Institut Jean Nicod

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Nicod Philosophy Colloquium 2020-2021

(La plupart des discussions seront en ligne. Nous aurons un nombre limité d’emplacements pour les participants externes. Si vous souhaitez assister à une session, merci d’envoyer un mail environ une semaine avant cette session à

L’Institut Jean Nicod est heureux de vous présenter les colloquium de cette année. Ci-dessous le calendrier des intervenants.


David Velleman (NYU)

"The two normativities"

Vendredi 12 mars 2021 de 19h à 21h

Résumé : 

Two kinds of normativity have been identified by moral philosophers. One is the normativity of action- or attitude-guiding language ; the other is the normativity of reasons for actions or attitudes. I am going to argue that the normativity of language and the normativity of reasons have much less to do with each other than is generally supposed. My suggestion is that Hume’s argument about ‘is’ and ‘ought’, which is an argument about language, has very little to do with his argument about reason and the passions, which is an argument about reasons.

Veuillez contacter les organisateurs pour une copie de l’article discuté.


Laurie Paul (Yale)

Vendredi 9 avril 2021 à 11h

Nirmalangshu Mukherjee (Delhi)

Vendredi 7 mai 2021 à 11h


Colloquium passés : 


Ian Philips (Johns Hopkins University)

"Are We All Animals"

Vendredi 12 février 2021 de 19h à 21h

Résumé : 

Animalism is standardly articulated as the thesis that we are animals. So understood, cases of dicephalus conjoined twins are widely regarded as posing a serious challenge to the view. For such twins would appear to be numerically distinct individuals associated with a single animal (e.g., Campbell and McMahan 2016). In reply, animalists have claimed either that such twins are two animals (e.g., Liao 2006, Snowdon 2014), or that they are not numerically distinct (e.g., Olson 2014, Boyle 2020). Both approaches face serious objections. This motivates a neglected response on which whilst “we” (in a sense to be made precise) are animals, dicephalus conjoined twins are not. Supposing that each twin is instead a distinct proper part of an animal, this proposal quickly encounters an especially severe version of the “thinking parts” objection to animalism. For if the twins are thinking parts of animals, what prevents “our” having proper parts which think in their own right (Olson 2014). By combining Madden’s (2016) reply to the traditional “thinking parts” objection with a more sophisticated, pluralist account of function, I show how this objection can be defused. What emerges is a principled basis for holding that, quite consistent with animalism, dicephalus conjoined twins are a real-world example of non- animal persons. Time allowing, I’ll draw one striking consequence of this view, and explore whether it applies in any other clinical cases.


Gabriel Greenberg (UCLA)

"The Iconic-Symbolic Spectrum"

Vendredi 9 octobre 2020 de 19h à 21h

Résumé :

 Iconic representation is exemplified by 3D models, pictures, maps, and diagrams. Symbolic representation is exemplified by words, mathematical and logical symbols, sentences, and discourses. This classification, due to C.S. Peirce, has found growing currency in linguistics and cognitive science, even while the nature of the underlying distinction remains obscure. In approaching this problem, I am guided by Ferdinand de Saussure’s famous dictum that linguistic signs bear a merely "arbitrary" relationship to the concepts they express, in contrast to any "natural" or "inner" connection. By reimagining Saussure’s opposition through the lens of contemporary formal semantics, I hope to shed light on two basic ways that representation can work. Comparative study of semantic theories for languages, diagram systems, and pictorial systems further reveals deeply divergent expressive strategies for encoding content in representational form.


Victoria McGeer (Princeton/ANU)

"Empathy internalized"

Vendredi 13 novembre 2020 de 9h30 à 11h30 

Résumé : 

It is commonly accepted that empathetic contact with others can play a key role in supporting and enhancing our own moral agency by way of engaging our emotions in a fitting or appropriate way. I examine a particular instance of this commonsense view : that empathetic contact with others can be a powerful instigator of moral development by way of generating the self-castigating emotions of guilt, shame and remorse when we are brought face to face with the wrongs we have done to them. In defense of this commonsense view, I argue the self-castigating emotions can be epistemically valuable so far as they promote insight into our conduct and character that may be necessary for such development. But more problematically, these emotions can also be motivationally counterproductive for such development. To overcome this problem, I examine the conditions under which these self-castigating emotions can be managed, contained or metabolized, thereby supporting rather than defeating our self-development. My claim will be that forging an empathetic connection with our own erring self is an essential part of this developmental process.


Pepa Toribio (ICREA-UB)

"Biases and Vices"

Vendredi 11 décembre 2020 de 11h à 13h 

Résumé : 

Beliefs formed on the basis of implicit biases pose a problem for accessibilism, since implicit biases are consciously inaccessible, yet they are relevant to epistemic justification. Recent empirical results suggest, however, that we are more aware of the content of our implicit biases than we had previously assumed. I here discuss the notion of accessibility vis-à-vis these empirical results and argue that accessibilism can meet the challenge posed by implicit biases in two different ways. The accessibilist can enrich the supervenience base for justification by including in such base facts that the subject is in a position to know. Alternatively, the accessibilist can appeal to a distinction between first- and second-order facts and argue that, while the former may be inaccessible, the latter need not. Ultimately both strategies fail, but the way in which they do, I conclude, reveals something general and important about our epistemic obligations and our epistemic vices.