Polskie Towarzystwo Semiotyczne i Zakład Epistemologii IF UW zapraszają na wykłady
José Luis Bermúdeza
(Texas A&M University)
Mental Causation and Counterfactuals
Abstrakt: The problem of mental causation standardly arises because non-reductive versions of physicalism seem incompatible with two basic principles – the causal closure of physics, on the one hand, and the exclusion principle, on the other. According to the exclusion principle, if physical event e has a sufficient cause c at a given time, then no event distinct from c can be a cause of e at t. The problem is that physical causes exclude mental ones. Peter Menzies and Christian List have argued that the standard formulation of exclusion is incorrect. Appealing to a difference-making account of causation and to a distinction between causation proper and causal sufficiency they argue that, in suitable circumstances, mental causes can exclude physical ones, thus preserving mental causation. Their argument rests crucially on claims about counterfactual dependence relations between mental causes and physical realizers. But those claims rest upon a simplified view of different levels of realization in the brain. With a more accurate picture of how neural events realize mental events and of the role of laws in neuroscience two conclusions emerge. First, non-reductive physicalism still falls foul of the exclusion principle. Second, counterfactual objections to reductive physicalism are less powerful than often believed.
Czas: 16 grudnia, godz. 16:45
Miejsce: Instytut Filozofii (Krakowskie Przedmieście 3), sala 4
Understanding “I”: Symmetry and Objectivity
Abstrakt: According to Frege, “Everyone is presented to himself in a special and primitive way, in which he is presented to no-one else.” Frege accepts the consequence that the sense of “I” is private and incommunicable (and suggests that “I” means something different in thought and in communication). Gareth Evans follows him in accepting privacy, while arguing that unshareable “I”-thoughts can nonetheless be objective. I reject this argument and argue instead for the necessary shareability of “I”-thoughts in a very strong sense. The principal driver here is what I term the Symmetry Constraint: An account of the sense of “I” must allow tokens of “I” to have the same sense as tokens of other personal pronouns such as “you” in appropriate contexts. In certain contexts, not terribly unusual, the very same (token) thought can be expressed by me using “I” and by you using “you”. The Symmetry Constraint is motivated in three ways – (a) through considerations of same-saying; (b) logically, in terms of when speakers should be counted as contradicting each other; (c) on epistemological grounds, in order to allow paradigm instances of testimony to count as knowledge.
Czas: 17 grudnia, godz. 16:45
Miejsce: Instytut Filozofii (Krakowskie Przedmieście 3), sala Ajdukiewicza (109)