Calendar of Events

(Please scroll below calendar for more detailed information on particular events.)

*Due to the health and well-being of everyone, all events in the Department of Philosophy have been temporarily suspended.

Anya Plutynski
Washington University in St. Louis

 “Responsible Stewardship in Precision Oncology Research”
Friday, March 20th, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334

Abstract: A recent opinion piece in Scientific American (Horgan, 2020) offers a devastating critique of what the author called the "cancer industry,” citing the spiraling costs of cancer care, and marginal increases in benefit to the vast majority of patients. Horgan cites several prominent biostatisticians, oncologists, and cancer researchers (Ioannidis, 2015; Prasad, 2016; Tannock et. a., 2016) who have raised similar concerns, particularly with regard to clinical research in precision oncology. Some such critiques are quite devastating, and raise the question: Are such concerns warranted? If so, how can we improve? In this talk, I offer some suggestions. The question of whether participants in early phase trials of novel cancer therapies suffer from the therapeutic misconception has been a lively subject of dispute among bioethicists (Dresser, 2009; Kimmelman, 2012). However, in my view, this is only one aspect of a larger set of challenges facing what I will call "responsible stewardship” in precision oncology research. Responsible stewardship meets the following requirements: First, research is not exclusively concerned with wider distribution of a drug. Rather, there is evidence of potential for genuinely novel and more effective therapeutic response than the standard of care. Second, quality of biomarker data is appropriately reviewed by researchers both up- and downstream, to ensure that information about biomarkers used to stratify patients are consistently defined and applied. Third, endpoints of trials are valid surrogates of patient-relevant endpoints. That is, we ought to measure therapeutic responses that matter to patients, or surrogates that genuinely track those responses. Fourth, research is coordinated with clinical practitioners, so that challenges facing effective translation are identified and planned for in advance. Fifth, unnecessary replication is avoided (i.e., multiple simultaneous trials of the same intervention with minor variants on trial design). Last but not least, patients are informed of risk and benefit, and in particular, there is a genuine effort made to combat naive presuppositions about the special advantages of “precision” medicine over standard of care. For the vast majority of patients with early stage disease, for many cancers, first line therapies (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) are largely effective. Yet, there is a great deal of hype and hope around precision or “targeted” treatment. Unfortunately, many such therapies are only tested in patients for whom standard of care has proven ineffective. Yet, these cancers are not the same as early stage disease. I suggest returning to the model where early stage patients can opt in to a “therapeutic window,” to test the effectiveness of precision therapies in these cancers, though I urge that such options be closely monitored, and that patients be reminded of the unproven benefit of such therapies, however “precise."

Anya Plutynski is a historian and philosopher of biology and medicine. Her most recent book is Explaining Cancer: Finding Order in Disorder (2018, OUP). She is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook to Philosophy of Biodiversity (2016, Wiley), a collection of essays by biologists, philosophers, historians, and social scientists on the meaning, measurement, and value of biodiversity. Her co-edited collection A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology (2007, Wiley) collects overviews of philosophical issues raised by all areas of biology. Profesor Plutynski has also written on the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology and genetics, the role of modeling in science, and scientific explanation. Other interests include biomedical research ethics, cancer genomics, and risk communication. Her current research is on the history of the cancer genome atlas project (TCGA) and the development of precision oncology.

Jacob Beck
York University, Toronto

"A Vote of No Confidence"
Monday, March 16, 2020
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Ashe Bldg., Room 735

Abstract: Are confidences, or probabilities, assigned in perceptual experience? For example, when you see what appears to be a fox through some fog, does your experience assign a 55-percent confidence to there being a fox? I’m skeptical. But there are some prominent arguments for a “yes” answer.  I’ll show that these arguments presuppose an “importation model” of the transition from perceptual experience to belief. I’ll argue that the importation model should be rejected, and thus that the arguments for perceptual confidences fail. Along the way, I’ll offer some broader psychological and epistemic reflections on the transition from perception to belief. 

Jacob Beck (Ph.D. Harvard; B.A. University of Pennsylvania) is York Research Chair in the Philosophy of Visual Perception and Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at York University in Toronto, Canada. He is also Director of York’s Cognitive Science Program and a member of York’s Centre for Vision Research. Beck’s research makes progress on longstanding philosophical puzzles about mental representation and consciousness by reconceptualizing them in light of contemporary cognitive science. His articles have appeared in such venues as The Journal of Philosophy, Mind, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Cognition, Mind & Language, and The Atlantic. He co-edited (with Kristin Andrews) the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. 

Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University

“Reasoning and Presuppositions”
Friday, March 6th, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334

Abstract: It is platitude that when we reason, we often take things for granted, often even warrantedly so. The chemist might reason from the fact that a substance turned litmus paper red to that substance being an acid. In so doing, they take for granted, warrantedly enough, that this test for acidity is valid. We ordinarily reason from things looking a certain way to their being that way, as when we reason from there being a cat-looking animal in front of us to there being a cat in front of us. We take for granted, warrantedly enough, that things are as they look.  

Although it is a platitude that we often take things for granted when we reason—whether warrantedly or not—one might think that we do not have to. In fact, it is a natural expectation that, were we not pressed by time, lack of energy, or lack of focus, we could always in principle make explicit in the form of premises every single presupposition we make in the course of our reasoning. In other words, it is natural to expect that presuppositionless reasoning is possible (Explicitness). In this talk, I am going to argue that presupposition less reasoning is impossible. This is, I contend, one of the lessons of a long standing paradox about inference and reasoning known as Lewis Carroll's regress of the premises. Many philosophers agree that Carroll's regress teaches us something foundational about reasoning. I part ways about what it is that it teaches us. What it teaches us, I am going to argue, is that Explicitness is false --- ie., that reasoning is constitutively presuppositional.

Carlotta Pavese is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. Her areas of Specialization are Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Action Theory and Philosophy of Language. For more information on her research, visit

Caspar Hare
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Should We Care About the Many?”
Friday, February 21, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Rm 334 (Conference Room)

Abstract: Some metaphysicians tell us that in the near vicinity of every person there are many further person-like things. So, for example, in the near vicinity of Bernie Sanders there is Hairless Bernie Sanders. Hairless Bernie Sanders is just like Bernie Sanders except in this respect: Bernie Sanders’ hair is part of Bernie Sanders, but not part of Hairless Bernie Sanders. Suppose they are right. Does this have any bearing on what we ought to believe and do in ordinary contexts? I say it does, though not for the reasons you think.

Caspar Hare is Professor of Philosophy at MIT. He has written numerous articles and two books: On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects (Princeton University Press, 2009) and The Limits of Kindness (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Jack Spencer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Is Nonfundamental Existence Relative?"
Friday, February 14, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Ashe Building, Room 511

Abstract: This paper explores and defends existential relativism, the thesis that some concrete objects exist only relatively. Existential relativism has some important virtues—it's conservative, Quinean, and deflationary, for example. But it remains a minority view, largely because of a prevailing antipathy toward mind-dependence. Existential relativism says that concrete objects, like tables and mountains, are mind-dependent—the relativity of their existence is owed to their mind-dependence—and the claim that tables and mountains are mind-dependent entities strikes many philosophers as a bridge too far in the Berkeleyan direction. But I think that the arguments for existential relativism are surprisingly strong and that the arguments against existential relativism are weaker than they're usually presumed to be. 

Sara Aronowitz
Princeton University
“The Moonshine of Generalization"
Friday, February 7, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Rm 334 (Conference Room)

Abstract: Vladimir Nabokov professed that reading a generalization such as "Madame Bovary is a denouncement of the bourgeoisie" before reading Madame Bovary diminishes the aesthetic experience. Seeing the generalization after reading the novel, however, is harmless.  On the other hand, classic results in cognitive psychology show that starting off with a relevant generalization before reading an ambiguous passage increases comprehension and memory, relative to seeing the generalization after. I'll discuss several ways of reconciling these two observations that bear on the relationship between epistemic and aesthetic value. I'll also present data from an ongoing set of studies about imaginative engagement in fiction.

Sara Aronowitz is a postdoctoral researcher in the Concepts and Cognition Lab at Princeton. In Fall 2020, she'll be an assistant professor in Philosophy at the University of Arizona. She works on learning and memory, most recently on the idea that memory takes the form of a cognitive map, and how narrative explanations transform over time.

Shannon Spaulding
Oklahoma State University
“Beliefs and Biases"
Friday, January 24, 2020
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Rm 334 (Conference Room)

Abstract: Suppose that I sincerely claim that men and women are equally intelligent and hardworking and that individuals’ differences in intelligence and diligence are not due to their sex, but nevertheless I subtly behave as if I expect men to be more intelligent than women. When I listen to two experts, even if I infer that they are both intelligent and hardworking, the male expert typically seems more competent than the female expert. When I look at two otherwise equivalent resumes, even if I judge both resumes to be stellar, the male resume just seems more impressive to me than the female resume. These are cases in which my explicit, consciously-endorsed beliefs are egalitarian but my behavior indicates implicit sexist bias. How do we make sense of the nature of my implicit bias? A pressing question for many philosophers is whether I implicitly believe that women are intellectually inferior.

While this may seem like an unnecessary terminological debate, especially in light of the real-world impact of implicit biases and the quest for effective interventions, unpacking the empirical and philosophical literature on biases and beliefs reveals patterns in how implicit biases behave that are relevant to evaluation and interventions on implicit biases. In this talk, we describe the phenomena of implicit bias, explain the appeal of a belief model of implicit bias by situating the debate in a larger context, present an apparent dilemma for the belief debate, present a different model of implicit bias, and draw out the implications for beliefs, rational evaluation, and interventions.

Casey O’Callaghan
Washington University, Saint Louis.

“Senses as Capacities"
Friday, August 30th, 2019
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Knight Physics Bldg., Rm 334 (Conference Room)

Abstract: This paper presents an account of the senses and what differentiates them that is compatible with richly multisensory perception and consciousness. According to my proposal, senses are ways of perceiving. Each sense is a subfaculty that comprises a collection of perceptual capacities. What each sense shares and what differentiates one sense from another is the manner in which those capacities are exercised. Each way of perceiving involves a distinct type of information gathering, individuated by the information it functions to extract and the medium from which it does so. My approach distinguishes the project of characterizing and differentiating senses from that of attributing experiences to sensory modalities. Perceptual experiences are episodes in which perceptual capacities are exercised. Conscious perceptual episodes may be ascribed distinct sensory modalities, according to the manners in which perceptual capacities are deployed on an occasion. According to this account, senses are not exclusive. First, their capacities may overlap. Second, perceptual episodes, including conscious experiences, may belong to multiple senses. Indeed, some episodes require the joint use of several senses. In this account, subjects have only limited first-person knowledge of
the senses they employ. 

Casey O’Callaghan is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at Washington University in Saint Louis. O’Callaghan's research aims at an empirically informed philosophical understanding of perception that is driven by thinking about non-visual modalities and the relationships among the senses. His publications have focused upon auditory perception, speech perception, and the theoretical import of multimodality, cross-modal perceptual illusions, perceptual plasticity, and synesthesia. O’Callaghan is author of Sounds: A Philosophical Theory (Oxford, 2007), Beyond Vision: Philosophical Essays (Oxford, 2017), and A Multisensory Philosophy of Perception (Oxford, 2019). He received a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University.

Charles W. Mills
The Graduate Center, CUNY

"Racial Justice"
Friday, April 26, 2019 
Knight Physics 334 
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Abstract: “Racial justice” is a term widely used in everyday discourse, but little explored in philosophy. In this paper, I look at racial justice as a concept, trying to bring out its complexities, and urging a greater engagement by mainstream political philosophers with the issues that it raises. After comparing it to other varieties of group justice and injustice, I periodize racial in/justice, relate it to European expansionism, and argue that a modified Rawlsianism relying on a different version of the thought-experiment could come up with suitable principles of corrective racial justice.

Charles W. Mills is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He works in the general area of oppositional political theory, with a particular focus on race. He is the author of six books: The Racial Contract (1997); Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (1998); From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism (2003); Contract and Domination (with Carole Pateman) (2007); Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality (2010); and Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (2017).

Santiago Echeverri
New York University

“First-Person Reference”
Friday, April 5, 2019
Ashe Building, Room 735, Library
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

What determines the reference of the I-concept? The rule account holds that the reference of I is determined by a reflexive rule. This explanation invites another question, though: Why does the I-concept conform to the reflexive rule? This article applies some ideas of “consumerist semantics” to answer this question. I suggest that the reflexive rule associated with the I-concept can be partly derived from the way the I-concept is consumed. More specifically, the I-concept conforms to the reflexive rule because that rule explains better than other rules the success of I-thinkers in the activities that are controlled by tokens of the I-concept. The consumerist account has fruitful consequences for the problem of the essential indexical.

Santiago Echeverri currently holds an advanced research fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. He earned his PhD in philosophy at the Jean Nicod Institute in Paris (2010). He has been a research associate at the University of Geneva (2011-2016) and a visiting scholar at Rutgers University (2016-2018) and NYU (2018-2019). He has conducted research in philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, and epistemology. In philosophy of mind and cognitive science, he has been developing an account of object perception that integrates empirical findings into philosophical debates. In addition, he has a project on the reference and functional role of the I-concept. His work in epistemology aims at sketching a theory of epistemic justification that generalizes beyond belief and does not have skeptical consequences.

Francois Recanati
Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, and "directeur d’études" at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

“Thinking Through Language” 
Friday, March 22, 2019
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
2:00 pm - 4:00pm

Thanks to the mechanism of deference, language ‘broadens the horizons of thought’, as David Kaplan puts it. This gives rise to verbal thought, a specific form of thought that is parasitic on language. How is this phenomenon to be understood? I will discuss the views of three philosophers: John Locke, David Kaplan, and Ruth Millikan.

Pamela Hieronymi
University of California, Los Angeles

“Fairness, Sanctions, and Condemnation” 
Friday, March 8, 2019
Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334                                 
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

I will press an often overlooked question: Why does the fairness of a sanction require an adequate opportunity to avoid it?  By pressing this question, I believe we can better understand what people might have in mind when they talk about the “condemnatory force” of moral blame.  If the understanding I propose in fact captures what people have in mind, it may also show us how easily condemnation, in this sense, can be left behind.

Pamela Hieronymi is Professor of Philosophy at UCLA. Her research sits at the intersection of many different subfields: ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, and the lively discussion of moral responsibility and free will.  Her recent work has focused on the agency we exercise over our own attitudes, in particular, over our beliefs and intentions.  

Laurie Paul
Yale University

“Transformative Changes” 
Friday, March 1, 2019 
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference
Room12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Certain types of life experiences can be transformative. By transforming you, they change you, and in the process, they restructure the nature and meaning of your life. I will discuss the nature of transformative experience and decision-making and show how exploring its epistemic structure can help us to understand special and distinctive issues that arise when these kinds of life events form and change us. I will then relate this to informed consent, advance directives, and disability.

Laurie Paul is Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Yale University. Her main research interests are in metaphysics, cognitive science, and the philosophy of mind. In her work, she explores questions about the nature of the self, decision-making, temporal experience, philosophical methodology, causation, causal experience, time and time’s arrow, perception, mereology, constitution, and essence.

Noel Carroll
City University of New York, Graduate Center

“The Return of Medium Specificity Theory” 
Friday, February 15, 2019

Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

In this talk, I will discuss attempts to reinstate this approach to motion picture evaluation. I will review earlier attempts at medium specificity theorizing before turning to recent attempts to defend the approach by Berys Gaut and Dominic MacIver Lopes. After arguing that these positions fail, I will propose an alternative account of motion picture evaluation.

Noel Carroll is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His most recent books are Minerva's Night Out: Philosophy, Popular Culture, and Moving Pictures; And: Humor: A Very Short Introduction. Prof. Carroll is a former Guggenheim Fellow and has been a journalist. He has also written five documentaries.


Susanna Siegel
Harvard University

“Proto-confidences & the Interface between
Credences & Perception”

Friday, February 1, 2019                                                                             
Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334 |
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm


How should you adjust your credences in response to your perceptual experience? I discuss and evaluate the idea that the answer to this difficult question becomes clearer if perceptual experiences are probabilistically measurable relations to contents.


Susanna Siegel is Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. She works in the philosophy of mind and epistemology. A lot of her research has focused on perception


Jennifer Lackey
Northwestern University

“The Duty to Object” 
Friday, January 18, 2019

Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm


We have the duty to object to things that people say. If you report something that I take to be false, unwarranted, or harmful, I may be required to say as much. In this paper, I explore how to best understand the distinctively epistemic dimension of this duty. I begin by highlighting two central features of this duty that distinguish it from others, such as believing in accordance with the evidence or promise-keeping. In particular, I argue that whether we are obligated to object is directly influenced not only by what other relevant members of the conversational context or community do, but also by the social status of the agent in question. I then show that these features are shared by the duty to be charitable, and the similarities between these two duties point to a potentially deeper explanation: while promise-keeping is regarded as a classic perfect duty, charity is an imperfect one. I then argue that the duty to object can be modeled on a particular conception of imperfect duties, one that takes the duty to belong to communities and other collectives, rather than to individuals. I conclude by showing that this framework provides us with reason for accepting that there are imperfect epistemic duties in general.


Jennifer Lackey is the Wayne and Elizabeth Jones Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. She specializes in epistemology, with a particular emphasis on a broad range of issues in social epistemology. Her recent work focuses on the duty to object, norms of credibility, the epistemic status of punishment, the epistemology of groups, expertise, and the distribution of epistemic goods.

Fernando Martinez-Manrique

University of Granada

“The Prospects for Amodal Concepts” 

Friday, April 13, 2018
Nursing School, Room 115                                                                 
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Abstract: I examine the prospects for amodal concepts¾i.e., concept-involving representational structures that are not linked to perceptual modalities¾in the context of hybrid views of concepts¾i.e., concepts as constituted by a heterogeneity of representational kinds. First, I distinguish amodality from closely related notions. Second, I deal with problems derived from innatist views of representational primitives. Then I motivate the view of innate amodal representational primitives as functional components of heterogeneous concepts. Finally, I address the question whether these putative amodal components can be processed in a stand-alone manner.

Bio: Fernando Martínez-Manrique is a philosophy professor at the University of Granada, Spain. His research is focused mainly on philosophy of psychology. He has worked on issues such as the relation between language and thought, inner speech, and theories of concepts. He has published on these topics in journals such as Mind & LanguageJournal of Consciousness Studies, or the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

Joshua Knobe

Yale University

"Norms and Normality"

Friday, April 6, 2018
Richter Library 3rd Floor Conference Room

AbstractPeople ordinarily distinguish between ways of behaving that are "normal" and those that are "abnormal." But how exactly is this distinction to be understood? This talk will discuss a series of experimental studies designed to explore people's ordinary notion of normality. The key result is that people's ordinary notion of normality is not a purely statistical one (e.g., the type of behavior that is most frequent) or a purely prescriptive one (e.g., the type of behavior that is ideal). Instead, our ordinary notion of normality appears to mix together statistical and prescriptive considerations. I discuss implications of these findings for a variety of questions in cognitive science.

Bio: Joshua Knobe is a professor at Yale University, appointed both in the program in cognitive science and in the department of philosophy. Most of his research is in the field of experimental philosophy.

Fiona Macpherson

University of Glasgow

“Does Virtual Reality Consist In Veridical, Illusory or Hallucinatory Experience?” 

Friday, March 23, 2018
Physics Building, Conference Room 334
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Abstract: Does virtual reality (VR) involve: (i) illusory or hallucinatory experience of things that are not there? or (ii) veridical experience of computational objects? I argue that thinking of the issue in this way involves a false dichotomy. I articulate my own account of illusion and hallucination, and argue that it entails VR experience is complex with veridical and non-veridical elements. I begin by presenting new cases of illusion and hallucination that have not heretofore, been identified. These cases show that the traditional accounts of illusion and hallucination are incorrect. I provide a taxonomy of all the different kinds of illusion and hallucination. New instances of illusion and hallucination provide much needed important data for testing theories of experience and perception—and can illuminate the nature of virtual reality experience.

Short Bio: Fiona Macpherson is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow. She works in philosophy of mind, perception and psychology.

Amie Thomasson

Dartmouth College

“A Pragmatic Approach to Conceptual Ethics” 

Monday, March 19, 2018
Nursing School, Room 428
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract: I have argued elsewhere that a metametaphysical deflationist like myself can recapture much of the interest and importance of work in metaphysics by seeing metaphysics as fundamentally involved in normative conceptual work: work in determining what terms and concepts we should be using, and how we should use them. But if metaphysics centrally involves normative conceptual work, how ought we to be doing it? What methods and standards should we employ? Some insist that the proper methods for choosing concepts require appealing to metaphysics first—to ensure that we only use terms that refer, or to preserve the sense that some choices of concepts are more ‘natural’ or otherwise ‘better’ than others. In this paper, however, I will show how we can develop a pragmatic approach to conceptual choice that is consistent with a deflationary metametaphysics, and yet still able to capture our most important and central intuitions that conceptual choice should be responsive to the world, and that some conceptual choices are clearly better than others.

Bio: Amie L. Thomasson is the author of Ontology made Easy (Oxford University Press, 2015—winner of the American Philosophical Association’s 2017 Sanders Book Prize), Ordinary Objects (Oxford University Press, 2007), and Fiction and Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press, 1999). She also co-edited (with David W. Smith) Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind (Oxford University Press, 2005), and has published more than 60 book chapters and articles on topics in metaphysics, metaontology, fiction, philosophy of mind and phenomenology, the philosophy of art, and social ontology. She has held Fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in July to August 2018, she will be the Anderson Distinguished Fellow at the University of Sydney in Australia. She is currently Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College. Before coming to Dartmouth, she was Professor of Philosophy and Cooper Fellow at the University of Miami, and she has also held positions at The University of Hong Kong and Texas Tech University.

Agustin Rayo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“On the Open-Endedness of Logical Space”

Friday, February 16, 2018
Richter Library 3rd Floor Conference Room 
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Abstract: I articulate and defend the claim that possibility is "open ended": a given set of possibilities can always be used to characterize further possibilities. 

Bio: Agustin Rayo is a philosophy professor at MIT and a professorial fellow at Oslo University. He serves as Associate Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. His research is at the intersection of the philosophy of logic and the philosophy of language. He has done work on understanding the relationship between our language and the world it represents, on clarifying certain connections between logic and mathematics, and on investigating the limits of communicable thought.

Greg Currie

University of York, UK

“Wise Authors, Trusting Readers”

Friday, February 2, 2018
Richter Library 3rd Floor Conference Room 
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Abstract: Facts alone are wanted in life said Mr Gradgrind, though few now say they agree with him. If we think fictions are wanted, are they wanted only for something--artistic value perhaps--that has nothing to do with facts? Many of us think we learn from fiction, though we find it hard to say what and how. To make progress I propose to start in Gradgrind's territory: facts of the most ordinary kind. Here, I think, some sort of theory about learning from fiction is possible. The going gets tougher when we move to fiction's influence on beliefs which would be hard or impossible to fact-check, or which concern subjective experience, or which are substantially evaluative. In these more problematic cases we also face the difficulty that readers may be inclined to put unwarranted trust in admired authors, ascribing to them a spurious expertise. Substantially confused at this point I seek safety at a higher level, where we consider how the debate over learning from fiction is and should be conducted. I conclude by suggesting that traditional humanistic approaches to the topic of learning from fiction have been uncritically optimistic, and that some corrective assistance may be available from experimental psychology. But on this topic at least the experimentalists also have something to learn, and the philosophers something to teach.

Bio: Greg Currie teaches philosophy at the University of York, UK. He was educated at the London School of Economics and at UC Berkeley where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He taught for many years in Australia and New Zealand and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is a Past Fellow of St John's College, Oxford and has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Maryland and St Andrews, and at L’Ecole Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He is Executive Editor of Mind & Language and was Dean of the Faculty of Art, University of Nottingham 2003-7. He writes these days on art, literature and film and wants to know more about what and how we learn from these things. He has published in journals such as Noûs, Mind, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Philosophical Quarterly. His most recent monograph is Narratives and Narrators (Oxford, 2010); Fiction and Cognition is forthcoming, also with Oxford. 

Derk Pereboom

Cornell University 

“What’s Required for a Physical Account of Consciousness” 

Friday, January 19, 2018
Richter Library 3rd Floor Conference Room
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Abstract: Phenomenally conscious properties, such as what it’s like to see red, resist integration into a physical account of reality. One source of this resistance is that the natures of these properties would seem to be revealed in introspection, but from the inside they don’t appear to be physical. Another is that they are plausibly intrinsic properties of experience, while physical properties are typically held to be fundamentally extrinsic. This talk proposes physicalist responses to each of these concerns.
Bio: Derk Pereboom is the Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at Cornell University. His research areas are free will and moral responsibility, philosophy of mind, Kant, and philosophy of religion, and he is the author of Living without Free Will(Cambridge 2001), Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism (Oxford 2011), and Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life (Oxford 2014).

Erik Stei

University of Bonn

“Logical Pluralism and the Semantics of Rivalry”

Friday, December 1, 2017
Memorial Building, Room 107
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Logical pluralism is commonly described as the view that there is more than one correct logic. It has been claimed that, in order for that view to be interesting, there has to be at least a potential for rivalry between the correct logics (e.g., in Field 2009, Priest 2006, Read 2006, Russell 2008). In this talk, I explore how the relevant notions of rivalry and correctness could be combined when relying on a semantic conception of rivalry. I first give a brief intuitive characterization of the sort of rivalry in question before reviewing some standard proposals on how to capture it. I argue that none of those proposals aligns well with pluralism. More recent proposals (Caret 2017, Shapiro 2014) to adopt the semantic framework used in the debate on context-dependence and disagreement in the philosophy of language seem to do a better job, but ultimately, it remains doubtful whether the semantics of disagreement is able to capture a notion of rivalry suitable for pluralists.

Bio: Erik Stei is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Bonn. His areas of research are philosophy of language, epistemology, logic and meta-ethics. He is currently working on a project about logical pluralism.

Sinan Dogramaci

University of Texas, Austin

“The Ordinary Language Argument Against Skepticism - Pragmatized”

Friday, November 17, 2017
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room                                                                      
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: In this talk, I'll offer a version of the ordinary language response to skepticism.  In my version, the argument is based on premises about the practical functions served by our epistemic words. The argumentative strategy is to start with some existing views, borrowed from Edward Craig and others, about the functions we serve by using epistemic language, and from those premises infer anti-skepticism as a conclusion. I hope to also talk a bit about the ways in which it is viable and desirable to try to make a non-question-begging argument for anti-skepticism.

Bio:  Sinan Dogramaci is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. His specialization is epistemology, with a special interest in puzzles about the practical function that our epistemically evaluative language serves.

Mark Richard

Harvard University

“Meanings as Species” 

Friday, November 10, 2017
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room                                                      
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Suppose we accept what I take to be Quine’s view in ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, that there are no analyticities, that no statement is immune from revision, that no statement is a fixed point in inquiry.  Does that mean, as Grice and Strawson and many others suggest, that we must reject talk of sameness of meaning, or that the notion of meaning has no explanatory power?  Not at all.  Quine’s claims are best understood, I think, as suggesting that we need to think of word and phrase meaning as a dynamic phenomenon:  meanings are population level entities, in many ways like species.  A phrase’s meaning in a population is constituted by those presuppositions of speakers that are, as we might call it, interpretive common ground:  roughly  those presuppositions that it is common knowledge that users of the phrase expect auditors to recognize that they make in use and expect auditors to employ in interpretation.  Just as the genomic and phenotypical profile of a species changes over time without the species ceasing to exist –there can be changes in the species a population lineage realizes without there being a change of the species it realizes –so there can be changes in what constitutes the meaning, the interpretive common ground, of a word in a population without a change of what the word means.  Quine’s remarks on analyticity are a straightforward consequence. In this talk I will develop a view of meaning that reflects this biological analogy.  I’ll discuss how we should understand linguistic competence, and the relations between this notion of meaning and the notion of a proposition.  And I will say some (not altogether satisfactory) things about the issue linguistic version of the species problem –the problem, that is, of giving tolerably illuminating criteria for when changes in what constitutes a word’s meaning are not just changes in but changes of meaning.

Mark Richard is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He specializes in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and metaphysics and epistemology. He has published several books, Propositional Attitudes (1990), Meaning (2002), and When Truth Gives Out (2008) and numerous articles, some of which are collected in the collection of his papers Meaning in Context.

Marcos Silva

Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil

“Pragmatism, Normativity of Reason, and Logical Pluralism” 

Friday, November 3, 2017
Richter Library, 3rd Floor,  Conference Room
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: It is easy to take reason as an authoritative power and to observe that we obey it, or at least, should obey it. However, it is not obvious how we could explain the nature of the authority that compels us to obey reason. Why and how do we take reason as an authority and feel obliged to obey it? What is the nature of the demand for justification? In virtue of what do we feel coerced by reason in our inferential practices, in both practical and theoretical reasoning? The power of reason can be taken, for example, as guiding our decisions for practical life and as the power to compel one to accept the conclusion of a proof. How can some forms of reasoning compel one to act and to infer? The difficulties with the normativity of logic seem to be even worse in the contemporary context of a great diversity of logical systems. To tackle the problem of logical pluralism, in this work, I aim to develop a pragmatist and constructivist philosophical proposal based on the notions of games, that is, ruled practices, and of public agreements to understand the phenomenon of rationality in general, and of logical necessity in particular. Accordingly, I develop a philosophical investigation connecting games, proofs, and morality, which goes back to Frege (1897), as he seminally relates the nature of logic to the philosophical discussion of morality and freedom: "Logic has a closer affinity with ethics [than psychology] ... Here, too, we can talk of justification, and here, too, this is not simply a matter of relating what actually took place or of showing that things had to happen as they did and not in any other way" (Posthumous Writings, p. 4). The interpretation to be developed here is that rational obligation should be taken as moral obligation and, in particular, that logical necessity should be taken as a kind of moral coercion, based on the normative notions of rules, authority, commitment, and mutual recognition. This work is part of a larger project on a pragmatist understanding of the normativity of logic in the context of logical pluralism.

Marcos Silva is Associate Professor at the Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil. He has held research positions in Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Leipzig, and Pittsburgh, and has presented his research throughout Europe. His research interests include philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, and Wittgenstein’s philosophy. He is the editor of Colours in the Development of Wittgenstein's Philosophy (Palgrave, 2017) and How Colours Matter to Philosophy (Springer, 2017). In 2016, he received a Fulbright Junior Faculty Member Award.

Cristian Soto

University of Chile

“The Epistemic Indispensability Argument” 

Friday, October 20, 2017
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Abstract: In this talk, I elaborate on the epistemic indispensability argument, which fully embraces the epistemic contribution of mathematics to science, but rejects the contention that such a contribution amounts to a reason for granting reality to mathematicalia. I first introduce the distinction betweenontological and epistemic readings of the indispensability argument. Some of the main flaws of the first premise of the ontological reading are revisited. Then I proceed to articulate the epistemic indispensability argument in view of both applied and pure mathematics. In order to make a case for the epistemic approach, I call into question the appeal to inference to the best explanation in the defense of the indispensability claim. I examine various arguments for distinguishing between mathematical and physical posits, and argue that even though we may have reason to think that inference to the best explanation may work in the postulation of physical posits, no similar considerations are available for postulating mathematicalia.

Cristian Soto is assistant professor of philosophy at the Departamento de Filosofía, Universidad de Chile. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne, where he articulated a minimalist approach to the metaphysics of science, addressing such issues as the sources and boundaries of scientific ontology, the physico-mathematical structure of scientific laws, the epistemic reading of the indispensability argument in the philosophy of mathematics, and the role of models in scientific thinking. He is currently undertaking a Chilean governmental funded research grant (2016-2019) on the philosophy of scientific laws. Within the framework of this investigation, he is currently visiting the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami, and will hold a visiting fellowship appointment at the Centre for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences, London School of Economics and Political Science, in April-June 2018.

Brendan Balcerak Jackson

University of Miami

“Essentially Practical Questions”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Memorial Building, Room 102
7:00 pm—9:00pm

Abstract: Disagreements about matters of taste and aesthetics have a peculiar character. For example, suppose you say that Goya’s Saturn is a beautiful painting, while I say that it isn’t. Intuitively, we have a genuine disagreement about the Goya painting; we are not merely talking past each other. But it would be odd to say that one or the other of us must be making a mistake; our tastes simply differ. Some philosophers have argued that the peculiar character of disagreements like this must be understood in deeply relativistic terms, according to which there is no objective truth about value and beauty, only truth-for-you and truth-for-me. My aim in this paper is to show that this relativist conclusion is too quick. In my view, a genuine disagreement is always focused on some specific question or questions, and the peculiar character of disagreements about matters of taste and aesthetics is a reflection of special features of the questions on which they are focused. In particular, I argue that we should understand such disagreements as being fundamentally about what I call “essentially practical questions,” questions about what to do. Disagreements about what to do are no less genuine, and no less important, than disagreements about matters of fact. But they can remain unsettled even after we have agreed on all the relevant matters of fact. 

Bio: Brendan Balcerak Jackson received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2006. Prior to joining the philosophy department at the University of Miami in 2015, Brendan held positions at the University of California (Davis), the Australian National University, the University of Cologne, and the University of Konstanz. His main areas of research are the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics, and he also has interests in the philosophy of mind, the history of analytic philosophy, and logic. He has a strong background in linguistics, and much of his work is informed by research in generative syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

Jessica Wilson

University of Toronto

“How Metaphysical Dependence Works” 

Friday, March 31, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg., Room 334
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: I develop and defend my positive account of metaphysical dependence, according to which what metaphysically depends on what (and relatedly but not equivalently, what is posterior to what) is, in the first instance, a matter of (i) what is (or serves as) a primitive fundamental base, coupled with (ii) the holding of specific off-the-shelf metaphysical relations (e.g., mereological part-whole, or the determinable-determinate relation). I highlight various advantages of my approach over `Grounding'-based approaches, and respond to several objections that have been raised against my view.

Bio: Jessica Wilson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She has interests in metaphysics (especially metaphysics of science and mind), metaphysical methodology, and epistemology, and has published widely on these topics. Wilson is the President of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science; she recently held a 3-year term as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh, and was the 2014 recipient (along with Jonathan Schaffer) of the Lebowitz Award for philosophical achievement and contribution. 

Nancy Snow

University of Oklahoma

“The Perils of Magnificence” 

Friday, March 24, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334     
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that magnificence is the virtue of making large expenditures for the public good.  As such, it stands between the vices of niggardliness and vulgarity.  It is also related to generosity, for the magnificent person, Aristotle says, is generous, though not necessarily vice versa, presumably because not all generous people have the means to spend on a grand scale (Aristotle 1122a18-1122b17).  In Practical Intelligence and the Virtues, Daniel C. Russell discusses Aristotle’s view, arguing that magnificence is a specialized virtue that is subordinate to the more basic or primary virtue of generosity.  Russell mentions but dismisses Aquinas’ view (following Cicero) that magnificence is subordinate to courage or fortitude (Russell 2009, 219, n. 17).   In this essay, I argue for the following claims: (1) Magnificence can be a virtue, and can include, in addition to motives of generosity, motives of courage, as well as of confidence, patience, and perseverance.  In expanding the range of motives in this way, I, like Aquinas, follow Cicero.  (2) Magnificence can be a vice, and can include any number of morally unworthy motives, such as the desire to ingratiate oneself, self-aggrandizement, or envy.  (3) Magnificence can be what I call an ‘impure’ virtue.  A virtue is impure if the motives it includes are not all morally worthy, but are mixed.  A set of mixed motives consists of morally worthy and morally neutral motives.  The presence of morally vicious motives in a set renders the set not mixed, but vicious, and can render the trait that includes the set a vice.

Nancy Snow is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of Virtue as Social Intelligence: An Empirically Grounded Theory(Routledge, 2009) and over thirty papers on virtue and ethics more broadly. She is currently revising a monograph on hope, writing one on virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, and co-authoring a book on virtue measurement.

Robin Jeshion

University of Southern California 

“Pride and Prejudice: On the Appropriation of Slurs”

Friday, March 10, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Slurring terms are pejorative expressions that target individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, occupation, and various other socially important properties. They are tools of subordination and their use a threat to human dignity. Notoriously, slurs are often appropriated, resulting in uses that neutralize their sting. How is this possible? What are the mechanisms that make appropriation possible? In this talk, I will advance an expressivist theory of slurring terms and explicate how understanding certain very general mechanisms of semantic change can help underwrite this theory.

Robin Jeshion is a professor at the University of Southern California, specializing in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and the epistemology of mathematical knowledge. She previously held faculty positions at Yale University and University of California, Riverside, was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and won a Burkhardt Fellowship. 

Don Fallis

University of Arizona 

“A Bayesian Epistemology of Deception”

Friday, March 3, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Intelligence analysts, such as Barton Whaley (1982), J. Bowyer Bell (2003), and Neil C. Rowe and Julian Rrushi (2016), have developed taxonomies of deception techniques, including such things as masking, dazzling, mimicking, and decoying.  As it is an important threat to *knowledge*, the study of *deception* and its various forms falls within the scope of epistemology.  And epistemologists should be able to answer two questions about the deception techniques discussed by intelligence analysts.  First, what epistemic consequences do they share such that they all count as deception?  Second, how do their epistemic consequences differ such that they count as distinct deception techniques?  The philosophers Roderick Chisholm and Thomas Feehan (1977) have proposed an influential scheme for classifying types of deception in terms of their epistemic consequences.  But I argue that this scheme is too course-grained to distinguish between the various forms that deception can take because it only utilizes a simple categorical belief model of cognitive states.  I show how we can use Bayesian epistemology, which represents cognitive states in terms of credences, in order to understand what unifies and what distinguishes the various deception techniques.

Don Fallis is Professor of Information and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.  His primary research area is the philosophy of lying and deception.  His articles in this area have appeared in the Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.  He has also discussed lying and deception on Philosophy TV and in several volumes of the Philosophy and Popular Culture series.

Selim Berker

Harvard University

“A Combinatorial Argument Against Practical Reasons for Belief”

Friday, February 24, 2017
Learning Center, Room 170
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Are there practical reasons for belief? For example, do the practical benefits of holding a certain belief count in favor of the belief itself? I argue "No." My argument involves considering how practical reasons for belief, if there were such, would combine with other reasons for belief in order to yield all-things-considered verdicts.

Selim Berker is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. His primary research interests are in ethics and epistemology, which he sees as two aspects of the same field—ethics being the study of what, if anything, we ought to do, and epistemology the study of what, if anything, we ought to believe.

Roman Frigg

London School of Economics

“Modelling and Representing”

Friday, February 17, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: Scientific models are representations. Building on Goodman and Elgin’s theory of pictorial representation we analyse what this claim involves by providing a general definition of what makes something a scientific model, and formulating a novel account of how they represent. We call the result the DEKI account of representation, which offers a complex kind of representation involving an interplay of denotation, exemplification, keying up of properties, and imputation. Throughout we focus on material models, and we illustrate our claims with the Phillips-Newlyn machine. In the conclusion we suggest that, mutatis mutandis, the DEKI account can be carried over to other kinds of models, notably fictional and mathematical models.

Roman Frigg is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS), and Co-Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests lie in general philosophy of science and philosophy of physics, and he has published papers on climate change, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, randomness, chaos, complexity, probability, scientific realism, computer simulations, modelling, scientific representation, reductionism, confirmation, and the relation between art and science. His current work focuses on predictability and climate change, the foundation of statistical mechanics, and the nature of scientific models and theories.  He is the winner of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is a permanent visiting professor in the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, and he held visiting appointments in the Rotman Institute of Philosophy of the University of Western Ontario, the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities of the University of Utrecht, the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science of the University of Sydney, and the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science of the University of Barcelona. He is associate editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, member of the steering committee of the European Philosophy of Science Association, and serves on a number of editorial and advisory boards.

Dr. Benedetta Rossi

University of Birmingham

“Slaves of the Central Sahel: Colonial Law, Slave Resistance, and Periodising African Emancipation”

Monday, February 13, 2017
Memorial Building, Room 315
4:00 pm—6:00 pm

Abstract: At the beginning of the twentieth century French colonial administrators in West Africa were abolitionists, but Africans were not. Studies of slavery and abolition in Africa assume that the beginning of the end of slavery coincided with the passing of colonial anti-slavery legislation. This interpretation yields periodisations of African emancipation paced primarily by the legal stages of European abolitionism. This is problematic. If our aim is to write a history of emancipation in African societies, then our analyses should explore African ideas, voices, and political struggles: when, how, and why did enslaved and/or free Africans begin to challenge the legitimacy of slavery as an institution? How did African slaves and slave owners relate to European abolitionism? This paper focuses on the Tahoua and Gouré-N’Guigmi regions of the Central Sahel in the first half of the twentieth century. Tahoua’s cases illustrate the resistance of slaves and slave descendants who had been integrated in local hierarchies for generations. By contrast, Gouré-N’Guigmi’s cases illustrate the circumstances of recently enslaved and trafficked persons intercepted by colonial officers and suddenly allowed to walk free. This paper explores the world of African slaves and slave owners; it outlines the resilience of slavery and the development of abolitionism in the Central Sahel in the course of the twentieth century.

Benedetta Rossi is Reader in African History and Anthropology in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) of the University of Birmingham (UK). She is the 2016 Evans Pritchard Lecturer at All Souls College, Oxford. Her book From Slavery to Aid: Politics, Labour, and Ecology in the Nigerien Sahel, 1800-2000 (CUP, 2015) is finalist for the 2016 Melville J. Herskovits Award awarded by African Studies Association (USA) and for the 2016 Fage and Oliver Prize awarded by the African Studies Association (UK). She is Reviews Editor of the Journal of Global Slavery and one of four scientific editors for a forthcoming Encyclopédie de l'Esclavage (CNRS, Seuil). She is senior researcher in three major international partnerships on slavery in Africa (EU RISE Network Grant), sexual slavery and forced marriage (Canada SSHRC grant), and Children Born of War in Africa (EU Innovative Training Network grant). She is Departmental Head of Graduate Studies at the University of Birmingham. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE, University of London). For her Ph.D. and post-doctoral projects she conducted over four years of field-based research in the Republic of Niger (funded by ESRC and RCUK grants). Her work focuses on the history and anthropology of slavery in twentieth century Africa, labour history, environmental history, and the critical history of planned development aid. She is currently writing her second monograph, Slavery and Emancipation in Twentieth Century Africa, contracted with Cambridge University Press (New Approaches to African History series). 

Steven Savitt

University of British Columbia 

“Crisp Thoughts: An Examination and Critique of Relativistic Presentism”

Friday, February 10, 2017
Richter Library Conference Room, 3rdFloor                                                               
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: In a recent paper, Tom Crisp attempts to establish the consistency of a form of presentism, which he calls General Relativistic Presentism (GRP), with the general theory of relativity (GR). I will present Crisp’s argument and then make three points by way of criticism: (1) Crisp fails to distinguish presentism from eternalism. (2) At most (and waiving the first problem for the sake of argument) he establishes a necessary condition for presentism in general relativistic spacetimes. (3) A remarkable recent theorem shows that we can never know that this necessary condition obtains in our spacetime, assuming that GR is true.

Steven Savitt earned an AB degree from Columbia College in 1964 and a Ph. D. from Brandeis University in 1972. Both degrees were in philosophy. He was a member of the department of philosophy of The University of British Columbia from 1969 until he retired in 2015. Early in his career he specialized in logic and philosophy of logic, but later on he turned more to philosophy of science and, especially, philosophy of time. He has published a number of scholarly articles, most recently “Kit Fine on Tense and Reality” in a special issue on time of the journal Manuscrito: International Journal of Philosophy. He edited a book for Cambridge University Press: Time’s Arrows Today: Recent Physical and Philosophical Work on the Direction of Time. He also maintains the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry “Being and Becoming in Modern Physics”.

Julia Tanney

Independent Researcher

“What Knowledge is Not:Reflections on Some Uses of the Verb ‘To Know’”

Friday, January 27, 2017
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Abstract: This paper, grounded on the work of Austin, Ryle, Toulmin, Urmson, Wisdom and Wittgenstein, argues that philosophical investigations into the nature of knowledge, like those of other abstractions, cannot be conducted without attention to what we say and understand when using the relevant expressions.  An examination of first- and third-person singular uses of ‘to know’ reveals serious difficulties with traditional doctrines of epistemology: namely, that knowledge is a type of mental state; in particular, a belief that is true and justified.  The influence of philosophical scepticism is examined, including the supposition that only analytic entailments can attain the standards to which our claims to knowledge aspire.  The dispute between the reductionist and the realist – deemed here to be hopeless – exemplifies implicit acceptance of this supposition.  This paper clarifies its position with respect to traditional dogmas in philosophy of language and ends on a negative note about the prospects for semantic theory and the formalisation of natural language expressions.

Julia Tanney has written numerous articles in philosophy of mind and language, focusing especially on reason explanation, rule-following, self-knowledge, and the nature of philosophical investigation. Her collected papers, Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge, was published by Harvard in 2013. She is an international expert on the philosophy of Gilbert Ryle and the later Wittgenstein. Having spent most of her career in the UK, with visiting posts in France, she now works independently, dividing her time between Paris and the South of France. 

Dana Goswick

University of Melbourne

“A Devitt-Proof Constructivism”

Friday, November 11, 2016
University Center, Room 2300
2:00pm - 4:00pm

 Abstract: I distinguish 20th century Constructivists (e.g. Goodman, Putnam) whose anti-Realism is global and is motivated by epistemic and semantic concerns about Realism from 21st century Constructivists (e.g. Einheuser, Goswick, Sidelle) whose anti-Realism is local and is motivated by specific metaphysical concerns.  I argue that the 21st century Constructivist programme is plausible in a way the 20th century Constructivist programme is not. In particular, I argue that 21st century Constructivism is immune to the anti-Constructivist arguments Devitt presents in Truth and Realism and in Putting Metaphysics First.

 Dana Goswick is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Her current work concerns modality, ordinary objects, and realism. She argues that the negative modalities (not necessarily not, not possibly not) are weaker than the positive modalities (possibly, necessarily). She defends a response-dependent hylomorphic view of ordinary objects. In particular, she argues that ordinary objects are composites of sort-properties and stuff. With regard to Realism, she argues that defining Realism in terms of mind-independence is archaic and anthropocentric. She is currently trying to come up with a better, 21st century, version of Realism.

The 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for Exact Philosophy

May 6-8, 2016
University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida

44th Annual Meeting of the SEP CFP

For more details email:

Conference Website:

SEP Website:

"The SEP is dedicated to providing sustained discussion among researchers who believe that rigorous methods have a place in philosophical investigations."

Publishing Workshop

Ties Nijssen

Springer Academic Publishers

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Ashe Building, Room 735A
3:00 pm—4:30 pm

This workshop explains the different possibilities to publish academic work and presents some tips on how to best address publishers with your book proposal. The workshop will adopt a general approach, that is, it is not focused on one publisher and aims to present a publisher’s perspective on academic proposals / publications. There will be plenty of room for questions and discussion about developments in publishing.

 Ties Nijssen has over 10 years of experience in educational and academic publishing. He is currently responsible for Springer’s Philosophy of Science journal and book portfolio, and in this capacity he oversees the publication of about 40 books per year and works on 14 academic journals. He holds a Master degree in Philosophy from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and a Bachelor in Commerce from the Haarlem Business School.

A Metaphysics Festival: Fundamental Truthmakers

The University of Miami
April 22-23, 2016

Among the themes discussed will be the motivations of truthmaker theory, the nature of truth-bearers and the truthmaking relation, the essence of truth and its kinds, the connection between truth and fundamentality, the categories of truthmakers, and the relationship between manifest and scientific truthmakers.

Otávio Bueno/University of Miami
Ross Cameron/University of Virginia
Javier Cumpa/University of Miami
John Heil/Washington University in St Louis
Thomas Hofweber/UNC-Chapel Hill
Kris McDaniel/Syracuse University
Erwin Tegtmeier/University of Mannheim
Amie Thomasson/University of Miami

For more information:

Philosophy: East & West

Thursday, April 14, 2016
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Jialian Li                       Jifeng Niu
Hubei University            Beijing Normal University

 Haichao Li                    Niling Jiang
Shandon University        Fundan University

Jialian Li, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Hubei University, and post-doctoral fellow at Zhejiang University. Her academic focus is on moral sentimentalism in 18th-century British philosophy and on the comparative study between Western and Chinese moral sentimentalism. She has translated works written by Francis Hutcheson into Chinese, such as An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue and An Essay on Nature and Conduct of Passions and Affections, with Illustration on the Moral Sense. She has published two monographs (Sentimental Origin of Morality and Introduction to Philosophy) and several academic papers. All of her publications focus on the topic of moral sentimentalism.

Jifeng Niu is a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Philosophy and Sociology, Beijing Normal University. Her academic interest is concerned with sentimentalist ethics.

Haichao Li is a Ph.D. candidate at the Advanced Institute of Confucian Studies, Shandong University, with academic focus on Confucian Philosophy.

Niling Jiang is a Ph.D. candidate from Fudan University, with focus on Chinese philosophy. Her dissertation addresses the relationship between generality and particularity in different contexts, and how we can act morally according to early Confucian philosophy.

Anna-Sara Malmgren

Stanford University

“Goodness, Availability, and Argument Structure”

Friday 15, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 217
3:00pm - 5:00pm

On a widely shared conception of inferential justification, an agent is inferentially justified in believing that ponly if she has an antecedently justified belief in each of the (non-redundant) premises of a good argument for p. Here I would like to discuss some under-explored questions that, it seems, seriously complicate the application of this conception to particular cases. First: what is a good argument, in the intended sense? Second: what counts as a relevantly complete representation of a given argument form—complete, that is, vis-à-vis the epistemic and psychological demands that the standard conception puts on the agent? Third: what’s the right way to regiment an ostensibly enthymematic argument, in the context of theorizing about justification?

Anna-Sara Malmgren is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, working at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of mind. She has published papers in Philosophical Review, Mind, and elsewhere. Her monograph, On Inference, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

First Annual Inclusiveness Conference

"Gender in the Academy"

Mary Anne Franks - Unversity of Miami
Shannon Dea - Unversity of Waterloo
Jennifer Saul - University of Sheffield

Thursday, April 7, 2016
School of Business, Aresty Building, Room 532
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Friday, April 8, 2016
School of Business, Stubblefield Classroom Building, room 508
12:00 pm -5:00 pm

Despite the inroads women have made in degrees earned, women are still drastically underrepresented in certain academic disciplines, including philosophy and STEM disciplines.  What might explain the disparities? And what can be done about it - and to create a more inclusive environment for everyone?

This two - day workshop includes lectures from renowned experts on various aspects of the problem as well as a collective discussion about ways to go forward.  The conference is free and open to the entire university community.

Roy Sorensen

Washington University, St Louis

“The Most Demanding Morality is the Least Demanding”

Friday, April 1, 2016
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
3:00pm - 5:00pm

According to the logical fatalist, there is exactly one possible world. Deontic logic forbids the impossible, so fatalism requires us to do exactly what we actually do. Although not designed as a morality, fatalism is a catalyst triggering deontic logic into crystallizing a complete account of everyone’s obligations. Whereas Arthur Prior derives an `ought’ from an `is’, the fatalist derives an `ought’ without an `is’! Non-fatalists can do the same for the impossibilities they acknowledge. This logical point has affected the fatalism of the Stoics, Spinoza, and the crypto-fatalism of Gottfried Leibniz and David Lewis. This is easiest to discern with the lazy argument – first deployed against the Stoics and then reincarnated as the moral passivity objection to modal realism.

 Roy Sorensen interests are philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics. He is the author of six books: BlindspotsThought ExperimentsPseudo-ProblemsVagueness and ContradictionA Brief History of the Paradox; and Seeing Dark Things.

Zehra Peynircioglu

American University

“Cognitive Processing of Nonverbal Auditory Information”

Friday, March 25, 2016
Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Semantics is very important to memory and perception. We have an easier time mentally manipulating and remembering stimuli that are meaningful and can be verbally described. At the very least such stimuli lend themselves to conceptual elaboration, which improves performance on most cognitive tasks. Introspectively, making sense of nonverbal stimuli, relying only or mostly on sensory or modality-specific information is more nebulous. Within the auditory domain, human voices and music fall into the category of such nonverbal stimuli. I will give a brief overview of the past research from our lab on memory and metamemory for human voices and melodies. Then I will describe some current research on human voice recognition.

Zehra Peynircioglu received her BA from Stanford, MA from Princeton, and Ph.D. from Rice (MA and Ph.D. advisor: Mike Watkins), majoring in psychology. Her first job in Turkey was at Bogazici University, and since then she have been working at American University. Her research areas include memory, some metamemory, bilingualism, music cognition, and curious memory and cognitive phenomena of all sorts.   

Bob Kentridge

University of Durham

“Empirical results in colour vision that might inform debate in the philosophy of perception”

Monday, March 21, 2016
Knight Physics Bldg, Room 334
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Philosophers and psychologists share a common interest in understanding colour perception. For both it is a surprisingly complex problem. To what uses do we put colour information? Is perceiving ‘colour’, in its broadest sense, the key underlying feature of vision, its ‘proper sensible’ as Aristotle would have claimed? Are colour perception and colour sensation different? If perception involves estimation of the properties of objects in the world, rather than simply experiencing colour qualia, is it possible to perceive colour unconsciously? Is colour perception derived from colour sensation, as Helmholtz and Democritus would have claimed? I will present empirical results from experiments with a patient with the neurological condition cerebral achromatopsia (cortical colour blindness) and from experiments with normal observers that suggest answers to these questions.

Bob Kentridge is an experimental psychologist at Durham University in the North East of England. Over the last twenty years his work has concentrated on questions in visual perception, particularly regarding the perception of colour and material properties, visual attention, and visual experience. Many of the questions he addresses arose from work with neurological patients with blindsight and cerebral achromatopsia (cortical colour blindness) which he has gone on to test using psychophysical and neuroimaging methods in normal observers. His work on visual attention without visual awareness and on colour processing in cerebral achromatopsia have formed the basis of fruitful exchanges with philosophers in recent years.

Tim Bayne

University of Manchester

“Can We Build a Consciousness Meter”

Monday, February 29, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 316
3:00pm - 5:00pm

One of the central challenges facing the science of consciousness is that of identifying ways of measuring consciousness. Can we go beyond our pre-theoretical ways of detecting consciousness and develop measures that are independently validated? Some theorists think not, and argue that we are necessarily restricted to the pre-theoretical markers of consciousness with which we begin. Other theorists are more optimistic, and think that we will be able to develop independent measures of consciousness. This talk considers these questions in the light of recent work on the cognitive neuroscience of disorders of consciousness.

Tim Bayne is a philosopher of mind and cognitive science, with a particular interest in the nature of consciousness. He completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Otago (New Zealand), and Ph.D in Philosophy at the University of Arizona. He has taught at Macquarie University and the University of Oxford. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester and also at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of The Unity of Consciousness and Thought: A Very Short Introduction.

Elizabeth Camp

Rutgers University

“Insinuation, Indirection, and the Conversational Record”

Friday, February 26, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 217
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Most philosophical and linguistic theorizing about communication focuses on cooperative forms of communication.  However, much verbal communication involves parties whose interests are not fully aligned, or who do not know their degree of alignment.  I argue that insinuation is a form of speaker’s meaning in which speakers communicate without adding what is communicated to the conversational scoreboard, or sometimes even to the common ground.  In addition to its inherent practical relevance (especially in an election year), making sense of the ways in which speakers and hearers manipulate off-record meaning suggests a way to ground the distinction between semantics and pragmatics more firmly in the practice of ordinary speakers and hearers.

Elizabeth Camp received her PhD from UC Berkeley.  She spent three years at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 2006 until joining Rutgers in 2013.  Between college and grad school, she worked in Chicago, designing and implementing programs for GED instruction in public housing and for ESL instruction in the Latino community. Her research focuses on thoughts and utterances that don’t fit standard propositional models.  She is especially interested in metaphor and other forms of figurative speech; in slurs and other forms of ‘loaded’ language; in cognitive perspectives and emotions; and in non-sentential representational systems such as maps and diagrams.

Markus Gabriel

University of Bonn

“Ontological Relativism”

Thursday, February 25, 2016
Ashe Building, Room 735A
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Abstract: In this paper, I will explore central aspects of ontological relativism, that is, the view that answers to questions of existence can only be provided relative to a given domain because there is no absolute or all-encompassing domain of existing objects. I first consider some fairly recent relativistic claims about existence in light of proposals by Ernest Sosa and Carol Rovane. Given that there are various mutually incompatible contemporary views about the conditions a position has to meet in order to count as relativistic, I then discuss the question, what kind of relativism might be driving these accounts.

 Markus Gabriel received his Ph.D. (Dr. Phil.) and his Habilitation from the University of Heidelberg and, after a Postdoc at NYU, held both visiting and permanent positions at many universities (such as UC Berkeley and The New School for Social Research). Since 2009 he holds the Chair in Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn in Germany. He is also the director of the International Center for Philosophy (, mainly working on metaphysics/ontology, epistemology and the history of philosophy (primarily Ancient Philosophy and German Idealism).

Friends of Philosophy

Magdalena Balcerak Jackson
University of Miami

"Imagining Fictional Worlds"

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 109
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

We say that when we read a work of literary fiction, we imagine the world, the characters and the events the fiction describes. The rich exercise of the imagination is one of the things that distinguish reading fiction from reading operating instructions of a new dishwasher, or the timetable of the Metrorail. But what exactly is the role of the imagination for reading fiction, and how are these peculiar imaginings like? In this talk, I will investigate how our imagination as readers is not only necessary for our understanding of literary fictions, but also necessary for completing the story.

 Magdalena Balcerak Jackson (Ph.D. (Dr.phil.), University of Cologne), Assistant Professor. She works primarily in philosophy of mind, epistemology and meta-philosophy, but she is also interested on the intersections of these areas with philosophy of language and philosophy of science, and in phenomenology. Her current research projects focus on imagination, reasoning, philosophical methodology and foundational questions in epistemology, such as the basis of a priori knowledge. She has published articles in journals and collected volumes with Oxford University Press, and she is currently co-editing a collection of papers on theoretical and practical reasoning and editing the philosophy of mind section of the journal Thought.             

Karen Bennett

Cornell University

“Relative Fundamentality”

Friday, February 19, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 217
3:00pm - 5:00pm

 Philosophers frequently make claims about some phenomenon being “more fundamental than,” “more basic than”, or “metaphysically prior to” another.  Yet this kind of talk has received very little scrutiny.  In this talk I argue for a reductive account of relative fundamentality, and explore its consequences.

 Karen Bennett is a Professor in the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She has been at Cornell since 2007, was a Visiting Associate Professor at NYU during Fall 2010, and was Assistant Professor at Princeton University until 2007. Before that, she did her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and spent some time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Research School of the Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Her primary research interests are in metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Nick Stang

University of Toronto

“Transcendental Idealism Without Tears”

Thursday, February 18, 2016
Ashe Building, Room 735A
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Abstract: Contemporary metaphysicians in the analytic tradition generally ignore idealism. In the case of Kantian transcendental idealism (KTI), and various forms of post-Kantian idealism (e.g. Hegel’s absolute idealism), this neglect is almost total. This paper is an attempt to explain one strand of KTI to a contemporary audience and motivate it as a position in meta-metaphysics, specifically, in meta-ontology (i.e. as a view about we are doing when we make claims about what there is). At the end, a brief attempt is made to explain post-Kantian idealism (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) in similar terms. Reference to historical texts will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Nick Stang (PhD, Princeton) is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Metaphysics and its History at the University of Toronto. He works at the intersection of metaphysics and classical German philosophy (especially, Kant). His first book, Kant's Modal Metaphysics, will be published by Oxford University Press in Spring 2016.

David Plunkett

Dartmouth College

“Which Concepts Should We Use? 
Metalinguistic Negotiations & the Methodology of Philosophy”

Friday, February 12, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 217
3:00pm - 5:00pm

This paper is about philosophical disputes where the literal content of what speakers communicate concerns such object-level issues as ground, supervenience, or real definition. It is tempting to think that such disputes straightforwardly express disagreements about these topics. In contrast to this, I suggest that, in many such cases, the disagreement that is expressed is actually one about which concepts should be employed. I make this case as follows. First, I look at non-philosophical, everyday disputes where a speaker employs (often without awareness of doing so) a metalinguistic usage of a term. This is where a speaker uses a term (rather than mentions it) to express a view about the meaning of that term, or, relatedly, how to correctly use that term. A metalinguistic negotiation is a metalinguistic dispute that concerns a normative issue about what a word should mean, or, similarly, about how it should be used, rather than the descriptive issue about what it does mean. I argue that the same evidence that supports thinking that certain ordinary disputes are metalinguistic negotiations also supports thinking that some (perhaps many) philosophical disputes are. I then explore some of the methodological upshots of this understanding of philosophical disputes.

David Plunkett is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Dartmouth College. He was recently a visiting fellow at the University Center of Human Values at Princeton University and the H.L.A. Hart visiting fellow at the University of Oxford. His main areas of current research are in Metaethics, Ethics, Philosophy of Law, and the Philosophy of Mind and Language.

Ned Markosian

University of Massachusetts

“Stuff is not Enough”

Friday, January 29, 2016
Memorial Building, Room 217
3:00pm - 5:00pm

In a recent paper (Markosian, “The Right Stuff,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2015)), I argued that we ought to include stuff in our ontology. In this talk I will first review the main reasons (by my lights) for positing stuff, and then I will argue that stuff is not enough. In particular, I will argue that a stuff-only ontology is not adequate to capture certain claims that we want to make about ourselves, about personal identity, and about singular facts. I will also discuss a lingering worry facing the particular combination of views about things and stuff that I endorse.

Ned Markosian is a professor of philosophy at The University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, Massachusetts. His main areas of research are the metaphysics of physical objects (especially the mereology of those objects and the relation between physical objects and the matter that constitutes them), and time.

Jon Garthoff

University of Tennessee

“Animal Punishment”

Friday, December 4, 2015
Memorial Building, Room TBA
2:30pm - 4:30pm

An account of punishment must confront the fact that we punish creatures, such as dogs and one-year-old children, who lack the capacities of reflection and critical reason. These are ordinary instances of punishment, not deviant cases or mere metaphors. In this essay I distinguish three categories of animals by their respective mental capacities and I discuss the different types of punishment appropriate for animals of each category.  This exercise has multiple purposes. One is to illuminate the punishment of animals, a neglected domain of ethics. A second purpose is to illuminate each type of punishment through comparison and contrast with the others. This forestalls the overintellectualization of punishment in general due to viewing humans as the only paradigm and forestalls the underintellectualization of human punishment due to making no essential reference to their critically rational capacities. A third purpose is to argue that these observations support a unified account of human punishment, an account where the three traditional justifications for punishment – retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation – are united by a single overarching purpose.

Jon Garthoff is Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Philosophy Department at the University of Tennessee. He works primarily in ethical theory, and is especially interested in how psychological capacities¾including capacities possessed by many nonhuman animals, such as perception, consciousness, and judgment¾figure in our best understanding of ethics, politics, and law.

Cooper Fellow Event

Julia Langkau

University of Konstanz

“Knowledge from Fiction and Perspective Taking”

Thursday, December 10, 2015
CAS Wesley Art Gallery (1210 Stanford Drive)
3:00pm - 5:00pm

I suggest that fiction can be used to gain substantive counterfactual knowledge in much the same way counterfactual knowledge is thought to be gained in thought experiments. In particular, I discuss the imaginative process of perspective taking presumably involved in making certain judgments on the basis of fiction. Two kinds of perspective taking have to be distinguished: an imagine-other and an imagine-self perspective. Peter Goldie claims that 'empathetic perspective-shifting' (taking the imagine-self perspective) fails for conceptual reasons. I argue that Goldie doesn’t succeed in establishing his claim, and even though empirical evidence suggests that the imagine-self perspective is not generally reliable, fiction might be a context where it is particularly easy.

Julia Langkau is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Zukunftskolleg and the Department of Philosophy of the University of Konstanz and a Researcher at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Zurich. She is currently working on a project on emotion and fiction. She did her Ph.D. on intuitions and philosophical methodology at the Philosophical Methodology Project of the Arche Research Centre for Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland).

Michael De

University of Konstanz

“On the Humphrey Objection to Modal Realism”

Friday, December 11, 2015
CAS Wesley Art Gallery (1210 Stanford Drive)
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Saul Kripke gave a famous, intuitive, and forceful objection to modal realism that has come to be known as the Humphrey objection. I assess the argument under various precise formulations and conclude that there are only two viable ways out for the modal realist. The first involves treating ordinary individuals as transworld sums, the other involves lifting the ban that worlds never mereologically overlap. I defend the first of these on independent grounds.

Michael De is a Postdoctoral Fellow in philosophy at the University of Konstanz in a project funded by the European Research Council on indeterminism and free will. This project was previously hosted at Utrecht University, Netherlands, where he spent two years prior to Konstanz. His research interests include logic, metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics and language, and epistemology. Until 2011, he was a Ph.D. student at the University of St Andrews in the Arché Research Centre for Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology where he is an Associate Fellow. While there, he was a member of the AHRC-funded Foundations of Logical Consequence project.

Sean Hermanson

Florida International University

“Yet Another Paper About Implicit Bias”

Friday, November 20, 2015
Memorial Building, Room 200
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Implicit associations are often thought to cause us to act in prejudicial ways diverging from our declared egalitarian beliefs.  For example, studies show a departmental committee might implicitly prefer a male candidate to a female candidate with the same qualifications despite holding conscious and explicit attitudes about the equality of the sexes.  Or do they?  I contend that research on this and related matters are not as settled as many philosophers currently believe.  New data pertinent to questions about the causes of underrepresention and specific hypotheses about implicit bias will also be presented.

Sean Hermanson (PhD, Toronto) is an associate professor at Florida International University.  He has written about animal consciousness (in bees, monkeys and bats), the extended mind, and the reliability of introspection.  He also maintains interests in various issues where philosophy meets the cognitive sciences, including consciousness and representation, altruism, human nature, and implicit bias. 

Julian Cole

SUNY Buffalo State

“Can Social Constructs be Atemporal and Amodal”

Friday, October 23, 2015
Memorial Building, Room 200
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Julian Cole is an associate professor of philosophy at SUNY Buffalo State. He graduated from the University of St. Andrews with a Ph.D. in mathematics under the supervision of Dr. Lars Olsen in 1999 and from the Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in philosophy under the supervision of Professor Stewart Shapiro in 2005. After teaching for a couple of years at the University of Texas – Pan American, he joined the faculty at SUNY Buffalo State in 2008. His primary research interests are in the philosophy of mathematics and social ontology, topics on which he has made presentations all over the world, including at the University of Melbourne, the University of Adelaide, his alma mater the University of St. Andrews, the University of Hong Kong, and, closer to home, Stanford University. From his Ph.D. dissertation Practice-Dependent Realism and Mathematics to his recent article in Erkenntnis ‘Social Construction, Mathematics, and the Collective Imposition of Function onto Reality’ he has been developing and defending an account of mathematics that takes mathematical reality to be a product of mathematical activities. He is currently on sabbatical leave working on a book on his conception of the relationship between abstract reality and social reality.

11th Annual National Meeting of the American Synesthesia Association, Inc.

October 3 - 4, 2015
Learning Center, Room 110
8:00 am - 4:00pm

For more details email:

Synesthesia Conference Program

Bennett L. Schwartz

Florida International University

“Tip-of-the-tongue States, Déjà vu Experiences, & Other Odd Metamemory Experiences”

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jean-Yves Béziau

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

“Round Squares are Not Contradictions”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Friends of Philsophy Dialogue

Berit Brogaard

University of Miami

"The Superhuman Mind"

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Gillian Barker

Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University

“Geo-Functions: A New Perspective for Understanding & Managing Global Change”

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thomas Kelly

Princeton University

“Historical vs. Current Time Slice Theories in Epistemology”

Friday, April 3, 2015

Alan Goldman

College of William & Mary

“What Desires Are and Are Not”

Friday, March 6, 2015

JJ Valberg

University College London


Friday, February 27, 2015

Catherine Elgin

Harvard University

“Fallibilism’s Payoff”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Keith Lehrer

University of Arizona

“Knowledge, Autonomy & Exemplars”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Peter Kivy

Rutgers University

“Joking Morality”

Friday, January 30, 2015

Brian Leiter

University of Chicago

“Normativity for Naturalists”

Friday, January 23, 2015