Institut Jean Nicod

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Colloquium de philosophie de Jean Nicod


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

Lieu : Salle de réunion de l’Institut Jean Nicod

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 Denis Buehler.



 Prochaines conférences





Conférences passées



Simona Chiodo (Milan)

"From Phoebus to witches to death clocks. Why we are taking predictive technologies to the extreme"

31 Mai 2024

Je me concentrerai sur les technologies émergentes qui tentent de plus en plus de prédire notre mort, c’est-à-dire quand nous mourrons et pour quelle cause. Plus précisément, je me concentrerai sur la réponse possible à la question philosophique suivante : pourquoi poussons-nous les technologies prédictives à l’extrême ? Tout d’abord, je réfléchirai aux résultats de recherches empiriques récentes. Deuxièmement, j’aborderai la question de pousser les technologies prédictives à l’extrême, c’est-à-dire de prédire la mort d’une personne, à travers des outils philosophiques, depuis des expériences de pensée jusqu’à une perspective philosophique sur la raison principale possible pour laquelle nous utilisons le pouvoir de prédiction sans précédent des technologies émergentes pour améliorer davantage. et plus notre connaissance du moment où nous mourrons et de quelle cause. La réponse philosophique que je propose est la suivante : même les horloges de la mort, ainsi que d’autres types de technologies émergentes qui acquièrent un pouvoir de prédiction sans précédent, peuvent d’une manière ou d’une autre nous sauver en réactivant notre production de sens chaque fois que notre vie est incertaine et exigeante au point que nous ne pouvons pas y faire face. notre avenir ouvert en planifiant et en agissant par nous-mêmes. S’il est vrai que le prix que nous payons, c’est-à-dire une sorte d’automatisation de notre propre avenir, est extrêmement élevé, il est également vrai que, à notre époque incertaine et exigeante sans précédent, la création de sens autonome semble nous effrayer encore plus.

Elisabeth Schellekens (Uppsala)

"Thinking the Aesthetic : Towards a Noetic conception of Aesthetic Experience"

8 Mars 2024

My main aim in this paper is argue for a reconfiguration of the relation between aesthetic and cognitive value. It is my claim that aesthetic experience is best conceived as a kind of explorative thought process which allows us to engage in contemplations, observations and considerations which, although not directly aimed at acquiring knowledge, often lead to an enhanced understanding or improved epistemic grasp both of the object of appreciation itself and of the wider context in which it is lodged. I shall refer to this as the noetic conception of aesthetic experience in virtue of its emphasis on the intellect (as opposed to the sensory). On this conception, aesthetic value acts as an invitation to engage in a series of contemplative and reflective processes during which we rely not only on the perceptual, imaginative and affective abilities which have occupied such a central role in aesthetic theory, but also on our capacities for sense-making and theory-building. Aesthetic experience can, then, be understood as a way of rendering intelligible possible avenues of thought through the rich and complex interplay of all these abilities and skills

Mathias Thaler (Edinburgh)

"Eco-Miserabilism and Radical Hope"

February 9th 2024

Eco-miserabilism—the thought that it is already too late to avert the collapse of human civilization—is gaining traction in contemporary environmentalism. This paper offers a “reparative” reading of this post-apocalyptic approach by defending it against those who associate it with defeatism and fatalism. My argument is that authors like Roy Scranton and the members of the Dark Mountain collective, while rejecting mainstream activism, remain invested in a specific kind of (radical) hope. Eco-miserabilists, hence, promote an affective politics for our climate-changed world that is both negative and iconoclastic. Without offering blueprints for a desirable future, they critically interrogate reality and disenchant the “cruel optimism” (Lauren Berlant) behind reformist plans for a “good Anthropocene.” The ultimate target of the eco-miserabilist position is the illusion that groundbreaking innovations, either in the realm of science and technology or of ordinary representative politics, could redeem us on an environmentally ravaged planet.

Hilla Jacobson (Jerusalem)

"On the Very Idea of Valenced Perception"

15 Décembre 2023

Tradition contrasts ‘cold,’ motivationally-inert, ‘standard’ perception with ‘hot,’ motivationally-potent, emotion and affect. Against this backdrop, it has recently been argued that perceptual experiences have another fundamental phenomenal aspect, beyond their sensory aspects – perception in all sense-modalities is (at least often) Intrinsically valenced. Roughly, its phenomenal character is inherently pleasant or unpleasant, feeling good or bad to some degree. Yet, the revolutionary notion of Intrinsically Valenced Perception (IVP) requires elucidation and is fraught with theoretical difficulties. The paper aims to explicate and address some foundational questions regarding the very notion of IVP : What is required for perception to be intrinsically valenced ? Specifically, if perception itself is valenced, what should be the relations between its valenced aspects and sensory aspects ? The paper identifies the relevant notion of IVP by uncovering various principles that express constraints and desiderata that IVP must meet. It further offers a Determination-Dimension Model of the relations between sensory and valenced aspects that aims to resolve the previously identified theoretical difficulties.

Erasmus Mayr (Erlangen/Nuernberg)

"Intentional Agency and Practical Knowledge"

10 Novembre 2023

In her ’Intention’, Elizabeth Anscombe famously claimed that agents, in acting intentionally, have non-observational, ’practical’ knowledge of their actions. Anscombe’s claim has found enthusiastic adherents, but many philosophers have remained skeptical. The situation between these groups has developed into something of a stalemate, since the positive arguments for Anscombe’s claim mostly come from a broadly Anscombean perspective on intentional agency, and are thus unlikely to persuade philosophers who are not already attracted to this perspective. By contrast, the question of whether the case for a necessary connection between intentional agency and non-observational, ’practical’ knowledge of the kind Anscombe envisages can be made on independent grounds is (with few exceptions) still relatively unexplored. In this talk, I will try to develop an qualified defense of Anscombe’s claim which aims to show that even philosophers attracted to a non-Anscombean ’standard’ picture of intentional agency have good reasons to accept her claim.

Jonathan Mitchell (Cardiff)

"The Intentional Horizons of Visual Experience"

Vendredi 13 Octobre à 11h

How is it that we can visually experience complete three-dimensional objects despite the fact we are limited, in any given perceptual moment, to perceiving the sides facing us from a specific spatial perspective ? To make sense of this, such visual experiences must refer to occluded or presently unseen back-sides which (i) are not sense-perceptually given (which are strictly not visually experienced), and (ii) which cannot be sense-perceptually given while the subject is occupying the spatial perspective on the object that they currently are – I call this the horizonality of visual experience. Existing accounts of these horizonal references are unsatisfactory. In providing a satisfactory account, this paper argues that that the content and structure of the visual experience of complete three-dimensional objects is as follows : we are perceptually presented with the objects being perceptible from yet-to-be-determined different ego-centric locations. As part of the content of visual experience, this motivates non-propositional attitudes of anticipation. Explicating this proposal is the central positive aim of this paper.

Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia)

"Translation as Humanism"

Vendredi 21 avril à 11h

Many philosophers of translation have evoked the Biblical narrative to characterize our condition as “post Babel”, meaning that we constitute multiple cultures that express themselves in a plurality of different languages carrying different worldviews and different epistemes. Against that post Babel confusion and fragmentation, translation, which the philosopher Paul Ricœur said is both an impossible and a sublime endeavor, is the task of building bridges and connections. That is the argument of my book “De langue à langue. L’hospitalité de la traduction”. My talk will present the book and its argument around the two following points :

  1. Translatio studii : the language of philosophy as translation.
  2. Translation as a philosophical “experience of the foreign” (Berman)

Neil Levy (Oxford/Macquarie)

"I can’t shmelieve it ! Sincere and insincere false belief reports"

Vendredi 10 mars à 11h

Neil Van Leeuwen and Sebastian Dieguez have each argued that agents do not believe many of the things they report. Instead, agents report their “secondary cognitive attitudes” or “croivances”, which they imagine to be beliefs. In this paper, I survey the evidence for sincere and insincere false belief reports. I argue that shmeliefs (as I will call them) are less common that Van Leeuwen and Dieguez claim. I will then advance some speculations on how shmeliefs are acquired and sustained. Contra Dieguez, I will suggest that agents fall into shmelieving. They are sustained in the face of rational pressure in part because shmeliefs are penumbra surrounding genuine beliefs, and the evidence that supports the belief is taken to support the shmelief.

Elizabeth Schechter (Maryland)

"Self-consciousness in the Split-brain Subject"

Vendredi 10 février à 11h

In this talk, I first argue that the two hemispheres of a split-brain subject are associated with distinct conscious thinkers and, indeed, distinct thinkers of self-conscious thoughts, R and L. I then argue that the dynamics of self-conscious thought after split-brain surgery shows that R and L are unlike other pairs of self-conscious thinkers. Indeed, there is a basic psychological capacity much simpler than but ordinarily inherent in full-blown psychological self-consciousness that R and L both lack.

Enrico Terrone (Genova)

"A Taxonomy of Representational Artifacts"

Vendredi 9 décembre à 15h

I conceive of a representational artifact as an artifact that has the primary function of eliciting a twofold representational mental state from its audience. I borrow the notion of primary function from the ontology of artifacts, and the notion of representational mental state from the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. The first fold (VF) of the elicited mental state is about the artifact as a representational vehicle while the other (RF) is about what is represented. By analyzing VF and RF and their relationship, I will draw the distinction between linguistic and depictive artifacts, and I will carve the category of depictive artifact at its joints. I will then consider hybrid cases and I will introduce other relevant distinction such as still/temporal and fiction/nonfiction. Finally, I will show the advantages of my proposal compared with the philosophical taxonomies of representational artifacts proposed by Peirce, Walton and Heersmink.

Dimitri Coelho Mollo (Umeå) et Raphaël Millière (Columbia)

"The Vector Grounding Problem"

Vendredi 18 novembre à 11h

The impressive performance of current artificial language models in complex linguistic tasks has generated considerable debate about how to understand their abilities. Are their surprisingly compelling linguistic outputs just mere statistical parroting of the huge trove of text they were trained on, lacking grounding in the real world, and thus devoid of intrinsic meaning, unable to be about the world ?

In this paper, our aim is two-fold. First, we will distinguish different senses of representational grounding : referential, sensorimotor, communicative, and epistemic. We will argue that the referential sense of grounding is the central one for assessing whether language models are more than mere stochastic parrots. Second, we will argue that, in light of their architecture and training, artificial language models could satisfy the minimal conditions for the relevant notion of representational grounding. Language models are typically trained on datasets whose implicit structure essentially depends on causal interactions between humans and the world, and have to learn to represent and exploit such structure to produce their outputs. We will show that our best theories of representational content can make space for representational grounding in language models, and even more so in visuo-linguistic models.

Louise Richardson (York)

"Shared grief"

Vendredi 14 octobre à 11h

Shared grief is sometimes offered by philosophers as a paradigm for shared emotion. More specifically, an example (from Max Scheler) of parents grieving together over their dead child has inspired metaphysically demanding accounts on which shared emotion is understood as the sharing, amongst two or more subjects, of a token emotional episode. In this paper I argue that even if such accounts can be made to work for other emotions, they are not a good fit for grief. In responding to some ways in which Scheler’s example is misleading, I offer a metaphysically undemanding account of shared grief that better respects both the nature of grief and the on-the-ground realities of grief in groups. On this account, just as individual grief is a heterogeneous process of recognising and accommodating significant loss, so too is shared grief. My focus here is on shared grief, which might occur in relatively small groups such as couples or families. However, I end by suggesting that the account I offer of shared grief brings into view the possibility of accounting for some instances of more large-scale collective grief, as well as, potentially, other shared and collective emotional processes.

Michael Rescorla (UCLA)

"The Kolmogorovian Representational Theory of Mind"

Vendredi 10 juin 2022 à 11h

The core notion of Bayesian decision theory is credence --- a quantitative measure of the degree to which an agent believes a hypothesis. What are the “hypotheses” ? In other words, what are the objects of credence ? One popular view holds that the hypotheses are sets of worlds. Another popular view holds that the hypotheses are mental representations. I argue that neither view fits well with empirically successful Bayesian models of perception, motor control, navigation, and other low-level psychological domains. I argue that these low-level domains are best handled by a novel view that assigns credences to sets of mental representations.

Miranda Fricker (CUNY)

"How Is Forgiveness Always A Gift ?"

Vendredi 20 mai 2022 à 11h

Many sense something gift-like at the heart of all forgiveness, and this seems right. It is clearly so of unconditional forms of forgiveness, where we forgive even in the absence of apology, for in such cases our forgiveness is fully elective or discretionary—a piece of extraordinary moral generosity. However, it is deeply puzzling to think how it might be true of conditional forms of forgiveness. In conditional cases a sufficient apology is seen to generate some sort of obligation to forgive, and there is a natural tension between the idea of obligation and the idea of a gift. I will dispel this tension, however, by showing that the obligation to forgive is an instance of the general Normativity of the Gift, according to which it is entirely ordinary to have an obligation to give a gift, and yet that gift can never be demanded as of right—not without radical pragmatic self-defeat. I thus explain our starting intuition, that all forgiveness is basically gift-like, not in terms of its never being obligatory (we often owe each other gifts), but rather in terms of its never being demandable as of right. There is no right to be forgiven, even when you are owed forgiveness, and this, I contend, is what explains our deep sense of the gift at the heart of all forgiveness.

Mona Simion (Glasgow)

"A Puzzle for the Normativity of Inquiry"

Vendredi 22 avril 2022 à 11h

This talk looks at a puzzle affecting views that take epistemic norms to be zetetic norms - i.e. norms of inquiry : since garden variety epistemic norms and straightforward norms of inquiry often come in conflict, and since it is implausible, for any given normative domain, that it should be such that it is peppered with internal normative conflict, it cannot be that epistemic norms are inquiry norms. I look at three ways to escape the puzzle, I argue that they don’t work, and put forth my own account. On this view, one is only the subject of epistemic normativityproper insofar as one is in a position to know. As such, I argue, normative conflicts do not arise in situations in which one is not in a position to know that p in virtue ofinquiring into whether q.

Paul Boghossian (NYU) - Session Spéciale

"Widespread puzzling beliefs"

Lundi 14 mars 2022 à 17h

Comment expliquer le fait que tant de personnes semblent aujourd’hui croire à des propositions qui ont été réfutées de manière décisive par les preuves disponibles ? L’exposé sera suivi de 15 minutes de commentaires de Gloria Origgi et d’une session de questions-réponses. Session spéciale organisé avec l’équipe Normes Epistémiques (Projet PeriTia). Pour assister à la réunion en présence, veuillez écrire à : Un lien zoom sera communiqué prochainement

Julia Langkau (Flensburg)

"Two Notions of Creativity"

Vendredi 11 mars 2022 à 11h

According to a widely-accepted definition originally provided by Margaret Boden, creativity is the ability to come up with ideas or artefacts that are new relative to some comparison class, that are surprising or unexpected, and that are in some way or other valuable, appropriate or useful. While this definition focuses on the creative product, our main interest when it comes to creativity is often a conscious and valuable imaginative process. This paper argues that current approaches to creativity blend together two different notions of creativity which should be kept apart : product creativity and process creativity. If we distinguish these two notions, we can resolve some current conceptual tensions concerning creativity and explain better how animals, artificial intelligence generated art and inventions, children’s drawings and exceptional humans can all be called ‘creative’.

Julie Jebeile (Berne)

"Values in climate science"

Vendredi 11 février 2022 à 11h

In this talk, I will highlight the different roles values can play in the production of climate information for mitigation and adaptation policies. First, I will explore how values are used to define modelling choices, to quantify uncertainties and probabilities, and to produce expert judgments. Second, I will address the possible difficulties that value influence may raise, in particular in terms of epistemic inequality. Finally, I will suggest ways to overcome such difficulties in managing values in climate science, through the explicitation of values, the involvement of stakeholders, and of deliberative groups.

Myrto Mylopoulos (Carleton)

"Agency as a Marker of Consciousness in the Gray Zone"

Vendredi 10 décembre 2021 à 11h

Studies of consciousness often treat verbal report as the “gold standard” for attributions of conscious mental states to another individual. But there are cases where this strategy is not available, for instance, in non-human animals and infants. In response, some have suggested that non-verbal behaviour, i.e., certain forms of agency, can be used as evidence of conscious awareness in such cases (e.g., Bayne 2012).

In this talk, I propose to explore the viability of such a view in the context of patients that have been diagnosed as having unresponsiveness wakefulness syndrome (UWS), and who exhibit no overt purposive responses to their environment, but nonetheless retain the ability to covertly follow certain commands, as evidenced by neuroimaging techniques. I first confront a set of skeptical challenges in the literature, which aim to cast doubt on the claim that the covert responses these individuals produce amount to intentional actions. Next, I argue that though their responses are genuinely intentional, we still do not have strong reasons to suppose that the relevant mental states that enable these individuals to produce them are conscious states. I end by addressing a primary motivation for determining whether UWS individuals are consciously aware, which is an assumed link between consciousness and moral status. I argue that this link is weaker than it seems

Dustin Stokes (Utah)

"The malleability of the mind"

Vendredi 29 octobre 2021 à 11h

Orthodoxy in philosophy of perception and cognitive science still has it that perception is modular. Indeed, modularity is treated by its proponents and opponents as the default theory. This default position assumption, I argue, is supported neither by strong arguments nor by superior explanatory power. Once we give up the assumption, genuine alternative architectures of the mind can be proposed and defended on their own merits rather than as counterexamples to the default. The alternative I defend is the malleability of the mind. Thinking not only affects perception, thinking improves perception. These broad claims are defended by appeal to a wide range of empirical research on perceptual expertise.

LA Paul (Yale)

“The intuitive theory of the self”

Vendredi 15 octobre 2021 à 11h

I explore the philosophical issues that arise when we explore the metaphysical structure of experience and the first personal self, especially with respect to causal and temporal experience.

Nirmalangshu Mukherjee (University of Delhi, India)

"Sound of Thoughts"

Vendredi 7 mai 2021 à 11h

All work on language assume a certain basic design feature of language : there is a thought part and there is a sensorimotor part. Human languages are distinguished in that these two parts are somehow put together. The task of a theory of language thus is to suggest explanatory models in which this design feature is predicted for each construction in each human language. This design feature has also motivated some researchers, such as Chomsky and Berwick (2016), to propose a ‘divide and rule’ policy : language basically concerns (structuring of) thought, sound is ‘ancillary’.

We develop some preliminary considerations to suggest that the Chomsky-Berwick proposal is radically false. We develop two related arguments. First, we show that thoughts involving singular terms are necessarily connected with sound. Hence, the description of human thought remains incomplete without sound-meaning correlation. Second, more fundamentally, we challenged the idea that there could be thought without antecedent sound/gesture. Sound/gesture gives the ‘body’ to thought ; sound/gesture enables thought to come to being, so to speak. If time permits, a range of consequences will be sketched.

Christopher Peacocke (Columbia)

"Philosophical and Empirical Aspects of Music Perception"

Vendredi 14 mai 2021 de 11h à 13h

This talk will address the question of what it is for music to possess emotional and other psychological content ; and what it is not. It will discuss the relations of the approach suggested to other recent theories (Robinson, Schlenker). More generally, it will address the relations between constitutive philosophical theories on the one hand and both scientific and historical issues on the other. It will consider the relation of a constitutive account to autism and musical understanding ; to the visual perception by the audience of musical performers ; and to the structure of underlying representations involved in music perception in the mind-brain. Time permitting, it will also discuss the contributions constitutive philosophical accounts can make to the characterization of musical styles.

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