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10:00-11:00Coffee Reception
11:00-11:30 Session 1: Opening


Location: Audi Max - A 030
11:30-13:00 Session 2: Plenary 1: Rae Langton

'Blocking as Counter-speech'

It has been said that ‘evil’ speech should be fought with more speech, rather than bans (Brandeis). There are familiar handicaps on counter-speech, but unnoticed scope as well. Counter-speech can sometimes work by retroactively ‘undoing’, rather than refuting, such speech, I shall argue: by blocking its presuppositions, and, relatedly, its felicity conditions. This can silence harmful speech, by disabling the force it would otherwise have had. Putting together Austin, on speech acts, and Lewis, on presupposition (and time travel), we can bring out an unnoticed dimension to counter-speech, and to the powers of ordinary hearers and bystanders.

Location: Audi Max - A 030
13:00-14:30Lunch Break
14:30-16:30 Session 3D: 21-1-Section 3B: Philosophy of Biology I
Location: B 206
The Postgenomics ENCODE Controversy: Theoretical Monism About Functions

ABSTRACT. The ENCODE project has made important new estimates that more than 80% of our genome is functional. Their use of the notion of biological function has stirred the traditional philosophical contrast between the causal role (CR) and selected effects (SE) accounts. In this paper, we shift focus of the “ENCODE controversy” to a specific issue of function monism vs. pluralism distinction. We develop a weak etiological monism which enables us to avoid the main difficulties of CR, but also, of SE overdependence on natural selection by preserving, nevertheless, an evolutionary-based notion of biological functions.

Resistance and Encounter in Plant Stress Physiology

ABSTRACT. This paper investigates whether the ontology of “stress” is more about encounter or resistance; it rises and discusses several questions about these very interesting phenomena. It will examine several plant biology papers. Stress is the responses of an organism to ‘big’ perturbations that cause drastic changes in phenome which may be called as ‘injured’. How do we call the degree of injury? The phenome of plant after encounter may be living better in the environment with the stressor so why do we see it as injured? How do we call it as susceptible or resistant to the stressor?

Groups and Their Fitness in Multi-Level Selection Theory

ABSTRACT. In multi-level selection theory, groups are often considered fitter than others if the average individual fitness within them is higher. This paper critically examines this assumption, first by verifying its compatibility with the two most influential frameworks for understanding evolution by natural selection (the “variation in fitness of heritable traits” and the “replicator-interactor” frameworks). After this verification yields negative results, the paper analyzes two potential, but ultimately unsuccessful, ways of salvaging this assumption, namely that of considering group productivity as a mere trait on which group selection may act and that of adopting a more inclusive notion of fitness.

Theory-Relative Constitutive Principles and Evolutionary Biology: Relaxing a Conceptual Tool

ABSTRACT. I argue that some theory-relative principles in evolutionary biology perform a function similar to the one described by contemporary views of constitutive principles in physical theories, in that they are domain-specific preconditions for formulating and testing the more empirical parts of a theory. Still, important differences remain, since the interaction of the constitutive character of such principles with features like their generative entrenchment, quasi-axiomatic status, non-direct empirical testability, scope, and generality - as discussed by Wimsatt (1987, 2007) - is better captured by a more pluralistic and context-sensitive characterisation than offered by standard treatments like Friedman's (2001).

14:30-16:00 Session 3F: 21-1-Section 5A: Politically Relevant Speech
Location: A 021
On Silencing, Authority, and the Act of Refusal

ABSTRACT. The notion of ‘illocutionary silencing’ (Langton 1993) has been given a key role in defining the harms of pornography. Though the literature on silencing focuses on the speech act of sexual refusal, it lacks a thorough analysis of that very act. My main aim is to fill this theoretical gap. In my view, refusals are “second-turn illocutions” (they cannot be accomplished but in response to “interrogative calls”) and require the speaker’s authority only when preceded by requests for permission. This has significant implications for the silencing argument against pornography; I discuss such implications in the concluding section of the paper.

Objectification and Subordination of Women Through Speech Acts

ABSTRACT. According to Austin's speech act theory language has performative power: to say something means to do something. Thanks to linguistic turn language is no longer understood as tool for describing reality, but a constituent of reality, conditioning cognitive processes. Language builds social and cultural reality. Values and judgements become part of the worldview of the users of language. According to Rae Langton, some speech acts have objectifying and subordinating power, influence the way women are perceived and allowed limited social roles. This paper focuses on advertisements and media communicates objectifying and subordinating women, thus making them vulnerable to gendered violence.

Not Quite Factual: Fact-Dependent Policy Disagreements as a Kind of Normative Disagreements

ABSTRACT. Political disagreements are often persistent, no matter how long one spends in trying to convince the other. Our aim in this talk is twofold: firstly, we will characterize the phenomenon of political normative disagreement at large. Secondly, we will argue that cases in which the parties disagreeing about a particular factual proposition results in a disagreement about which policies to carry out, without either party being at fault with respect to the factual proposition, are normative rather than factual disagreements. We will do so by establishing an analogy with epistemic expressivism.

An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs

ABSTRACT. In this paper, I defend the view that slurs are a species of kind terms: slur concepts encode mini-theories which represent an essence-like element that is causally connected to a set of negatively-valenced stereotypical features of the social group in question. The truth-conditional contribution of slur nouns can then be captured by the following schema: For a given slur S of a social group G and a person P, S is true of P iff P bears the ‘essence’ of G – whatever this essence is – which is causally responsible for stereotypical negative features associated with G and predicted of P. Since there is no essence that is causally responsible for stereotypical negative features of a social group, slurs don’t extend, and sentences containing them are either meaningless or false. I will show that the theory can account for a range of linguistic cases that are widely acknowledged as challenging data for current theories of slurs.

14:30-16:30 Session 3G: 21-1-Section 5B: Communication, Rules and Conventions
Location: A 022
Quine on Shared Language and Linguistic Communities

ABSTRACT. In this paper, I discuss Quine’s views on language sharing and linguistic communities. It is sometimes explicitly and often implicitly taken for granted that Quine believes that speakers can form uniform communities and share a language. The aim of the paper is to show that this is a misinterpretation and that, on the contrary, Quine is closer to linguistic individualism - the view according to which there is no guarantee that speakers within a community share a language and the notion of idiolects is more fundamental than the notion of shared language.

On the Notion of Constitutive Rules

ABSTRACT. There is a long tradition in the analytic philosophy of language to consider a language as somehow analogous to games. That view relies on the notion of “constitutive rules’, that has not been investigated thoroughly. I am convinced that if we look carefully at complicated games (like basketball or football), that are paradigm examples of rule-constituted practices, it is possible to avoid problems that traditional accounts of constitutive rules have faced and, possibly, acquire some knowledge that could influence theories of speech acts or some parts of social ontology that relies on the notion of constitutive rules.

Communicative Turn-Taking and Linguistic Understanding

ABSTRACT. The paper examines consequences of recent psycholinguistic research on turn-taking for philosophical theories of linguistic understanding. According to turn-taking literature for the gaps between subsequent utterances in conversations to be as short as they are (ca. 0.2 s), speakers have to start formulating their utterances before the previous speaker's turn ends. In consequence, speakers react to what is their prediction of the content of the utterance on the basis of only part of the content they have actually heard. I argue that available philosophical theories of understanding cannot accommodate these results, and outline a more satisfactory account.

The Status of the Rules of Language

ABSTRACT. Unlike the constitutive rules that are often discussed – rules of games or regulations promulgated in rulebooks or laws – the constitutive rules of language are implicit. This is sometimes motivated by a vicious circle argument: we would already need a language to state its rules (Sellars 1954, Peregrin 2014). In my contribution I will analyse these arguments and suggest that they do not go far enough: the rules of language cannot possibly be rendered explicit for the lack of systematicity (language allows for too many exceptions). I will suggest that we should consider the rules of language as embodied.

14:30-16:30 Session 3I: 21-1-Section 7: Grounding I
Location: A 119
Truth and Grounding

ABSTRACT. The topic of grounding is too vast to reasonably expect to settle every controversy about it here. After a brief description of that metaphysical relation I shall defend the notion that a broad-based correspondence theory of truth is not defeated by objections raised by Kit Fine to counting truthmakers as grounds of their truths. The relation in question is a form of constitution, falling short of composition, and that these is ample similarity for inclusion in the family of grounding relations.

On the Grounds of Identity Criteria

ABSTRACT. Aim of the talk is to investigate pro and cons of an analysis of identity criteria in terms of grounding. We argue that our intuition pushes in the direction of construing identity criteria as a grounding statement; but from the other hand, there seem to be insuperable hurdles to pursue this project. Our proposal is to retreat from the metaphysical grounding but not from grounding tout court; we argue that identity criteria have to be interpreted as statement of conceptual grounding. We will sketch some features of this particular tie between propositions and discuss some problems connected to it.

Grounds by Biconditionals

ABSTRACT. It is generally granted that if "p" is true, then "p" is true because p and not vice versa. Benjamin Schnieder claims that these explanations are conceptual explanations, that is, that they are based on conceptual relations between the explanans and the explanandum. In this paper we consider two challenges for his view and we further defend it. 

Dispositions and Grounding in a Causal Dispositional Framework

ABSTRACT. The relation of Grounding (G) between A and B is generally described as a metaphysical relation of non-causal dependence. The aim of this paper is to explore the existence of G relations in a realist pandispositionalist metaphysics. To develop this task, we check whether the relations between dispositions meet the features that are generally attributed to G. We will conclude that there exists a relation of G between a cause and the disposition whose manifestation gives rise to a causation process.

14:30-16:30 Session 3J: 21-2-Section 9: Symposium

To view the symposium's extended abstract, please click here (PDF, 190 Kb).

Location: Audi Max - A 030
Responsibility for What?: How Individual Moral Responsibility Extends in Collective Contexts

ABSTRACT. Agents can be responsible not only for what they do but also for the downstream consequences of their actions. Yet, agents are not responsible for all of these downstream consequences. Which consequences are agents responsible for and why? This question is particularly pressing in contexts of collective action. This symposium brings together philosophers, legal scholars, and psychologists to discuss on-going work investigating the causal foundations of moral responsibility. The focus will be on individual responsibility in hierarchical groups, such as military organizations. Psychology and legal theory have developed approaches to address these questions that can inform the investigations in philosophy.

14:30-16:30 Session 3K: 21-1-Section 10: Symposium

To view the symposium's extended abstract, please click here (PDF, 268 Kb).

Location: E 120
Structural Economic Injustice and the Critique of Power

ABSTRACT. Theories of justice have, for a long time, focused on distributive outcomes and on some foundational questions about the role of markets in just societies. But markets and other economic institutions depend on the formal and informal institutions that shape not only the distributions of resources they create, but also their impact on other dimensions of justice, e.g. the distribution of respect, recognition and social inclusion or exclusion, and asymmetries of power. With the move towards non-ideal forms of theorizing – and arguably as a reaction to the fact that today’s world is one in which political theorists cannot ignore economic issues because the impact of economic injustices is so pervasive – interest in such questions has gained centre stage. In this symposium, we will focus specifically on forms of power in the economy, how they are controlled (or fail to be controlled), how they can be critiqued, and what alternative institutional solutions would be possible. Arguably, the power of institutions such as central banks, financial markets or supranational corporations has become so large that they are serious contenders to national states. The critique of power is a core issue of political philosophy; it needs to be broadened to include not only political, but also economic institutions and their mutual interrelations.

15:00-16:30 Session 3B: 21-1-Section 2: Reasons and Reasoning
Location: F 107
Rationality and Responding Correctly to Reasons

ABSTRACT. Broome (2013) has objected to the view that rationality is a matter of responding correctly to one’s reasons. Kiesewetter (2013) responded on behalf of the view by saying that the view is only concerned with reasons that are available to one. In this talk, I consider Kiesewetter’s response, and find it wanting. I object to Kiesewetter’s account to the effect that his availability condition is too lax in one respect, and too strict in another. I close by proposing an alternative version of the reasons view, which successfully avoids Broome’s objection, and is lax as well as strict enough.

Nonconceptual Reasons

ABSTRACT. It has been supposed that only conceptual contents can be genuine reasons for a subject. Nonconceptualist accounts denying this have either been seen as naturalists or defending problematic versions of the ʻMyth of the Given’. In this paper, I claim that nonconceptual contents can be genuine reasons for a subject, and that in claiming this, one does not need to be neither naturalist nor ʻgivenist’. Nonconceptual contents can become reasons for S, if: 1. S is acquainted with the nonconceptual content in question, 2. S makes a nonpropositional inference, and 3. S is acquainted with her capacity of inferring.

In Defense of the Reasons Account of Good Reasoning

ABSTRACT. The paper defends the reasons account of good reasoning against a recent objection raised by McHugh and Way in their “What is good reasoning” (PPR, 2016). According to the reasons account, the transition from the premise attitudes to the conclusion attitude needs to be reasons-support preserving. McHugh and Way’s object that the account either sacrifices the significance of good reasoning or cannot deal adequately with defeasibility. However, the significance of good reasoning lies in enabling us to form attitudes for good reasons – not in merely having attitudes for which there are good reasons. And sufficient reasons can be defeasible.

15:00-16:30 Session 3C: 21-1-Section 3A: Philosophy of Physics
Location: E 004
On Ontology and Dualities in Physics

ABSTRACT. The topic of dualities in modern physics has attracted the attention of philosophers. Dualities show that theoretical descriptions, which may seemingly describe very different scenarios, are physically equivalent. That dualities provide us with cases of underdetermination has been considered. However, I will argue for why dualities should not be understood in that fashion. Given that dual descriptions can seem to suggest conflicting descriptions of the world, they provide us with challenges for interpretation. I will explain how to think about ontology when dealing with a duality in physics.

Against Fields

ABSTRACT. Using the example of classical electrodynamics, I argue that the concept of fields as mediators of particle interactions is fundamentally flawed and reflects a misguided attempt to retrieve Newtonian concepts in relativistic theories. This leads to various physical and metaphysical problems that are discussed in detail. I will defend a formulation of classical electrodynamics in terms of a pure particle ontology and show that electromagnetic fields are best understood as book-keeping variables, summarizing the effects of retarded and/or advanced direct interactions to provide an efficient description of subsystems in terms of initial data.

The Principle of Stability

ABSTRACT. How can inferences from idealized models to the phenomena they represent be justified when those models deliberately distort the phenomena? Pierre Duhem considered just this problem, arguing that inferences and explanations from mathematical models of phenomena to real physical applications must also be demonstrated to be approximately correct when the (idealized) assumptions of the model are only approximately true. Despite being little discussed among philosophers, mathematicians and physicists both contemporaneous with and subsequent to Duhem took up this challenge (if only sometimes implicitly), yielding a novel and rich mathematical theory of stability with epistemological consequences.

15:00-16:30 Session 3E: 21-1-Section 4: Mathematical Language
Location: A 016
The Semantic Plights of the Structuralist

ABSTRACT. A version of the permutation argument in the philosophy of mathematics leads to the thesis that mathematical terms, contrary to appearances, are not genuine singular terms referring to individual objects; they are purely schematic or variable. By postulating ‘ante-rem structures', the ante-rem structuralist aims to defuse the permutation argument and retain the referentiality of mathematical terms. I will argue that the ante-rem structuralist's attempt fails, for ante-rem structures are themselves subject to the permutation argument.

Even Dag Prawitz Turned to Grounds: But Why?

ABSTRACT. We take into account Dag Prawitz's recent theory of grounds, and try to explain why he abandoned his well-known proof-theoretic approach. This, by focusing on two interpretations of Prawitz's ground-theoretic turn, by Tranchini-Usberti and by Cozzo. We offer a third reason, out of observations that Prawitz himself carried out about the constructive functions through which non-introductory inferences are proof-theoretically justified. We thereby show that the theory of grounds solve problems of the previous proof-theoretic framework, where it distinguishes from other constructive semantics, which problem it retains and how it could be modified in order to work these latter out.

The Language of Mathematics in the Light of Wittgenstein's Philosophy

ABSTRACT. From the Tractatus and from the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics we can reconstruct two different interpretations of mathematics. They were developed in a broader framework of philosophy of language, concentrating around the distinction of saying and showing, or around rule following. These two positions do not exhaust the incentives of Wittgenstein for philosophy of mathematics. We can apply his views on language directly to the language of mathematics. It turns out that the distinction between saying and showing offers a semantic of geometric figures. Similarly we can interpret mathematics as a set of interrelated language games.

15:00-16:00 Session 3H: 21-1-Section 6: Agency and Autonomy
Location: A 125
Joint Action, Normativity, and Agent-Neutral Reasons

ABSTRACT. Normativity plays a pivotal role in current debates on shared agency and collective intentionality. Yet mainstream theories tend to take the normativity involved in joint actions and social institutions to be sui generis. Drawing on Tomasello’s work on cooperation and Bratman’s view of shared agency I argue that there is no rationale for this conclusion. I contend that the norms operating within joint actions are continuous with rational and moral norms, that the normative requirement of practical rationality are rooted in the psychological infrastructure of cooperation, and that mature social cognition supplies the cognitive resources for grasping agent-neutral reasons.

Feeling and Autonomy

ABSTRACT. It has been argued that emotions can be conducive to autonomy (cf. Shoemaker 2003; Tappolet 2014). I sympathize with this claim, but argue for a more intimate connection between emotion and autonomy than is typically recognized. While most extant accounts conceive of emotion as potentially conducive to autonomous agency, I argue that emotions themselves can be expressions of autonomy irrespective of their relation to action. I initially show that emotions respond to reasons constituted by specific value properties. I then argue that these responses are autonomous when responsive to values that owe their authority as reasons to our normative self-conception.

16:30-18:00 Session : Opening Reception

Opening Reception

Location: Lichthof