Institut Jean Nicod

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Presentation

 

 


Doc'in nicod



Séminaire doctoral et postdoctoral de l'Institut Jean-Nicod.
Doctoral and post-doctoral seminar of the IJN.

Doc'in Nicod is a biweekly seminar providing an opportunity for young researchers, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows from the IJN to receive feedback on work in progress from fellow graduate students and researchers of the Institute. Each session will feature one researcher of the IJN as a commentator.

The seminar is open to the public.

Talks will be held at the Institut Jean Nicod, ENS, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris. Conference room of the Pavillon Jardin.

Contact: Michael Murez or Luca Gasparri


Past Sessions

Friday, November 27th, 2015, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Anna Giustina (IJN)
Commentator: Paul Egré (CNRS, IJN)
Title: A Defense of the Reliability of Introspection

Abstract: Traditionally, introspection has often been considered infallible, and knowledge grounded in it the most secure we might have. However, this tradition has been harshly criticised. Not only is introspection now mostly believed not to be infallible, but even its reliability has been recently called into question (e.g. Schwitzgebel 2008). In this talk I reply to those criticisms. I draw a distinction between two kinds of introspection, fact-introspection and thing-introspection, and (i) argue that thing-introspection is infallible and (ii) suggest that although not infallible, fact-introspection is nonetheless reliable.

 Friday, December 11th, 2015, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Claudia Picazo Jaque (IJN/LOGOS)
Commentator: François Recanati (IJN)
Title: Occasion-sensitivity and What Is Said

Abstract: Occasionalism is the view that meaning does not determine extension. In this talk, I will focus on two ways of understanding the claim that some expressions are occasion-sensitive. According to the first, occasion-sensitivity is (together with other forms of underdeterminacy) a feature of linguistic meaning, as opposed to what is said. According to the second, occasion-sensitivity affects linguistic meaning, concepts and properties alike. I will present some reasons for preferring the second approach.

January 8th, 2016, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Jacques Mégier (IJN)
Commentator: Uriah Kriegel (CNRS, IJN)
Titre: Auto-représentation et marginalité de la conscience

Résumé : Qu'est-ce qui rend conscient un état mental ? Les état conscients sont simplement des états mentaux … dans lesquels nous sommes conscients d'être, dit D. Rosenthal, qui convient qu'il existe un fort sens intuitif de l'auto-référence de la conscience, mais il le requalifie en faveur d'une théorie méta-représentationnelle  selon laquelle une représentation mentale devient consciente si elle est l'objet de l' intentionnalité inconsciente d'un autre état mental, dans certaines circonstances appropriées.
Les théories méta-représentationnelles proposent une explication de l'état de conscience par la « rencontre » intentionnelle d'états inconscients, mais soulèvent d'importantes difficultés, d'ordre intuitif, logique, ou épistémique.
Cependant, si l'on prend au sérieux l'intuition d'auto-référentialité de la conscience (présente déjà chez Aristote - suivant certaines interprétations -, reprise par Brentano, Sartre, et ces dernières années, par Kriegel et quelques autres), un schéma remplaçant la méta-représentation par l'auto-représentation devient plausible. La conscience n'est plus une propriété extrinsèque, dérivant de certaines relations de représentation, mais intrinsèque, due à la structure d'auto-représentation de certains états mentaux.
Il faut alors montrer que ce schéma est intelligible, que le risque de régression à l'infini dans les capacités représentationnelles de la conscience n'existe pas, et que de robustes intuitions sont ainsi éclairées, comme la structuration du champ conscient entre premier plan et arrière plan, et le lien entre conscience d'arrière plan, ou marginale, et conscience de soi. Ce lien dérive du fait que la conscience marginale, dans l'auto-représentation, est la conscience de la conscience d'objet, et se qualifie aussi comme conscience subjective, c'est à dire conscience « pour moi » de l'objet.

January 22nd, 2016, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Bianca Cepollaro (IJN/Pisa)
Commentator: Philippe Schlenker (CNRS, IJN)
Title: "Expressive presuppositions: slurs and thick terms"

Abstract: I will present a presuppositional account for a class of evaluative terms that encode a descriptive and an evaluative component at the same time: slurs and thick terms. I will assess several issues related to the hybrid nature of these terms, such as their projective behavior and the strategies that can be employed to reject their evaluative content, as well as the issue of their extension. Besides, I will consider the phenomenon of so-called variability; I will argue that the variability phenomenon is a case of echoic use of language and therefore shouldn't count as a literal use. I will compare the case of variability for thick terms to the case of appropriation of slurs.

February 19th, 2016, 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Tomoo Ueda
Commentator: David Nicolas
Title: "A linguistic Understanding of the Unity Problem"

Abstract: This talk will be about the problem of the unity of propositional content (in short, the unity problem). Each constituent of a sentence expresses its own content, and these jointly contribute to the semantic content of the whole sentence. However, the semantic content of the whole cannot be reduced to the mere sum of the semantic content of its parts. Recent debates made it clear that there are two ways of characterizing the unity problem. Some philosophers see the unity problem as an instance of the unity problem for states of affairs, which assertions should depict. According to others, the unity of propositional content is given by something linguistic, such as the syntactic structure of sentences. This talk aims to examine some consequences of the latter interpretation of the problem. Among them, I will focus on the way we account for translation. Since syntactic structures are language-specific, propositional content should be language-dependent. This conflicts with classical characterizations of the notion of propositional content.

March 4, 2016, 4 - 5:30 PM
Speaker: Brice Bantegnie
Commentator: Pierre Jacob
Title: "Psychology, Still not Autonomous After All these Years".

Abstract: A perennial debate in the philosophy of psychology is the debate over the autonomy of the discipline from other sciences. Traditionally the debate has revolved around the reduction of psychological theories to lower-level theories, that is, over a metaphysical question. In this incarnation it boils down to the following question: are mental states multiply-realized by neurophysiological states? Recently, some philosophers have opened a new front in the debate. In the wake of important works on mechanisms and mechanistic explanations in biology and neuroscience, they have argued that psychological explanations are in fact mechanistic explanations and, from this fact and the claim that neuroscientific explanations are mechanistic, they have drawn the conclusion that psychology is not autonomous from neuroscience. I take it that this shift in the debate is important. Autonomy is an epistemic concept and recent work from the mechanistic front points in this direction. However, the recent debate over mechanistic explanations in psychology has been muddled by two confusions: first, that the concept of autonomy is epistemic has not been well recognized ; second, participants in the debates haven’t been clear on whether their claims should be taken to be normative or descriptive. I will argue that once these distinctions are made, we can, as mechanistic philosophers wanted, draw the conclusion that psychology is not autonomous from neuroscience.

March, 18, 4 pm - 6 pm
Speaker: Palle Leth (Université de Stockholm,  IJN)
Commentator: Jérôme Dokic
Title: "Intentions and Demonstrative Reference"

Abstract: What is the semantic value of a demonstrative in context? The possible divergence between speaker’s (S) intended value and hearer’s (H) assigned value has given rise to diverse approaches. Whether the approach is speaker or hearer oriented, the presupposition is that there is such a thing as the actual, objectively correct, value. I will argue that within a theory of utterance interpretation with respect to demonstrative reference objective truth-conditions are dispensable. A consideration of the interactive interpretation concerning utterances for which S’s intended and H’s assigned value diverge suggests there are two things which count: S’s intended value and the most reasonably assigned value. In order to account for communication with demonstratives it seems sufficient to invoke the subjective truth-conditions of S and H.

March, 21, 4 pm - 6 pm
Andrea Onofri (University of Graz)
Title: "The Sameness Model of Sameness Representation".

Abstract: The ability to identify and distinguish objects is one of our most valuable cognitive skills. How do we succeed in the crucial cognitive task of representing certain objects as the same or as different? Following Millikan, I will focus on a specific answer to this question, which I will call "the sameness model of sameness representation". According to this extremely popular view we represent sameness and difference between objects by using the relations of sameness and difference between representations. To a first approximation, we can identify the sameness model with the following thesis:

Sameness model: Representations a and b represent their referents as the same if and only if they are the same representation

The sameness model has been developed in various ways, including for instance the popular “mental files” view (Perry, Recanati, Jeshion). Focusing on cases in which we represent an object as the same at different times, I will raise a challenge for the sameness model: could there be a representational system which does not represent sameness in this way? I will consider various ways in which the sameness model might answer this challenge. My conclusion will be that the best way to construe sameness theories (like the mental files view) is to think of them as empirical hypotheses concerning the way in which sameness/difference are represented in a specific class of representational systems. This creates a new framework for discussion of the sameness model, with important implications concerning the kind of evidence which can be used to support or refute the model.

March 25th, 2016, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm 
Speaker: Andreas Heise
Commentator: Isidora Stojanovic
Title: "Metaphor and Figuralism".

Abstract: If we don’t believe in the existence of certain entities – abstract objects or moral values, for instance – but we deem it useful to talk about them nonetheless, we then engage in fictionalism. Figuralism is a particular brand of fictionalism. Figuralists hold that our philosophical talk about questionable entities is best understood as metaphorical. In defending this view, they rely on a pretence account of metaphor. My talk offers a critical examination of this account.

May, 13, 4 pm - 6 pm
Paul Boswell (University of Michigan, IJN)
Commentator: Uriah Kriegel (CNRS, IJN)
Title: "Affective Content and the Guise of the Good"

Abstract:
According to a thesis with an ancient pedigree -- the Guise of the Good -- we act for a reason only because we see some good in so acting. And according to the currently predominant version of the thesis, the connection between practical reasoning and the good is to be understood by analogy to the connection between theoretical reasoning and truth: just as belief necessarily presents its content as true, desire necessarily presents its content as good. In this talk I show how accidie and the possibility of purely instrumental reasoning put this understanding of the thesis in grave doubt. I think outline an affect-based Guise of the Good theory that can overcome these difficulties.

Cancelled / May, 27, 4:30 pm - 6 pm
Speaker: Alexandre Billon (IJN & Lille)
Commentator: Ekaterina Kubyshkina (Université Paris 1, IHPST)
Title: Schematizing the paradoxes---and showing that hypodoxes are paradoxical

Abstract:
There is a long tradition, going back at least to Richard (1905), Poincaré (1906) and Russell (1906), of blaming circular definitions for the so-called ‘paradoxes of self- reference’. In this paper, I draw on this old idea to put forward a paradox schema that fits many of these paradoxes, including Russell’s paradox, the Liar, Berry’s paradox and Curry’s paradox. According to this schema, which I call the Elusiveness Schema, all these paradoxes hinge on the definition of an object which is at least implicitly circular. In each case, we have good reason to believe both that this definition succeeds in picking its definiendum, and that it fails because of vicious circularity. Hence the paradox.

This paradox schema has a few interesting features which make it fruitful. It applies, in particular, similarly to the classical paradoxes and to what is often called ‘the duals’ of these paradoxes (the set whose members are a member of themselves, the Truth- Teller sentence Tt =‘Tt is true’, etc.). While these duals are not usually considered paradoxical—it is sometimes said that they are merely ‘pathological’ or that they are `hypodoxes'—the Elusiveness Schema shows that they are in fact genuinely paradoxical. This has consequences both for the classification of the paradoxes and for the way we should solve them.

June, 2, 4 pm - 6 pm
Speaker: Martin Fortier (IJN)
Commentator: Roberto Casati (CNRS, IJN)
Title: "The heterogeneity of the sense of reality: intentional reality, qualitative reality and modal reality"

Abstract:
In the recent years, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and anthropologists have been increasingly interested in exploring the sense (or feeling) of reality (or presence). Unlike judgments of reality (JR), which refer to high-level attributions of reality, the sense of reality (SR) strictly refers to the low-level processes through which things are non-reflectively recognized as present and/or real. For example, even if I am a metaphysical nihilist judging that nothing exists, it is very likely that while facing a snake I will still experience the snake as real. JR and SR should thus clearly be decoupled.

Several authors have proposed specific theories aiming to define what the SR consists in (for example: Billon, Dokic & Martin, Frith, Gerrans, Matthen, Noë, Ratcliffe, Seth, Slater, etc.). I will review some of these theories but then argue that none of them is entirely satisfactory. Indeed, all these theories endorse a common but highly questionable assumption, to wit that the concept of SR pinpoints a single clear-cut natural kind.

The modus operandi through which I will impugn the “homogeneity view” will be very simple. I will consider several case studies (watching a movie, being in a virtual environment, having a derealized experience, having a psychotic experience, having a hallucinogenic experience, etc.); next, I will show that when presented with these cases we all have relatively uncontroversial intuitions as to whether a SR is involved or not. I will then suggest that the SR (or the absence thereof) involved in all these cases is not homogeneous and consists instead of three distinct concepts of SR. As a consequence, researchers should either not trust their intuitions when theorizing about the SR or trust them but then be consistent and discard the “homogeneity view” and adopt the “heterogeneity view”. The conceptual, the phenomenological and the neurobiological landscape of the heterogeneous view I am advocating will be finally presented.

June 17, 4:30 pm - 6 pm
Speaker: Armando Lavalle (IJN)
Commentator: Isidora Stojanovic
Title:"On Motivating Multipropositionalism (for Complex Statements)".

Abstract: In the philosophy of language, monopropositionalism is the thesis that a single statement has some unique truth-conditions encoded or specified in one proposition. In contrast, multipropositionalism is the thesis that a single statement is associated with  a system of multiple propositions, each one specifying different truth-conditions for that statement. In Reference and Reflexivity (2001), John Perry argues in favor of a multipropositionalist theory of language but focuses mainly on the case of simple statements (with no modal operators) that involve singular terms. Then, he tries to show how one can exploit the resources of the theory for dealing with certain philosophical problems concerning these statements, e.g., the problem of cognitive significance between statements that differ only in the occurrence of coreferential expressions.

My main purpose in this talk is to motivate a plausible extension of the reference-reflexive theory in order to include not only simple statements, but also statements with one (or maybe more than just one kind of) modal operator or predicate (either metaphysical,  epistemic, or both). The main strategy consists in, first,  presenting a nesting-argument (analogous in some important respects to an argument Scott Soames presents against a version of two-dimensional semantics), and second, showing how a plausible extension of the theory is needed in order to avoid unwanted consequences.

July 1st, 4:30 pm - 6 pm
Speaker: Alexandre Billon (IJN & Lille)
Commentator: Ekaterina Kubyshkina (Université Paris 1, IHPST)
Title: Schematizing the paradoxes---and showing that hypodoxes are paradoxical

Abstract:
There is a long tradition, going back at least to Richard (1905), Poincaré (1906) and Russell (1906), of blaming circular definitions for the so-called ‘paradoxes of self- reference’. In this paper, I draw on this old idea to put forward a paradox schema that fits many of these paradoxes, including Russell’s paradox, the Liar, Berry’s paradox and Curry’s paradox. According to this schema, which I call the Elusiveness Schema, all these paradoxes hinge on the definition of an object which is at least implicitly circular. In each case, we have good reason to believe both that this definition succeeds in picking its definiendum, and that it fails because of vicious circularity. Hence the paradox.

This paradox schema has a few interesting features which make it fruitful. It applies, in particular, similarly to the classical paradoxes and to what is often called ‘the duals’ of these paradoxes (the set whose members are a member of themselves, the Truth- Teller sentence Tt =‘Tt is true’, etc.). While these duals are not usually considered paradoxical—it is sometimes said that they are merely ‘pathological’ or that they are `hypodoxes'—the Elusiveness Schema shows that they are in fact genuinely paradoxical. This has consequences both for the classification of the paradoxes and for the way we should solve them.

 

 

 


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