David Papineau

King’s College London


2 June 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Causation is a temporally asymmetric relation, and so not grounded in fundamental dynamics alone. But this does not mean it does not exist or is unimportant. In this talk I shall show how causal relations are grounded in probabilistic connections between macroscopic facts, and how this analysis helps with a number of philosophical problems, including mental causation, pre-emption, counterfactual conditionals, and decision theory.

Tommaso Piazza

Università di Pavia

On What a Defeater Is

26 May 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Along with the venerable tradition initiated by John L. Pollock (1986), (Def) D is a defeater for E’s support for believing P if and only if E is a reason to believe P and E&D is not a reason to believe that P. Def aims to characterise in general terms the role that a reason of a subject S plays when it interacts with other reasons of S in such a way as to destroy or diminish S’s justification based on the latter reasons.  In spite of its undisputed popularity, Jake Chandler (2013) has convincingly argued that Def is flawed. In this talk I shall briefly rehearse Chandler’s ingenious objection against Pollock’s principle. Since Chandler has also proposed a new principle to replace Def, I shall address this principle, and criticize it by arguing that it seems unsuited to detect the role exerted by rebutting defeaters. On Chandler’s behalf I’ll then consider a possible reply to this objection based on J. Pryor (2013)’s suggestion that all rebutting defeaters are also undercutting defeaters. Although it is initially successful, I will argue that the reply under consideration is ultimately bound to fail because there are rebutting defeaters that, pace Pryor, are not also undercutting defeaters. Finally, I shall defend a new principle that is more faithful to the spirit of Pollock’s original characterization. I will conclude by arguing that this new principle does not fall afoul of the problems afflicting Pollock’s characterization and the one with which Chandler has proposed to replace it.

O novo livro de Paulo Borges, “Do Vazio ao Cais Absoluto ou Fernando Pessoa entre Oriente e Ocidente” (Lisboa, Âncora, 2017) será apresentado pelo escritor e pensador Miguel Real na Sala de Actos da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa no dia 24 de Maio às 18:30.

Este livro mostra um Fernando Pessoa que transita em duplo sentido entre o Vazio e o Cais Absoluto, dois temas e imagens marcantes na sua obra e icónicos do Oriente e do Ocidente. Na verdade, um Fernando Pessoa que, bem pessoanamente, se move entre um e outro, sem jamais se fixar num ou noutro. “Entre” é o espaço por excelência do fluxo pessoano. Entremos nele.

Entrada Livre


Ricardo Miguel

LANCOG Universidade de Lisboa

Making mistakes and getting away with it?

19 May 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Harman (2015, 2016) argues that there are permissible moral mistakes (PMM) – behaviours one should not engage in, all things considered, for moral reasons, but that are not wrong. She finds this category useful to solve a puzzle about accommodation: moral vegetarians believe that buying and eating meat is wrong; if they believe this, it seems that they should also believe that accommodating such actions is wrong; however, many of them seem to lack this latter belief since they accommodate the buying and eating of meat in various ways. Her suggestion, then, is that buying and eating meat are PMM and so moral vegetarians may have the implicit belief that those actions are not wrong. My main goal here is to show that Harman’s reasons for the existence of PMM are unconvincing. To this effect I criticize her two strategies: an argument against the thesis that all moral mistakes are wrong; and alleged counterexamples to the same thesis. I offer both a plausible way of denying one premiss of the argument and a reasonable interpretation of her examples as begging the question against her opponents. Consequently, without further reasons to accept PMM, we cannot get away with making mistakes like buying and eating meat and thereby solve the puzzle about vegetarians’ accommodation.

Tommaso Piazza

Università di Pavia

Mini-Curso sobre Evidencialismo

1ª Sessão: 23 Maio 2017, 14:00-16:00, sala Mattos Romão, Faculdade de Letras

Internismo, Externismo e Evidencialismo


2ª Sessão: 25 Maio 2017, 14:00-16:00, cave F1, Faculdade de Letras

O Evidencialismo Esquadrinhado

<Resumo das Sessões>


Claudine Tiercelin

Collège de France / Institut Jean Nicod

Are Skills Dispositions to Know?

12 May 2017, 16:00

Sala Van Gogh (Sana Executive)

Av. Conde de Valbom 56, 10º andar

Abstract: In a common attempt to lend proper significance to the concept of skill in philosophy and, possibly, to confort their own intellectualist analysis of know how in terms of propositional knowledge heavily relying on the concept of practical modes of presentation, Stanley and Williamson have recently argued that skills should be taken more into account and should be viewed, basically, as dispositions to know. Although I agree with many aspects of their analyses, think they offer rather convincing replies to some anti-intellectualist objections, and provide a better view of skills than other suggestions that have been made, e.g. in terms of competences or in viewing ‘practical modes of presentation’ as Fregean ‘practical senses’, I shall underline some difficulties in their position and suggest some ways of solving them, as far as three major issues are concerned: by paying more attention to some important logical and metaphysical difficulties related to the concept of disposition itself;  by drawing – especially if one favors an intellectualist standpoint – a more careful distinction between skills and intellectual virtues (something we learnt from both Aristotle and Ryle);  by introducing some changes not so much to our concept of know how as to our concept of propositional knowledge itself.

Fiora Salis

London School of Economics and Political Science

Of Predators and Prey, or How to Fictionally Modelling Reality

5 May 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Models represent. But how do they do it? In this paper I assess the two main fictionalist accounts of models as representations, indirect fictionalism and direct fictionalism, and develop a novel proposal, what I call simple fictionalism, by drawing on Walton’s theory of make-believe. Simple fictionalism offers an explanation of the nature of models from which several implications for an explanation of how they represent follow. The key to understanding how models represent resides in the idea that the representation relation between models and the world is a kind of indirect referential relation that is mediated by the imagination.

Christopher Belshaw

University of York

Procreative Beneficence and Procreative Asymmetry: Some Tensions

28 April 2017, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Procreative Beneficence (PB) is the view that we should select the best of two possible children, or the best of two future populations. Procreative Asymmetry (PA) is the view that though there is an obligation not to start bad lives, there is no obligation to start good lives.

PB can seem plausible. See, for example, Savulescu and Parfit. PA similarly can seem plausible. See, for example, McMahan. But, I argue, these two views are in tension. If we should start the best of two lives, when starting either is possible, then, contra PA, we should start good lives, when that is possible. Conversely, if there isn’t an obligation to start good lives, then, contra PB, there isn’t an obligation to start the best of two lives.

Which of these views is the more secure? PB, I argue, has several flaws. PA, in contrast, can withstand various objections (concerning its squaring with intuitions, its coherence, its lack of a rationale) that are made against it. We should prefer it to PB.