Anne Schwenkenbecher

Murdoch University

Shared Intentions, Loose Groups, and Pooled Knowledge

7 December 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: We study shared intentions in what we call loose groups. These are groups that lack a codified organizational structure, and where the communication channels between group members are either unreliable or not completely open. We start by formulating two desiderata for shared intentions in such groups. We then argue that no existing account meets these two desiderata, because they assume either too strong or too weak an epistemic condition, that is a condition on what the group members know and believe about what the others intend, know, and believe. We propose an alternative, pooled knowledge, and argue that it allows formulating conditions on shared intentions that meet the two desiderata.


Pablo Cobreros

University of Navarra

Inferences and Metainferences

30 November 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: The logic ST has been proposed in different places to deal with paradoxes. There is something very interesting about ST: that it is classical logic for a classical language, but that it provides different ways of strengthening classical logic to deal with paradoxes. For example, the logic STT (ST for a language with a transparent truth predicate and self-referential sentences) is a conservative extension of classical logic. That is, STT is not only non-trivial, but it has exactly the same valid inferences as classical logic for the T-free fragment. How is this possible? Well, because ST preserves all classically valid inferences but not some classical metainferences. The question then arises of exactly which are the metainferences of ST. In their (2015) paper Eduardo Barrio, Lucas Rosenblatt and Diego Tajer show that ST metainferences are closely related to LP inferences. In this note we review their result and try to highlight the connection in a broader context.

Alexandre Billon

University of Lille

The Sense of Existence

30 November 2018, 11:30

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: While the sense of existence — the kind of awareness that grounds our judgments of existence — has been invoked by the phenomenological tradition in order to make far ranging claims about the property of existence, its nature is extremely controversial, and its very existence has been widely called into question. This paper aims at getting clear about the nature and reality of the sense of existence by studying a psychiatric condition in which it appears to be disrupted: depersonalisation.

David Yates

LANCOG University of Lisbon

Functionalism and Transparency: Chalmers on Spatial Concepts

23 November 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In a recent paper (‘Three puzzles about spatial experience’), David Chalmers offers three twin-Earth cases designed to show that our ordinary, everyday spatial concepts do not reveal the essential natures of their referents, but refer to them as the normal causes of spatial phenomenology. Chalmers is thus a realizer functionalist about spatial concepts: they refer to their referents as the occupants of roles, where the roles in question are given in phenomenological terms. The non-transparency of spatial concepts is counterintuitive, since it seems that concepts such as sphericality and separation give us at least some epistemic access to the essential natures of the spatial properties they refer to. In this paper I first argue that phenomenal spatial functionalism is untenable. I then distinguish two variants of theoretical spatial functionalism, the view that everyday spatial concepts are defined by a folk physical theory. According to theoretical realizer functionalism, spatial concepts refer to whatever properties occupy the folk physical roles. According to theoretical role functionalism, spatial concepts refer to second-order properties that are individuated by their folk physical roles. On this latter theory, spatial concepts are (at least partially) transparent: spatial properties are conceived in terms of their places in the theoretical structure that individuates them, hence in terms of their essential natures. I argue that Chalmers’ twin-Earth cases are all consistent with theoretical role functionalism, and conclude that there is no compelling twin-Earth argument for the non-transparency of spatial concepts.

Pilar Terrés

University of Barcelona

Substructural Logics and the Meaning of Logical Connectives

16 November 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Logical Pluralism is the thesis that there is more than one correct logic. One of the main objections against this view is the Quinean meaning-variance argument, according to which divergent logic change the meaning of logical vocabulary. I suggest a version of logical pluralism which endorses classical and certain substructural logics (including linear logic, which will receive special attention) which avoids this conclusion. The suggested thesis is sustained in a particular analysis of the behavior of logical connectives in the different logics, arguing that substructural logics capture pragmatically enriched senses of ‘if…then’, ‘or’, and ‘and’, contrary to classical logic, which captures their literal meaning.

Philosophie – UNESCO

Teresa Marques
How philosophy of language can help us navigate the political news cycle

The conference will show that contemporary philosophy of language has tools that can help us understand political speech, in particular, it can help us understand not only what we’re told by politicians and pundits in their public statements to news media, but also understand what their words reveal about their actions, their plans, and what they expect us -the citizens – to do.

Michel Croce

University of Edinburgh

On What It Takes to Be An Expert

9 November 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Recent works in epistemology have shown how challenging it is to define what it takes for one to be a cognitive expert in some field. Starting from a shared intuition that the definition of an expert depends upon the conceptual function of expertise, I shed light on two main approaches to the notion of an expert: according to novice-oriented accounts of expertise, experts need to provide laypeople with information they lack in some domain; whereas, according to research-oriented accounts, experts need to contribute to the epistemic progress of their discipline. In this paper, I defend the thesis that cognitive experts should be identified by their ability to perform the latter function rather than the former, as novice-oriented accounts, unlike research-oriented ones, fail to comply with the rules of a functionalist approach to expertise.

Javier Gonzalez de Prado Salas


How to Doubt Yourself Rationally

26 October 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Higher-order evidence can make an agent rationally doubt the reliability of her reasoning. When this happens, it seems that the agent should adopt a cautious attitude towards her original conclusion. This is so even if the higher-order evidence is misleading and the original reasoning was actually impeccable (say, it was a good piece of deductive reasoning). On the face of it, this is puzzling. Why should the agent refrain from endorsing her initial conclusion, if her original reasons to endorse it remain as strong as before? My proposal is that the (misleading) higher-order evidence undermines the agent’s possession of her original first-order reasons, constituting what I call a dispossessing defeater. After acquiring the higher-order evidence, the agent is not anymore in a position to rely competently on the relevant first-order considerations as reasons for her original conclusion. In this way, such considerations stop being available to the agent as reasons for the conclusion. So, an agent with misleading higher-order evidence can adopt a cautious attitude while properly responding to the set of reasons that she possesses – a set that is reduced due to the acquisition of higher-order dispossessing defeaters.

Fernando Broncano-Berrocal

Autonomous University of Madrid

Lottery Propositions and Unsafe Doubts

19 October 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: It is fair to say that views based on the safety principle (if an agent S knows a proposition p, not easily would S have believed that p without it being the case that p) stand among the most popular in the epistemological landscape. In spite of their many virtues, safety-based views have a pebble in their shoes: the so-called lottery problem. According to one way to understand it, the lottery problem is the problem of explaining why mere reflection on the long odds that one will lose the lottery does not yield knowledge that one will lose. By giving an adequate explanation of why we don’t know that we won’t win the lottery on the basis of statistical evidence, one can thereby explain why the premises of the knowledge version of the lottery paradox are false. Informally, the lottery paradox is generated as follows: if you know that a given lottery ticket will be a loser, then you can know this for every ticket, but since you also know that one ticket will be winner, you know inconsistent propositions, namely that all tickets will lose and that one ticket will be a winner, but knowing inconsistent propositions is not possible. This paper makes a negative and a positive point. The negative point is that no formulation of the safety principle for knowledge is able to explain why we don’t know lottery propositions and hence to solve the lottery problem. The positive point is that the fact that lottery propositions are not known can be still explained in terms of safety and, in particular, in terms of the idea that lottery players have (or should have) unsafe doubts that defeat their knowledge of lottery propositions.

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We congratulate Elton Marques for finishing his PhD!

Elton’s PhD thesis, Sobre Determinismo e Eternismo: argumentos e relações possíveis entre teses [On Determinism and Eternalism: Arguments and Possible Relations between Thesis] was successfully defended at the University of Lisbon.