Institut Jean Nicod

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Doc’in Nicod


Séminaire doctoral et postdoctoral de l’Institut Jean-Nicod. 

Doc’in Nicod est un séminaire bihebdomadaire, ouvert au public, qui donne l’occasion aux jeunes chercheurs, doctorants et post-doctorants de l’IJN de recevoir un retour sur leurs travaux en cours de la part de leurs collègues étudiants diplômés et chercheurs de l’Institut. Chaque session sera commentée par un chercheur de l’IJN.

Lieu : Salle de réunion de l’Institut Jean-Nicod, ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris

Contact : Armando Lavalle ou Valentin Weber



Prochaines Sessions


Session 7

January 12, 2024, 16:00-17:30

Emilio Rubiera Azcona (Institut Jean Nicod / University of Oviedo)

"Modus representandi et componendi : a numerically-schismatic, idolatrous compte rendu of modes of representation... and a new genus ?"

Commentator : Jérôme Dokic

In this presentation I set up a "numerically-schismatic, idolatrous compte rendu" of the most familiar modes of representation and I argue that the iconic and discursive modes of representation are not as mutually exclusive categories as traditionally thought. At least a third kind of representation blending the semantic properties of icons and the syntactic properties of discourses. This iconic-discursive genus behaves differently from other representational formats, such as distributed representations or maps, previously put forward as challenging Jerry Fodor’s —among others— basic distinction. Some practical illustrations —artificial and natural— are provided showing how iconic-discursive representations may facilitate trade-offs between the world and the representational mind, as well as between the differently complex levels of representation that mediate between percepts and concepts.




Sessions Passées



Session 6 - Anatolii Kozlov (Institut Jean Nicod / UCL)

" In Search for Aesthetic Properties in the Practice of Science"

17 Juin 2022, de 16h00 à 17h30

Commentatrice : Valeria Giardino

Scientists often appreciate scientific objects, practices, and products aesthetically. The problem is that if their aesthetic claims are mere euphemisms for, say, epistemic aptness, then there is nothing specifically aesthetic about these claims. On the other hand, if these claims are not euphemisms ­– and I believe they are not – scientific aesthetic claims must exist on the continuum with aesthetic claims made about art or nature. This is because scientific objects, practices, and products share with nature their ’subject matter’ (broadly construed) and, on the other hand, share with art the practice of producing skilful artefacts : physical and visual objects, instruments, models, narratives, representations, so on. From the beginning, philosophers of science rushed forward to assess the role of aesthetic values (beauty, simplicity, coherence etc.) in the context of theory-choice. However, Todd (2008) questioned the aesthetic nature of such values in this context, suggesting that without a satisfactory account of aesthetic response, these claims are indistinguishable from epistemic claims. Here I claim that the content-oriented approach to aesthetic experience, developed by Carroll, can respond to this challenge. Shifting focus from axiology to formal and aesthetic properties, it allows explaining how genuinely aesthetic claims can be exercised in scientific context. I suggest that the content approach is supported by the most recent developments in aesthetics of science and motivates the search for aesthetic aspects of scientific practice in a more pluralistic way. I conclude by discussing how aesthetic properties of science may back up its epistemic progress.

Session 5 - Constant Bonard (Institut Jean Nicod / ENS)

"A (quasi) belief-desire theory of emotion : the etiological cognition–conation account"

3 Juin 2022, de 16h00 à 17h30

Commentateur : Jérôme Dokic

Belief-desire theories of emotion were popular in the 1980s but have since suffered repeated attacks. In the recent philosophical literature on emotions, they seemingly have been left for dead. In this paper, I argue that these objections have not been fatal. The new (quasi) belief-desire theory that I propose here – which I call the etiological cognition-conation account (ECCA) – can avoid them. In a nutshell, the ECCA states that a normally elicited emotional episode involves a mental process (the appraisal process) that is constituted of a kind of inferential process on (quasi) belief-desire pairs. The mental states in question are cognitive and conative states that can be low-level, unconscious, and fragmented. Only some theories of beliefs and desires consider them as such, hence the prefix ‘(quasi)’. These cognition-conation pairs cause changes in the other components of the emotional episode – the action tendencies, physiological responses, and emotional feelings. If the ECCA is a viable theory, it should come as good news for emotion theory because (quasi) belief-desire theories allow building important bridges with other fields both within and outside philosophy that are otherwise unavailable.

Session 4 - Víctor Carranza (University of Milan / ENS)

"The indexical view of affective expressivity"

20 Mai 2022, de 16h00 à 17h30

Commentateur : Benjamin Spector

Research on affective meaning has produced models that integrate the affective aspects of curse words such as ’damn’ in a compositional framework (e.g., Potts 2005, 2007). However, there is extensive evidence that curse words cannot be assigned a single or stable affective interpretation across contexts (Jay 2000, McCready 2012). For instance, even though expletive adjectives (e.g., ’damn’), particularistic insults (e.g., ’bastard’), and slurs (e.g., ’faggot’) typically express (and elicit) negatively valenced affective states, they can be interpreted positively in some contexts too. Thus, inspired by recent developments in formal sociolinguistics (Burnett 2017, 2019), I propose an indexical approach to affective meaning. Under this approach, an affective expression is associated with a set of affective qualities, any of which may emerge in a given context depending on the interpreter’s prior assumptions about the speaker’s affective predispositions. In other terms, I will defend the idea that affective expressions, and in particular curse words, are interpreted depending on the expression’s stereotypical interpretation and what is assumed about the speaker’s affective predispositions in a given context.

Session 3 - Louis Rouillé (Collège de France)

"How much of your self do you need to imagine being someone else ?"

24 Mars 2022, de 16h00 à 17h30

Commentatrice : Isidora Stojanovic

In (Vendler 1979), Zeno Vendler tentatively argued that imagination is always about oneself. Quite independently but very much in the same spirit, Christopher Peacocke, in (Peacocke 1985), argued that "for each person, his imaginings always in a sense involve imagining something about himself" ; and in (Walton 1990), discussing Peacocke’s view, Kendall Walton is "inclined to think that imagination is essentially self-referential in a certain way". I call this claim that imagination is essentially reflexive in some specific sense the Vendler-Peacocke-Walton Hypothesis (VPW) and try to characterise it adequately. That said, it seems that there are counter-examples to (VPW), based on cases when one imagines being someone else. (Williams 1973) famously "imagined being Napoleon from the inside", and argued that such imaginative scenario is quite literally self-less. (Recanati 2007) takes up the counter-example and labels such imaginative project "quasi-de se" : they look like they are de se (i.e. about oneself) but in fact they do not involve the imaginer’s self in any sense, and so are not genuinely de se. I show that such counter-examples can be met if we introduce a notion of quasi-self. The notion builds up on the widely accepted distinction between thick and thin selves. A quasi-self should be thought of as a projection of the imaginer’s empirical self into the imagined content. I contend that quasi-selves never disappear, contra Williams and Recanati, and that they are useful to make subtle distinctions between different imaginative scenarios inviting being someone else. If this proposal is correct, then (VPW) is vindicated.

Session 2 - Jean Gové (University of St Andrews)

"Reexamining Acquaintance : Moving from Causation to Capacities"

17 Mars 2022, de 16h00 à 17h30

Commentateur : Ori Simchen

Any theory of acquaintance postulates the necessity of some relation existing between subject and object. Today, this relation is generally described in terms of causation (which I call the Causal View). I argue that a causal view of acquaintance faces some challenges which should make us seek an alternative. In its stead, I present what I term as Cognitive Acquaintance (CogA). CogA relies heavily on Evans’ notion of discriminating knowledge and capacities. However, I also include the notion of skill. Thus, I argue that CogA can both overcome the difficulties faced by the Causal View, as well as explaining why skilled individuals, professionals, and experts succeed in becoming acquainted with certain objects while unskilled individuals are not.

Session 1 - Merel Semeijn (University of Groningen)

"Interactive fiction and breaking the fourth wall"

7 Décembre, de 12h à 13h30

Commentateur : Ori Simchen

Philosophers of fiction often take fiction novels (e.g. the Sherlock Holmes novels) as their primary examples of fiction. Recently, however, some have voiced dissatisfaction with this focus. The concern is that a comprehensive philosophy of fiction should also pay attention to other types of fiction practices such as paintings, comic books, movies, theatre, pretend play, LARPing, (video) games, etc. In this talk, I will present plans for future research. I want to explore whether and how concepts, analyses, and insights from my Ph.D. research (which also focused mostly on fiction novels) might be extended to other types of fiction practices. After giving an overview of possible research directions I will, in the second part of the talk, focus on one potential project. I will discuss the phenomenon of breaking the fourth wall (something that is typically found in theatre or film), i.e. when a character in some fiction somehow makes reference to the fictionality of the world that they are in. I will propose an analysis of breaking the fourth wall as ‘fictional metafictional statements’.


Session 1 - Hugo Hogenbirk (University of Groningen)

"Currie and Le Poidevin at the Arcades : A case for presentism in game fictions"

7 Décembre, de 15h30 à 17h

Commentateur : Jérôme Pelletier

In this talk I argue that game fictions differ from other types of fiction in what the metaphysical status of these fiction’s timelines is. It has been argued that fictional timelines should be understood as a B-series of events (Currie 1992, Le Poidevin 1988/2001). However, I argue video game fiction’s timelines are best understood as an A-series. The now of the player and the now of the fiction coincide ; a view dubbed presentism. The now of the player ties directly into the fictional now because the player is not only shown a fiction, but is also (in their own now) influencing this fiction. Against presentism, Currie (1992) levies cases of anachrony (flash-backs/flash-forwards). Against this I argue that games exhibit only quasi-anachrony, and I identify 3 particular types of quasi-anachrony. Le Poidevin (2001) argues there are occurrences in fiction that imply the closedness of the fictional future (and thus its B-series nature). Against this I argue that there are similarly occurrences of phenomena in game fictions that suggest an open future. The article closes by suggesting that the object of fictional truths of games should be indexed on playthroughs (Willis 2019) and that this is best understood as made possible by a relation of ’co-authoring’.