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Programme seminar series (2020): abstracts

March 25

TITLE: Multisensory Evidence

SPEAKER: Casey O'Callaghan (Washington University in St. Louis)

ABSTRACT: It is tempting to think that one’s perceptual evidence comprises just what issues from perceiving with each of the respective sensory modalities. However, empirical, rational, and phenomenological considerations show that one’s perceptual evidence can outstrip what one possesses due to perceiving with each separate sense. Some novel perceptual evidence stems from the coordinated use of multiple senses. This paper argues that some perceptual evidence in this respect is distinctively multisensory.

TIME AND LOCATION: 11am–12.30pm, Wednesday, March 25, in Richardson GS2.

March 11

TITLE: How do we fix mathematical language if the universe has too many objects? (Joint work with Chris Menzel)

SPEAKER: Guillermo Badia (U of Queensland)

ABSTRACT: In the 1990s, Vann McGee showed that if the ordinary things in the universe (such as cows, koalas, coffee machines, etc.) are not "too many", then there is a unique way in which the world of mathematics is structured. This notion of "not too many" is cashed out in terms of the collection being a set, in contrast to a plurality without a definite size. Famously, in David Lewis' metaphysics, there are too many things around, too many to be counted in a consistent manner. So the question arises: can we fix the structure of mathematical reality in a Lewisean world?In this talk, we'll discuss the possibility of extending Vann McGee's arguments to this context, while keeping the world hopefully consistent.

TIME AND LOCATION: 11am–12.30pm, Wednesday, March 11, in Richardson GS2.

March 4

TITLE: Sidgwick, Moore and Supervenience: The Metaphysics of Robust Moral Realism

SPEAKER: Charles Pigden (Otago)

ABSTRACT: G.E Moore thought that it was logically or conceptually possible that Sidgwick might be right: that nothing might be good in itself besides pleasurable states of consciousness. He thought this despite his belief that it was in some sense necessary that unobserved beauties were good and observed beauties even better. He also thought that it was conceptually necessary that if Sidgwick were right he would be necessarily right , that if only pleasurable states of consciousness were good it would be some sort of necessity that that only pleasurable states of consciousness were good . These views are difficult to reconcile with common conceptions of supervenience. I also argue that Moore’s moral epistemology commits him to something like Platonism including the thesis that what ought to be can have a causal influence on what is. Nihilistic arguments for Queerness and Impotence beckon.

TIME AND LOCATION: 11am–12.30pm, Wednesday, March 4, in Richardson GS2.

February 26

TITLE: Aspects of Maori philosophy

SPEAKER: Carl Mika (Waikato)

ABSTRACT: In this presentation I consider the term ‘whakaaro’ and its relationship to thought and existence for Maori. Whakaaro, usually translated as ‘thought’ or ‘to think’, has to it a prior sense of inclination or drive, which has implications for how we philosophise. Emotion and uncertainty, for instance, would be privileged in how we represent things.

TIME AND LOCATION: 11am–12.30pm, Wednesday, February 26, in Richardson GS2.