Are delusions pathological beliefs?
Lisa Bortolotti (University of Birmingham)

27 May 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: For many philosophers, delusions are pathological beliefs, due to their being both harmful and caused by a dysfunction. In this talk, I put pressure on the account of delusions as harmful malfunctioning beliefs (Miyazono 2019). No delusions might be able to satisfy the malfunction criterion and some delusions might fail to satisfy the harmfulness criterion when such criteria are interpreted narrowly as criteria for pathological beliefs. In the end, I raise a general concern about attributing pathological status to single beliefs out of context, and gesture towards the idea of pathology as a failure of agency that can only be identified by considering the person as a whole.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

On Wednesday 25 May Vera Matarese (University of Bern) will give a talk titled “Quantum Fictionalism”.

 

The series of online seminars is organized in the context of the activities of the LanCog Research Group at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, and will focus on the foundations of quantum and spacetime physics.

 

The meeting will be online on Zoom (17:00-19:00 CEST). If you have not registered yet, you can do so here.

 

You can address any question to Andrea Oldofredi (aoldofredi@letras.ulisboa.pt).

 

ABSTRACT:
Quantum mechanics is arguably our most successful physical theory, and yet the debate on its ontology is still far from offering a definite answer. On the one hand, representationalists claim that quantum states directly represent quantum beables, on the other hand, anti-representationalists interpret quantum states only prescriptively or instrumentally. Much effort was put into refining and evaluating these two unsatisfactory camps, rather than offering new alternatives. This paper proposes, articulates, and defends a fictionalist view which accounts for the nature of quantum objects, and which combines elements of the representationalist and of the anti-representationalist camps. The core idea is that quantum objects do not physically exist, since they exist qua fictional entities, and yet, they have an explanatory power that underwrites the kind of explanations normally given by representationalists.

Frames affecting central debates within analytic philosophy of language
Zsófia Zvolenszky (Institute of Philosophy, Eötvös Univesity)

20 May 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: The cognitive linguist George Lakoff focuses on frames affecting political discourse: when tax cuts were labelled “tax relief”, a frame was invoked according to which taxes are an undesirable, negative burden, an affliction; and relief from taxes is a desirable, positive outcome; and whoever relieves that burden is a hero. When the label “tax relief” — as though it was neutral — was adopted across the American political spectrum, it created a tilted playing field that worked against proponents of tax increases (who favored increasing funding for education, healthcare, social services, or championed an additional tax for the wealthy). To level the playing field, and prevent being cast as anti-heroes, proponents of tax increases need to reframe the debate, by, among other things, switching to neutral labels, advises Lakoff. After all, most often without us knowing it, framing shapes affects how we see the world, by invoking memories, feelings, emotions, associations, opinions, preferences, images, thereby affecting, in turn, our decision-making.
Meanwhile, framing is plausibly present, while unrecognized, in discourse of all sorts, including academic discourse across disciplines, among them philosophy, and, within that, philosophy of language. Meanwhile, frames aren’t much discussed within analytic philosophy of language, which has, historically, focused on truth conditions, propositional content, information expressed by linguistic utterances. Notice that this very approach invokes a kind of frame about what is and isn’t the subject matter of linguistic theorizing! I will provide case studies about how unreflected-upon aspects of framing within philosophy of language have been hindering debates: preventing, delaying for long, needed reframing in debates ranging from presuppositions, proper names to fictional discourse, to slurs and pejoratives. These case studies will illustrate ways in which unreflected-upon frames have had lasting influence, remaining operative and delimiting within philosophical debates. These, in turn, presents counterexamples to a proposal of Elisabeth Camp’s (“Perspectives and Frames in Pursuit of Ultimate Understanding” 2019) who holds that a chosen frame’s role diminishes, disappears in later stages of inquiry; as details are understood, theories transcend initially introduced frames as being oversimplified.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

Robustness and evolution in climate models: some notes
Luís Estevinha Rodrigues (Federal University of Ceará)

23 May 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on climate change (late 2021, early 2022) submits an even grimmer picture of the current anthropogenic global warming than its predecessor. It is unclear, however, at least to most of us, non-experts, if the models used to shape the Sixth report were improved. On closer inspection, the patterns and thresholds at work in this evaluation don’t seem to have changed much, if anything, comparatively to the previous one. It seems that climatologists and other scientists enrolled in the process of writing the Sixth report decided to just improve empirical data and keep the same models. I think the lack of substantial model improvement might be a worry for the robustness (Levins 1966) of future climate reports. In this talk, I submit some notes to illustrate the lack of climate model’s evolution. I do not wish to draw any skeptical anti-global warming stance from these notes. Nevertheless, I believe this can be fuel to support pessimistic inductions about theories of climate change and global warming.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

Epistemic trespassing and epistemic free-riding
Luís Estevinha Rodrigues (Federal University of Ceará)

20 May 2022, 11:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: Experts and non-experts become epistemic trespassers by making judgments about issues belonging to scientific fields where they lack competence, evidence, or both (Ballantyne 2019; DiPaolo 2021). These invasions are usually documented as epistemically illegitimate and create malignant theoretical and social consequences. I argue in this talk that this kind of epistemic transgression is closely related to another: doxastic free-riding, a subset of epistemic free-ridding. After reviewing some examples of these transgressions enacted by experts and non-experts, I generate an explanatory pattern of their association. In the end, I use this pattern to distinguish epistemic trespassing from interdisciplinary cooperation.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

On Wednesday, 18 May, Baptiste Le Bihan (University of Geneva) will give a talk titled “Composing and Causing Spacetime in Quantum Gravity” (abstract below).

 

The series of online seminars is organized in the context of the activities of the LanCog Research Group at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, and will focus on the foundations of quantum and spacetime physics.

 

The meeting will be online on Zoom (17:00-19:00 CEST). If you have not registered yet, you can do so here.

 

You can address any question to Andrea Oldofredi (aoldofredi@letras.ulisboa.pt).

 

ABSTRACT:
According to a number of approaches in quantum gravity spacetime does not exist fundamentally. Rather, spacetime exists by depending on another, more fundamental, non-spatiotemporal structure. A prevalent opinion in the literature is that this dependence should not be analysed in terms of composition. We should not say, that is, that spacetime depends on an ontology of non-spatiotemporal entities in virtue of having them as parts. But is that really right? On the contrary, I will argue that a mereological approach to dependent spacetime is not only viable, but promises to enhance our understanding of the physical situation. I will then discuss some of the roles that causality might play in these scenarios. Based on a collaboration with Sam Baron.

On Wednesday, 11 May, Antonio Vassallo (Warsaw University of Technology) and Pedro Naranjo (Warsaw University of Technology) will give a talk titled “A Proposal for a Metaphysics of Self-Subsisting Structures” (abstract below).

 

The series of online seminars is organized in the context of the activities of the LanCog Research Group at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, and will focus on the foundations of quantum and spacetime physics.

 

The meeting will be online on Zoom (17:00-19:00 CEST). If you have not registered yet, you can do so here.

 

You can address any question to Andrea Oldofredi (aoldofredi@letras.ulisboa.pt).

 

ABSTRACT:
We present a new metaphysical framework for physics that is conceptually clear, ontologically parsimonious, and empirically adequate. This framework relies on the notion of self-subsisting structure, a set of fundamental physical elements whose individuation and behavior are described in purely relational terms, without any need for a background spacetime. Although the specification of the fundamental aspects of the ontology depends on the particular physical domain considered–and is thus susceptible to scientific progress–the structural features of the framework are preserved through theory change. The kinematics and dynamics of these self-subsisting structures are technically implemented using the theoretical framework of Pure Shape Dynamics, which provides an entirely relational physical description of a system in terms of the intrinsic geometry of a suitably defined Riemannian space, called shape space.

Justified belief for Gnostics
Julien Dutant (King’s College London)

13 May 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: According the Lockean view, it is justified to believe P iff it’s rational to have a high credence in P. A theory of degrees of justification fits this view well: the degree to which one is justified in believing P is one’s rational credence in P. On that theory degrees of justification obey the probability axioms. I give reasons to prefer an alternative, the “probable knowledge” view, according to which it is justified to believe P iff it’s rational to have a high credence that one knows P (or is in a position to know P). A theory of degrees of justification fits that view well: the degree of which one is justified in believing P is one’s rational credence that one knows (or is in a position to know) P. On that theory, degrees of justification typically violate the probability axioms. I explore their shape; in particular, I show that under the assumption that knowledge obeys the normal logic KT, degrees of justification turn out to be Belief functions (aka Dempster-Shafer belief functions).

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

Modern Arguments for Fatalism
Ricardo Santos (LanCog, University of Lisbon)

06 May 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: Fatalism is one of the traditional metaphysical problems in philosophy. Among other things, a fatalist believes that whatever happens could not have failed to happen, hence could not have been avoided. While some people have scorned the view as prescientific and primitive, and the known arguments for it as pure sophisms, many analytic philosophers have thought that there are arguments for fatalism that are quite challenging and worth careful examination. Some of them have even tried to come up with new and stronger fatalistic arguments. In this talk, I will distinguish several forms that arguments for fatalism can take and I will review them, trying to make clear what are the main available options for responding and their more general consequences.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.

Conversational Internalism
João Miranda (University of Lisbon, LanCog)

29 April 2022, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET) | Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

 

Abstract: Access internalism is the view that only items that one is aware of are available to justify beliefs. Conversational internalism, the view to be defended in this paper, is the kind of access internalism that argues that the reason why access is required, is not because it is in itself epistemologically relevant, but because it is necessary for conversations. Internal access gets its epistemological relevance from conversations because the ability to adequately intervene in conversations is what is required to make a belief justified, and you can’t adequately intervene in a conversation without being aware of what you’re conversing. I start by distinguishing internalistic from externalistic approaches to epistemology, setting the stage for the discussion. I then present my theory, and an argument for it. Characterizing conversations – the relevant kind of conversations – as things that can be represented as sequences of ordered pairs Question→Answer, allows for contrastivism (Snedegar, 2017) to provide an explanation of how a belief can get justified through conversation and contextualism about justification (inspired by Lewis, 1996) to provide a more refined view of how the theory can account for shifts in the strength of justificatory demands from one conversation to another. I conclude by showing how the theory handles some main objections to internalism (such as those that concern an agent’s capacity to store enough reasons and the strength of the epistemological demands for justification), in particular by arguing that it fares better against those objections than traditional internalistic alternatives.

 

The room has a limited number of seats. Pre-registration is required at <info@lancog.com> until a day before the event.