Implicit knowledge: expanding the bounds of agency
Arnon Cahen (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

22 October 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In their classic (1977), ‘Telling more than we can Know’, Nisbett and Wilson purportedly show that we are often blind to factors influencing our actions. When explaining our actions, we are prone to confabulation. Underlying these confabulations is the fact that we attempt to ‘tell’ more than we ‘can know’. Their work has bred a vast empirical literature pointing in the same direction – a proper explanation of our actions commonly appeals to features of which we are completely unaware. One unsettling consequence of such research, which many have been quick to draw, is that our commonsensical conceptions of human agency, freedom, and (epistemic, moral, and legal) responsibility, must be abandoned or, at least, substantially modified. Our actions, the story goes, can no longer be seen as outcomes of our conscious, rational, assessment of our situation. Rather, they are controlled by situational factors of which we are unaware; factors that ‘bypass’ our conscious decision-making processes altogether. In this talk I aim to uncover, and call into question, some of the assumptions embodied in this literature. I cast doubt on the transition from our ‘failure to tell’ and ‘inability to know’. Indeed, I argue, a ‘failure to tell’ is characteristic of the kind of knowing underlying the bulk of our genuinely agential engagements with the world. Rather than presenting a threat to our notion of agency, such literature calls for a broadening of its proper scope of applicability.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the journal Disputatio, Prof. Timothy Williamson (Oxford) gave a lecture on October 7 on “Degrees of Freedom: Is Good Philosophy Bad Science?”. The lecture was hosted by the LanCog group at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon. The recording of the lecture can be found here:

Prof Timothy Williamson also gave a second talk, on October 8, at the LanCog group research seminar, on “A Priori and A Posteriori: The Case of Proof”, the recording of which is available here:


New Mechanism, Reduction and Emergence in Physics, Chemistry and Biology
14-15 October 2021 | online


The conference will be online, on Zoom. Attendance is free. To receive the Zoom link to attend the conference, please register:
Registration closes on October 13, at 8 pm (Lisbon time, GMT+1/UTC)


More info:

This conference is organized by the Center for Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCT Ref. UIDB/00678/2020) and the FCT Research Project “Emergence in the Natural Sciences: Toward a New Paradigm” (Grant PTDC/ FER-HFC/30665/2017).

First Steps in the Philosophy of Paradoxicality
Elia Zardini (LanCog and Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

08 October 2021, 11:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: According to the traditional definition of paradoxicality, in a paradox apparently true premises apparently entail an apparently false conclusion. I argue that the traditional definition is too narrow, in that prominent types of paradoxes also have versions that conclude to an obviously true conclusion but that are nonetheless paradoxical. After drawing out an interesting corollary of this fact, I criticise a couple of alternative proposals (that in a paradox apparently a priori premises apparently entail an apparently a posteriori conclusion; that in a paradox anything (in the relevant range of propositions) apparently entails everything (in the relevant range of propositions)) as both too narrow and too strict. I then propose my own characterisation, according to which in a paradox, apparently, even if the conclusion failed to hold, the premises would be true and the argument form would be valid. I explain in what sense this account is not a reductive definition; in which directions the account can be extended to cover various other paradoxical phenomena and how the account can be understood as the metaphysical ground for a plausible epistemological claim about paradoxicality.

A Priori and A Posteriori: The Case of Proof
Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford)

08 October 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Knowledge by mathematical proof is normally considered a paradigm of the a priori. However, when the process of checking a written proof is analysed, it turns out to depend on sophisticated forms of perceptual pattern recognition—indeed this is closely related to the nature of formal proof. If one checks the proof in one’s head rather than on paper, the process is similar: checking it in one’s head is the offline version of the online process of checking it on paper. Little sense can be made of the injunction to separate the content of a proof from its form. The case of mathematical proof supports the conclusion that the a priori and the a posteriori are only superficially different. This is not a form of empiricism: it does not abolish the a priori but accounts for it in an evolutionarily plausible way.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required:

Ontological Disputes, Reference and the Limits of Charity
Delia Belleri (LanCog, University of Lisbon)

01 October 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Eli Hirsch argues that certain ontological disputes are merely verbal: the principle of charity should compel each party to interpret the other side as speaking truly in a different language. Hirsch adopts an “intensional” method of language interpretation, which maps sentences (in context) onto sets of possible worlds, but which assigns no role to reference. I argue that this method leads to an overly uncharitable portrayal of the disputes at issue – whereby ontologists can only argue about syntax. Lack of charity stems from the fact that this portrayal likely fails to uphold the self-conception of the disputants – and particularly what I will call “the weak self-conception”. As a result, Hirsch’s deflationism falls victim of the same principle of charity that informs it.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required:

We invite those interested to take part in the Reading Group on Multipropositionalism, jointly organized by Claudia Picazo (UNED) and Laura Delgado (LanCog – University of Lisbon). Our tentative time slot would be Thursdays at 12pm CET and the first meeting would be on October 14th. Thereafter we will meet on alternate Thursdays for about 5 sessions in total – see tentative schedule and readings below. The group will be held online.

We are happy to consider alternative time slots that will fit better the participant’s schedules. If you are interested in joining us (or have any other question, or suggestion) please send us an email (, or

Also, feel free to share this with other people or groups to which you feel it may be of interest.

Tentative Schedule

14.10.21 Davies, Alex (forthcoming). ‘A (contingent) content-parthood analysis of indirect speech reports’. Mind and Language.

28.04.21 Viebahn, Emanuel (2019). Semantic Pluralism (chapter 4). Frankfurt, Germany: Klostermann.

11.11.21 TBA

25.11.21 TBA

09.12.21 TBA


Possible Readings

. Clapp, Lenny & Lavalle Terrón, Armando (2019). ‘Multipropositionalism and Necessary a Posteriori identity Statements’. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):902-934.

. Corazza, Eros (2012). ‘Same‐Saying, Pluri‐Propositionalism, and Implicatures’. Mind and Language 27 (5):546-569.

. Diaz-Legaspe, Justina; Liu, Chang & Stainton, Robert J. (2020). ‘Slurs and register: A case study in meaning pluralism’. Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182.

. Grzankowski, Alex & Buchanan, Ray (forthcoming). ‘Content Pluralism’. Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

. Nowak, Ethan & Michaelson, Eliot (forthcoming). ‘Meta-Metasemantics, or the Quest for the One True Metasemantics’. Philosophical Quarterly.

. Michaelson, Eliot (forthcoming). ‘Speaker’s Reference, Semantic Reference, Sneaky Reference’. Mind and Language

. Murday, Brendan (2014). ‘Definite Descriptions and Semantic Pluralism’. Philosophical Papers 43 (2):255-284.

. Sullivan, Arthur (2013). ‘Multiple propositions, contextual variability, and the semantics/pragmatics interface’. Synthese 190 (14):2773-2800.

. Stojanovic, Isidora (no date). ‘Two Problems of Overgeneration for the Reflexive-Referential Theory’.

Are functions properties?
José Mestre (St Andrews/Stirling and LanCog)

24 September 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Robert Trueman has recently argued for Fregean realism. Fregean realism is the view that properties are not objects, but functions. Properties exist (hence ‘realism’), but only as values of second or higher-order variables (hence ‘Fregean’). The view promises to dissolve a number of traditional problems in the metaphysics of properties. Contra Trueman, I argue that functions are not properties. Russell’s inept critique of Frege in the Principles of Mathematics should nonetheless help us to see why. It turns out that neither of the founding fathers held a view sometimes associated with both.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required:

We are happy to announce that, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the journal Disputatio, Prof. Timothy Williamson (Oxford) will give a lecture on “Degrees of Freedom: Is Good Philosophy Bad Science?” on October 7th, at 16h00 Lisbon time (UTC/GMT+1h).


The lecture is hosted by the LanCog group, at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon. The session will have a hybrid format. Everyone is welcome to attend, either in presence at Faculdade de Letras, Anfiteatro III, or online. Registration is required, either way. To reserve a seat in the room or to receive the zoom-link, please email


More information will soon be provided.

The editors of Disputatio,

Ricardo Santos & Elia Zardini