Occipital and left temporal instantaneous amplitude and frequency oscillations correlated with access and phenomenal consciousness

8 June 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Vítor Pereira

Abstract: Given the hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers, 1995) there are no brain electrophysiological correlates of the subjective experience (the felt quality of redness or the redness of red, the experience of dark and light, the quality of depth in a visual field, the sound of a clarinet, the smell of mothball, bodily sensations, etc.). However, there are brain occipital and left temporal electrophysiological correlates of the subjective experience (Pereira, 2015). Notwithstanding, as evoked signal, the change in event-related brain potentials phase (frequency is the change in phase over time) is instantaneous, that is, the frequency will transiently be infinite: a transient peak in frequency (positive or negative), if any, is instantaneous in electroencephalogram averaging or filtering that the event-related brain potentials required and the underlying structure of the event-related brain potentials in the frequency domain cannot be accounted, for example, by the Wavelet Transform or the Fast Fourier Transform analysis, because they require that frequency is derived by convolution rather than by differentiation. However, as I show in the current original research report, one suitable method for analyzing the instantaneous change in event-related brain potentials phase and accounted for a transient peak in frequency (positive or negative), if any, in the underlying structure of the event-related brain potentials is the Empirical Mode Decomposition with post processing (Xie et al., 2014) Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition.

Eylem Özaltun

Koç University

Action Awareness as the Source of Flexibility in Skillful Copings

1 June 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: As observed by Descartes, human action is distinctive for the wide range and specificity of skills we display. Many of these skills are highly flexible, and can be employed in varied circumstances and for varied goals. Now, how is our being self-conscious, self-aware and rational related to the distinctive way in which we act? Almost everyone agrees that we must be self-conscious and rational to acquire these skills, but the role of self-awareness and reasoning in exercising these skills is in dispute. Recently, a number of authors have argued that action awareness is in fact indispensable for successful performance. I think these recent studies make our ability to cope skillfully even more puzzling: how does the agent manage to synthesize this vast information about the context, current state of affairs, the goal, the current state of herself and her abilities; provided by diverse monitoring forms, available at different levels of reflection, in multiple sensory modalities; with respect to diverse factors that bear on the novel case at hand in such a way that she can give the highly specific bodily response that the situation requires here and now? This is what I call the problem of orchestration. I aim to show that this is a cognitive problem with motor solution, i.e., that the flexible motor control cannot proceed without the guidance of cognitive control. The main idea is that we do not solve the problem of orchestration blindly: there must be a type of awareness distinct from all the different forms of awareness that are specified by recent studies which go into the execution of action as input. I aim to specify this type of awareness that enables the agent to exert cognitive control all the way down to the motor output.

Monika Betzler

University of Munich

Inverse Akrasia: A Case for Reasoning about One’s Emotions

25 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: So-called “inverse akrasia” is meant to describe cases in which an agent acts against her better judgment out of an emotion. Such cases of akrasia are “inverse” as acting according to one’s countervailing emotions proves in the end to be the right thing to do. Cases of inverse akrasia challenge the assumption that akrasia is always irrational. This insight has motivated philosophers to draw further lessons from such cases. They maintain that (i) best judgments are nothing but beliefs (Arpaly), and that (ii) emotions can track reasons equally well and lead to a particular kind of understanding (Brady). The first view gives up on any plausible idea of agential guidance. The second view does not have the resources to distinguish between emotions that are reason-tracking and those that aren’t. So far, little work has been devoted to the question of what cases of inverse akrasia can teach us with respect to our reasoning. My aim is to examine how we can reason about our emotions so as to distinguish reason-tracking emotions from irrational emotions, and transform our best judgment on the basis of our reasoned emotions.

Yonatan Shemmer

University of Sheffield

Subjectivists May Disagree

18 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Subjectivists, it is often said, cannot account for disagreement since on their view apparently conflicting moral judgments turn out to be compatible reports of the different beliefs of the speakers about their own conative attitudes. Jackson (2008) has argued that compatible belief reports can still constitute disagreement if the reports are reports of conflicting underlying attitudes. Thus when I say ‘I believe the wall is green’ and you say ‘I believe the wall is red’ we disagree even though our claims may well both be true. I do believe the wall is green and you do believe it is red.  We think that Jackson’s reply is the most natural way for subjectivists to address the objection but claim that this reply commits the subjectivist to provide an account of disagreement in conative attitudes. Typically accounts of disagreement in conative attitudes fail to fit into a unified theory of disagreement because they understand disagreement about non-normative matters to be a case of inconsistency whereas they understand disagreement about normative matters to be a case of pro-attitudes that cannot both be satisfied.  Such accounts also struggle to match our intuitions since they struggle to explain why two people who wish to kill each other do not thereby disagree. We argue that our Normative Theory of Disagreement (Priestley-Shemmer 2017) solves both of these problems and thus complements Jacksons approach. At the heart of our theory lies the thought that disagreeing peers have reasons to modify their attitudes in light of their disagreement. We then address an important objection to our theory, namely, that deviant incentives may give reasons to modify attitudes in such a way that would force our theory to classify the parties as disagreeing when in fact they are not.

Alan Hájek

Australian National University

Ω

11 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Probability theory is the dominant approach to modeling uncertainty. We begin with a set of possibilities or outcomes, usually designated ‘Ω’. We then assign probabilities—real numbers between 0 and 1 inclusive—to subsets of Ω. Nearly all of the action in the mathematics and philosophy of probability for over three and a half centuries has concerned the probabilities: their axiomatization, their associated theorems, and their interpretation. I want instead to put Ω in the spotlight. Ω is a set of possibilities, but which possibilities? While the probability calculus constrains our numerical assignments, and its interpretation guides us further regarding them, we are entirely left to our own devices regarding Ω. What makes one Ω better than another? Its members are typically not exhaustive—but which possibilities should be excluded? Its members are typically not maximally fine-grained—but how refined should they be? I will discuss both philosophical and practical problems with the construction of a good Ω. I will offer some desirable features that a given Ω might have, and some heuristics for coming up with an Ω that has them, and for improving an Ω that we already have.

Filippo Ferrari

University of Bonn

How to Disagree with the Agnostic

4 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In this paper I aim to offer a positive reply to the following question: Can the agnostic — i.e. someone who suspends judgement about whether a certain proposition <p> is true — be in a state of disagreement with someone who (dis)believes <p>? The project is that of developing a theoretically fruitful account of the notions of ‘suspended judgement’ and ‘disagreement’ which explains how and why the agnostic is in a state of disagreement with both the believer and the disbeliever on the very question whether it is true that p. The plan is as follows: I will first elaborate on a doxastic-non-cotenability view of disagreement (MacFarlane 2014); second, following some recent work by Friedman (2013), (2015), I will provide an account of suspended judgement as a sui generis cognitive mental attitude. The focus will be in particular on developing the normative profile associated with the attitude of suspended judgement in contrast with that of belief and disbelief. My proposal is to understand part of the normative profiles of these cognitive mental attitudes in terms of the normative commitments that they engender in the context of enquiry. Disagreement is then explained in terms of the incompatibility between the sets of normative commitments that the agents involved in a situation of disagreement are subject to in virtue of their possessing contrasting attitudes.

Luís Estevinha Rodrigues

Federal University of Ceará & LanCog

Belief-Basing, Epistemic Justification and Luck

27 April 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Bondy & Pritchard (2016, henceforth B&P) claim to have discovered a novel kind of harmful epistemic luck that can explain improper belief-basing. They call it propositional epistemic luck. In this talk, I examine their account of improper belief-basing and try to make salient some issues that, I think, militate against it. First, I tackle the example that B&P offer to illustrate their view, arguing that its plausibility depends on the acceptance of mundane epistemological aspects and occurrences that have little to do with epistemic luck. Secondly, I contend that the line between proper and improper belief-basing must be drawn within the realm of doxastic justification, and not of propositional justification, as suggested by B&P, since some highly doxastically justified beliefs can also be affected by a luck-basing phenomenon (which I will call ‘doxastic-basing luck’), thereby also failing to be properly based beliefs. At the end of my talk, I will submit a tentative clarification of what it takes for a belief to be properly based. I will hold that – having in mind an accurate epistemic performance and knowledge as primary goals of believing – a properly based belief must be a non-lucky fully doxastically justified belief.

Elia Zardini

LANCOG University of Lisbon

Generalised Tarski’s Thesis Hits Substructure

20 April 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: At the core of JC Beall and Greg Restall’s brand of logical pluralism is “Generalised Tarski’s Thesis”, according to which a relation of logical consequence is characterised by the fact that, in every “case” where every premise is true, so is the conclusion (with different specifications of “case” yielding different relations of logical consequence). I argue that the thesis implies that many philosophically interesting substructural logics (non-reflexive, non-monotonic, non-transitive, non-contractive and non-commutative ones) are not relations of logical consequence. I then diagnose the clash as due to the fact that the thesis is not sensitive to plurality in designated value, in connection between premises and conclusion, in premise occurrences and in models. I then extend the argument to the effect that the more general conception of logical consequence as necessary truth preservation clashes with substructurality. I conclude by sketching a proposal as to how we can still uphold a broadly semantic conception of logical consequence. Basically, given a substructural logic L, we can reinterpret truth-preservation conditionals with the notions of conjunction and implication available in L, and say that the fact that, in L, P,Q,R…S logically entail T is grounded in the fact that, in L, the conditional ‘If ‘P’ is true and ‘Q’ is true and ‘R’ is true… and ‘S’ is true, then ‘T’ is true’ is valid. On this proposal, contrary to the contemporary vulgate, it is logical consequence that is grounded in logical truth rather than vice versa.

Hili Razinsky

LANCOG University of Lisbon

Interactive Subjects

13 April 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Interpersonal interaction is a pervasive and multifarious phenomenon. I shall delineate some features of the relations between interaction and subjectivity and by the same token argue that neither social ontology nor a philosophy of mind may neglect it, distinguishing it in particular both from groups and from a notion of intersubjectivity as the background of subjectivity.

Raimundo Henriques

LANCOG University of Lisbon

Ornament and Nonsense

6 April 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In 1932 Wittgenstein stated that the use of nonsense in philosophy is “in a sense really a requirement of style” and hence similar to the use of ornamentation. The aim of this talk is to clarify the nature of this analogy by appeal to Adolf Loos’s thought, the influence of which Wittgenstein recognized in the same remark. I will argue that the best way to account for Wittgenstein’s suggestion is by taking the ‘sense-nonsense’ and ‘structure-ornament’ distinctions, not as theoretical ends accompanied by (a sort of) Ockham’s razor, but rather as theoretical means to a normative end.