NeoRussellian Logicism Bruno Jacinto (CFCUL/LanCog) & José Mestre (Stirling/LanCog)
30 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom
Abstract: Frege’s and Russell’s original projects of deriving the basic laws of arithmetic in pure logic were based on contrasting conceptions of the natural numbers. While Frege thought numbers were logical objects, Russell took them to be attributes of attributes of objects. Both projects failed. The Fregean conception of numbers has been at the basis of attempts to revive the logicist programme. Alas, neoFregean logicism has been the target of devastating objections. All the while, the Russellian route for establishing arithmetic’s logicality has been neglected. Yet, Russell’s is the more promising view on natural numbers. In this talk we show that our NeoRussellian Logicism is capable of finally sustaining the view that arithmetic is nothing but logic. We furthermore indicate one of its striking consequences: that arithmetic is an inherently modal discipline.
The Problem of Logical Omniscience: aboutness and impossible worlds approaches Francisca Silva (LanCog, University of Lisbon)
23 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & on Zoom
Abstract: Possible worlds semantics has been applied successfully in many areas in Philosophy, including in the construction of epistemic logics in which knowledge is treated as a necessity operator over epistemically possible worlds. This application, however, has been criticized on grounds that it cannot capture non-ideal agents’ systems of knowledge, as logics for knowledge construed in this way have as a consequence that: i) all agents know all logical consequences of what they know; and ii) all agents know all logical truths. These are two very prominent variations of what has come to be known in the literature as the problem of logical omniscience. In my talk I’ll survey and assess two aboutness approaches (Yalcin (2018) and Hawke, Berto and Özgün (2020)) and two impossible worlds approaches (Jago (2014), Berto and Jago (2019) and Bjerring (forthcoming)) to the aforementioned variations of the logical omniscience problem. From this survey some conclusions will follow for what a solution to the problem of logical omniscience should look like for the cases of explicit and normatively relevant implicit knowledge.
Interpreting Groups J. Robert G. Williams (University of Leeds)
16 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Online, via Zoom
Abstract: Some theories of content entail that an entity cannot be a believer/desirer without being a chooser/perceiver. This includes my version of radical interpretation, on which the correct belief-desire interpretation of an agent is that interpretation which best rationalizes their choices given their evidence. But (I’ll argue) group agents can be believers and desirers, without the group as a whole making choices, and without the group as a whole having any analogue of a perceptual state. Rather than give up on my favourite theory of content or denying group attitudes, I explore a generalization. Drawing on Plantinga’s proper-functionalism theory of warrant, I’ll characterize a radical-interpretation schema in which the choice-evidence-centric version I developed in previous work is just one special case. I’ll draw out connections to related proposals for group thinking by List and Pettit, and Tollefsen.
On Proper Presupposition Julia Zakkou (Bielefeld University)
09 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Online, via Zoom
Abstract: In this talk, I investigate the norm of presupposition, as one pervasive type of indirect speech act. I argue against the view that sees presuppositions as an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assertion and propose instead to consider them an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assumption. More concretely, I suggest that the norm that governs presuppositions is not an epistemic or doxastic attitude such as knowledge, justified belief, or mere belief; it’s a practical attitude, most plausibly the attitude of rational acceptance. This view has important ramifications well beyond debates in philosophy of language and linguistics. It affects not only our view of which speech act sequences are fine and which are off; it bears on whether presuppositions can function as testimony, whether they can be lies, and whether they are ontologically committal.
Apr 7 2021 15:00 – 17:00: Celso Alves Neto (Dalhousie University) What is it that Evolves? Traditional formulations of natural selection assume that entities undergoing selection form lineages. This assumption motivates recent claims that multispecies microbial communities do not undergo selection. Yet, these claims are controversial in part because the role and nature of lineages are poorly understood. In this paper, I clarify these issues by revisiting David Hull’s notion of units of evolution. Lineages are units of evolution in traditional formulations of natural selection, while the entities that form lineages are units of selection. I revise this idea in two ways. First, we argue that lineages can also be units of selection. Second, I argue that units of evolution do not have to form clear parent-offspring relations. With this aim in mind, I analyze a set of borderline cases of lineage and the underlying notions of reproduction and inheritance. Our analysis offers a framework to compare traditional and more recent formulations of evolution by natural selection. It also helps to clarify how multispecies microbial communities might evolve.
Some philosophers maintain that physical properties are irreducibly modal; that properties are powers. Powers are then employed to provide philosophical explanations of other phenomena of philosophical interest such as laws of nature and modality. There is, however, a dispute among powers theorists about how far the powers ontology extends: are all manner of properties at all levels of fundamentality powers or, are powers only to be found among the fundamental properties? I argue that the answer to this question depends on the details of the metaphysics of powers. More specifically, I argue that if one understands powers as qualitative grounds of dispositions (call this qualitative dispositional essentialism), as opposed to properties whose essences are constituted by dispositions (as orthodox dispositional essentialists would have it), then all properties are powers, i.e., pandispositionalism is true. The conclusion: If qualitative dispositional essentialism is true, then pandispositionalism is true, is significant because there is increasing concern that orthodox dispositional essentialism is explanatorily deficient and perhaps even incoherent, meaning that qualitative dispositional essentialism is gaining increasing support in the literature on powers. All things considered, then, it is beginning to look more likely that pandispositionalism is true simpliciter.
Conceptual Engineering and Making Conceptual Change Happen Delia Belleri (LanCog, University of Lisbon)
26 March 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+0) | Online, via Zoom
Abstract: Conceptual engineering is a philosophical project that aims at reflecting on conceptual representations, identifying their flaws, and proposing possible revisions. The next step (at least in theory) is that of implementing such revisions. Yet, how can conceptual engineers get entire linguistic communities to adopt the conceptual changes they recommend? In this talk, I focus on an important background condition for the implementation of conceptual change, which I dub “metalinguistic awareness”. I explain which metalinguistic skills should preferably be displayed by the conceptual engineer’s interlocutor. I survey a number of strategies that could stimulate such skills, and explore some of their ethical and social aspects.