Logic, Epistemology and Metaphysics Forum 2013

Monday 13 May 2013

Logic, Epistemology & Metaphysics Forum: LEM Programme Spring/Summer 2013

If you would like to have dinner with the speaker on the evening of their talk please contact the LEM convenor, Dr Corine Besson at email.

All talks take place in Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, WC1, Tuesdays at 5.00pm.

26 March - Derek Ball (St Andrews)
Title: ‘Philosophy Without Truth’
Abstract: ‘Contemporary debates about philosophical methodology -- for example, about the role of 'intuitions' in philosophy, or the role of empirical evidence -- typically assume that philosophical theories are successful only if they are true. But it is highly contentious whether or in what respects scientific theories aim at truth.  I argue that the sorts of consideration that have led philosophers of science to maintain that successful scientific theories need not be true apply equally to philosophy, while the sorts of considerations that have been used to defend a central place for truth in science fail to apply to philosophy. I conclude that philosophical success does not require truth, and consider some possible alternative goals.’

23 April - Stephan Leuenberger (Glasgow)
Title: ‘Total Logic’
Abstract: ‘A typical first stab at explicating the thesis of materialism is this: materialism is true iff every fact about the world is entailed by the conjunction of physical facts. But it has been recognized that this would leave materialism without the fighting chance that it deserves: certain negative truths, like the truth (if it is one) that there are no angels, are not entailed by the physical facts, but nonetheless do not threaten materialism. A plausible remedy that has been suggested by Jackson and Chalmers is that materialism boils down to the thesis that every truth is entailed by the conjunction of the physical facts prefixed by a “that’s all” or “that’s the whole truth” clause. To evaluate this suggestion, we need to know what that operator means, and - since materialism hinges on what is entailed by a totality claim - what its logic is. That is, we need to understand the logic of totality, or total logic. In this talk, I shall distinguish different totality operators, and give formal systems and model theories for them.’

7 May - Sarah Sawyer (Sussex)
Title: Contrastive Self-Knowledge and Anti-Individualism
Abstract: ‘According to the traditional account of knowledge, knowledge is a binary, categorical relation between a subject and a proposition known: Ksp (S knows that p). According to a contrastive account of knowledge, knowledge is a ternary, contrastive relation between a subject, a proposition and a contrast class: Kspq (S knows that p rather than that q). In this paper I argue for a contrastive account of specifically self-knowledge. This entails a contrastive account of the propositional attitudes (belief, desire, regret and so on), which in turn entails an anti-individualist account of propositional attitude concepts (the concepts of belief, desire, regret, and so on). One further consequence of the account is that it has the resources to explain why certain anti-skeptical arguments are unpersuasive.’

21 May - Anders Schoubje (Edinburgh)
Title: Desires Locally Satisfied
Abstract: There are two major, but standardly assumed independent, problems with regards to presuppositions, namely the triggering problem and the projection problem. In the past 40 years, almost all research on presuppositions has focused on the projection problem and the majority of these analyses effectively presuppose a solution to the triggering problem. For example, it is today standardly assumed that (a) presuppositions are lexically triggered (the triggering problem), (b) that presuppositions have direct effects on assignments of semantic values, and (c) that the presuppositions of a complex sentence can be determined solely from the meaning/presuppositions of its constituent parts. In this talk, by considering the behavior of presuppositions in certain intensional contexts, I show that these three assumptions jointly impose demands that no plausible semantic theory could ever satisfy. I then argue that these demands stem from the presupposed solution to the triggering problem, and I conclude by arguing that the triggering problem and the projection problem should not be considered to be independent.

11 June - Stephan Torre (Aberdeen)
Title: Anti-haecceitism and De Re Modality
Abstract: Anti-haecceitism, very roughly, is the view that there is nothing over and above qualitative properties and relations; it is not possible for things to be just as they are qualitatively, yet differ in some other way. Haecceitism is the denial of this claim.  The haecceitist allows that things may be just as they are qualitatively, but, for example, my sister and I swap our qualitative roles. After motivating the relevance of the haecceitism/anti-haecceitism debate, I will present recent objections that have been given to anti-haecceitism.  I will develop and defend an account that provides a successful response to these objections without sacrificing the anti-haecceitist's commitment to a purely qualitative metaphysics.

18 June - Sonia Roca-Royes (Stirling)
Title: De re modal knowledge empirically explained
Abstract: The talk will sketch my attempt at explaining de re modal knowledge about concrete beings. The view is best classified as empiricist. Crudely, I want to say that we know that tables can break because we've seen (similar) tables broken. As one might suspect, this amounts to using a notion (similar to that) of “counterpart relation” and give it an epistemological (rather than metaphysical) role. The empiricist nature of the account means that it will have important limitations of scope. Those limitations, however, must be assessed, for it should not be a given that they harm the account.

End Annoucement.