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.

Diogo Santos e Ricardo Miguel

LANCOG University of Lisbon

Reflections on the Mirror

23 March 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: The standard deprivation account of the badness of death is vulnerable to a reformulation of the Mirror Image Argument. Together with a plausible principle linking values and attitudes towards them, the account implies that we should have negative attitudes towards prenatal and postmortem non-existence (since they both deprive). However, this seems unreasonable – it makes sense, e.g. to fear postmortem but not prenatal non-existence. To answer this challenge, a deprivationist should either (i) explain in what sense both non-existences are relevantly dissimilar or (ii) explain the asymmetrical attitudes, even though both non-existences are relevantly similar. We briefly consider and dismiss two replies that claim that, while a person could have died later than the actual moment she did, she could not have come into existence earlier. Then we assess Brueckner and Fischer’s (1986) reply, which explains the attitudinal asymmetry by appealing to a bias in favour of future pleasures. A careful look into Yi’s (2012, 2016) criticism of this latter proposal leads us to distinguish between a local and a global kind of deprivation. Given the distinction, Brueckner and Fischer’s proposal is incomplete for it only works with local deprivation. Finally, we suggest an explanation that works with both kinds of deprivation and, hence, offers a complete response to the challenge. The explanation appeals to a bias in favour of interests that are closer to our present ones.