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: email@example.com
-> 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)
Conference Registration and Call for Papers
11-14 July 2012
St Anne’s College, Oxford
Organised by the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford
- Simon Blackburn
- A.C. Grayling
- Peter Hacker
- Iain McGilchrist
- David Papineau
- Sally Satel
- Roger Scruton
- Raymond Tallis
It is now over 20 years since Churchland’s book Neurophilosophy was published, and in its wake whole disciplines have sprung into being, proudly sporting the prefix ‘neuro-’ by way of attaching themselves to Churchland’s banner. We have entered a new period in which philosophy, among a substantial community of its practitioners, might be seen as the handmaiden of neuroscience, whose role is to remove the obstacles that have been laid in the path of scientific advance by popular prejudice and superstitious ways of thinking. Brain imaging techniques, which enable us to allocate mental functions to precise cortical areas, and in some cases to establish the neural pathways through which information is processed and decisions formed, have cast doubt on the reality of human freedom, have revised the description of reason and its place in human nature, and caused many people to suspect the validity of the old distinctions of kind, which separated person from animal, animal from machine and the free agent from the conditioned organism. In addition, the more we learn about the brain and its functions, the more do people wonder whether our old ways of managing our lives and resolving our conflicts – the ways of moral judgment, legal process and the imparting of virtue – are the best ways, and whether there might be more direct forms of intervention that would take us more speedily, more reliably and perhaps more kindly to the right result.
These developments appear to sit uneasily with the traditional concept of the person, a central concern of philosophy since at least the early Middle Ages. From infancy each of us singles out persons from the rest of our environment as recipients of love, affection, anger and forgiveness. We face them eye-to-eye and I- to-Thou, believing each person to be a centre of self-conscious reflection who responds to reasons, who makes decisions, and whose life forms a continuous narrative in which individual identity is maintained from moment to moment and from year to year. Are we then justified in treating the traditional attributes of persons, such as self-identity, thought, free will and consciousness, simply as “folk psychological” concepts to be revised in a physically reductionistic manner, or can developments in neuroscience be interpreted within alternative philosophical frameworks? Furthermore, what are the broader implications for new first, second and third-personal understanding in moral judgment, in the law, in religion, politics and the arts?
The purpose of this conference is to discuss and debate these developments from a variety of perspectives, to examine the relevance of neuroscience both to philosophy and to the other humanities of the post-Enlightenment university, and to confront the intellectual issues that surround the emergence of what might reasonably be called a ‘neuroculture’.
All those wishing to attend the conference are invited to register via:
Oxford University online shop
The registration fee includes simple lunch, tea and coffee for each day.
Accommodation and Meals
There are two options:
(1) Book a room at St Anne’s College, Oxford, arriving Wed 11 July, departing Sunday 15 July in the morning. This option includes the cost of all the dinners during the conference.
(2) Purchase individual dinners only, without accommodation.
Short papers are also invited on topics directly relevant to the conference themes, to be delivered in parallel sessions of 30 minutes duration (20 minutes for the paper, 10 minutes for discussion).
Those wishing to contribute a paper should submit a title, a 200 word abstract, and institutional affiliation, by email to the Ian Ramsey Centre administrator, Sarah Retz: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Persons and their Brains Abstract.”
Closing Date for Abstract submissions: Friday 3rd February, 2012.
Notification of accepted papers will take place by the end of February 2012.