Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Posts Tagged ‘bilkent philosophy

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

Talk at Bilkent by Katherina Nieswandt (Stanford): “Practice Views Revisited”

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Katherina Nieswandt
Center for Ethics in Society
Stanford University

“Practice Views Revisited”

DATE: Thu 11 February 2016
TIME: 15:40-17:30
PLACE: G-160, Bilkent University, Ankara

Short abstract:

Thomas Scanlon and others have argued that ‘practice views’ give
the wrong kind of reasons for moral duties, which shows up in the fact
that they identify the wrong addressees of these duties. The reason
why I must not break my promise to you, for instance, should lie in
the harm that this does to you—rather than in the harm that it does to
the practice of promising or to our community. I demonstrate that the
wrong reason objection indeed applies to some practice views, notably
rule-conquentialism and (Hobbes’) contractarianism.  Drawing on ideas
by Elizabeth Anscombe, however, I offer an alternative understanding of
the role of the practice in ethical justifications.

Long abstract:

According to “conventionalist” or “practice views,” at least some moral
duties exist within social practices, and these practices play an important
role in justifying the respective duties. Among others, the theories of Hobbes,
Gauthier, Hooker and Rawls are commonly classified as practice views.

Thomas Scanlon has levelled a formidable and widely used objection against
practice views: They give the wrong reasons for our duties, which shows up
in the fact that they identify the wrong addressees. The reason why I must
not break my promise to you, for instance, should lie in the harm that this
does to you—rather than in the harm it does to the practice of promising or
to all the participants in that practice.

I grant that Scanlon’s objection applies to the mentioned theories. But I offer
a surprising diagnosis: (i) I argue that the conventionalism of these theories
is superficial. (ii) I show that the objection applies to them precisely because
they are not genuinely conventionalist and that (iii) any genuinely conventionalist
theory gives the correct reasons and identifies the correct addressees of our duties.
As a last step, (iv) I outline one such theory, using the understanding of the practice
in moral justifications that I find in Elizabeth Anscombe’s work. (v) My particular
proposal has an interesting application to rights: It enables us to be conventionalists
about rights without being cultural relativists about rights.

Written by István Aranyosi

February 4, 2016 at 8:28 am

Talk at Bilkent by Ulf Hlobil (Pittsburgh): “Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”

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Ulf Hlobil
Department of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh

“Do It! But Don’t Listen to Me!: Moral Testimony and Practical Inference”

DATE: Wed 10 February 2016
TIME: 15:40-17:30
PLACE: G-160, Bilkent University, Ankara


What, if anything, is wrong with acting on moral beliefs that we accept
merely on the say-so of others? Why could it be problematic to act on a
moral belief that we take to be true without understanding why it is true?
I defend a qualified and novel version of what is called “pessimism” in
the controversy over pure moral testimony. I argue that we can rationally
come to hold the premises of moral reasoning through testimony, but that
moral testimony is problematic in cases where the agent lacks the ability
to make the correct practical inference. The problem is that inferential
abilities cannot be shared via testimony. The role that moral testimony
can play in our moral lives is therefore limited. My account gives the
correct verdicts for common examples in the literature on moral testimony.
It, moreover, incorporates many of the optimists’ insights and is more
general and informative than rival accounts.

Written by István Aranyosi

February 4, 2016 at 8:12 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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“Minds, Bodies, and Problems” conference, Bilkent University, June 7-8, 2012

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After several weeks of processing submissions, comparing the referee reports on them, and negotiating various potential lists of speakers based on various criteria, I have put together the final list of submitted papers that I expect to be presented at the “Minds, Bodies, and Problems” conference, hosted by Bilkent University on 7-8 June, 2012.

Bilkent University

Bilkent University

All papers have been anonymously refereed, and I would like to thank the reviewers (Murat Aydede, Sandy Berkovski, David Chalmers, Tim Crane, Hilmi Demir, Katalin Farkas, Shaun Gallagher, Kourken Michaelian, Vincent Müller, Emre Özgen, Erdinc Sayan, Simon Wigley, and Bill Wringe) for their kind help in the selection process. Their input is very much appreciated.

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