Institut Jean Nicod

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Colloquium 2018-2019

Farid Masrour (University of Wisconsin-Madison

Vendredi 21 juin 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

ENS, Pavillon jardin, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion

"Predictive Coding and the Myth of the Given"



 The Given, as I shall be using the term, is the conjunction of two theses. The first thesis, roughly put, is that sensory experience plays a role in justifying perceptual beliefs. I shall call this thesisempiricist foundationalism. The second thesis is that the capacity to have sensory experiences can be exercised independent of and often prior to cognitive capacities. I shall call this thesis non-cognitivism. It has been famously argued that the Given is a problematic idea. The overarching goal of this paper is to explore the nature of this problem and a satisfactory solution to it. The problem, as I shall argue, consists in the difficulty that is associated with understanding how a move from a purely non-cognitive representation to a cognitive one can be guided by reason. Those who have argued against the Given often propose a conceptualist account of perceptual experience to accomodate empiricist foundationalism. I argue that the same sensibilities that push us to militate against the Given force us to find conceptualism inadequate for the task. I end by showing that the conceptualist can save empiricist foundationalism if she combines the view with a predictive coding approach to sensory experience.


Manfred Krifka (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)

Mercredi 19 juin 2019 de 15h à 17h

[fr]ATTN - le séminaire aura lieu Mercredi et non Vendredi, à une heure différente et dans une salle différente d’habitude[en]WARNING - the date, time and venue for this event are not the usual ones

ENS, bât. Jaurès, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle Théodule Ribot, RDC

Talk on the theme "Speech Acts"

[fr]Ce Colloquium s’inscrit dans le cycle de Conférences de Manfred Krifka[en]Part of the Manfred Krifka Lecture series


Elisabeth Camp (Rutgers University)

Vendredi 21 juin 2019 de 14h à 15h30

ENS, Pavillon jardin, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion

"Agency in Understanding : Perspectives, Complicity, and Complacency" 



In politics, art, science, and ordinary life, we often employ ’framing devices’, such as metaphors and just-so stories, to express and coordinate perspectives. But can such frames help us achieve genuine understanding ? If they merely manipulate associative patterns of thought, then the Gestalt click of ’getting’ a frame offers a dangerous illusion of epistemic value. I argue that framing devices can support a robust and epistemically distinctive access to the world ; identify some norms for assessing their epistemic aptness ; and explore ways to achieve the sort of critical engagement needed to combat their attendant risk of epistemic complacency.


Felipe Nogueira de Carvalho (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum)

Vendredi 7 juin 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

ENS, bât. Jaurès, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle 235B, 2e étage

"Mindful feelings, responsible perceptions : the influence of affect and affective attention on perceptual experience"


Affective realism refers to the projection of our feelings onto the world, making us perceive external stimuli in ways that are congruent to the way we feel. Although there is a useful side to affective realism, it may also reflect our implicit biases and prejudices and be used as a poor excuse to sidestep personal responsibility. The goal of this talk will be to examine certain manifestations of affective realism in perceptual experience, as well as possible metacognitive strategies to deal with them. It will pursue a promising suggestion that a particular form of attention to affect, based on the meditative practice of mindfulness, is able to monitor and control our tendency towards affective realism by providing us with an effective strategy of emotional regulation, whereby our feelings come to be experienced more as subjective reactions than as properties of the world. This allows for more flexibility in the way we deal with external stimuli, and emphasizes that we are, to a certain extent, responsible for the way we perceive the world to be and how we react to it based on these perceptions.


John Michael  (University of Warwick)

Vendredi 5 avril 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

[fr]ERRATUM : contrairement à ce qui avait été annoncé précédemment, le Colloquium aura bien lieu en Pavillon Jardin dans la salle de réunion RDC[en]ERRATUM : contrary to what was previously announced, the Colloquium will take place in meeting room of Pavillon Jardin.

Ecole Normale Supérieure, Pavillon Jardin, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris
Salle de réunion RDC.

"Recent research on the sense of commitment in joint action"


I will introduce a theoretical framework for investigating the sense of commitment in joint action, and then provide an overview of recent empirical research applying this framework to joint actions involving adults and children, as well as to human-robot interaction. This research focuses on factors which elicit a sense of commitment (such as the degree of coordination and the perception of a partner’s effortful contribution), leading people to remain engaged longer and to resist distractions and tempting alternatives. I will also distinguish among distinct hypotheses concerning the mechanisms by which these factors can boost commitment, and discuss ongoing research aiming to tease these hypotheses apart experimentally.

Fiona Macpherson (University of Glasgow)

Vendredi 29 mars 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Illusion and Hallucination in Virtual Reality"


What is the nature of the expriences of people who use virtual reality devices ? The contemporary debate sees philosophers either claiming that the experiences are totally illusory or hallucinatory experiences of a scene that does not exist, or that the experiences are totally veridical experiences of a vitrtual computational reality. I argue that these options are not the only ones available to us. Drawing on the cosiderations given in the first lecture about how to define illusion and hallucination, I outline how virtual reality experiences contain complex mixture of veridical and illusory/hallucinatory elements. This work also sheds light on the more basic question of what it is to perceive something.


Christine Tappolet (Université de Montréal

Vendredi 22 mars 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Emotions Inside Out : The Content of Emotions"


Most of those who hold that emotions have representational content that is evaluative also accept that the content of emotions are nonconceptual. The main motivation for nonconceptulism regarding emotions is that it accounts for apparent difference between emotions and evaluative judgments. This paper argues that if one assumes a broadly Fregean account of concepts, there are good reasons to accept that emotions have nonconceptual contents. All the main arguments for nonconceptualism regarding sensory perception easily transpose to the case of emotions. The paper ends with a discussion of two important worries, that is, firstly, that emotions can only justify evaluative judgements if their content is conceptual, and secondly, that emotions must have conceptual content because they allow for conceptually articulated cognitive bases.

Francesca Ervas (Université de Cagliari)

Vendredi 15 mars 2019 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

Visual metaphor and the “sentiment of (ir)rationality”


Metaphor is a cognitive process through which a (generally more abstract and less known) target conceptual domain is seen in light of a (generally more concrete and better known) source conceptual domain (Lakoff & Johnson 1980 ; Gibbs 1994 ; Bowdle & Gentner 2005). Verbal metaphor has been considered a condensed and implicit argument guiding the audience along a path of inferences to a conclusion, which attributes to the target some properties of the source (Macagno & Zavatta, 2014 ; Oswald & Rihs, 2014 ; Wagemans, 2016). However, metaphor is also a framing device with an “ignorance-preserving” trait (Arfini et al. 2018) : some relevant properties of the source are selected to understand the target, while other properties remain ignored, seriously affecting reasoning (Thibodeau & Borodisky 2011, 2013 ; Semino et al. 2016 ; Burgers et al. 2016). I argued that, far from being a source of irrationality, verbal metaphor might elicit a creative and productive style of reasoning in argumentation, forcing the audience to find an alternative interpretation of the premises that guarantees a conclusion (Ervas et al. 2015, 2018).
It is less clear the relationship between reasoning and visual metaphor, where metaphor is conveyed (completely or partially) pictorially (Kennedy 1982 ; Carroll 1994 ; Forceville 1994, 1996, 2008 ; Ojha 2015 ; Pérez Sobrino 2017). Also visual metaphor has been described as a condensed and implicit argument (Tseronis & Forceville 2017), which directs the audience’s attention towards certain visual properties, possibly leading to risky inferences (Knauff & Johnson-Laird 2002 ; Pollaroli & Rocci 2015). There are three main problems to consider visual metaphor as a condensed and implicit argument : 1) understanding whether there are two conceptual domains ; 2) understanding the directionality of the metaphor ; 3) understanding the attributed properties. However, visual metaphor might elicit a creative and productive style of reasoning precisely in the process of solving these problems. I propose that a “sentiment of (ir)rationality” (James 1879) or a noetic feeling of (ir)rationality (Dokic 2012) guides reasoning via visual metaphors by tracking a disruption of existing familiar conceptualizations of objects and/or actions and a (partial) recovery of ignored properties.


Barry Smith (Universtity of New York at Buffalo)

Vendredi 16 novembre 2018 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Driverless Philosophy"


Philosophers spend a great deal of time arguing over the meanings of words. Different philosophers often use the same terms with different meanings, or different terms with the same meanings. In some cases, attempts are made to formulate definitions of the terms used ; but rarely is there any attempt to keep careful track of changes in these definitions, or in the surrounding theories, as time goes by. This brings about a situation in which even more time is wasted by philosophers arguing over meanings. The talk contains the beginnings of a proposal to ameliorate this state of affairs.

Mohan Matthen (University of Toronto)

Vendredi 9 novembre 2018 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Coordinating Spatial Representations"

Sam Wilkinson (University of Exeter)

Vendredi 11 novembre 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Meta-psychiatric Expressivism"


There is an on-going debate surrounding different answers to the question "What is mental illness ?" My aim in this paper is not to engage directly with this debate, but to explore the consequences of adopting a form of expressivism with regards to the attribution of meltal illness. In other words, I am (at least initially) retreating from the contested ground about what mental illness might be, to an exploration of what attributing mental illness might do. I argue that calling someone mentally ill expresses (in a sense that I will clarify) certain evaluative attitudes (in a sense that I will clarify). I end by investigating consequences of this view for related issues, including cuntural relativism, social constructivism and the natural of illness more generally.