Archive for September, 2012
WORKSHOP II – 5 & 6 November
(see also Workshop I: 8 — 9 Oct , and Workshop III: 3 — 4 December)
Organised by: Department of Philosophy, University of Fribourg, Avenue de l’Europe 20, Switzerland
Co-Sponsored by: Olaf Blanke, Laboratory of Neuroscience, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
The Affective Self
- Jan Slaby, Dept. of Philosophy, Free University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- John Lambie, Dept. of Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
- Eric Olson, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
The Dualistic Self
- Martine Nida-Rümelin, Dept. of Philosophy, Fribourg University, Switzerland
Self-Knowledge in Agency
- Lucy O’Brien, Dept. of Philosophy, University College London, London, UK
Everyone welcome | No Registration fee
All enquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
-> For a detailed schedule and the workshop poster, please see:
Salon des Professeurs, Room 2113, Misericorde, Avenue de l’Europe 20, Fribourg, Switzerland
(half-way between first & second floor, by the staircase, same level as cafeteria) http://www.unifr.ch/map/de/misericorde.php
‘Considered as a unitary object, the self is full of apparent contradictions. It is simultaneously physical and mental, public and private, directly perceived and incorrectly imagined, universal and culture-specific’ (p. 35). ‘[These different aspects or selves] are all experienced, though perhaps not all with the same quality of consciousness. And they are all valued (…)’.
Neisser, U. (1988) Five kinds of Self-Knowledge, Phil. Psychol. 1, 35 – 59 (p. 36)
The question of what self-consciousness, and, more specifically, the sense of self might amount to has been at the very centre of inquiries into the human condition across different ages, cultures and academic disciplines. The answers that have emerged in the past not only revealed different theoretical and practical approaches towards the self, depending on what was assumed that we are aware of in self-consciousness, but also importantly indicated that, in being self-conscious, we take ourselves to be aware of sometimes radically different aspects of the self or indeed of altogether distinct selves.
In these interdisciplinary workshops that draw on sources from philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience, we want to explore how self-consciousness, understood broadly, intimates to us these different aspects of the particular self or kind of self we seemingly are and how these diverse self-related elements (or ‘selves’) not only form a unified whole, if they do, but also how the related conceptions of the self integrate with our general theories and assumptions about the world.
To this end, we will be discussing, inter alia, the phenomenology of self-experience; the (dis)unity of the self; self and agency; biological & evolutionary roots of the self; the emotional/affective self; the idea of a minimal self; the self and the brain; the conceptual versus non-conceptual content of self-consciousness; the embodied self; the first-person versus third-person perspective; the psychopathology of the self; the dualistic nature of the self; the problem of self-knowledge; multi-sensory integration and body awareness; the persistence of the self through time; and prospects for a unified theory of self-consciousness and the self.
Participants in the workshops will have an opportunity to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the diverse aspects surrounding the problem of self-consciousness and the self. Being able to discuss core issues with leading experts in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience will alert participants to the challenges and opportunities in this line of research and will, furthermore, demonstrate to them theoretical and practical strategies of how successful theories of self-consciousness and the self can be formulated.
The organisers wish to acknowledge the kind support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF 101115-140203 / 1)
Workshop on Philosophy of Embodiment, Self and Agency
March 1-2, 2012
New University of Lisbon
This workshop will use the work of Shaun Gallagher, especially from his 2005 book How the Body Shapes the Mind as a jumping off point to discuss important themes in contemporary philosophy, namely questions around embodiment, self and agency.
Gallagher will give two talks at the workshop as follows:
- 11.00 to 12.30, March 1st: Embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended mindreading
In this presentation I’ll review some ongoing interdisciplinary debates in social cognition, offer some critiques of the standard and dominant Theory of Mind approaches, and outline an alternative theory framed in terms of recent work on embodied and enactive cognition. The alternative account explains the earliest forms of interaction in infancy and offers a narrative (rather than a folk psychology or simulationist) model of mature social understanding.
- 10.30 to 12.00, March 2nd: Misidentifying the self in experimental and pathological situations
In this presentation I’ll review a number of pathological and experimental situations in which either the sense of agency or the sense of ownership is disrupted. I’ll defend the view that immunity to error through misidentification (IEM) is nonetheless sustained in all of these cases to the extent that the first-person perspective is sustained. I’ll discuss at least one case, however, in which the first-person perspective in experience seems to be problematic and IEM seems to be clearly challenged.
The way workshop is structured is that Gallagher will give a talk each morning and then researchers from the IFL´s Cognitive Foundations of the Self project will use Gallagher´s ideas, especially from his 2005 book How the Body Shapes the Mind, as a jumping off point for further exploration of the themes of the conference. João Fonseca, Alexander Gerner, Robert Clowes, Jorge Gonçalves and Dina Mendonça will all present their ongoing work around the main conference themes. For more detail on papers and abstracts see: http://foundationsoftheself.squarespace.com/shaun-gallagher-workshop/. The workshop timetable allows plenty of time for extended discussion.
Participation at this workshop is open to other researchers although will be limited to around 20 participants. The session on the first morning however is a public lecture. Those who would like to participate at the workshop are invited to send email to Robert Clowes to register their interest. The conference language is English.
Location: Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (New University of Lisbon), I&D Building – Room M3, 4th Floor
Entrance to the workshop is free but to register please send email to email@example.com.
This workshop is part of the Portuguese Government funded project on the Cognitive Foundations of the Self: http://foundationsoftheself.squarespace.com/shaun-gallagher-workshop/
A. Neurophilosophy/Philosophy of Mind & Language
The candidate should have a strong interest in relating empirical methods to philosophical questions regarding mind and language. The successful applicant will be expected to investigate these questions among others with EEG methods. Some background in statistics and eventually some affinity to an empirical or mathematical discipline (psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, physics, biology, computer science, mathematics, engineering etc.) would be welcome.
B. Philosophy of Language/Philosophical Semantics
The candidate should have a strong interest in the interface between philosophy of language and linguistics. Some background in logic or formal semantics would be welcome. The candidate should be open to the empirical investigation of language comprehension.
C. Philosophy of Cognition/Epistemology
The candidate should have a strong background in epistemology, logic, the theory of mental representation and/or the theory of reasoning. The successful applicant will be expected to integrate empirical methods and/or computer simulations into the philosophical investigation of cognition.
Each of the three positions will be filled either with a PhD candidate or a postdoc for up to three years.
Depending on qualification the stipendiary fellowship will match the net income of:
50% TV-L E13 position (PhD candidate, approx. 1300€/month),
75% TV-L E13 position (advanced PhD candidate/early postdoc, approx. 1700€/month),
100% TV-L E13 position (postdoc, approx. 2100€/month), respectively.
Applications should specify the name of the position and whether a PhD or postdoc stipendiary fellowship is applied for. They should include a statement of interest (not more than one page), a CV, a list of publications, copies of relevant certificates and diploma, one letter of reference and the names of two further referees.
Applications should be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 20, 2012. We regret that we will not be able to return any submitted material and send out negative notifications.
The Ruhr-University Bochum is committed to equal opportunity. We strongly encourage applications from qualified women and persons with disabilities.
May 11th 2012, 9.30 to 18.00
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen
All welcome, but please send a message to email@example.com if you intend to come.
In recent discussions on the notion of embodied/extended cognition and the extended mind hypothesis, the idea of a ‘mark of the cognitive’ has received quite some attention. Both among the proponents and among the critics of Extended Mind, many authors agree that the project of formulating a principled demarcation for what is to count as cognitive is imperative, not only with respect to this specific debate but more generally as a fundamental question for the philosophy of cognitive science. A few dissident voices, however, have considered the possibility of this question being neither crucial nor answerable, for example by relying on anti-essentialist conceptions of cognition.
Against this background, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen is hosting a one-day workshop to discuss the very idea of the mark of the cognitive, in particular but not exclusively with respect to the concept of embodied/extended cognition. How should the question be formulated? Is it a matter of stipulating a definition, or are we after a substantive theory of what cognition is? Is ‘the cognitive’ a natural kind? How important is it to delineate a mark of the cognitive for different projects in philosophy of mind and cognitive science? These and other questions will be addressed during the talks and discussions at the workshop.
Speakers and Titles
- Kenneth Aizawa (Centenary College): Operationalism gives the Mark of the Cognitive?
- Julian Kiverstein (University of Amsterdam): Intentionality as the mark of the cognitive?
- Fred Keijzer (University of Groningen): The need for a mark of something that we should call cognition
- Catarina Dutilh Novaes (University of Groningen): Second-wave Extended Mind does not need a mark of the cognitive
26th June 2012
- Robin Le Poidevin (Leeds)
- Barry Dainton (Liverpool)
- David Cockburn (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David)
The debate between proponents of the A-theory and the B-theory is a familiar one, conducted across a range of metaphysical issues (truthmakers, propositions, change). Our everyday experiences, such as of perceiving, acting, and undergoing emotions, clearly involve both a temporal dimension and an awareness of time. But do the different kinds of experience support either metaphysical theory of time?
For instance, for an action to be rational, it often requires a tensed awareness of certain facts (that the meeting is about to start now; that I am late for it). Many emotions seem to have a temporal orientation, in that they are only appropriate as regards events in the past (grief) or future (fear). Our perception of things and events, as opposed to imagining or remembering them, is often thought to have a present-tensed aspect. And the flowing of experiences through time itself seems to require a sense of what is happening at this present moment.
In each of these cases it can be asked if this experience can only be explained by appeal to irreducibly tensed facts, or if it can be accounted for by a tenseless theory. Although these issues have been previously discussed, the matter remains unsettled and we believe it deserves renewed consideration in light of advances in the theories of action, emotion, perception and the self (for example, the increased recognition of the variety of ways in which an emotion can be taken to be appropriate or not).
We are looking for papers in any of the above areas, or on any topics which relate to the overall conference theme, especially those that recognise how advances made in other areas of philosophy can inform the metaphysics of time or vice versa.
Papers will be 30 minutes in length.
Please send abstracts of up to 500 words to either Olley Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Donnchadh O’Conaill (
Decisions on speakers will be made within two weeks of this date.
A website for the conference can be found at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/f.o.c.pearson/EAMT.htm
Sponsored by Durham University Department of Philosophy.
2nd Call for Papers
Thematic issue of Philosophia Scientiae 17/2 (June 2013)
Guest editors: Gabriel Vacariu & Mihai Vacariu
Submission deadline: May 1, 2012
Notification Date: October 1, 2012
One of the most important problems in philosophy, the mind-body (or mind-brain) problem is still up in the air. Paradoxically, since Descartes nobody has proposed a viable alternative solution to this problem. The general topic of this issue is the mind-body problem, with a focus on relatively recent debates from the field of cognitive neuroscience related to this problem. Thus, more specific topics could be the mind-brain identity, the binding problem, the brain imaging related to localization and the self.
Questions of interest: Is a particular mental state identical with some specific neural patterns of activation? During the evolution of species, the brain evolved in a strong relationship with the body. Could we eliminate the body from the equation “the mind = the brain”? Are we able to talk about the unity of consciousness in the terms of neuroscience or consciousness and the self are just pseudo-notions? What are the relationships between notions from psychology and neuroscience?
Manuscripts should be submitted in English or French, and prepared for anonymous peer review. Abstracts in French and English (200-300 words) should be included.
Email-address to send the paper: email@example.com
Format of the article, see the Guide for Authors: http://poincare.univ-nancy2.fr/PhilosophiaScientiae/Guide+for+authors/
General submissions within this range are welcome.
Philosophia Scientiae is a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
It publishes research relating to epistemology, history and philosophy of science, especially in the field of mathematics, physics, and logic, without excluding any other scientific field. It is published by Kimé Editions (Paris).
For any further information (for instance, submission guidelines, back issues, abstracts), please refer to the website of the Journal: http://poincare.univ-nancy2.fr/PhilosophiaScientiae/Accueil/.
The Editorial Board (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Should a Science of Cognition use First-Person Methods?
Centre for Integrative Neuroscience, University of Tuebingen
June 15-16, 2012
Workshop: Call for commentators
Part of the Games of the Brain workshop series:
The use of first person methods in cognitive science has followed several cycles of acceptance and rejection. Arguments both for and against their use often refer to methodological considerations: either the role of first-person methods as providing essential scientific evidence, or the inherent problems in collecting and interpreting such data.
The aim of this workshop is to focus directly on the methodological questions surrounding first-person methods, by addressing them from the different viewpoints across cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. In particular, philosophy of science offers a relatively untapped resource for investigating questions about measurement and operationalization, so has much to offer current debates on this subject.
The workshop will focus on the following sorts of questions:
- Are there scientific paradigms or areas of research for which first-person data is essential?
- Does first-person data differ from other scientific data? If so, how? (E.g. is it really private or incorrigible?)
- Are there specific problems associated with collecting first-person data compared with other scientific data? (E.g. response bias, demand characteristics)
- Given these problems, how should first-person data be collected and interpreted? (E.g. methods for reducing response bias, experimental design)
- What, if anything, can be learned from older debates about the use of first-person methods (e.g. against introspection)?
- Do these methodological problems raise further questions about how we should talk about first-person states? (E.g. are there phenomenal facts?)
Dr. Uljana Feest, (Technische Universitat, Berlin)
Dr. Liz Irvine, (CIN, University of Tuebingen)
Dr. Matt Longo (Birkbeck, University of London)
Prof. Tony Marcel (University of Hertfordshire)
Prof. Thomas Metzinger (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Prof. Gualtiero Piccinini (University of Missouri, St. Louis)
Prof. Jonathan Schooler (University of California, Santa Barbara)
If you would like to give a commentary, please send a CV, and a response to the title of the workshop (max. 200 words), to email@example.com by March 30th.
Registration is free, but space is limited, so if you would like to attend the workshop, please also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the workshop will be updated here soon: http://www.rationalagency.uni-tuebingen.de/
Hi Folks, the following question came up in teaching recently, and I was wondering if anyone can help.
As is well known, Chalmers claims that experience does not logically supervene on functional organisation (the zombie argument). He also claims that experience does supervene, nomologically, on functional organisation (the dancing qualia argument). In other words, if the natural laws (including the dualist’s psychophysical laws) are kept fixed, then experience supervenes on functional organisation.
Here is the central motivation for this nomological supervenience claim:
It is a central fact about experience, very familiar from our own case, that whenever experiences change significantly and we are paying attention, we can notice the change; if this were not to be the case, we would be led to the skeptical possibility that our experiences are dancing before our eyes all the time. This hypothesis has the same status as the possibility that the world was created five minutes ago: perhaps it is logically coherent, but it is not plausible. Given the extremely plausible assumption that changes in experience correspond to changes in processing, we are led to the conclusion that the original hypothesis is impossible, and that any two functionally isomorphic systems must have the same sort of experiences. To put it in technical terms, the philosophical hypotheses of “absent qualia” and “inverted qualia”, while logically possible, are empirically and nomologically impossible. (from “Facing up the problem of consciousness”)
The idea being that if experience were not to (nomologically) supervene on functional organisation, we would be faced with a sceptical threat: our experience could change all the time, and we would not notice it (in the information-processing, reporting, sense of noticing).
But if this sceptical concern moves you, then why doesn’t it also undermine the zombie argument?
For all we know, the psychophysical laws could be changing all the time. They could be changing so as to make the (logically possible) zombie world the actual world, or a (logically possible) world in which our experience is inverted the actual world. As far as the information-processing aspects of our life is concerned, we would not notice the difference. By hypothesis, the functional (information-processing, reporting, etc.) properties of our mental life would be the same in both scenarios. Aren’t we faced here with the same kind of sceptical threat about knowledge of our experience?
If one wants to use the sceptical threat to motivate supervenience of experience on functional organisation in the nomological case, why doesn’t this have equal force in the logical (zombie) case too? Alternatively, if one discounts this sceptical threat as carrying any weight in the zombie case, then why does it have force in the nomological case?
I remember Chalmers talks about knowledge of experience in the ‘Paradox of phenomenal judgement’. But I seem to remember that the upshot was that knowledge of experience should not be understood on the model of a causal theory of knowledge. But if that is the case, and for example we have some sort of direct knowledge of experience, wouldn’t this undermine the sceptical threat in the dancing qualia argument?
Any help gratefully received.
University of Oxford
Grade 7: £29,249 – £31,020 per annum
A two-year research and teaching appointment in Philosophy of Psychiatry: Mind, Value, and Mental Health is available for an outstanding academic at an early stage of his or her career. The successful candidate will be expected to take up appointment between 1 September 2012 and 1 January 2013.
Eligible candidates must hold a masters degree and either have completed a PhD or, for candidates in national education systems where the PhD does not apply, be a candidate for the appropriate doctoral examination; be at an early stage of an academic career, and if holding a doctorate have completed it within the past four years (from 1 October 2012), excluding justified career breaks. Candidates who already hold a permanent academic appointment will not be considered.
The successful candidate will be expected to pursue and publish the results of independent research in philosophy of psychiatry broadly conceived; undertake on average 2-3 hours of teaching each week during term time, for the University or a college; and play a pivotal or leading role in Faculty initiatives in the area of philosophy of psychiatry. He or she will be provided with office space in the Humanities Divisional Office in the Radcliffe Infirmary Main Building in the centre of Oxford.
The deadline for receipt of applications and references (which should be submitted by email to the address above) is 12noon on Monday 19 March 2012.
University of Bristol
15th & 16th September 2012
Deadline for submissions: 1st May 2012
Standard approaches to understanding consciousness have found their progress interrupted by the explanatory gap purported to exist between the qualitative nature of experience and the quantitative nature of science. Whether it’s third-person scientific methods, which do not easily transfer from observation of the physical to the first-person nature of experience, or phenomenological study, which focuses on the analysis of experience whilst bracketing off theory, there would appear to be an insurmountable difficulty.
These problems are apparently avoided by the neurophenomenological method as first suggested by Francisco Varela (1996). Neurophenomenology operates by investigating the structural parallels between experience, as investigated by the phenomenological method, and the activity of biological systems, as investigated empirically with a particular emphasis on the insights of dynamical systems theory.
The conference will examine the aims and practices of neurophenomenology in an attempt to gauge its success at eradicating the explanatory gap. Our concerns include two core strands:
A consideration of neurophenomenology’s radical method, which requires subjects be trained in the practice of epoché and phenomenological reduction
In this strand, we aim to address: the possibility of performing a successful and complete suspension of theories and beliefs about experience; the ability of participants and experimenters to develop open questions which disclose stable experiential invariants; the construction of valid methods of intersubjective corroboration.
An evaluation of neurophenomenology’s approach to dynamical systems theory
Addressing questions such as: How should biological systems best be studied, in order to elucidate structural parallels with phenomenal experience? What can dynamical systems theory contribute to such a study? How, and to what degree, can formal models ever capture experiential structure?
As ever, we aim to hold a conference accessible to all with a broad interest in the academic study of conscious experience. We invite submissions from the full range of academic disciplines with an interest in neurophenomenology, including psychology, philosophy (both analytic and continental), biology, dynamical systems theory and neuroscience.
Prof. Michel Bitbol – Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), at the Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA), Ecole Polytechnique, Paris
Prof. Natalie Depraz – Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Rouen; Associated researcher, CREA, Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS, Paris
Dr. Claire Petitmengin – Senior Lecturer, Department of Languages and Human Sciences, Institut Télécom, Evry, Essonne; Associated researcher, CREA, Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS, Paris
Dr. Elena Antonova – Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
Wills Hall, University of Bristol
(Accommodation and meals will be available at the conference venue on the 14th, 15th and 16th September, and can be booked via the conference website.)
Submission of work for presentation in paper or poster format (please specify if you have a preference for poster only) is now open. Non-keynote paper presentations will be 30-minute slots, approximately 20 minutes for the talk and 10 for questions.
Abstracts of up to 300 words should be sent to Dr. Michael Beaton (email@example.com) by the 1st May. Please include name and affiliation for all authors.
- Submission deadline: 1st May 2012
- Responses by: 31st May 2012
- Early Registration Deadline: 30th June 2012
- Conference: 15th & 16th September 2012
For up-to-date conference information: http://cep.bps.org.uk/cep/events/
On behalf of the conference committee,
- Dr. Susan Stuart, University of Glasgow (Conference Chair)
- Dr. Michael Beaton, Unaffiliated
- Bryony Pierce, University of Bristol