Elia Zardini

Complutense University of Madrid

Open Knowledge of One’s Inexact Knowledge

15 November 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: The paper presents an overarching argument to the effect that, given a certain attractive picture according to which—in certain situations, for certain obviously true propositions—(being in a position to have) knowledge iterates, single-premise closure of knowledge under logical consequence fails. The situations in question involve inexact knowledge, originating with one’s less than perfect powers of discrimination. Along the way to the main conclusion, it is first argued that the justification of margin-for-error principles as principles governing inexact knowledge is based on two flawed assumptions and that the principles themselves fail to provide a necessary condition for inexact knowledge. That crucially disposes of an influential argument against the KK-principle, whose validity—at least with respect to the highly controlled situation of inexact knowledge that will be taken as example—is then positively supported with two arguments concerning respectively the elevation of evidence for epistemically higher-order propositions and the norms of assertion and belief. A new and more powerful argument from inexact knowledge is then proposed against the KK-principle. However, it is observed that the argument crucially relies on certain closure principles that, under the extremely plausible assumption that knowledge iterates for certain obviously true propositions, can be shown to be unacceptable since they in effect license soritical principles. Finally, the model theory and proof theory of a non-regular modal logic for the knowledge modality are developed, and a consistency proof is given of the conjunction of the KK principle (a fortiori, of the assumption that knowledge iterates for certain obviously true propositions) with certain principles reflecting the inexactness of much of our knowledge.

Mark Jago

University of Nottingham

Metaphysical Structure

15 November 2019, 10:30

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Metaphysical structure is the way things hang together, in and of themselves, and aside from their causes and effects and propensities to behave. Examples include: truth depending on reality, the mind depending on the brain, sets depending on their members, disjunctions depending on their disjuncts, wholes depending on their parts, types being realised by their tokens, determinables being determined by their determinates. These might all be understood as cases of grounding – or rather, they might if we understood what grounding is. In this talk, I investigate parallels between metaphysical construction and familiar logical operators. First, there’s a link between composition (of parts into a whole) and conjunction. Second, I argue, there’s a link between some familiar metaphysical relations and disjunction. On the picture that emerges, metaphysical structure may be understood as logical structure, whilst remaining a genuine mind, concept, and language-independent feature of reality.

Jussi Suikkanen

University of Birmingham

Normative Judgments, Motivation and Evolution

8 November 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: I begin from a new taxonomy of the views that relate normative judgments to motivation. According to one state views, a positive normative judgment concerning an action consists in part of motivation to do that action. According to two state views, motivation is never an element of a positive normative judgment though such judgments can produce motivation. Finally, according to three state views, a normative judgment produces motivation only with the help of a third mental state. I then provide an evolutionary argument for the two state views. Normative judgments’ ability to shape our motivations enabled efficient planning and co-operation, which makes the psychological mechanism responsible for the adaptation a proximal mechanism. It is then more likely that we evolved to have a two state mechanism rather than a three state one because the former mechanism can be argued to be more reliable.

Hili Razinsky

LANCOG, University of Lisbon

Reconsidering Linguistic Communication

25 October 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: Communication is at the heart of language, but philosophy of language’s historical focus on objectivity on the one hand and the individual subject on the other tends to bias the analysis of communication and language. I will propose that communications happen within, and form, a Wittgensteinian public language. Yet rather than being reducible to public use (Hornsby), communication takes two in a strong sense: In communication full-blown people with attitudes address one another. Addressing is uttering with interactive forces, and rather than a hearer or an interpreter, it implies an addressee-addresser, and, in principle, an ongoing communication. Addressing implies potential communicative response, addresser’s and addressee’s intentionality, and some mutual understanding, but openness of meaning and response are constitutive of communication, forms of significant success included.

Tommaso Piazza

University of Pavia & LanCog

Second Thoughts on Pollock’s Notion of a Defeater

11 October 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In this talk I re-examine Pollock’s general characterization of a defeater (DEF), and Chandler 2013’s (until now unchallenged) objection against it. Chandler’s objection takes the form of a dilemma. He presents an example in which it is intuitive that D is a defeater for E as a reason for P, and E is not a defeater for D as a reason for P. On one horn of the dilemma allegedly illustrated by this example, DEF commits to denying that D is a defeater for E as a reason for P. On the other, it commits to saying that E is a defeater for D as a reason for P. Chandler’s objection can be resisted by showing that it presupposes a notion of reason that is different than the notion of reason to which DEF is meant to apply. Then I address the question about whether better examples can be devised that presuppose Pollock’s notion of a reason and illustrate the kind of dilemma Chandler has in mind. I show that standard Gettier cases (and possibly similar cases) provide initially more promising examples; however, on closer inspection they only raise a harmless variant of Chandler’s original dilemma. Thus, I conclude that Pollock’s DEF has not been successfully challenged by Chandler.

Dina Mendonça

IFILNOVA, New University of Lisbon

Situated Approach to Emotions and Emotional Depth

4 October 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: The paper shows how the Situated Approach to Emotions can better grasp the notion of emotional depth. The first part puts forward the general frame of work of a situated approach to emotions, identifying some of the various ways in which it brings insight into the nature of emotions. In the second part, the presentation examines the way emotional depth is present in a situation and how it can be better understood within a narrative. After revising the existing literature about emotional depth it is argued that the emotional perspective is grasped by the narrative structure of emotion because it offers a way to deal with different layers of emotional meaning while it also provides a structure to describe how persons distinguish deep and shallow in various situations both in the events as in the selves within the situated whole. Finally, the paper points out how emotional depth provides a further understanding of emotional norms and insights into shared emotions.

André J. Abath

Fedeeral University of Minas Gerais

On Knowing What Something Is:
Towards an Account of Concept Attributions

20 September 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In recent years, attributions of knowledge-wh—knowledge who, what, when, where, which, why etc.—have attracted much attention from philosophers and linguists alike, with many arguing that a unified linguistic account of these attributions can be given (Karttunen, 1977; Groenendijk & Stokhof, 1982; Schaffer, 2007). These attributions have also attracted attention from those interested in the debate surrounding states of knowing how, such as Stanley and Williamson (2001), who have tried to show that the nature of these states can be clarified by unifying attributions of know-how with those of knowledge-wh. In this talk, I will try to show that existing accounts of knowledge-wh can also throw light in a different philosophical debate, that concerning concepts. More specifically, I will try to show that there is much to be gained by analyzing direct concept attributions in terms of attributions of a kind of knowledge-wh, the knowledge of what something is. Thus, a direct concept attribution, such as (1) “Jane has the concept of a jaguar”, is to be analyzed in terms of (2) “Jane knows what a jaguar is”. Once we do so, the accounts of knowledge-wh available in the literature can help us to provide a framework for a systematic treatment of concept attributions. Given that any such treatment is lacking in the literature, this is of interest in itself. But I will also try to show that issues related to concept possession and concept learning can also be clarified by the account of concept attributions to be sketched here.

Elton Marques, full member of LanCog, was accepted to attend The Metaphysics of Time Continuum Summer School organized by the Society for the Philosophy of Time, the University of Siegen, the Goethe Institut in Genova, the Theatre Spazio Vuoto and the online journal Philosophy Kitchen.

This year edition will be devoted to the question of continuity of time, by analysing the works of Aristotle, Kant, and Bergson.


The Summer School will be held in Imperia, Italy, from the 2nd to the 4th of September 2019.

The latest issue of Disputatio (vol. XI, Nº52, May 2019) is now available!

This regular issue has articles on propostions, personal identity and John Searle.


Disputatio is an open access journal published by the De Gruyter, and is available here.