top, but is otherwise anonymous and does not in anyway give away the identity of the author.
5. Please include in the body of the e-mail submission your full name, the title of your paper and your contact information (such as your e-mail address).
6. Participants should send an abstract of their paper that is between 800-1000 words.
7. The submitted abstracts and the presentations should be in English.
8. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2017

Submissions will be evaluated by a student committee from the Department of Philosophy, Bilkent.

Written by Sandrine Berges

March 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Metaphysics of Abstract Artifacts: A New Reading Group at Boğaziçi on Mondays

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I am starting a new reading group on the metaphysics of abstract artifacts. Some objects such as musical works, novels, fictional characters, computer programs do not seem to fit the traditional ontological categories of either concrete or abstract. The distinction between these two categories is usually drawn on account of whether having or lacking spatiotemporal location, or causal efficacy. I call these objects abstract artifacts. Abstract artifacts, if they exist, seem to be created by composers/authors/programmers, etc. and thus have a beginning in time, yet they seem to be abstract objects of some kind (since they lack spatial location, or they are multiply realizable and/or repeatable). However, abstract objects are presumably causally inert; they cannot push or pull things. If creation entails being caused to exist, then it seems that the abstract objects in question cannot be created. Hence, it seems we have to give up on one of the above claims about abstract artifacts. This is often referred to as the paradox of standards.

We will begin our discussion trying to answer the question how we solve this puzzle. In this reading group, we will start with a basic ontological framework in which the questions and alternative proposal are construed, and then move on to more difficult questions about the nature of abstract artifacts. Most of our discussions will focus on the ontology of works of art but we will keep in mind the possibility that whatever we say about works of art might shed some light on different kinds of abstract artifacts: linguistic entities such as letters, words, languages, computer programs and, perhaps, scientific theorems.

The reading group will be meeting on Mondays (starting from Monday, Feb 27) from 5:15 to 7 pm at JF (John Freely Hall) 507, Bogazici University South Campus. Everyone is welcome.

For the first week we will be reading two survey papers on abstract objects: Gideon Rosen’s SEP entry “Abstract Objects” and Linda Wetzel’s “Types and Tokens”.

If you want to join our email list, please email Ozcan Karabag at ahmetozcankarabag@gmail.com.

This reading group is organized as part of Nurbay Irmak’s BAP project “Concept Pluralism and Artifactual Theory of Language” (10321).

Written by nurbay irmak

February 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm

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