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Find Open Session speakers alphabetically:

A B D E F G H J K L M O P R S T V W

The Open Sessions are a chance for philosophers to share short papers.
Video links are available with the details for each talk.
 
 

A
 

Damian Aleksiev

Central European University

The Privacy of Consciousness Problem for Panpsychism

Abstract

I will argue that panpsychism is false because phenomenal properties are not suitable candidates for the intrinsic grounds of the extrinsic properties of microphysics. Panpsychists postulate that there are fundamental phenomenal properties which ground both the extrinsic properties of microphysical entities and human consciousness. I will argue that extrinsic properties are public, while consciousness is essentially private. Thus, since consciousness is essentially private, the fundamental phenomenal properties are unobservable in a public way; thus, they are not apt to ground any public physical properties.

Keywords

metaphysics, mind

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B
 

Marius Backmann

London School of Economics

Time for Freedom

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that determinism does not automatically imply that the future is not settled, and neither does indeterminism automatically imply an open future, depending on other basic ontological assumptions about the nature of laws and temporal ontology. I argue that it is thus not determinism, but the question of whether the future is open that should be the crucial issue in the free will debate. Lastly, I will briefly outline an intermediary position between classical incompatibilist libertarianism and classical compatibilism, which is compatible with a fixed future.

Keywords

determinism, time

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Tom Baker

University of Birmingham

Colour Relationalism and Illusions of Colour

Abstract

One view of colour is relationalism: the view that colours are constituted by relations between objects and perceivers. Relationalism is motivated by the seeming ability to explain why seemingly conflicting colour experiences are veridical. Relationalism struggles to explain colour illusions, however, since the relations utilised to explain the veridicality of some colour experiences obtain during colour illusions. Cohen, the chief proponent of relationalism, has attempted to explain colour illusions. I argue that Cohen’s relationalism does not categorise all colour illusions as colour illusions, mainly due to the scope of the relations that Cohen posits.

Keywords

perception

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Arvid Båve

University of Kent

Structured propositions and their truth conditions

Abstract

I will argue that facts about the truth conditions of propositions (“T-facts”) are fundamental, and that it should therefore not be a constraint on theories of propositions to explain them on the basis of the theory. While Merricks has argued for the same claim, he takes propositions to be simple. I show how this claim, perhaps surprisingly, can also be made consistently with taking propositions to be structured. It turns out, however, that there is a sense in which T-facts are grounded in facts about propositional constituents, yet that this still allows us to reject the explanatory constraint.

Keywords

language

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Umut Baysan

University of Oxford

Epiphobia Rejected

Abstract

Epiphenomenalism denies some or all putative cases of mental causation. The view is widely taken to be absurd: if a theory can be shown to entail epiphenomenalism, many see that as a reductio of that theory. Opponents take epiphenomenalism to be absurd because they regard the view as undermining the evident agency we have in action. In this paper, I defend epiphenomenalism against this objection.

Keywords

mind

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Claire Benn

The Australian National University

Signalling Virtue: Reassuring Observers of Machine Behaviour

Abstract

Machines are subject to various constraints, such as not to harm. We introduce another: that partially observed machine systems ought to reassure observers that they understand the constraints that they are under and that they have and will abide by those constraints. Specifically, a system should not follow a course of action that, from the point of view of the observer, is not easily distinguishable from a course of action that is forbidden. We demonstrate, both technically and in application to examples, three ways in which this constraint can be made sensitive to variations in risk attitudes.

Keywords

ethics, technology

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Scott Berman

Saint Louis University

The Relation between Concrete and Abstract Things

Abstract

The relation between concrete and abstract things is, it is argued, everyone’s problem who is not a nominalist, who have worse problems. A solution is offered, which has the advantage of being non-mysterious, that is, being connected up with the mathematical nature of the sciences.

Keywords         

metaphysics

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Sharon Berry

Oakland University

Hamkins’ Analogy between Set theory and Geometry

Abstract

In `The Set Theoretic Multiverse’ Hamkins uses an analogy between set theory and geometry plus certain considerations involving the technique of forcing to motivate his famous multiverse program: a particularly bold and interesting form of Plenitudinous Platonism.
However I will note that the analogy between set theory and geometry actually cuts against his own proposal in a certain way. I will argue that Hamkins’ stated motivations are equally (or better) satisfied by putting a certain *modal twist* on Hamkins’ multiverse, which takes the above analogy between set theory and geometry more seriously and, consequently, takes there to be a fact of the matter about the Continuum Hypothesis (in a sense that Hamkins denies).

Keywords

maths, logic

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Charles Boddicker

University of Southampton

A Nietzschean Account of Valuing

Abstract

In this talk, I outline a Nietzschean account of valuing. I set out my account in opposition to Katsafanas’ 2016 account. Katsafanas argues that an agent values X iff the agent (1) has a drive-induced positive affective orientation toward X, and (2) does not disapprove of this affective orientation. I object to condition (2) by showing that Nietzsche thinks we can disapprove of our values and still count as holding them. On my view, valuing X involves nothing over and above having a strong drive-induced positive affective orientation toward X. I argue that my view can address the problem I identify in Katsafanas’ account and two problems that he identifies in Poellner and Clark and Dudrick’s accounts.

Keywords

affect, drive, Nietzsche, value, valuing

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Ali Boyle

University of Cambridge, University of Bonn

What is a Foetus?

Abstract
A common-sense view of the foetus treats it as (a) an organism, and (b) comprised only of those parts that emerge as the ‘future baby’. In this paper I argue that, given an account of the organism as a metabolic whole, (a) and (b) can’t both be true. If the foetus is an organism, it shares many of the mother’s parts. On the assumption that a foetus is an organism, this suggests a new account of birth.

Keywords

metaphysics, philosophy of biology

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John M Bunke

College of the Holy Cross / University of Toronto

The Dynamics of Disagreement in Metaphysics

Abstract

In this paper I propose a new way of thinking about disagreements in metaphysics, taking the persistence of material objects as my primary example. My view is an alternative to two recent trends in meta-metaphysics: monistic realism (e.g. Fine 2001; Sider 2011) and deflationism (e.g. Hirsch 2010; Thomasson 2015). My account begins with the idea that metaphysical theses, such as endurantism and perdurantism, are not rival theories (as monistic realism contends) nor are they different languages (as deflationism claims). Instead, they are alternative explanatory schemes. Although at most one theory (of a phenomenon) can be correct and no language is more “correct” than any other, more than one explanatory scheme can be correct by providing resources to explain the phenomenon. One consequence of this view is that some metaphysical disagreements can be viewed as “faultless.”

Keywords

disagreement, explanation, metaphysics

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Andrew Buskell

University of Cambridge

Discontinuities in Culture

Abstract

A widespread picture holds that cultures are individuals, with discernible features that can be used both to individuate distinct cultures and discriminate between qualitative and numerical change. This picture underwrites a number of projects in philosophy, politics, and the sciences. Yet principles for individuating culture and accompanying ontologies are rarely explicit. I here identify two broad individuation strategies found across these literatures—one based around lineages of institutional control, the other around ideational assemblages—and articulate some longstanding problems these views face. Discriminating these two strategies also raises the possibility of hybrid accounts that might resolve longstanding issues. Focusing on these, I highlight three hybrid accounts—Samuel Scheffler’s Heraclitean pluralism, Alan Patten’s social lineage account, and Ásta’s conferralist approach—arguing that of the three, there are presumptive reasons to prefer the conferralist approach

Keywords

political philosophy, metaphysics, science

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T Ryan Byerly

University of Sheffield

The Virtues of the Intellectually Dependable Person

Abstract

We depend on others to offer us testimony, to share their perspectives with us, to teach us new skills for inquiry, to challenge us with overlooked evidence, to model for us what excellent inquiry is, and more. A good question that has not yet received adequate attention concerns what it takes to be the sort of person who tends to function well when depended upon by others in these ways. Here I present an account of the ideal of the intellectually dependable person and argue that a suite of neglected, distinctively other-regarding intellectual virtues are central to achieving this ideal.

Keywords

virtue epistemology

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C
 

Haggeo Cadenas

University of California, San Diego

Epistemology as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives

Abstract

Some hold that one’s epistemic reasons depend on one’s epistemic goals (e.g., Laudan, 1990).  Kelly (2003) has argued against this sort of view by claiming that our treating epistemic reasons categorically is evidence that they are categorical.  Any attempt to argue otherwise, Kelly adds, will face the dilemma of rejecting one of two plausible theses: epistemic intersubjectivity or goal idiosyncrasy. Drawing on work from Foot (1972), I show that Kelly’s argument fails and the dilemma can be avoided.

Keywords

value theory

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Alex Carruth

Durham University

What’s in a Game? Creative Ontology and Video Games

Abstract

This talk argues that there are distinctive ontological considerations which bear on the evaluation of video games. The first part introduces the concept of ‘creative ontology’ and elucidates this notion through comparison with other forms of ontological practice. The second part argues that the same norms that govern more familiar forms of ontological practice also apply to creative ontology. However, rather than being alethic or pragmatic, for creative ontology these norms take on a broadly evaluative dimension: one—although clearly not the only—factor in the success of a game will derive from the creative ontology in place.

Keywords

philosophy of games, metaphysics

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Zsuzsanna Chappell

In Praise of Self-Harm?  Why It Is Hard to Tell Why Self-Harm Is Wrong

Abstract

I examine arguments against self-harm grounded in duties to others and in duties to oneself and find that neither establish its wrongness, only ways in which it ought to be limited. I argue that instead of focussing on the wrongness of self-harm, we should focus on its badness, recognising the wrongness of a state of the world where some are experiencing such psychic suffering or have been silenced to the extent that self-harm becomes desirable. This moves us away from simply changing individual actions of self-harm towards changing the social context within which self-harm exists.

Keywords

applied ethics

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Ian M Church

Hillsdale College

Evil Intuitions?

Abstract

The primary aim of this paper is to highlight, at least in short, how the resources of experimental philosophy could be applied to the evidential problem of evil. In §1, I want to briefly elucidate one seminal and enormously influential version of the evidential problem of evil: namely, William Rowe’s version in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” (1979). Then, in §2, I will sketch how experimental philosophy might apply to Rowe’s argument.

Keywords

evil, philosophy of religion, x-phi

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Murray Clarke

Concordia University

Inspecting Heyes’ Cognitive Gadgets

Abstract

Cecilia Heyes argues in her recent book, Cognitive Gadgets, that a new approach is needed to account for the mind: cultural evolutionary psychology. This new approach promises rich rewards for cognitive science. In particular, she argues that natural selection operates on culture to produce cognitive gadgets rather than the cognitive instincts that, for instance, ‘High Church’ Evolutionary Psychology posited. She argues that domain-specific mechanisms have been handed down via cultural evolution for selective social learning, imitation, mindreading, and language. I argue that a Heyes-style argument for a selective social learning device for reasoning is incompatible with Leda Cosmides’ empirical evidence concerning the Wason Selection Task.

Keywords

cognitive science; mind

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Harry Cleeveley

King’s College London

The Deep Incoherence of Modal Dualism

Abstract

Does conceivability entail metaphysical possibility? Since the work of Kripke (1971), the orthodoxy has been that it does not–because some necessary truths are only knowable a posteriori. This has been challenged by Chalmers (2010),who argues that the Kripke cases are not true a posteriori necessities: they have a sense in which they are necessary, and a sense in which they are a posteriori–but no sense in which they are both. This analysis is correct, but does not go far enough. I argue that a posteriori necessities are in fact impossible–because the notion itself is deeply incoherent.

Keywords

metaphysics, mind

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Sophia Connell

Birkbeck, University of London

Aristotle on Women

Abstract

According to Aristotelian biology, females are more capable of intelligence than males. This is evident in his account of the consistency of their blood and flesh. The obvious question then is why men are to have power over women. In this paper, I will argue that Aristotle bases women’s natural subordination on their lack of physical strength and spirit rather than any moral or intellectual failings. Their intellectual capacities actually make women more easily ruled over, like tameable and trainable animals. However, Aristotle suggests that the situation of women must be carefully handled in order to avoid sedition and unhappiness.

Keywords

Aristotle, feminism, history of philosophy

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Chris Cousens

La Trobe University

Hate Speech Exceptionalism and Ordinary Harms

Abstract

Philosophical and ‘common-sense’ thinking about hate speech often adopt an attitude of ‘hate speech exceptionalism’. The thought is that while hate speech and ordinary insults are in some ways similar, there is no justification for restricting ordinary insults. So, if hate speech may be justifiably restricted, this must be because of a quality it does not share with ordinary insults. This leaves the ordinary harms of hate speech under-described in philosophy. This paper seeks to contribute to a better holistic description of the harm of hate speech and suggest how these might help to argue for its restriction.

Keywords

political philosophy, language

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D
 

Gregor Damschen

University of Oldenburg

Modal Truthmaker Paradox

Abstract

In this paper, I present the “Modal Truthmaker Paradox” (MTP) that avoids some of the weaknesses of Brendel’s (2018) Truthmaker Paradox: first, MTP does not rest on Montague’s theorem, second, it does not assume that provability implies having a truthmaker. However, MTP gives rise to a new problem for truthmaker maximalists (e.g. Armstrong 2004, Jago 2019) as it assumes a weak variant of Truthmaker Maximalism (<If p is true, it is possible that p has a truthmaker>). If a truthmaker maximalist would like to block the MTP, s/he has to give up even a weak form of truthmaker maximalism.

Keywords

logic, metaphysics
 
 

Rasa Davidaviciute

University of St Andrews/University of Stirling

The Harms of Cultural Heritage

Abstract

One prominent strategy that has been recently proposed in safeguarding cultural heritage is to treat its destruction as a violation of human rights. But cultural heritage is a notoriously problematic phenomenon, not all instances of which can be associated with positive value. The purpose of this paper is to start outlining the broad contours of the limits of a human right to cultural heritage, by inquiring into the harms that cultural heritage could generate. The paper proceeds as follows. In the first part, I propose an account of cultural heritage that views heritage not as a static list of historical objects, but rather as something closely linked to meaning creation. Equipped with this account of heritage, in the second part of the paper I look at one particular way in which heritage can be harmful through its use as a tool for community building.

Keywords

cultural heritage, human rights, harm

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Matteo De Ceglie

University of Salzburg

Against Categoricity

Abstract

According to the universism position in set theory, there is only a Single Universe for set theory and all the models we build through forcing have instrumental value: they are useful only until we find the “true” one. The belief that this universe actually exists and the consequent dismissal of a pluralist conception is based on two main arguments: first, already in V we can simulate different universes, so there is no need to assume the existence of other universes: second, set theory is actually categorical, i.e. all the different models stemming from it are in fact isomorphic. I argue that both arguments are off target.

Keywords

maths

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Huzeyfe Demirtas

Syracuse University

Against Resultant Moral Luck

Abstract

Bernstein (2017) argues that there’s a hitherto unexplored sort of moral luck and calls it proportionality luck. In this paper, I argue that proportionality luck entails implausible results. Hence, it should be rejected. I then discuss various options for resultant moral luck to avoid the same implausible results. I show that the only non-arbitrary option is denying the thesis that a factor can be more/less of a cause of an outcome—that causal contribution comes in degrees. I argue that it’s not plausible to deny this thesis. I conclude that resultant moral luck should be rejected just as well.

Keywords

resultant moral luck, proportionality luck, degrees of causal contribution, degrees of causation

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Anton B Didikin

Russian Academy of Sciences

Speech Acts and actions in Legal Language: Conceptual Analysis

Abstract

Reconsideration of legal phenomena by legal language means is a typical feature of analytical tradition in the legal philosophy, since legal regulations are expressed not only in language, but are inextricably linked with the linguistic content of rules whilst applying them. Language as a form of communication and representation of the world is a holistic and specific phenomenon, that is localized in speech acts that form subject’s intentions and his further actions. Legal reality and its language forms are inseparable, and we can learn deeply the essence of phenomena by interpreting legal texts and speech acts that illustrate legal intentions.

Keywords

law, language

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Alex Dietz

Cardiff University

A Dilemma for the Attitudinal Theory of Pleasure

Abstract

According to the desire theory of pleasure, the pleasantness of an experience consists in the subject’s desire for that experience. In this paper, we ask: what does this desire consist in? We argue that this question creates a dilemma for the desire theory. Either the relevant desires are at least partly a matter of phenomenology, or they are not. As a result, we argue, desire theorists will either be committed to implausible implications, or will undermine the objections they raise against their chief rivals.

Keyword

mind, value theory

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E
 

Nikk Effingham

University of Birmingham

The Wave Theory of Time

Abstract

This paper argues for a new theory of time: Wave theory. Like eternalism, four dimensional hunks exist; unlike eternalism, everyday objects aren’t identified with such hunks (nor parts of such hunks). Instead, everyday objects are constituted by the presently existing temporal parts of those hunks. As time flows, everyday objects are constituted by different bits of the hunks, like waves being constituted by different chunks of water they move through the ocean. After explaining the theory, the rest of the paper argues that it’s preferable to (a) presentism and (b) moving spotlight theory.

Keywords

metaphysics, time

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Karl Egerton

University of Hertfordshire

Player engagement with games: formal reliefs and representation checks

Abstract

Among the direct parallels and contrasts between traditional narrative fiction and games, there lie certain partial analogies that provide insights of their own. In this paper I first examine a direct parallel between narrative fiction and games – the role of fictional reliefs and reality checks – before arguing that from this a partial analogy can be developed which resembles these features but stems from a feature that distinguishes most games from most traditional fictions: the presence of rules. I introduce the paired concepts of formal reliefs and representation checks, explaining how these features’ presence can alter the ways in which players engage with games.

Keywords

aesthetics, philosophy of fiction, philosophy of games

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F
 

Eugen Fischer, Justin Sytsma

University of East Anglia, Victoria University of Wellington

Zombie Intuitions

Abstract

In philosophical thought experiments, as in ordinary discourse, our understanding of verbal case descriptions is enriched by automatic comprehension inferences. Such inferences have us routinely infer what else is also true of the cases described. We consider how such routine inferences can generate zombie intuitions: intuitions that are ‘killed’ (defeated) by contextual information but kept cognitively alive by the psycholinguistic phenomenon of salience bias. A corpus study, a survey, and an experiment develop and assess the hypothesis that David Chalmers’s ‘zombie argument’ is built on zombie intuitions. We finally point out a methodological consequence for philosophical thought experiments, more generally.

Keywords

mind, x-phi, philosophical methodology

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Giacomo Floris

University of Manchester

The basis of children’s moral equality

Abstract

Standard theories of justice for children proceed from the assumption that children are one another’s moral equals. Arguably, however, a convincing justification for children’s moral equality has yet to be found. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing a solid philosophical argument in favour of children’s equal moral status and, therefore, children’s equal fundamental rights. The paper argues that children’s moral equality is entailed by a commitment to a form of respect that is owed to children qua moral status-holders, which requires that children are provided with those social conditions that foster their developmental process into well-adjusted adults who hold a proper and stable capacity for moral personality.

Keywords

children, friendship, moral equality, self-respect

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Martin Fricke

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/ The National Autonomous University of Mexico

Can Determinists Act Under the Idea of Freedom?

Abstract

Determinism is a fairly common philosophical view and also forms part of religious doctrines such as Islam and certain strands of Christianity. Is the existence of (acting) determinists incompatible with Kant’s claim that a rationally willed being “cannot act otherwise than under the idea of freedom” (G 4, 448)? In my paper, I examine Kant’s argument for this claim at the beginning of the Third Section of the Groundwork and argue that it amounts to the assertion that one cannot judge while being aware of being guided by invalid principles. Belief in determinism does not amount to such awareness.

Keywords

determinism, ethics, Kant

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Roberto Fumagalli

King’s College London

A Reformed Division of Labour for the Science of Well-Being

Abstract

This paper provides a critical evaluation of leading theory-based, evidence-based and coherentist approaches to the definition and the measurement of well-being. It then articulates a reformed division of labour for the science of well-being and argues that this reformed division of labour overcomes all the major challenges faced by theory-based approaches while circumventing all the major challenges faced by evidence-based and coherentist approaches.

Keywords

philosophy of science, cognitive science, public policy

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G
 
 

Joaquim Giannotti

University of Glasgow

The Empirical Inadequacy of Grounding Orthodoxy

Abstract

On the orthodox view, grounding is irreflexive, asymmetric, and transitive. Here I argue that the asymmetry of grounding jeopardizes its empirical adequacy: phenomena such as quantum entanglement seem to be plausibly regarded as instances of symmetric grounding. Such instances represent a threat to a naturalistic conception of grounding. To defuse this threat, I defend the adoption of a non-symmetric theory of grounding. I show that this approach is preferable to the strategy of fixing the directionality of the grounding relations in putative symmetric cases.

Keywords

metaphysics, metaphysics of science, philosophy of science

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Martin Glazier

University of Hamburg

The Contingency of Actuality

Abstract

Philosophers standardly accept the principle Necessity of Actuality: if actually p, then necessarily actually p. I argue against this principle. The argument is that what is actually the case changes over time and so must be contingent. Necessity of Actuality has tempted philosophers, I suggest, only because we often tacitly impose a certain restriction on what counts as possible. Although this restriction is useful, allowing us to easily compare the possible with the actual, it does not correspond to anything genuinely necessary.

Keywords

metaphysics, time

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Trystan Goetze

Dalhousie University

How (Not) to Express Epistemic Blame

Abstract

In online discourse, there is a well-known tendency for criticism of people’s beliefs to erupt into hostile rebukes. While this pattern is often seen as inappropriate, according to Jessica Brown’s account of epistemic blame, it is perhaps to be expected. For, on her view, rebuke is one of the main ways epistemic blame is appropriately expressed. In this paper, I argue that, unlike in moral blame, rebuke cannot be justified as an appropriate expression of purely epistemic blame. Instead, I suggest that the mode of criticism involved in epistemic blame must be dispassionate and non-punitive.

Keywords

epistemic blame, ethics of belief, rebuke

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Camil Golub

Rutgers University, University of Leeds

Deflationism, Representation, and the Question of Realism

Abstract

How can we distinguish between quasi-realist expressivism and normative realism? The most promising answer to this question is the “explanation” explanation proposed by Dreier (2004), Simpson (2018), and others: the two views might agree in their claims about truth and objectivity, or even in their attributions of semantic content to normative sentences, but they disagree about how to explain normative meaning. Realists explain meaning by invoking normative facts and properties, or representational relations between normative language and the world, the thought goes, while expressivists appeal instead to desire-like mental states in their explanations of meaning. However, I argue that, if we adopt a deflationary approach to representation and other related notions, there need be no such explanatory divide between expressivism and anything recognizable as a plausible notion of normative realism. Any alleged explanatory criterion for realism will either be incompatible with deflationism, or it will fail to capture some standard versions of normative realism. I conclude that, in a deflationary framework, expressivism is compatible with genuine realism.

Keywords

ethics, value theory

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Alkis Gounaris

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA)

Why do we need a Unified Theory of Embodied Cognition?

Abstract

The range, diversity and the different metaphysical assumptions of Embodied Cognition (EC) hypotheses that have been formulated in recent years, a) do not allow for their pragmatic, problem-solving oriented adoption by Cognitive Science and (b) favor their fragmentary use by various scientific and practical fields, resulting in misunderstandings concerning their content and validity. Through a brief overview, this presentation aims to highlight the reasons why research towards a Unified Theory of Embodied Cognition (UTEC) can contribute to solving old and modern problems regarding Human Cognition and Artificial Intelligence.

Keywords

artificial intelligence, cognitive science, embodied cognition, embodied mind

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James Grant

University of Oxford

Moral Worth and Moral Belief: Or, The Importance of Being Earnest

Abstract

Doing the right thing has moral worth if you are morally creditworthy for your act or it reflects well on you. Several philosophers argue that, when you do the right thing, your beliefs about the morality of what you are doing make no difference to your act’s moral worth. Huck Finn helps Jim escape from slavery, despite believing that this is wrong, and his act plainly has great moral worth. I argue, on the contrary, that moral beliefs can affect moral worth.

Keywords

ethics

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Nora Grigore

Presuppositions of Moral Normativity

Abstract

Morality can be seen as arduous, demanding, centered on obligations and rules and usually going against the personal interest of the agent. Alternatively, it can be seen as going along with the interest of the agent, contributing to personal development, not centered upon obligations, but on aspirations, and only accidentally difficult. I propose that the difference between these alternative ways of seeing morality is due to different ways of seeing the moral normative force: as a compulsive or attractive force.

Keywords

ethics, metaethics

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Zhiwei Gu

Central European University

Anomalous Disjunctivism

Abstract

I argue that the mechanisms of seeing and visual hallucination are different, because the causal conditions for them are different. Particularly, the seen thing and the neural activity cause the subject to see the thing, while the neural activity and the failure of seeing cause a further mechanism, and then the hallucinatory experience is produced. The hallucinatory experience, thereby, is not produced in seeing. Hence, whatever an account we give to visual hallucination, naïve realists are not forced to give it to seeing. Hence, the screening-off problem can be dissolved.

Keywords

perception

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H
 

Rachel Handley

University of Liverpool

Ideal Quasi-Realism and the Revised Relativism Objection

Abstract

I introduce my revised relativism objection which targets the structural heart of the quasi-realist programme. I then introduce my own version of quasi-realism, ideal quasi-realism. I argue that the ideal quasi-realist can respond to the revised relativism objection. Our ordinary moral discourse, which quasi-realism aims to explain and justify, includes features like BETTER: the notion that a judgement can be better than another. Features like BETTER must be explained by the quasi-realist. If an explanation is not provided, then quasi-realism will fail to achieve its aim. I argue that the revised relativism objection shows that the worry that quasi-realism cannot explain BETTER (and is thus a form of relativism) has not been squashed. I end with a suggestion for how ideal quasi-realism can provide a solution to the revised relativism objection.

Keywords

metaethics, metaphysics, quasi-realism, relativism

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Lisa Hecht

Stockholm University

Justified Rights Infringements, Benefits, and Compensation

Abstract

A principle justifying the compensatory duties of beneficiaries of justified rights infringements – that is, those who were saved from greater harm through the infliction of a lesser harm – should cohere with the core commitments underlying the infringement model of rights. I propose a novel principle for beneficiaries’ compensatory duties which meets this demand. The Special Duty Principle suggests that beneficiaries have an especially stringent duty to alleviate the victim’s harm because they stand in a morally tragic relationship. I argue that two alternative compensatory principles, the Beneficiary Pays Principle and the Fairness Principle, fail to cohere with the core commitments.

Keywords

applied ethics

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Alice Helliwell

University of Kent

AI creativity: the problem with spontaneity and a potential solution

Abstract

Why are we reluctant to consider Artificial Intelligence (AI) as creative? Is there any necessary reason to preclude AI from creativity? This paper will focus on spontaneity, a recent addition to the necessary conditions of creativity (Gaut 2018). Spontaneity in Gaut’s theory arises from the a priori principle of creativity: The Ignorance Principle. Spontaneity is defined as an action that is not completely planned in advance. In this paper, I explore problems with spontaneity as a condition for creativity, particularly when examining machine creativity. I will propose unpredictability as an alternative conceptualisation of spontaneity for AI creativity. Unpredictability avoids the concerns raised by spontaneity, whilst still accounting for the Ignorance Principle. The paper will then go on to show how unpredictability can be applied to the judgement of computational ‘creativity’. Finally, some initial objections will be countered.

Keywords

aesthetics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science

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Jack Herbert

University of Sheffield

Truth-Directed Testimonial Discriminations

Abstract

We don’t accept everything that people tell us; we discriminate between bits of testimony. In the following project, I forward that our testimonial discriminations must be truth-directed. In doing so, I argue that if a given piece of testimonial acceptance is based on a discrimination which is not truth-directed, then the subject behaves in a doxastically irresponsible manner. Given that doxastic irresponsibility prohibits knowledge acquisition, a given piece of testimonial acceptance based on a discrimination which is not truth-directed thereby prevents the subject attaining knowledge.

Keywords

epistemology, testimony

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Markus Herrmann

University of Heidelberg

Joint Questions of Reductionism: Diachronic Implications of Synchronic Personal Identity

Abstract

There is the thesis that a complete description of the world has to contain the notion of persons (even in its non-reported sentences). And there is another thesis that the persistence conditions of persons cannot be reduced to physiological or psychological conditions. Both theses are considered to be independent of each other. In this paper, I argue for the claim that synchronic questions of identity have direct implications for diachronic questions – and that therefore both theses mentioned above cannot be addressed independently.

Keywords

metaphysics, personal identity

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Questions by email please, at markus.herrmann@ps.uni-heidelberg.de
 
 

Gil Hersch

Virginia Tech

Workplace Paternalism

Abstract

There has been a significant increase in both quantity and variety of workplace wellness programs in recent years. I ask whether those employers who unilaterally seek to implement such wellness program to benefit their employees are objectionable in their paternalism in the workplace. I contrast employees and citizens in their ability to avoid paternalism, and I argue that because people are heterogeneous in their attitudes towards paternalism, employees can more easily avoid paternalism through ‘exit’ than citizens can through ‘voice’. Consequently, despite the workplace’s authoritarian nature, workplace paternalism is no more objectionable than paternalism by a liberal state.

Keywords

political philosophy

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Margaret Hodges

Concordia University

Aesthetics and Function in Environmental Architecture

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the potential for aesthetic appreciation in Modern architecture and its setting. Although Modernism has valued function in architectural theory, I argue that a Kantian approach to understanding the layout of buildings and their settings has a particular effect on how we appreciate Modernism. Feminist interpretations of the traditional categories of aesthetic appreciation, the Beautiful and the Sublime, reveal how built form has an aesthetic and ethical impact on how buildings are used and how they connect in positive ways to their environment. The ideas of ‘mobility’ and the ‘everyday’ suggest feminist approaches to environmental architecture.

Keywords

aesthetics, architecture

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Anneli Jefferson

University of Cardiff

Responsibility beyond the grave–Do consequentialists have a problem?

Abstract

Consequentialists hold that what justifies blame and praise is the effect it has on the person blamed. Some consequentialists are further committed to the claim that responsible agency consists in being the kind of creature who can be influenced by being held responsible. One common objection against these kinds of accounts is that they cannot make sense of our practices of blaming and praising the dead. In this short paper, I show that they can.

Keywords

moral philosophy, responsibility

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David Jenkins

Tel Aviv University

Is action control?

Abstract

A prominent view is that what it is to perform an action ought to be characterised in terms of control. I bring out how this conception of action falters when it comes to accommodating absent-minded actions. Characterisations of action in terms of control will inevitably be either too permissive, accommodating absent-minded action but allowing in clear non-actions, or too restrictive, failing to accommodate absent-minded actions. This is turn casts doubt on the common claim that action requires control.

Keywords

action, philosophy of mind

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Priyedarshi Jetli

University of Delhi

Priority of defining ‘false’ over defining ‘true’.

Abstract

Aristotle defines ‘false’ before ‘true’. I present definitions of ‘true’ and ‘false’ of major theories and then offer the definitions with reversal of ‘false’ before ‘true’. My motivation is that whereas ‘true’ is most often difficult to determine, false is most often established beyond doubt. Tarski’s semantic conception of truth strictly following Aristotle’s sequence becomes: (TSCF)** ‘not-p’ is false iff p and ‘p’ is false iff not-p.(TSCT)** ‘p is true iff p and ‘not-p’ is true iff not-p. Strikingly, ”not-p’ is false’ is defined first giving us new insights on formulating the liar’s paradox and attempting to solve it.

Keywords

metaphysics, truth

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Hannah H Kim

Stanford University

Metaphilosophy of Fiction

Abstract

My aim is twofold: first, to offer a methodological critique on how philosophy of fiction had been conducted for the past four decades; and second, to assess how the methodological shortcomings influenced major debates in fiction. I’ll first argue that only theorizing off a narrow set of examples led to philosophers overemphasizing the role of narrators play in fiction. I’ll then show that the systematic conflation of the concepts “fiction” and “fictional narrative” have muddied our debates on impossible fiction and imaginative resistance. “Fiction” is a much broader category than “fictional narrative”, a story whose content is fictional. We’ll see that clearly distinguishing the limits of fiction(al content) and the limits of narrative imagination shows fictions with impossible states of affairs to be nonproblematic and imaginative resistance to be at best orthogonal to fiction.

Keywords

fiction, metaphilosophy

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Adrian Kreutz

University of Amsterdam

How Radical is Genealogical Ideology-Critique?

Abstract

Realists are often accused of status-quo bias and utophobia (for discussion, cf., inter alia, Finlayson (2017); Prinz (2016); Prinz and Rossi (2017); Duff (2017); Raekstad (2018); and Rossi (2017)). The reasons for why realists are accused of pampering “what is” are blatant: Their emphasis on facts and feasibility (cf. Galston, 2010). A recent camaraderie of self-proclaimed radical realists counters this complaint: ‘One can be realistic and demand the impossible’, Rossi (2019) quotes a famous Sponti-Spruch. The causa ‘radical realism’ (cf. Brinn, 2019; Cross, 2019; Honig & Stears, 2011; McKean, 2016; McQueen, 2016; Prinz, 2016; Raekstad, 2016; Rossi (2019); Prinz & Rossi, 2017, Rossi & Argenton, 2020) is centred around the concept of genealogical ideology-critique. Through genealogical ideology-critique radical realists can arguably “support radical and even unachievable political change” Rossi (2019:683), or ‘demand the impossible’, in Sponti parlance. I want to argue that radical realists overstate the transformative potential of genealogical ideology-critique which they think grounds realism’s nonalignment with the status-quo. Hence, radical realists overstate their nonalignment with the status-quo. That’s not to say that realism cannot have a radical edge, but that it needs more than (merely) genealogical ideology-critique to secure it. I will derive at this (interim) conclusion by untying radical realist’s ideology-critique qua genealogical critique (cf. Cross, 2019; Prinz, 2016; Raekstad, 2016; Rossi (2019); Prinz & Rossi, 2017) from Frankfurt School-style ideology- critique qua immanent critique (cf. Celikates, Haslanger & Stanley, forthcoming; Celikates, 2006; Gooding-Williams, 2019; Haslanger, 2012, 2017; Jaeggi, 2008, 2014, Mills, 2007, 2013; Shelby, 2002, 2003, 2014, 2016; Stanley, 2015)). The upshot is this: Radical realist genealogical critique alone has relatively little transformative potential. This is because radical realist genealogical critique works not on social explanation but on some very specific, highly particularized philosophical position. It is, first and foremost, concerned with revealing epistemic flaws (a circularity, a mistaken naturalization, some misunderstood causal relation) inside some specific philosophical position (chiefly, a legitimation-story). The task of radical realist ideology-critique qua genealogy is to uncover epistemic flaws inside the norms which feature in the conflict-laden situations from which Hegelian, Frankfurt-style immanent ideology-critique gets its transformative angle. In that sense, radical realist genealogical critique is prior to Frankfurt-style immanent critique. In order to fully incorporate a radical angle, radical realist may consider building a bridge from genealogical critique to Frankfurt-style immanent critique. In any case, radical realists are not warranted to silently assume continuity between their weakly transformative style of critique and the transformative edge of Frankfurt- style immanent ideology-critique.

Keywords

political theory

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Graciela Kuchle, Diego Ríos

Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences, CONICET Argentina

Multiple Realization and Evolutionary Dynamics: A Fitness-Based Account

Abstract

Multiple realization occurs when a natural kind is variably realized at more basic levels and the common physical structure of the realizers is not essential for supporting nomological statements. It has been suggested that this phenomenon may be an outcome of natural selection acting over multiple realizers that perform an adaptive function. In this paper, we develop a refinement of this account, which makes three important contributions. First, it sharpens the conditions for the existence of laws involving multiply realized kinds, thereby increasing the explanatory power of the selectional framework. Second, it differentiates between multiple realization at different levels of organization. Third, it provides a plausible account of the differences between across- and within-species multiple realization.

Keywords

philosophy of science, mind

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Asha Lancaster-Thomas, Jack Symes

University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool

Developing the Evil-God Challenge: how would an evil-god act?

Abstract

The evil-god challenge can be stated as follows: why is belief in a good-god significantly more reasonable than belief in an evil-god? In developing the challenge, we discuss three accounts of evil character: action, motivation, and disposition. Our central claim is that the motivational and dispositional accounts entail that evil action is a necessary condition of evil-god’s character (and good action for good-god’s). We then turn to a potential objection from William Paley, which purports that the amount of good in the world significantly outweighs the amount of evil, and therefore rules out the existence of an evil-god. In response, we argue that Paley faces a dilemma. On the first horn, he rules out the existence of a good-god following the action-based account of character. On the second, he undermines his claim that the world contains significantly more good than evil.

Keywords

evil, philosophy of religion

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Jonathan Lee

Computation, Cognition and Content: Why the semantic view does not imply representationalism

Abstract

This paper examines the claim that computationalism implies representationalism. More specifically, I examine the ‘argument from identity’ which states that the brain is representational because it is computational and computation implies representation. I suggest this argument relies on the ‘semantic view’ which holds that semantic properties are essential for computational identity. Rather than dispute the semantic view, I argue it implies something weaker than representation. As such, even if the brain is computational and the semantic view is correct, representationalism does not follow. This conclusion provides important conceptual clarity for debate surrounding the role and nature of representation in cognition.

Keywords

cognitive science, mind

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Olof Leffler

Durham University

Weird Reasons

Abstract

According to desire-based reasons internalism, we risk having too many or too few reasons, as we may desire, or lack desires for, the right things. I argue that if we pay attention to how agents’ desires can be altered by perfectly ordinary and unproblematic life events, we can explain how their reasons may shift or diverge in unproblematic ways as well –desire shifts illustrate that paying attention to agents’ psychological diversity serves as a defeater for our pre-theoretical intuitions that there is something problematic about weird reasons.

Keywords

metaethics, normative ethics

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Palle Leth

Stockholm University

The Epistemics of Utterance Accountability

Abstract

There is no consensus on what a speaker S’s responsibility for her utterance U amounts to. Is she responsible for the meaning she explicitly commits herself to or for the meaning a reasonable hearer H takes U to convey? I will argue that holding S responsible for U is possible only in so far as accountability depends on H’s most reasonable interpretation of U. Consequently, neither S’s actual intention nor the explicit/implicit distinction are decisive. What matters is whether H is epistemically justified in taking U to convey what she takes it to convey.

Keywords

language, responsibility

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King-Ho Leung

University of St Andrews

Transcendental Nothingness and Atheism in Sartre’s Ontology

Abstract

This paper offers a reading of Sartre’s phenomenological ontology in light of the premodern understanding of ‘transcendentals’ as common notions that predicate all determinate beings. Drawing on Sartre’s discussion of ‘determination as negation’ in Being and Nothingness, this paper argues that Sartre’s universal predicate of the ‘not’ (non) could be understood in terms of the Scholastic conception of transcendentals. But whereas the Scholastics saw the transcendental properties of oneness, truth and goodness as reflections of God’s divine perfections, Sartre’s predicate of the ‘not’ operates as an atheistic transcendental which signifies the non-being of God –that God is not.

Keywords

ontology, phenomenology, religion, Sartre

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M
 

Andrei Mărăşoiu

University of Bucharest

Justified by thought alone

Abstract

Contra the new rationalists (BonJour, Bealer), I argue it is a mistake to think that intellectual intuitions provide a priori justification. Suppose that the proposition that a surface cannot be red and green all over strikes you as true. When you carefully consider it, you couldn’t but realize that no surface could be both red and green all over. You might experience incoherence and puzzlement if your belief turned out to be false. Your cognitive phenomenology plays a constitutive role in justifying your belief. So your believing such propositions is justified a posteriori – contra the new rationalists.

Keywords

mind, epistemology

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Giulia Martina

University of Salzburg

Minimal Blur

Abstract

What explains the difference between seeing blurrily and seeing clearly? In this paper I advance a simple answer – the Sensitivity View. On this view, the difference in how things look to someone who sees something blurrily and to someone who sees the same thing clearly is explained by a difference in the subjects’ visual sensitivity. More precisely, one’s visual sensitivity together with the visible properties one perceives and the conditions of perception jointly determines whether things look blurry to one, and how blurry they look. The Sensitivity View, I argue, overcomes the worries that some alternatives in the literature are subject to while making minimal metaphysical commitments. Given its simplicity and its advantages, why has the Sensitivity View been disregarded? I suggest that philosophers who find it dissatisfactory may be committed to a certain assumption about the form that explanations of the way things look to one need to take, and that the Sensitivity View does not respect. I argue that respecting this assumption is not required to satisfactorily account for the phenomenon of seeing blurrily

Keywords

blur, perception, seeing blurrily, sensitivity

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Greg Miller

University of Liverpool

Combining Exclusive Conscious Perspectives: Can Subjects be Proper Parts of Subjects? Yes.

Abstract

It has recently been argued that conscious subjects of experience cannot be proper parts of other conscious subjects of experience because subjects have, essentially, ‘perspectives’ and perspectives are ‘exclusive’, thereby precluding parthood. Here I assess this claim by focusing on all the potential features of consciousness that may ground this property of exclusivity. I survey a number of different conscious features, arguing that these features either i) do not in fact preclude proper parthood relations between conscious subjects, or ii) are not in fact justifiably essential features of conscious subjects.

Keywords

mind, metaphysics

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Parysa Mostajir

University of Chicago

On the Role of Values in Science: A Pragmatist Deconstruction of ‘Impartiality’

Abstract
Debates on the role of values in science have often revolved around the issue of the impartiality of scientific methods. They have therefore tended to hinge the accountability of scientific research programs on the issue of whether scientific methods can provide us with an objective picture of the world. I suggest that this framing of the debate is due to a particular abstract perspective of what kind of practice science is in human life. I suggest an alternative, pragmatist perspective of science which does not need to make positive or negative claims about science’s impartiality in order to make claims about the intrinsic role of values in science. This is because, in such a view, science is an evolved set of habits leading to interventional success in improving lived human environments, which already carries intrinsic value-considerations.

Keywords

philosophy of science, pragmatism

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Kathleen Murphy-Hollies

University of Birmingham

When Hybrid Accounts of Disorder are not enough: The Case of Gender Dysphoria

Abstract

In this talk I will discuss Wakefield’s account of mental disorder as applied to the case of gender dysphoria (GD). I argue that despite being hybrid account which brought together a naturalistic and normative element in order to avoid pathologising normal or expectable states, the theory alone is still not extensive enough to answer the question of whether gender dysphoria should be classed as a disorder. I suggest that the source of harm is not accurately identified in the case of GD, and its relation to a dysfunction is misunderstood in a way which masks further analysis of patients’ distress and results in an unhelpful overlap of two types of clinical patients within a diagnosis of GD; those with gender-role dysphoria and those with sex dysphoria. These two conditions can be associated with different harms and dysfunctions but Wakefield’s hybrid account does not have the tools to recognise this. This misunderstanding of the sources of dysfunction and harm in those diagnosed with GD risks ineffective treatment for patients and reinforcing the very same prejudiced norms which were conducive to the state being experienced as harmful in the first place. The theory needs to engage, to a surprising and so far unacknowledged extent, with sociological concepts such as the categorisation and stratification of groups in society and the mechanism of systemic oppression, in order to answer the question of whether gender dysphoria should be classed as a mental disorder. Only then can it successfully avoid pathologising normal or expectable states, as has been seen in past ‘illnesses’ such as homosexuality and ‘drapetomania’.

Keywords

gender dysphoria, mental disorder

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Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska

University of Warsaw

Faultless disagreement, weak assertives, and commitments

Abstract

One of the challenges that any theorist of vagueness faces is to account for there being two kinds of disagreement over vague predicates like “tall” and “rich”: canonical disagreements concerning clear cases and faultless disagreements concerning borderline cases. I’ll argue that one needs to maintain that the illocutionary force of borderline utterances is different from that of clear utterances. Whereas the latter might be correct assertions, the former should be assertives weaker than assertions, since they express only a weak belief of the speaker. They are social commitments made without corresponding private commitments.

Keywords

assertives, disagreement, vagueness

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Sergi Oms

Universitat de Barcelona/ University of Barcelona

Some Remarks on the Notion of Paradox

Abstract

This paper argues that the traditional characterisation of the notion of paradox (an apparently valid argument with apparently true premises and an apparently false conclusion) is too narrow; there are paradoxes that do not satisfy it. After discussing and discarding some alternatives, an outline of a new characterisation of the notion of paradox is presented. A paradox is found to be an apparently valid argument such that, apparently, does not generate the kind of commitment to the conclusion that should stem from the acceptance of the premises and the validity of the argument.

Keywords

logic, paradox

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Erlend Owesen

University of Cambridge

Error Theory about Consciousness

Abstract

I defend error theory about consciousness – the view that phenomenal
consciousness neither exists nor introspectively seems to exist (in a
common sense of ‘introspectively seems’). The motivation for this theory
is that, apart from avoiding problems with realist views, according to
which consciousness exists, it solves the meta-problem of consciousness.
I contrast it with a recently much discussed version of eliminativism,
namely illusionism, which is the view that consciousness does not exist,
but nevertheless, introspectively seems to exist, and argue that error
theory has advantages over illusionism.

Keywords

mind

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Elisa Paganini

University of Milan/ Università degli Studi di Milano

Equivocal Indeterminate Identity for Fictional Objects

Abstract

Fictional realists claim that fictional objects exist. Are they paradoxically committed to fictional objects being indeterminately identical? Everett (2005) argued that they are. Friedell (2019) claims that–even though not all fictional realists are so committed -a specific version of abstract creationism (the one proposed by Evnine) is committed to paradoxical indeterminate identity. I contend that the specific version of abstract creationism considered by Friedell allows for indeterminate identity without paradox.

Keywords

metaphysics, philosophy of fiction

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Panos Paris

University of Cardiff

Theories of Beauty and the Concept of Form

Abstract

Defining beauty has been a central philosophical preoccupation for millennia. Yet beauty remains something of a mystery. Now, one way of pursuing the task of furnishing a theory of beauty is by taking baby steps in that direction. Elsewhere, I have defended a set of jointly sufficient conditions for a kind of beauty. Here, I offer a necessary condition for beauty. I argue for two claims. First, form is a necessary condition for beauty. Second, form should be understood as comprising three conceptions, with varying implications for aesthetics and our appreciative practices vis-à-vis different kinds of objects.

Keywords

aesthetics

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Gareth Pearce

University of Vienna

Some comments on the logic of reasons

Abstract

A popular formal model of reasons is Horty’s Default Logic. A popular informal account of reasons is Broome’s reasons-as-explanations account. I argue that Horty’s Logic is the correct formalisation of Broome’s view. So formalised, we see that Horty should commit to a constrained default logic. Additionally the main objections to both views (that they can only handle perfect reasons) are, in fact, the same objection. I offer a fix to this objection by reducing reasons to evaluative, rather than ought-based, propositions.

Keywords

logic, reasons

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Costanza Porro

Universität Hamburg/ University of Hamburg

Moral Equality and Vulnerability: Towards a Relational Approach

Abstract

Moral equality is often grounded in the possession of a value-conferring intrinsic property of individuals, i.e. moral agency. I defend a relational approach centred on human vulnerability on the grounds that it is more inclusive in scope and takes seriously the relational nature of human experience and capacities, including autonomy. Unlike other recent relational proposals (Sangiovanni 2017), I argue that our commitment to equality is not to be grounded in the rejection of inequality but in value of relationships, such as care and respect which vulnerability is constitutive of and are made possible by our holding each other as equals.

Keywords

moral philosophy, vulnerability

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Gastón Robert Tocornal

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

Leibniz on Universal Expression and Harmony

Abstract

In his classic book, Leibniz & Arnauld, Robert Sleigh argues that Leibniz’s doctrine that every substance expresses every other substance in its universe does not entail his doctrine of universal harmony. The thesis of this paper is that substances’ mutual expression is sufficient for there to be harmony and, therefore, that Sleigh is wrong. After providing textual evidence for this view, the article gives further support to it by developing the following argument: (1) universal expression means (in those contexts relevant to Sleigh’s point) universal perception. But (2) perception entails harmony. Hence, (3) universal expression entails universal harmony.

Keywords

history of philosophy, Leibniz

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S
 

Brad Saad

University of Antwerp

An Exclusion Problem for Epiphenomenalist Dualism

Abstract

The chief motivation for epiphenomenalist dualism is that it promises to solve dualism’s causal exclusion problem without inducing causal overdetermination or violations of causal closure.  This paper challenges epiphenomenalist dualism as a solution to that problem by arguing that (i) epiphenomenalist dualism is itself susceptible to an exclusion problem, and (ii) there is an interference effect between solving epiphenomenalist dualism’s exclusion problem and using epiphenomenalist dualism as a solution to the causal exclusion problem.  Because the argument exploits symmetries exhibited by a wide class of physical theories, it yields an evidential link between empirical claims addressed by physics and views in philosophy of mind.

Here is a link to the talk slides (the QR linking to them is partly cut off in the recording – apologies). For an updated version of the paper on which the talk is based, email me at bradsaad@utexas.edu

Keywords

epiphenomenalism, dualism, mental causation, exclusion problem, causal closure, overdetermination, physical symmetries

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Laura Luz Silva

University of Antwerp

The Epistemic Role of Outlaw Emotions

Abstract

Outlaw emotions are emotions that resist oppressive ideology (Jaggar 1989). Feminist philosophers have argued that these emotions play crucial roles in delivering radical epistemic insight, yet accounts of how outlaw emotions play these epistemic roles remain largely programmatic. Contemporary philosophers of emotion take emotions in general to play important epistemic roles. It is often assumed that the accounts provided of the epistemology of emotions in this contemporary literature can make sense of the epistemic roles advocated of outlaw emotions. I argue that this is not the case. Contemporary accounts of how emotions play epistemic roles actually risk ruling out epistemically fruitful cases of outlaw emotions.

Keywords

emotion, epistemology, oppression

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Lukas Skiba

University of Hamburg

Second-Order Realism, Universals, and Tropes

Abstract

Second-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of second-order rather than first-order quantifiers. This is taken to come with two types of advantages. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism vs. transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved (roughly: avoided). Second, other such debates, preeminently the tropes vs. universals dispute, are taken to be resolved (roughly: decided). In this paper I first argue that second-order realism does not in fact resolve the tropes vs. universals dispute. In a constructive spirit, I then develop second-order realism in a way that allows us to regard this dispute as another candidate for dissolution rather than resolution.

Keywords

higher-order quantification, metaphysics, properties, realism, universals

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Błażej Skrzypulec

Jagiellonian University

Spatial perception of silence
Abstract

It seems plausible that visual experiences of darkness have perceptual, phenomenal content which differentiates them from absences of visual experiences. I argue, relying on psychological results concerning auditory attention, that the analogous claim is true about auditory experiences of silence. More specifically, I propose that experiences of silence have egocentric spatial content. This position is far from obvious as there is no agreement whether silence experiences can be distinguished from absences of auditory experiences by postulating perceptual, phenomenal content. In particular, silence experiences do not seem to be associated with any positive phenomenal quality which differentiates them from absences of auditory experiences.

Keywords

philosophy of perception

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Sebastian Sunday Grève

Peking University

Exemplary intuitiveness

Abstract

The paper discusses two opposing types of view about examples, especially as they are employed in philosophy, and develops a moderate, alternative view. The types of view criticised—psychologisation and denial—are extreme opposites, yet they are representative of a wide range of currently popular positions within academic philosophy. Psychologisation is the type of view according to which the evaluation of philosophical claims often proceeds by way of intended examples or counterexamples whose evidential strength is, or is supposed to be, a function of their intuitiveness. Proponents of this type of view include experimental philosophers, phenomenal conservatists, rationalists and others. Denial is a negation of psychologisation. Specifically, denial is the type of view according to which intuition does not play the evidential role that psychologisation ascribes to it: the evidential strength of intended examples or counterexamples is not, nor is it usually supposed to be, a function of their intuitiveness. Proponents of this type of view include Herman Cappelen (2012) and Max Deutsch (2015). The proposed alternative view is not only historically more accurate regarding the actual practice of philosophy; it is insightful, too, with regard to the question of how philosophy should be done.

Keywords

argument, case, epistemology, example, intuition, logic

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Simon Thunder
MIND Studentship-holder 2019/20

University of Nottingham

Composite Objects are Mere Manys

Abstract

I will defend the claim that composite objects are mere manys, where to be a mere many is to be many in number without also being one in number. Call this view ‘manyism’. In particular, manyism holds that composite objects are each merely their many parts. This contrasts with the otherwise more or less ubiquitous view that composite objects, if they exist at all, are each single things made out of their parts. I’ll focus here on defending manyism against the objection that claiming that composites both exist and are mere manys is simply incoherent.

Keywords

composition, metaphysics

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V
 

Daniel Vanello

University College Dublin

The Argument from Parody

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to introduce a neglected argument against the tendency of Kantian moral philosophers to swiftly switch between talk of a “rational will” to talk of “personhood”. This is Raimond Gaita’s argument from parody. Gaita’s argument from parody targets the Kantian belief that the intelligible object of respect is our rational nature understood as what is left over once we strip the individual of her particular character. I argue that the argument from parody puts emphasis on the need of what the Kantian strips from our conception of personhood to make sense of our moral attitudes towards individuals.

Keywords

moral philosophy, personhood

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Gianluigi Viscusi

Imperial College Business School

Crowdsourcing as Epistemic Landscape

Abstract

In this article I consider crowdsourcing as a potential subject of investigation for collective epistemology. To this end, I bridge that discipline’s arguments to contributions from the fields of research in management and innovation. Consequently, considering what have been there identified as characteristics of crowdsourcing, I problematise them against some themes of social epistemology, especially considering the division of cognitive labour and the role of diversity. Thus, I argue that studying crowdsourcing as an epistemic landscape may lead to question how its characteristics contribute to its configuration as well as to its epistemic outcomes; in particular, I analyse how the pervasiveness of problem solving, the different forms of organizing (spanning from value oriented communities to merely goal or task oriented collectives), the seriality of actions and the self-selection of members impact on cognitive diversity and eventually to the epistemic performance of crowdsourcing. Those points are particularly relevant to position crowdsourcing as a subject of research for the field of collective epistemology that has nonetheless already analysed crowd-driven initiatives such as, e.g., Wikipedia.

Keywords

epistemology, social epistemology

Talk slides available here.

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W
 

Jenn Wang

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Are There Fundamental Individuals?

Abstract

Shamik Dasgupta has presented an argument with the surprising conclusion that fundamentally, there are no such things as individuals. I will explore a way to resist a key move in Dasgupta’s argument, one that turns on considerations in the metaphysics of modality.

Keywords

metaphysics

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Isaac Wilhelm

Rutgers University

Linguistic Ersatzism and the Upper Bound Problem

Abstract

According to linguistic ersatzism, possible worlds are sets of sentences in some fixed language. In this paper, I show that standard versions of linguistic ersatzism imply an unattractive bound on the number of worlds. Then I propose a modified version of linguistic ersatzism, based on class theory, which does not have that implication.

Keywords

metaphysics, language

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Ed Willems

University of York

Easy Ontology, Application Conditions and Knowledge-How

Abstract

Easy ontology is a recent, influential attempt put forward by Amie Thomasson (2007, 2015) to argue for a permissive realism with an extremely broad scope. For Thomasson, just about everything for which we have a sortal term can be said to exist. In this, Thomasson is following in the footsteps of the Carnap of Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology, and is contributing to a growing movement of neo-Carnapians eager to offer deflationary dissolutions of purportedly metaphysical questions. I argue that a recent attempt by Andrew Brenner to trap easy ontology in a regress fails. I appeal to Rylean reasoning to show that the regress calls for minor adjustments to the theory, rather than for its being discarded. I will, nevertheless, then try to show how these minor adjustments reveal some major questions for the easy ontologist to answer, and seem to conflict with the carefully neutral tone in which the theory is voiced.

Keywords

deflationism, easy ontology, Gilbert Ryle, knowledge-how, Amie Thomasson

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Bill Wringe

Bilkent University

Do Non-Agential Groups Have Duties?

Abstract

In this paper I address the question of whether non-agential groups can be obligation-bearers. Collins (2019) has recently produced a new argument, drawing on the work of Julia Markowitz and others, for the view that they cannot. I claim that this argument relies on a premiss we should reject. I also argue that the moral phenomenology of situations where individuals are under an onus to co-operate provides us with better reasons than Collins thinks for accepting that obligations can fall on non-agential groups.

Keywords

duty, ethics, groups

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