Probing the Mind of God: Divine Beliefs and Credences
Elizabeth Jackson (Ryerson University) & Justin Mooney (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

25 June 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: Although much has been written about divine beliefs (usually in the context of work on divine knowledge), virtually nothing has been said about divine credences. In this essay we comparatively assess four possible views on divine credences: (1) God has only beliefs, not credences; (2) God has both beliefs and credences; (3) God has only credences, not beliefs; and (4) God has neither credences nor beliefs, only knowledge. We weigh the costs and benefits of these four views. We’ll also point to ways this discussion might bear on the question of the nature of human beliefs and credences.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

The Right to An Explanation: A Social-Epistemic Approach
Emma Gordon & Adam Carter (University of Glasgow)

18 June 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: The 2018 GDPR ensures data subjects with two kinds of epistemic rights — viz., a right to be forgotten and a right to an explanation. The former concerns one’s online digital trail, and the latter concerns the right one has to an explanation when one is subject to purely automated decisions that significantly affect them. Both of these newly framed rights are epistemically under-described in the GDPR and are the subject of legal debate. Our talk uses the resources of social epistemology to make progress in unpacking the second of these epistemic rights — viz., the right to an explanation — and we will defend a specific view of what is necessary to plausibly satisfy this right. Central to our positive view is that an adequate formulation of the right should be articulated not in terms of true belief, nor in terms of knowledge, but in terms of understanding.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

Abstract: Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the view that in perception, subjects bear an epistemically significant cognitive relation directly to particulars that is importantly different from thinking truths about a particular. Some call this relation ‘acquaintance.’ A question in the theory of acquaintance is whether the relation can be naturalized—that is, whether we can account for its nature relying exclusively on the objects and relations countenanced by the natural sciences. I propose to make some progress on this question by examining acquaintance’s normative profile. By ‘normative profile,’ I mean the characterization of acquaintance presupposed by our evaluative judgments about the relation. I argue, first, that acquaintance seems to exhibit intrinsic epistemic value. Moreover, acquaintance appears valuable for a singular subject and in virtue of the unmediated cognitive contact with a perceived object it affords. Finally, in being epistemically good for the subject in this way, the acquaintance relation ‘stands out’ from relations in its vicinity. A naturalistic reduction of acquaintance (and perception, more generally) fails to preserve these evaluatively apparent characteristics of acquaintance. Acquaintance, naturalized, puts the perceived object at a distance from an essentially disunified subject, and the relation seems one among many similar relations. Hence, if perception/acquaintance must be naturalized, we must accept not just that our intuitions about acquaintance are illusory, but that our situation is not as valuable (or valuable in the same way) as our epistemic intuitions present it as being.

Kinds, Objects, and Essences
David Papineau (King’s College London)

11 June 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: Kripke’s Naming and Necessity reintroduced the traditional distinction between the essential and accidental properties of things. Many philosophers view this distinction with suspicion. I shall show, however, that the observable structure of natural kinds itself picks out certain kind properties as essential. I shall also consider whether a corresponding explanation can be given for the essentiality of origin and constitution for persisting objects.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

Faultlessness and multidimensionality
Diogo Santos (LanCog, University of Lisbon)

04 June 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: Many have pointed out that non-evaluative vague predicates can give rise to faultless disagreements. This sort of faultlessness has to do with the gradable nature of vague predicates. This fact is usually not interpreted as undermining the claim that evaluative predicates (which are also gradable) give rise to faultlessness in a different way, because, when it comes to evaluatives, (i) intuitions of faultlessness persist even when the predicates are in a comparative form and (ii) only constructions of evaluative predicates under find are acceptable. While (i) justifies the claim that evaluative faultless disagreements are not due to gradability or vagueness, (ii) suggests that evaluative faultless disagreements occur due to experiencer/judge sensitivity. In this paper I argue that (i) and (ii) do not motivate the claim that evaluative and non-evaluative predicates generate faultlessness via different mechanisms. I argue that a reasonable explanation for faultlessness in the comparative form is due to multidimensionality and not specifically due to experiencer/judge sensitivity. I further argue that, if this is right, then evaluative and non-evaluative predicates give rise to faultless disagreements via similar linguistic mechanisms. I conclude with some remarks on the implications of the latter claim.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

The Ontology of Rock Music: Recordings, Studio-Performances or Songs?
Hugo Luzio (LanCog, University of Lisbon)

21 May 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: Ontologists of music (generally) agree that classical works are pieces (or compositions) for live performance. But, just as classical works from different historical periods may be ontologically diverse, so may works from different (non-classical or non-Western) musical traditions. In this talk, I discuss the ontological nature of rock works. I start by distinguishing between the fundamental and the comparative levels of enquiry in musical ontology. I then present and discuss the three main ontological accounts of rock music. The recording-centered account (Gracyk 1996, Kania 2006) claims that rock works are recordings for playback in appropriate devices. The studio-performance account (Davies 2001) claims that rock works are for a special kind of performance that takes place in the recording studio. Finally, the song-centered account (Bruno 2013) claims that rock works are songs. I argue, first, that the recording-centered account has unreasonable consequences towards the status of recorded covers, remixes, remasters, and unrecorded (rock) songs. I then argue that the studio-performance account is in tension with the (sometimes, radical) temporal and spatial disunity of some studio recordings. I close by offering some reasons for thinking that a song-centered account can accommodate the distinctive importance of recording and performative practices in rock music.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

Reasons in Deception
Artūrs Logins (University of Zürich)

14 May 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: According to a popular and pretheoretically appealing view, victims of radical deception (e.g., the New Evil Demon scenarios, cf. Cohen and Lehrer (1983) and Cohen (1984)) are epistemically justified in their beliefs about the external world (after all, they have no clue about the appearances being radically misleading). But what reasons are there for them to believe as they do? According to the Sameness Thesis, the reasons for deceived subjects to believe as they do are the same as the reasons for their non-deceived counterparts. I argue that this thesis is false. Once we get a better grasp on how normative reasons work in general, we can see that there are good grounds for doubting the Sameness Thesis. My argument relies on the connection between normative reasons, answers to normative questions, and premises of good patterns of reasoning. Moreover, given additional assumptions about the justification – reasons connection, this conclusion seems to provide a further theory-driven argument against the view that victims of the radical deception cases and their non-deceived counterparts are the same justification-wise. I argue that this conclusion is not as crazy as it might initially appear.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/

Varieties of Risk and Recklessness
Philip Ebert (University of Stirling)

07 May 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom

Abstract: A number of philosophers have recently argued that danger or risk judgments do not track underlying probabilities of a bad outcome and have argued for non-probabilistic notions of risk or danger (Williamson 2009, Pritchard 2016, Ebert, Smith & Durbach 2020). However, the intuitive examples used so far to motivate non-probabilistic notions were often found unconvincing. In this talk, I first present some new experimental work on intuitive risk/danger and recklessness judgements. The data raises a challenge for the probabilistic notion and I discuss different ways in which these intuitive judgments could be explained within a probabilistic framework. In the second part of the talk, I will outline and explain two recently defended non-probabilistic notions: the modal and the normic notion of risk and show how they could explain the relevant data and assess in what way they do better (or worse) than the probabilistic notion of risk. In the last part of the talk, I discuss the notion of recklessness and show how a normic notion of risk can underwrite and motivate a distinctive non-probabilistic notion of recklessness that may do well to explain some of our intuitive judgements about recklessness.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: https://cful.letras.ulisboa.pt/lancog/registration/