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CAPE Lecture

CAPE is holding regular lectures inviting various researchers from all over the world. These lectures aim to introduce the latest research trend regarding applied philosophy and ethics. Also, CAPE Lectures, as well as CAPE Workshops, are open to public. We are promoting international exchanges and collaborative studies among researchers and human resource cultivation through these lectures.

176th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Janet Delgado (2020/10/21)

Speaker: Prof. Janet Delgado (University of La Laguna, Spain)
Date: October 21th. 2020 (Wed) 5:00pm-6:30pm
Place: Zoom Meeting Room (Please send an E-mail to before 20th 6 pm to register and the link will be sent to you.)

Title: Moral distress in healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: how to respond

Why is moral distress so important? Healthcare professionals are constantly trying to deal with their own personal emotions towards suffering, pain and death, while at the same time they try to provide the best care to their patients. In addition, they must face important ethical dilemmas, for which they have to make difficult decisions. In this context, moral distress arises from ethical challenges when actions of the healthcare professional are constrained. Moral distress has been associated with negative consequences such as emotional distress, staff turnover, occupational burnout, and diminished moral sensitivity, and can also compromise healthcare professionals’ ability to uphold ethical standards to fully address patient needs, thus compromising patient care. The current COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially increased the moral distress in healthcare professionals. Then, what can we do to support them to deal with moral distress while trying to foster their moral resilience? We want to explore the potential of Communities of Practice to do that, as well as other strategies.

Short bio:
Janet Delgado is a PhD in Philosophy from the University of La Laguna (Spain, 2018), in the field of Bioethics. Her doctoral thesis entitled Relational approaches: Vulnerability and Autonomy in Bioethics was co-directed at Emory University (Atlanta, USA). She has carried out several research stays at the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative, in Emory University (Atlanta, USA), The Hastings Center (New York, USA), and the University of Leeds (UK). She is a nurse with more than 18 years of experience in the Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research assistant in the project “Effects of mental state inferences and empathy in healthcare professionals: a multi-method approach”, which is carried out at the Department of Psychology at the University of La Laguna, Spain. In addition, she is a research collaborator in the Health Technology Assessment Agency SESCS, in Spain, to evaluate the ethical, social, legal, organizational and patient-related aspects. She is professor at the Master in Bioethics and Biolaw of the University of La Laguna and University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and she has been associate professor in the Nursing Faculty at the University of La Laguna. She is a member of the Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Organ Transplantation (ELPAT), where she participates in the Public Issues research group, and a member of the University Institute of Women’s Studies at the University of La Laguna. Her main areas of research in bioethics are: the complexity of vulnerability concept in bioethics, relational autonomy, vulnerability and moral distress in healthcare professionals, and ethics of organ donation and transplantation.

175th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Tõnu Viik (2019/10/29)

Speaker: Prof. Tõnu Viik (Tallinn University, Estonia)
Date: October 29th (Tues.), 2019. 6:15pm-7:45pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Falling in love with an artificial companion: a phenomenological study

According to transhumanist visions (David Levy et al.) it will soon be possible to build robots that mimic human beings in their visual appearance, kinesthetic and gesturing skills. Using different kinds of sensors, they will be able to monitor and process human states of mind, i.e., they will possess skills that would be called emotional intelligence or empathy in case of humans. And they will able to modify and attune their behavior according to their human partners’ states of mind, and carry out oral communication – similarly to how two human partners would do it.

As human partners learn to know each other over time, they will possess a lot of information about their partner’s t behavioral patterns, psychological traits, mental and physical habits, tastes, aesthetic and political preferences, etc. Thus in order to perform as if they were humans the robots would need to become “digital twins” of the human companions that they mimicking. This task would include storing and analyzing masses of data about their human partner, including information about their partner’s health status, consumerist preferences, and political views.

Assuming that it will be technically possible to build such synthetic androids, what are the implications of their presence for human beings? Would it be possible to form romantic relationships with such beings? How would humans experience the otherness of the robotic companion? The talk will address these questions from the point of view of (post-)phenomenology, i.e., from the point of view of human experience of technological alterities. Phenomenological analysis of love experience suggests that romantic feelings include experiencing the alterity of the partner as an affective subjectivity that freely, willingly, and passionately commits to its partner. In other words, the romantic commitment is expected to stem from the sentient inner selves of the lovers, which is one of the features that robots are lacking. Thus the artificial alterity might disengage our romantic aspirations, and, as argued by many, will make them inferior to intraspecies love affairs. The analysis given in the talk will restrain from ethical considerations, however, and will focus on whether synthetic androids can in principle elicit human feelings of love.

174th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Rossella Lupacchini (2019/9/4)

Speaker: Prof. Rossella Lupacchini (University of Bologna)
Date: September 4th (Wed.), 2019. 4:30pm-6:00pm
Place: 10th Seminar Room (at the 1st floor at Bldg. 34 of map)

On Quantum Computing and Its Philosophical Implications

In the search for a precise definition of the notion of effective calculability, Turing’s conceptual analysis brings about an intimate and inescapable link between computability and “measurability”, hence between mechanical procedures and physical processes. The full significance of this link is captured in quantum computability and made explicit by Deutsch’s physical version of the Church-Turing thesis, according to which every physical system can be simulated by a universal quantum Turing machine. How can a physical theory help us understand a logical notion? How do logical principles and physical processes coalesce into the notion of computation? To what extent can quantum theory of computation be traced to Leibniz’s original idea of a universal characteristic?

173rd CAPE Lecture by Dr. Dirk Kindermann、Dr. Thomas Pölzle (2019/9/6)

Speakers: Dr. Dirk Kindermann (Universität Wien)、Dr. Thomas Pölzler (University of Gratz)
Date: September 6th (Fri.), 2019. 3:00pm-6:00pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Speaker: Dr. Dirk Kindermann (Universität Wien)

Belief and Questions

Many views of belief make strong idealising assumptions regarding the rationality of believers. One aspect of the resulting problems is known as the problem of logical omniscience: it is presupposed that believers’ overall states of belief – e.g. in graded accounts of belief in formal epistemology, in utility and decision theory, and in possible worlds accounts of belief – are logically consistent and closed under entailment. Fragmentation/compartmentalisation (as defended by Lewis, Cherniak, Stalnaker and more recently, by Egan, Elga & Rayo, Yalcin, Onofri, Borgoni, Kindermann) propose to think of a believer’s overall belief state as simultaneously comprised of different “fragments” of beliefs, each of which is consistent and closed under entailment, but which stand only in loose logical connections. In this talk, I present my version of fragmentation (which is close to Yalcin’s 2016 version). I argue that understanding conversational dynamics and the dependency of linguistic content on questions sheds light on the idea of belief as a fragmented mental state and allows for a formal model of fragmentation that lends more precision to the idea of mental fragmentation.

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Pölzler (University of Gratz)

Moral Progress, Knowledge, and Error: What are the Folk’s Implicit Commitments about Moral Objectivity?

According to several philosophers, lay persons are implicitly committed to the view that morality is objective (i.e., independent from what we ourselves or anybody else think about it). This commitment has been claimed to manifest itself in various ways. Among others, it has been suggested that lay persons believe in moral progress, the possibility of moral knowledge, and the possibility of moral errors. In a series of psychological studies my co-authors Lieuwe Zijlstra, Jacob Dijkstra and I are currently putting these hypotheses to the test. My presentation will explain our studies’ motivation, their methodology, their results, and their implications for the philosophical debate about moral objectivity.

172nd CAPE Lecture by Dr. Liam Kofi Bright (2019/8/2)

Speaker: Dr. Liam Kofi Bright (London School of Economics)
Date: August 2nd (Fri.), 2019. 2:00pm-3:30pm
Place: 2nd Seminar Room (at the 2nd floor at Bldg. 8 of map)

The Scientists Qua Scientist Makes No Assertion (by Haixin Dang and Liam Kofi Bright)

Assertions are, speaking roughly, descriptive statements which purport to describe some fact about the world. Philosophers have given a lot of attention to the idea that assertions come with special norms governing their behaviour. Frequently, in fact, philosophers claim that for something to count as an assertion it has to be governed by these norms. So what exactly are the norms of assertion? Here there is disagreement. Some philosophers believe assertions are governed by special factive norms, to the effect that an assertion must be true, or known to be true, or known with certainty to be true – or in any case that an assertion is normatively good just in case it meets some condition that entails its truth. Other philosophers place weaker epistemic constraints on good assertion. For instance the claim that an assertion is justified given the assertor’s evidence. We argue that no such norm could apply to a special class of scientific utterances – namely, the conclusions of scientific papers, or more generally the sort of utterances scientists use to communicate the results of their inquiry. Such utterances might look like paradigm instances of descriptive statements purporting to describe some fact, yet the norms of assertion philosophers have surveyed are systematically inapt for science. Scientific conclusions may justly be put forward even though they are neither known, true, justifiably believed, nor even believed at all. Hence, either philosophers are generally wrong about these norms, or strictly speaking scientists should not be considered to be making assertions at all when they report their results. After surveying our argument for this negative claim, we end by suggesting a norm of utterance that would be more appropriate to scientific practice.

171st CAPE Lecture by Dr. Yung-Ching Hsu (2019/7/12)

Speaker: Dr. Yung-Ching Hsu (Southwest Jiaotong University)
Date: July 12th (Fri.), 2019. 5L00pm-6:00pm
Place: UKIHSS II (at the 4th floor at Bldg. 7 of map)

Freedom of Mencius’ Theory of Human Nature

Mencius considers that both human beings and all things on earth originated from heaven and that all things on earth follow certain rules while animals other than human beings follow their instincts for their lives. As human beings possess the freedom of choice, it also causes stress for such behavior. Having the awareness of clear directions for moral demand in the heart (heart of four beginnings: heart of compassion, heart of shame, heart of modesty and yielding and heart of right and wrong), human beings could choose to avoid or accept the heart of four beginnings and do specific good deeds. Human beings consist of body (physical body) and the heart (moral self). While bodies are needed for human beings, the heart is relevantly important. To think is the function of the heart. With thinking comes the self-awareness of four moral demands from the heart as it brings the power for implementation. When it comes to behaviors, human beings have the freedom of choice so that they could decide their words and actions. It also means that due to the freedom, human beings could make mistakes. Only sincerity could make one a real human, or they are just playing a role in the society. That is why Mencius mentioned that without the heart of four beginnings, it is “not human.” Without sincerity to show the heart of four beginnings so as to generate the power to motivate good deeds, the “heart” of four beginnings would be seen as not existing, and the elements for “self” would be lost. The process of struggling as human beings choose to do good deeds or not reveals the tension in between the self and the freedom.

170th CAPE Lecture by Dr. Kohei Kishida (2019/7/10)

Speaker: Dr. Kohei Kishida (Dalhousie University)
Date: July 10th (Wed.), 2019. $:30pm-6:00pm
Place: 7th Lecture Room (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Relevance and Reduction in Aristotle’s Logic

Aristotle is often called the founder of logic, for inventing his categorical logic or “syllogistic”. Interpretations diverge as to the logical nature of syllogistic, however. In some accounts, Aristotle gives an axiomatic science of categories that uses propositional or even quantifier logic; he is then a user of logic, but hardly the founder.
My talk, in contrast, reconstructs Aristotle’s syllogistic as a self-sufficient logic on its own. While several commentators propose this line of reconstruction, many of them characterize good syllogisms as valid syllogisms. This characterization, however, strips syllogistic of its power as a “logic of science” that Aristotle uses to organize scientific knowledge. The goal of my talk is to give a reconstruction of Aristotle’s syllogistic that identifies the property that good syllogisms have beyond mere validity, by tracing the theoretical structure of Aristotle’s systematization. It will be shown that the property in question is a specific sense of relevance, and that Aristotle’s notion of “reduction” plays a more substantial role than commentators understand in formally achieving the sense of relevance.

169th CAPE Lecture by Prof. San Tun and Prof. Chien-hsing Ho (2019/7/8)

Date: July 8th (Mon.), 2019. 4:00pm-6:00pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Speaker: Prof. San Tun (Dhammaduta Chekinda University)

“No Self” with Consequence and Responsibility

The aim of this research is to provide philosophy of self and other based on some Buddhist literatures which are cultural phenomena of Myanmar Theravāda Buddhist tradition. The research question is “Why the concepts of self and other are not ontological realities in Myanmar Theravāda Buddhist culture?” It is because that there are “no self” and “no other” in Abhidhamma literature, Buddhist Philosophy, but only mind and body are ontological realities. For Socrates, the goal of philosophy is to “Know thyself”. Lao Tzu, in his Tao Te Ching, said that knowing others is wisdom and knowing the self is enlightenment. For Nishida Kitaro, the experience of unification of consciousness of subject and object is the experience of pure consciousness. It is pure experience and there are no independent, self-sufficient facts apart from our phenomena of consciousness; as Berkeley said, “Esse est percipi” (to be is to be perceived). Nishida holds that direct reality is not something passive. For him, to be is not only to be perceived but also to act for the development of personality. Hence he says, “To be is to act.”
By the principle of conditional relation, every phenomenon is conditional. Good conduct is a kind of conduct that derives from conditional activity of the phenomena of pure consciousness or pure mind. In the Dhammapada (verse 2), what the Buddha taught is; “Mind is the forerunner of activities. Mind is chief. If one speaks or acts with pure mind (pure cetanā), because of that, happiness follows one, even as one’s shadow that never leaves.” For this reason, it can be said that “Know your cetanā” and “To be is to act with pure cetanā to the others”. Knowing others is wisdom of development of mental cultivation through pure cetanā associated with loving-kindness (mettā), compassion (karunā), empathetic joy (muditā), and equanimity (upekkhā), and knowing pure mind (pure cetanā) is enlightenment. This means to understand why people should act ethically although there is no self and no other and how there can be consequence and responsibility by their cetanā (intention), a mental reality as well as mental force called kamma or action.

Speaker: Prof. Chien-hsing Ho (Academia Sinica)

Can the World Be Indeterminate in All Respects?

A number of analytical philosophers have recently endorsed the view that the world itself is indeterminate in some respect. The issue then arises as to whether it can be the case that the world itself is indeterminate in all respects. Using as a basis Chinese Madhyamaka Buddhist thought, I develop an underlying conceptual framework for my conception of worldly indeterminacy and offer three reasons in support of the thesis that all things are indeterminate with respect to the ways they are. My aim is to show that this thesis makes sense, and that there is a genuine possibility of the world’s being indeterminate in all respects.

168th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Arata Hamawaki and Prof. Russell B. Goodman (2019/6/24)

Date: June 24th (Mon.), 2019. 4:00pm-6:00pm
Place: UKIHSS II (at Bldg. 7 of

Speaker: Prof. Arata Hamawaki (Auburn University)

World, My World, Our World: On Undoing the Psychologization of the Psychological

Speaker: Prof. Russell B. Goodman (The University of New Mexico)

James and Emerson: On the Pragmatic Use of Terms

When William James uses one of his schemes, such as tough- and tender-minded (in Pragmatism) or the once- and twice-born (in Varieties of Religious Experience), he is more interested in what these terms can do in confronting certain problems or conceptualizing a subject than in how they all fit together. This chapter considers James’s pragmatic and pluralistic use of language from some perspectives offered by the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who used different schemes in different essays, and whose thought is part of James’s intellectual formation. I pay particular attention to anticipations of James’s scheme of the tough- and tender-minded in Emerson’s “Nominalist and Realist” and “Montaigne, or the Skeptic.” The last section of the chapter considers ways in which James’s scheme of the tough- and tender-minded is designed to make room for religion in his pragmatist pictures.

167th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Michiko Yusa (2019/6/21)

Speaker: Prof. Michiko Yusa (Western Washington University)
Date: June 21th (Fri.), 2019. 6:00pm-7:30pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

“Docta Ignorantia” and “Hishiryō”: The Inexpressible in Cusanus, Dōgen, and Nishida

Outline of my talk:
1. What is beyond readily knowable—something hidden—has always exercised a fascination over the human psyche. Our desire to know extends beyond what is patent—indicating that at depth we have the inkling of what is beyond the merely obvious.
2. Cusanus’s “docta ignorantia” (“learned ignorance”) and Dōgen’s “hishiryō” (“beyond knowing”) are two ways of talking about what is “beyond knowable,” and in this respect, their thinking moves in a similar orbit.
3. My interest in Cusanus was first awoken by my mentor Raimon Panikkar while I was pursuing my graduate work at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB); it was Panikkar who also encouraged me to take up Nishida for my dissertation research.
4. In this particular essay, I tried to go beyond a “sedentary” understanding of the insight into the universe, by adopting more of an active perspective; I also try to lift Cusanus up from the mistaken identity that his “docta ignorantia” is part of negative theology of the medieval Christian mystics.
5. Following a close reading of Cusanus’s De docta ignorantia (On the Learned Ignorance, 1440) and Dialogus de Deo abscondito (A Dialogue on Hidden God, 1444-45), I will read Dōgen’s “Zazenshin” (The Zen Pointer, 1242), which contains the reference to the notions of “shiryō,” “fushiryō,” and “hishiryō.” I will present three different interpretations of these terms, which represent different approaches to the “unknowable” or the “ineffable.”
6. I will conclude this presentation by turning to Nishida Kitarō, whose philosophical vision starts out with the bold recognition of the dark realm of consciousness that is beyond cognition.
7. It is the beauty of intercultural inquiry to discover an idea that resonates beyond a particular historical and cultural conditioning. We may find in Cusanus’s thought some insights may pass as Buddhist. Likewise in Dōgen we may find kindred spirituality that resonates with Christian. In this juxtaposition of Cusanus and Dōgen, we discover similar but different approaches to the “ineffable.” Does it indicate then that there is something universal in the intellect (in the Scholastic sense of this word) or in human spirituality (reisei)?

166th CAPE Lecture by Dr. Ramona Fotiade (2019/6/28)

Speaker: Dr. Ramona Fotiade
Date: June 28th (Fri.), 2019. 4:30pm-6:00pm
Place: Small Meeting Room at the underground (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Learning to Live: the Death of the Subject and the Ethics of Survival

Starting from Plato’s definition of philosophy as ‘meditation on death’, and Derrida’s paraphrase of the Platonic injunction which turns the emphasis on living in the French philosopher’s last published interview (Learning to Live Finally, 2005), this paper examines the tensions between normative and performative ethics in the existential and deconstructive accounts of subjectivity and the question of the other. The argument contrasts Kierkegaard’s description of the ‘leap of faith’ as part of his conception of existence to Camus’s condemnation of this position as ‘philosophical suicide’, while considering three alternative responses to the polemic between religious and atheist standpoints on the meaning of life and the possibility of ethical justification. Lev Shestov, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida have each provided different answers to the paradoxes of nihilist, post-humanist and post-structuralist confrontations with death, survival and the other. The key notions which are explored as part of the analysis are those of the ‘transformation of convictions’, ‘outside’ and ‘spectrality’ with reference to the philosophical exegesis of fictional narratives (including Tolstoy’s ‘Master and Man’, Kafka’s ‘Before the Law’, alongside Greek myths and Biblical stories).

165th CAPE Lecture by Dr. Shelley Costa (2019/6/13)

Speaker: Dr. Shelley Costa
Date: June 13th (Thur.), 2019. 3:30pm-5:00
Place: 5th Lecture Room (2nd floor of Bldg. 8 of map)

Action and Abstraction: How the early history of infinitesimal calculus illuminates truth as social process.

George Berkeley, Colin MacLaurin, and Daniel Bernoulli each devoted philosophical attention to mathematics and its potential relationship with the physical world. In this talk, I use their examples for two reasons. The first is to show the gradual coming of age — rather than the timeless truth — of the tenet that one should trust mathematics because of its efficacy in the physical world. The second, more general reason for considering this historical narrative is to call attention to some of the myriad ways in which social process generates knowledge. I perceive all types of “constructed” reality, including mathematics, as structurally isomorphic to physical external reality, and as equally meaningful in terms of action or human use in that they yield consistent, often predictable outcomes. By considering reality or existence in action-based terms, I hope to dissolve a falsely rigid dichotomy between constructed truth/reality and external truth/reality. Objectivity is the same in both cases. In both cases, objective knowledge must be attained in a social manner.

164th CAPE Lecture by Prof. Alan Baker (2019/5/30)

Speaker: Prof. Alan Baker (Swarthmore College)
Date: May 30th (Thur.) 2019, 4:30pm-6:00pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Mapping Mathematics to the World

Recent philosophical work on applied mathematics has focused on the way that mathematical structures map onto the structure of physical phenomena. Debate has centered on abstraction, in which aspects of physical structure are left out in the mathematical model, and on physically non-meaningful solutions, in which aspects of the mathematical structure have no physical analogs. In this talk I focus on whether it even makes sense to speak of ‘the physical structure’ in such applied mathematical contexts. Using as examples the classical problem of the bridges of Konigsberg and the more contemporary Manhattan river crossing problem, I argue that unique structure is almost never inherent in a physical phenomenon. Finally, I explore whether adopting a more game-like stance toward applied mathematics may allow conceptual progress to be made.

163 CAPE Lectures by Prof. Christian Coseru and Sheridan Hough (2019/5/16)

Date: May 16th (Thur.), 2019. 4:00pm-6:30pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Speaker: Prof. Christian Coseru and Sheridan Hough (College of Charleston)

Through the Looking-Glass: Phenomenal Content Without Concepts

Are there conscious mental states that can make present features of experience, such as subjectivity and the sense of self even though the bearer of those states lacks the concepts necessary for specifying their content? And if there are such states how are their experiential features presented, and what kind of content do those presentations deliver? These questions inform contemporary debates in phenomenology and philosophy of mind about the character of consciousness, the role of conceptual knowledge and narrative competence, and the difference between conceptual and nonconceptual content. They also have been explored at length by Buddhist philosophers (specifically those in the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti tradition) concerned with the epistemological implications of certain liminal states of mind associated with various contemplative practices. Drawing on these two research programs, I put forward an acquaintance model of nonconceptual content according to which we are directly aware of our own mental states as they occur even though we can only articulate their content conceptually. Against externalist account of mental content. I argue that although the complexity of human thought is only conceptually articulable, it is a further epistemic fact that such articulation only becomes known in conscious thought.

Speaker: Prof. Sheridan Hough (College of Charleston)

The Kierkegaardian Self, and How Nietzsche and Sartre Attend to the ‘Unselving’

Kierkegaard’s powerful analysis of the self—the Kierkegaardian individual, forged by an infinite commitment to a finite task— is a valuable benchmark for evaluating later accounts of what a ‘self’ is, and cannot be. Nietzsche’s ‘person as cultural artifact’ provides an antidote to those who would privilege our rational, conscious lives over the habits and practices of which we are made; on the other hand, Sartre’s ‘no self’ view (as first described in La transcendence de l’égo) argues that Husserl’s account of consciousness is not radical enough: the ‘I’ or ego is a pseudo-source of activity (and Sartre thus draws very close to a particularly Buddhist account of personal identity). Sartre’s ontology is unabashedly Kierkegaardian—the ‘self’ is always under construction, and the mechanism is choice—but is Sartre the true descendant of Kierkegaard? I will argue that Nietzsche and Kierkegaard have more in common in their understanding of our intersubjective condition that you might initially suspect.

162 CAPE Lecture by Dr. Roberto Terrosi (2019/6/6)

Speaker: Dr. Roberto Terrosi (Ritsumeikan University)
Date: June 6th (Thur.), 2019. 5:00pm-6:30pm
Place: Meeting Room at the 1st floor (at Bldg. 8 of map)

The Question of Posthuman in the Philosophical Thought After the End of Postmodernism

Postmodern thought pretended to be the literally the thought that came after the end of modernism. But, was it really so? In the exaltation of hermeneutics they did not escape the so-called “Copernican revolution”. They introduced suspects about the supremacy of the subject, but they were not able to overcome the fundamental transcendentalist approach. Indeed postmodernism conserved its ties with phenomenology. They weakened the subject but they still started from the subject. Their relativism increased the importance of humanistic individualism. The individual was discovered to be influenced by other factors, but not in a deterministic way. This resulted only in a stronger relativism of factors, among which the weak subject could trace her/his path toward success, crossing borders and transgressing taboos. My argumentation wants to show that postmodernism did not succeed in overcoming modernism, and they simply placed themselves on the edge of modernity, or inside the edge itself, in between the limit, which divides modernism from something else. What I will try to say is that posthumanism is the first real attempt of thinking outside and after the modernist paradigm, abandoning the subject within the abandonment of the concept of humanity. My discourse will try to show in which ways posthumanism achieve this position, considering several approaches and criticizing some of them. In this sense, posthumanism is difficult to be thought. Many times, as we will see, alleged posthuman thinkers only propose again the conception of postmodernism or of cultural studies disguised under a new dress (as in the case of the so-called “critical posthumanism”). In other cases, posthumanism is a way to disguise a form of anti-speciesism that is based on the extension of an anthropocentric utilitarian conception of ethics. Finally other times posthumanism is referred to a condition of empowerment of humans as in the case of transhumanism. In my opinion, posthumanism has to be rooted in a deeper philosophical framework concerning epistemology, ontology, ethics, and politics.

post-human, postmodernism, anthropological philosophy, cyber-phisical systems, blindsight, singularity

161 CAPE Lecture by Prof. Thomas P. Kasulis (2019/4/25)

Speaker: Professor Thomas P. Kasulis (University Distinguished Scholar, Emeritus, The Ohio State University, USA)
Date: April 25th (Thur.), 2019. 4:30pm-6:00pm
Place: Large Meeting Room at the underground (at Bldg. 8 of map)

Rediscovering the Tetsugaku no Michi

This lecture warns that as a contemporary academic discipline, philosophy is at risk of losing its Way. Many philosophers constrict their field to being a Wissenschaft performed by detached observers who gather and analyze facts about reality. That deviates from the philosopher’s original mission of engaging the world and each other in the transformative pursuit of loving wisdom, knowing oneself, and adding value to the world. Both the ancient Greek schools of philosophia and the Asian traditions of the Way (michi, dao, marga) shared that common purpose of engagement. Yet, by replacing engagement with detachment, philosophy may become disembodied, ahistorical, and acultural. Even worse, the act of philosophizing (a koto 事) may become reified into a fixed thing (a mono 物) for philosophers to study. Then it will lose its sense of being a paradigm embodied and transmitted by masters to inspire the innovations and insights of apprentice philosophers. In the academic curriculum, philosophy can even become what students and scholars study instead of how they learn to philosophize.

This lecture reviews how philosophy’s evolution as a discipline in the modern university—both western and Japanese—has put it at risk of losing its Way and speculates on how it might recapture some of its lost elements: philosophizing as paradigmatic praxis learned by emulating masters; the symbiosis of bodymind or affective intellect through imagination; the use of language to open us to reality rather than pin it down for our scrutiny and use. By drawing on ideas from both traditional Japanese and western philosophy, the hope is that we can reconstrue philosophizing again as a visionary and transformative praxis that engages reality and works within it instead of apart from it. The philosopher’s product could then more resemble an artistic masterwork that enhances the world instead of a denatured description of what already is. Perhaps then philosophy can more directly engage today’s global challenges in relation to ecology, education, economic justice, and human flourishing.

160 CAPE lecture Prof. Samuel Kahn (2019/3/22)

Speaker: Professor Samuel Kahn (Wuhan University, China)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Friday, March 22nd, 2019
Venue: Lecture Room No.4 on the 2nd floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎2階第4講義室) (No.8 of this map

Kant, an unlucky philosopher of moral luck

Ever since Williams’ and Nagel’s seminal articles on moral luck, debate about the issue has been understood as pitting Kantian ethics against Aristotelian ethics. The dialectic is set up in this way by friend and foe alike: Kantian ethics is taken to be an attempt to insulate against the possibility of moral luck whereas Aristotelian ethics is taken to embrace it.
But this backdrop is mistaken. Indeed, as this paper will show, Kant’s theoretical framework for resultant moral luck is quite sophisticated, more sophisticated than the frameworks developed by some in the modern debate.
The paper is divided into five sections. In the first, I show that participants in the moral luck literature take moral luck to be anathema to Kantian ethics. In the second, I give an account of resultant moral luck. In the third, I explain why philosophers have taken Kantian ethics to reject moral luck and, in particular, resultant moral luck. In the fourth, I explain why these philosophers are mistaken, and I set out and interrogate Kant’s theoretical framework for resultant moral luck. In the fifth, I connect this framework from the fourth section to the doctrine of double effect.
I argue that a better understanding of Kant’s ideas about resultant moral luck enables us to appreciate the shallow foundations of the modern moral luck debate and thereby to set the historical record straight; and in addition I argue that a better understanding of Kant’s ideas about resultant moral luck allows us to shore up and gain insight into a doctrine that seems to have stood the test of time notwithstanding its own foundational issues. Thus it is not only unlucky for Kant that his position on moral luck has been overlooked and his ethics mischaracterized by Williams, Nagel and their followers: it is also unlucky for us.

Samuel Kahn is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wuhan University, China. He received dual degrees in Philosophy and Bioengineering in 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania, and he received a PhD in Philosophy in 2012 from Stanford University. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes and scholarships, including a Fulbright in 2008 and a Geballe in 2011. In 2013 Samuel won the Review of Metaphysics dissertation essay contest, and in 2015 he was included in the Young Philosophers Lecture Series hosted by the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University. His first research monograph, Kant, Ought Implies Can, the Principle of Alternate Possibilities, and Happiness, is scheduled to appear in December of 2018.

159 CAPE lecture Dr. Javier Perez-Jara (2019/2/6)

Speaker: Dr. Javier Perez-Jara (Assistant Professor, Beijing Foreign Studies University)
Date: 16:00-18:00, Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

From Icarus to the Last God: A Comparative Analysis Between Bertrand Russell’s and Martin Heidegger’s Philosophical Approaches

Martin Heidegger and Bertrand Russell rank among the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. Furthermore, each one of them has been recognized as a major exponent of continental philosophy and analytic philosophy, respectively. Nevertheless, despite their continental and analytic lines of thought being commonly presented as the most important traditions of 20th century philosophy, with only very few exceptions, scholars in one of the two traditions tend to ignore or overlook the developments and achievements of the other one and vice versa. This unfortunate tendency was clearly exemplified by Heidegger and Russell themselves, who intentionally ignored each other for the majority of their intellectual careers.

With special attention to how the major events of the 20th century marked Russell’s and Heidegger’s main philosophical stances, this paper explores the convergences and divergences between both philosophies, from their views on the place of human beings in the universe, to ethical and political issues. Through this comparative analysis, I aim to re-evaluate both thinkers and their main ideas, along with challenging some persistent stereotypes commonly associated with analytic and continental philosophical traditions.

The main goal of this inquiry is, on the one hand, to help overcome the intellectually harmful “dialogue of the deaf” between continental and analytic philosophies, and on the other, to contribute to understanding how Heidegger’s and Russell’s main ideas can shed some light on some of the current 21st century’s most important philosophical controversies.

158 CAPE lecture Prof. Wen-fang Wang (2019/2/1)

Speaker: Prof. Wen-fang Wang (National Yang-Ming University)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Friday, February 1st, 2019
Venue: Seminar room No. 10, Research Bldg No. 2, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学総合研究2号館1階第10演習室) (1st floor, Building No. 34 of this map)

Why Is Weak AI, Let Alone Strong AI, Impossible — R. Penrose vs. S. Russell & P. Norvig?

By ‘weak AI’, the authors mean a computational machine whose observable and measurable performances are at least as good as those of an average matured human being in every respect involving intelligence, whereas ‘computational’ refers to a machine that takes series of digital signals as inputs no matter whether it has the ability to learn or not. R. Penrose argues in his The Emperor’s New Mind (1989) and Shadows of the Mind that computational weak AI is impossible (he does not exclude the possibility that some non-computational weak AI may still be possible). Penrose’s argument improves and evolves from that of J. R. Lucas in “Minds, machines, and Godel” (1961) but retains the core part of the latter, i.e., the appeal to Godel’s second incompleteness theorem. Penrose’s argument is no doubt a crucial one, simply in views of the number of citations before and after 1994. However, because of its complexity, Penrose’s argument has not been fully understood even after Penrose had collected 20 objections and responded (quite successfully according to my evaluation) to them in his 1994 book to avoid misunderstanding. For one example, perhaps also under the influence of J. Searle’s Chinese room argument, many philosophers still incline to think that weak AI is certainly possible while the strong one is not. For another example, computer scientists S. Russell and P. Norvig argue confusingly (according to my evaluation) in their influential book Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2009) that Penrose’s argument is implausible for at least three objectionable reasons. In this presentation, the authors will (1) reconstruct Penrose’s complex argument in a simple but sensible way, (2) point out the weakness and confusions in Russell & Norvig’s objections, and (3) therefore show the danger and limitation of the philosophical method of thought experiment. Russell & Norvig’s misunderstanding of Penrose’s argument shows especially that there is still a big gap of mutual misunderstanding between philosophers and computer scientists that has to be crossed over in order to get a breakthrough development both in AI science and in AI philosophy.

Keywords: weak AI, Godel’s incompleteness theorem, thought experiment, philosophical argument.

157 CAPE lecture Dr. István Zárdai (2019/1/22)

Speaker: Dr. István Zárdai (Keio University)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019
Venue: Small conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下小会議室) (No. 8

Is There an Essential Difference Between Actions and Events?

Some philosophers – notably, John Macmurray and E. J. Lowe – have defended the claim that there is an essential difference between actions and events. The former are agents’ bringing about results and should not be conflated with the latter, which are merely events. In my talk I survey their arguments for this stance and identify its source. My diagnosis is that they are committed to think of persons as special sources of change. I argue that it is plausible to hold that persons have special capacities and abilities and these distinguish some of their actions from other events, nevertheless agents’ doings are still occurrences. These capacities and abilities can be made sense of as powers or dispositions, and their activation as an occurrence. This means that not only human agents can act, and their acts are not essentially different from other occurrences in the world. Hence, other agents – animals and sufficiently complex AIs for example – might be acting in similar ways.

156 CAPE lecture Asst. Prof. Filippo Casati (2018/12/14)

Speaker: Filippo Casati (Visiting Assistant Professor, Lehigh University)
Date: 18:15-19:45, Friday, December 14th, 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

Resurrecting the ‘Being and Time Project’

In his ‘Ontological Pluralism and the Being and Time Project’, Denis McManus has convincingly argued that the philosophical project spelled out in Heidegger’s Being and Time faces an insurmountable difficulty. In my talk, I critically discuss McManus’ ideas. I claim that McManus is fundamentally right, even though his argument could be better off by appealing to some other textual evidences and to the recent debate about infinite regresses. Moreover, I argue that the so-called second Heidegger proposes a dialetheist solution to the problem discussed by McManus.

155 CAPE lecture Dr. Aviv Hoffmann (2018/12/13)

Speaker: Dr. Aviv Hoffmann (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Thursday, December 13th, 2018
Venue: Yoshida-Izumidono, West Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学吉田泉殿) (No. 76 of this map

Biregional Propositions

Consider two fundamental questions in the metaphysics of propositions. What in the nature of a proposition enables it to be true (or false)? What in the nature of a proposition enables it to be about a given thing (especially, what enables necessarily equivalent propositions to be about distinct things)? To answer these questions, I offer the biregional theory of propositions. According to this theory, propositions inhabit what I call exemplification space where each point is a world-specific fact. I propose that propositions are (some) ordered pairs of disjoint regions of exemplification space: the first component of a pair corresponds to the truth of the proposition, and the second component of the pair corresponds to the falsity of the proposition. I answer the questions above as follows. A proposition is true (false) at a possible world iff some fact in the truth (falsity) region of the proposition is specific to that world. A proposition is about a thing iff some fact in either the truth or the falsity region of the proposition is about the thing.

154 CAPE lecture Assoc. Prof. Matthew Fulkerson (2018/12/12)

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Matthew Fulkerson (University of California San Diego)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Wednesday, December 12th, 2018
Venue: Small conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部B1F小会議室) (No. 8

Emotional Perception

Some perceptual experiences seem to have an emotional element that makes both an affective and motivational difference in the content and character of the experience. I offer a novel account of these experiences that is inspired by related work on pain that I call the “Affective-Motivational Account.” Like typical sensory pain, perceptual experience should be understood as a complex state generated by both a sensory-discriminative component and a functionally distinct affective-motivational component. It is this latter system that provides such experiences with their emotional character. Such a view is strongly supported by the available empirical evidence and has the potential to address several longstanding philosophical puzzles about the relation between perception and emotion.

153 CAPE lecture Prof. Jonathan Cohen (2018/12/12)

Speaker: Prof. Jonathan Cohen (University of California San Diego)
Date: 15:00-16:30, Wednesday, December 12th, 2018
Venue: Small conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部B1F小会議室) (No. 8

Coherence and conversation

The sentence “The boss fired the employee who is always late” invites the defeasible inference that the speaker is attempting to convey that the lateness caused the firing (cf. “The boss fired the employee who is from Philadelphia”, which does not invite an analogous inference). We argue that, unlike more familiar processes for conveying extrasemantic content, such inferences do not arise in an attempt to rescue utterances from any kind of linguistic or communicative failure, such as from a violation of communicative norms based on principles of rationality/cooperativity, or the need to complete/expand a proposition so as to appropriately fix truth-conditional content. Rather, we argue that they arise from more basic, general cognitive strategies for building mental models of the world. Attention to such cases suggests that the forms of extrasemantic enrichment that have attracted the most theoretical attention to date (e.g., conversational implicature, impliciture) are in fact special cases of a more general, and more varied, phenomenon.

152 CAPE lecture Prof. John Evans (2018/12/11)

Speaker: Prof. John Evans (University of California San Diego)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎1階会議室) (No.8 of this map

Human Gene Editing: The American Ethical Debate in Social Context

A few weeks ago a Chinese scientist announced that he had facilitated the creation of two genetically modified girls. If true, this would be the first instance of both germline human gene editing and the first germline genetic enhancement – two ethical lines that had previously been critical in the American ethical debates about gene editing. While American scientists and bioethicists were critical of this experiment because safety protocols were not followed, they nonetheless endorsed the goals of the research. In my talk I explain how an ethical consensus in the 1970s to not engage in either germline or enhancement broke down to allow for endorsement of both acts. Through a sociological examination of the argumentative structure in this public bioethical debate I also provide predictions for the viability of future moral lines that could be drawn in this debate, such as that between “disease” and “enhancement.”

John H. Evans is the Tata Chancellor’s Chair of Social Science and the Co-director of the Institute for Practical Ethics at the University of California, San Diego. His career has focused on the sociological examination of ethical debates surrounding human biology, including his first book on the history of debates about human genetic modification, a second on the public perception of reproductive genetic technologies and a later book on the definitions of the human implied in biological research. He was a member of the National Academies of Sciences Committee on Human Gene Editing.

151 CAPE lecture Dr. Aviv Hoffmann (2018/12/10)

Speaker: Dr. Aviv Hoffmann (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Date: 17:00-18:30, Monday, December 10th, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎1階会議室) (No.8 of this map

Facts As Truth-Makers

I offer a theory according to which facts are mereological fusions of regions of what I call exemplification space, where each point is either a positive or a negative world-specific fact (such as the fact that Sophia is sad at w and the fact that it is not the case that Sophia is sad at w’, respectively). Then, I define propositional facts: facts which correspond to propositions. The definition refers to basic facts, which I define, and requires closure under Boolean operations of negation and conjunction on facts, which I also define. Thus characterized, facts are hyperintensional: necessarily equivalent facts need not be identical. Their hyperintensionality is grounded in a notion of aboutness which I define. Next, I offer a truth-maker theory that adds a new twist to the familiar view that facts make propositions true: I assign world-specific facts as world-specific truth-makers to propositions. This strategy avoids the pitfalls that beset the orthodox definition of truth-makers. Subsequently, I throw away the world-specific ladder: I define truth-makers that are not world-specific by fusing together world-specific truth-makers. My theory of facts is part of a doctrine I call metaphysical pointillism, which also includes a theory propositions. Taken together, the two theories have the consequence that truth-maker maximalism holds: every truth has a truth-maker.

150 CAPE lecture Prof. Rein Raud (2018/11/29)

Speaker: Prof. Rein Raud (Tallinn University)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎1階会議室) (No.8 of this map

The Genesis of the Dynamic Particular: Dogen and Nishida on Selfhood and Reality

One of the central problems in Dōgen’s as well as Nishida’s thought is how an individual relates to the totality of the surrounding reality, and both of them refuse to reduce such an individual to a static, continuous and essentialistically describable entity. The similarities do not end there. The lecture analyzes concrete examples taken from the work of both thinkers to show how they share crucial insights, while differing in the interpretation they give to these.

Rein Raud was born in Tallinn, Estonia in 1961. He graduated from the Oriental Faculty of the St.Petersburg (then Leningrad) University in 1985, earned a PhD from the University of Helsinki in 1994 and has been working in various academic capacities from that time. He was the professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Helsinki from 1995 till 2016, and served in the meantime as the rector of Tallinn University from 2006 till 2011. Currently he is the professor of Asian and Cultural Studies in Tallinn University. His research is dedicated mainly to cultural theory, comparative philosophy (with a particular interest in the thought of Dōgen) and East Asian literatures, his recent books include “Meaning in Action: Outline of an Integral Theory of Culture” (Polity 2016) and “Practices of Selfhood” (with Zygmunt Bauman, Polity 2015). He is also a well-known writer, the author of 18 books of fiction and poetry as well as many translations from various languages.

149 CAPE lecture Asst. Prof. Nic Bommarito (2018/11/28)

Speaker: Asst. Prof. Nic Bommarito (University at Buffalo)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎1階会議室) (No.8 of this map

On Understanding Evil

People often find evil incomprehensible. When confronted with radical immorality we often say things like, “I just can’t understand how someone could do that.” I defend an explanation of why this can be morally virtuous. The nature of certain types of explanation make it impossible for those with certain moral commitments. When those moral commitments are good, a lack of understanding can reflect well on one’s moral character. This helps to distinguish this phenomenon from false friends like certain types of moral naivety, close mindedness, sanctimoniousness, and morally irrelevant types of understanding.

147 CAPE lecture Prof. Daniel Andler (2018/11/23)

Speaker: Prof. Daniel Andler (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
Date: 15:00-17:00, Friday, November 23rd, 2018
Venue: Lecture Room No.8, Research Bldg No. 2, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学総合研究2号館第八講義室) (No. 34

How interesting is critical naturalism?

Critical naturalism is a position vis-à-vis scientific naturalism which I defend in my recent book, La Silhouette de l’humain (approximate translation: The Human Contour: The proper place of naturalism in today’s world) and which supports the ongoing naturalization programs of cognitive science, neuroscience, and evolutionary social science, while denying to them final authority in the understanding of human affairs. As a midway position, it doesn’t sound very exciting, and may seem easy enough to defend. I will first fill it out, and then attempt to show that it is less than obvious but nevertheless correct.

146 CAPE lecture Prof. Justin Oakley (2018/11/22)

Speaker: Prof. Justin Oakley (Monash University)
Date: 16:00-, Thursday, November 22nd, 2018
Venue: Yoshida-Izumidono, West Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 76 of this map

Empirically-informed medical virtue from the inside out and back again

In recent years there has been much work on applications of virtue ethics to medical practice, and various policy implications of this approach are now being investigated. Some of these accounts now draw on more empirically-informed approaches to virtue which have been articulated in contemporary philosophy. However, there has so far been little consideration of how these practical and policy applications of virtue ethics can in turn be used to shape a realistic and justifiable moral psychology of medical virtue. In this presentation I consider what these more empirically-informed applications of virtue ethics to medical practice and policy might demonstrate about the nature of medical virtues. In doing so I discuss what can reasonably be expected in plausible conceptions of medical virtues, which can then be used to evaluate medical practice and policy.

145 CAPE lecture Prof. Emer. Diderik Batens (2018/11/2)

Speaker: Prof. Emer. Diderik Batens (Ghent University)
Date: 18:10-19:40, Thursday, November 2nd, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

Neutralizing a theory without affecting the rest of our knowledge

Some adaptive mathematical theories were found to have an unexpected property: local triviality is definable in them. This comes to a logical constant from which all formulas of the language of the theory are derivable, but not all formulas of extensions of that language. Where the underlying logic has a detachable material implication, a local trivializing negation is definable in terms of local triviality. If local triviality is not definable within a theory T, it is still possible to extend the language of T with an operator $\bot_T$ and with an axiom that implicitly defines $\bot_T$ as a local triviality operator.
Local triviality has interesting applications. Consider a theory T that is part of a body of knowledge K and let local triviality be available within T. It is possible to organise K in such a way that, if T turns out to be trivial, the effect will be that the non-logical terms of T turn out to be devoid of meaning, but that the rest of K is not affected. The intended organisation is straightforward and simple. It’s effect is similar to the effect that, classically, would be realised by a reasoning about the elements of K, which would result in removing T from K.
A different but related application is where two or more theories of K turn out to jointly contradict each other. The aforementioned organisation delivers specific disjunctions of formulas; by slightly changing the organisation in the light of the gained insights, a preference is imposed on the problematic theories and one of the disjuncts is obtained rather than the disjunctions.
The matter opens perspectives on ways to replace `meta-level’ reasoning by `object-level’ reasoning. Time permitting I shall refer to other examples of this feature. Note that paraconsistency is applied here as a technical means to serve purely classical aims.

144 CAPE lecture Dr. Daniel Skurt (2018/11/1)

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Skurt (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Date: 18:10-19:40, Thursday, November 1st, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

Negation as cancellation, Connexive logic, and qLPm

In this presentation, we shall consider the so-called cancellation view of negation and the inferential role of contradictions. We will discuss some of the problematic aspects of negation as cancellation, such as its original presentation by Richard and Valery Routley and its role in motivating connexive logic. Furthermore, we will show that the idea of inferential ineffectiveness of contradictions can be conceptually separated from the cancellation model of negation by developing a system we call qLPm, a combination of Graham Priest’s minimally inconsistent Logic of Paradox with q-entailment (quasi-entailment) as introduced by Grzegorz Malinowski.

143 CAPE lecture Dr. Koji Tanaka and Dr. Bronwyn Finnigan (2018/10/11)

Dr. Koji Tanaka (ANU)
Dr. Bronwyn Finnigan (ANU)

Date: 15:00-18:00, Thursday, October 11th, 2018
Venue: Yoshida-Izumidono, West Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 76 of this map

Title & Abstract:

15:00-16:25   Koji Tanaka

The Logic of Emptiness

An error theorist about morality holds that it is an error to think that there are facts we can appeal to in making moral judgements and also it is an error to think that moral claims can be true. A global error theorist holds that it is an error to think that there are facts of any kind and no statement of any kind is true. The Buddhist philosophers, Mādhyamikas, can be described as global error theorists. What, then, are we to make of their position that there are no facts or that there are no true statements? It seems to be self-refuting to say that it is a fact that there are no facts or that it is true that there are no truths. Even if one can make such claims coherent as Mādhyamikas seem to think they can, how can anyone come to claim that there are no facts or truths to begin with? In this paper, I will investigate the possibility of a method that can establish global error theory. I will show that a global error theorist can have a coherent view about logic and reasoning that can show that there are, ultimately, no facts or truths of any kind.

16:35-18:00   Bronwyn Finnigan

Conceptuality and Mathematical Thinking in Aristotle: an Ancient Intervention into the McDowell-Dreyfus Debate

John McDowell and Hubert Dreyfus argue that human beings have a capacity for ‘situation-specific skilful coping’. Both claim that they are articulating Aristotle’s notion of phronēsis or practical wisdom. And both insist that it is best understood as a kind of perceptual capacity. They disagree, however, about whether it is a form of conceptual rationality. I argue that neither provides an accurate analysis of Aristotle, but I consider whether there are textual grounds for extending Aristotle’s position to include McDowell’s idea that conceptuality is a rational capacity that informs perceptual experience. I derive an account from Aristotle’s debate with Plato on the nature and presuppositions of counting. This debate fundamentally concerns the boundary conditions for rationality. I argue that their differences imply distinct models of perceptual activity and I give reasons to think that Aristotle’s position corresponds broadly to that of McDowell. It has a problem, however. It implies that animals cannot perceive, or not in the same way as human beings, and there is reason to think that Aristotle thinks their perceptual capacities are structurally similar. I conclude by proposing a (partial) solution that is inspired by Plato’s views about the role of calculation in resolving inconsistencies in perception.

Contact: Shinya Aoyama

142 CAPE lecture Prof. Lea Ypi and Prof. Jonathan White (2018/8/29)

Professor Lea Ypi (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Professor Jonathan White (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Date: 15:00-18:00, Wednesday, August 29th, 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

Professor Lea Ypi: “What is political progress?”
Professor Jonathan White: “Populism and the meaning of partisanship”

141 CAPE lecture Dr. Carina Pape and Dr. Holger Sederström (2018/8/22)

Dr. Carina Pape (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
Dr. Holger Sederström (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Date: 15:00-18:00, Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018
Venue: Seminar room No. 9, Research Bldg No. 2, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学総合研究2号館 第9演習室) (1st floor, Building No. 34 of this map)

Title & Abstract:

15:00-16:30   Dr. Carina Pape

Diversity of Moral Phenomena by Language and Culture

To give a precise description of moral phenomena such as moral anger or shame we need to take different aspects into consideration. I will combine intercultural phenomenology and moral philosophy and analyze both the structures of consciousness and the concernment of the living body related to moral phenomena.
Moral phenomena are related to the moral consciousness which may be described appropriately from the first-person perspective (egological reduction). However, since morality is an inter-subjective phenomenon, we need to verify the phenomenon descriptions inter-subjectively. For this purpose I use diverse sources of phenomenon descriptions such as qualitative empirical data, fiction or everyday expressions (e.g. in newspapers).
And since moral phenomena are culturally embedded and have different manifestations in different cultures it seems mandatory to take these differences into account as well. As Rolf Elberfeld mentions, phenomena in general are originated within a specific language and thereby show different aspects when originated in different languages. And with reference to these differences the phenomenon descriptions can be enhanced and specified in diverse and unique manners. In my lecture I will present the first results from a preparatory data gathering at the Kyoto University in 2017 and other work-in-progress.

16:30-18:00   Dr. Holger Sederström

Beyond private and public. On the genealogy of the personal.

The lecture intended – inspired by Prof. MIZUTANI Masahiko: “Ethics of Privacy” in the “Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics” (2012), whose critique I would like to pursue – deals with several issues concerning the ongoing discussion of “private” vs. “public”.
What is the opposite of private? Privat in general seems to be a kind of a token, which can be set on several topics. It is used in opposition to some kind of public, but this opposition is mostly assumed as given, but not defined. Likewise, public is seldom defined, but used self-evidently in the terms “public needs”, “public interests” or “public policies”. Public and private therefore do not share the same definitional range. The same counts for the corresponding nouns. “Privacy” is a powerful term, but it has no equivalent opposition. “Publicity” has lots of different meanings, the more useful “public sphere” is rarely used. The structural characteristics of something private seem to be different from those of something public.
Concerning moral debates this leads to a bunch of problems. On the one hand private is used as this theoretical token with unclear distinctions in practice, on the other hand a “public whatsoever” is highly practical but mostly unfounded.
I would like to bring something well known but underestimated in its systematic significance into account, in order to solve this dilemma: “personal” or “personal belonging”, which unfortunately is mostly bound to privacy. Privat and personal are often used synonymously, but they are not, for several reasons. The idea is to establish “personal” as different from private (and public) and as necessary for both. If we distinguish between private and public, a ‘more or less of them’ always leads necessarily to squishy concepts. But they can be redefined with a concept of personal, which makes them comparable and useful. Therefore, I suggest a redefinition of private and public from the viewpoint of the personal, a genealogy, so to say. For this purpose, I use analytical as well as phenomenological methods, historical and political topics.

140 CAPE lecture Prof. Adrian Moore (2018/7/31)

Speaker: Professor Adrian Moore (University of Oxford)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

The Bounds of Nonsense

139 CAPE lecture Asst. Prof. Kasem Phenpinant (2018/7/31)

Speaker: Asst. Prof. Kasem Phenpinant (Chulalongkom University)
Date: 14:45-16:15, Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Venue: Meeting room on the 1st floor of Faculty of Letters main building, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

Hospitality as the Acceptance of the Others: Recasting the Ethics of Deconstruction

Jacques Derrida provides a novel notion of hospitality as an ethics of deconstruction. This emerges from his textual reading of Emmanuel Lévinas’ works. For Derrida, hospitality consists of the acceptance of the other, while addressing the hospitable welcome. It is a necessary relation to the other with an absolute hospitality as the obligation to welcome the other without conditions. Although this absolute hospitality is unconditional, but hospitality must be conditioned by a responsible response to all condition upon it. This makes the ethics of hospitality possible, when it entails the acceptance of the other.

138 CAPE lecture Prof. Nancy S. Jecker (2018/7/13)

Speaker: Professor Nancy S. Jecker, PhD (University of Washington, School of Medicine)
Date: 17:00-19:00, Friday, July 13th, 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

Dementia and Dignity in Later Life

Global population aging is occurring at an unprecedented rate, with super-aged societies, such as Japan, leading the way. This presentation addresses duties to elderly patients in clinical settings, with a focus on threats to dignity in later life. We illustrate dignity threats by considering impairments to central capabilities and functioning in patients with geriatric syndromes, such as dementia, and discuss a dignity-guided approach to care.

137 CAPE lecture Dr. Mariko Nakano-Okuno (2018/7/10)

Speaker: Dr. Mariko Nakano-Okuno (The University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Date: 17:00-18:30, Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
Venue: Conference room, 1F, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

Ethics, Bioethics and Genomics

136 CAPE lecture Prof. Saranindra Nath Tagore (2018/7/5)

Speaker: Professor Saranindra Nath Tagore (National University of Singapore)
Date: 17:30-19:00, Thursday, July 5th, 2018
Venue: Seminar room No. 8, Research Bldg No 2, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (総合研究2号館第8演習室) (1st floor, Building No.34 of this map)

Husserl, Lebenswelt, Culture

This paper concerns the rather difficult concept of the life-world (lebensewelt)that Husserl developed in some length in the Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. I wish to understand in these remarks the cultural world in terms of the life-world. Husserl primarily develops the life world concept in relation to a science-world and a mathematics-world. His main point in this regard indicates that the scientific-mathematical process is a regional vocation that works itself out against a pre-given world-structure wherein common-life is lived out:

Science is a human spiritual accomplishment which presupposes as its point of departure, both historically and for each new student, the intuitive surrounding world of life, pre-given as existing for all in common.

The stress is on singularity positing a unitary life-world shared by all in common. Under the sign of singularity, worlds are not yet emergent in multiples wherein cultures are situated. Values in general, motivated by cultural forms, inclusive but not exhausted by science-mathematics, are enabled by the life-world against which their structures are constituted. The argument here is this: as a matter of fact, cultures are plural, thus if life-world is conceived under the sign of singularity, it must be pre-given to values as such and not just to scientific value alone, assuming that values are taken to be co-extensive with culture. World-regions—one Galilean another Mahlerian (as examples)—are governed by their own teleologies and are framed against the original structure of the unitary life-world. Just as the life-world (in David Carr’s translation) is the “meaning-fundament” of the natural science so is it of musical expressions, indeed any cultural expression whatsoever. According to this construal, plurality of worlds presupposes the pre-given (vorgegeben) structure of the singular lifeworld. Running against such a construal Føllesdal observes that in the earlier lectures on Phänomenologische Pschologie (1925), Husserl appears to endorse the plurality of life-worlds:

We do not share the same life-world with all people, not all people “in the world” have in common with us all objects which make up our life-world and which determine our personal activity and striving even when they come into actual association with us, as they always can (to the extent that, if they are not present, we come to them and they to us).

Thus the question: are there many life worlds, each naming a particular cultural horizon, or is the life-world singular? I wish to address this question first and then proceed to deploy the obtained result to provide the grounding for an ethics of cosmopolitanism.

135 CAPE lecture Dr. Vincent Lam (2018/7/4)

Speaker: Dr. Vincent Lam (University of Geneva)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
Venue: Lecture Room No.7, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部第七講義室) (No. 8

The interplay between physics and metaphysics

134 CAPE lecture Prof. Robert C. Macauley (2018/7/3)

Speaker: Prof. Robert C. Macauley (Oregon Health & Science University)
Date: 17:00-18:30, Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

Requests for non-beneficial treatment

The shift of emphasis in bioethics from physician paternalism to patient autonomy established the right of patients to refuse medical treatments, even those that are life-sustaining. Some have attempted to extend this negative right of non-interference to a positive right to any treatment that the patient requests. Recognizing the potential inefficacy and/or burden of those treatments, the medical establishment has endeavored to identify an appropriate mechanism for responding to requests for potentially non-beneficial treatments. Tracing the evolution of the “futility movement” through false starts in the 1990s to a recent consensus statement that provides actionable guidance, this presentation will identify the ethical issues involved in responding to requests for non-beneficial treatment, and chart a path forward through this complex issue.

133 CAPE lecture Prof. Javier Perez-Jara (2018/6/29)

Speaker: Professor Javier Perez-Jara, Ph.D. (Beijing Foreign Studies University)
Date: 18:00-19:30, Friday, June 29th, 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

From World War I to the Vietnam War: Narrating Trauma, Utopia and Apocalypse in Bertrand Russell’s Moral Philosophy

Combining modern approaches in cultural sociology and philosophy, this paper aims at offering a new perspective on Bertrand Russell’s main ideas on human progress, science, politics, and ethics. My analysis will specifically focus on important landmarks in Russell’s human rights activism, such as his main public positionings on peace before and after World War I, on nuclear weapons after World War II, and on the role of the United States and its main collaborators in the Vietnam War.
Before World War I, Russell presented science as the mother of all practical and intellectual virtues that would bring a future utopia to humankind. Nevertheless, after witnessing the horrors of the Great War, Russell became aware of the unthinkable destructive potential that modern technology bestowed upon 20th century superpowers. His view of science as the almighty savior that would erase the darkness of ages past quickly turned into ironic skepticism. For the rest of his career, Russell insisted on the necessity of moral and philosophical reform to avoid a future of scientifically-produced apocalypse.
Against this background, it may come as paradoxical that right after World War II, Russell defended striking a preventive war against the Soviet Union before Russia got the atomic bomb. And yet he viewed this as a lesser evil for his pacifist stand. In 1955, Russell and Einstein published a Manifesto against nuclear weapons. This Manifesto had an important echo in the Japanese pacifist movement, which Russell explicitly supported in 1962. In 1963, he created the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation with the ambitious objective of enforcing human rights on a global scale. As part of that endeavour, in 1966 he promoted the first Russell Tribunal with the goal of symbolically judging and condemning the war crimes committed by the United States and its allies in the Vietnam War.
Despite his insistence on pacifism, a detailed study of the public stances held by Russell in these different historical moments shows that he was ready to jeopardize the logical coherence of his popular moral philosophy in order to maximize its social echo. Mobilizing key ideas of social ontology–specifically, the notions of cultural trauma, collective identities, and binary logic as social glue–, this paper offers a new explanation for the cultural impact of Russell’s positionings. This speaks to a larger point in the sociology of political and philosophical ideas: their cultural transcendence is often dependent not only on logic and facts, but also on often overlooked cultural, political and ideological factors.

132 CAPE lecture Prof. Ching Hui Su (2018/6/21)

Speaker: Ching Hui Su
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018: 16:30-18:00
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部校舎地下1階大会議室) (No. 8

Vagueness in the Frankfurt’s Cases

In his 1969 paper, by the so-called “Frankfurt’s Cases,” Harry Frankfurt argues against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, which states that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. However, it is still controversial whether the Principle of Alternative Possibilities is invalidated by those Frankfurt-style cases, for some philosophers have some doubts about the plausibility of Frankfurt-style cases. In the present paper, I will argue that, firstly, while generalizing Frankfurt-style cases, it will be clear that we can easily generate a Frankfurt-style case by satisfying two conditions, i.e. the moral responsibility condition and no alternative possibility condition. Secondly, I will argue that, if one could argue plausibly that there be some substantial connection between the responsibility condition and the failure of no alternative possibility condition, then the Principle of Alternative Possibilities would be invalidated. In the end, I will argue that the real task for us is not to generate (or disarm) new Frankfurt-style cases but to accept the vagueness of the concept of alternative possibility and/or that of moral responsibility.

131 CAPE lecture Prof. Chuang Liu (2018/6/13)

Speaker: Chuang Liu (Fudan University, China)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Wednesday, June 13th, 2018
Venue: Lecture Room No.7, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部第七講義室) (No. 8

Scientific Models, Fictionalism, And a Hybrid View of Modeling

In this talk I argue against a new brand of fictionalism on scientific models. It regards all models, which are naturally conceived as abstract entities, as fictional entities. The new fictionalists rely crucially on the apparent ontological and functional similarities between characters and events in literary fiction and models in science. They further claim that their position is compatible with scientific realism (which is taken as an endorsement). I criticize these fictionalists on the ground that they have misconceived the conceptual structure of scientific models. I argue for a hybrid view of modeling, which, inter alia, shows that the new fictionalists misunderstood the fact that the functions of reference and display are separately played by two distinct elements in the models. I use the example of map representation to show how the hybrid view works for model representations. In the end, I point out that there are indeed models in science that are intended to be fictional entities; but even though there are fictional models in science, models in science are not fictional. There is no good reason to believe from a few examples of intended fictional models that scientific models are by their nature fictional entities.

130 CAPE lecture Prof. Vida Panitch (2018/5/25)

Speaker: Prof. Vida Panitch (Carleton University)
Date: 18:00-19:30, Friday, May 25th, 2018
Venue: Conference room, 1F, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部1F会議室) (No. 8

Liberalism, Commodification, and Justice

A number of political philosophers have argued recently against what they see as an increasing trend toward commodification, or what Michael Sandel has described as the transition of our market economy into a market society. Their critique of commodification goes hand in hand with a condemnation of liberal political philosophy, regarded as the unindicted co-conspirator of the true culprit of increased marketization, rational choice economics. The liberal’s commitment to individual preference satisfaction and autonomous choice-making leads her, so the anti-commodification critique goes, to condone any practice that involves willing and competent parties. The market is thus the liberal’s supposed distributive paradigm, paying regard to the costs individual choices impose on others but not to the content of those choices themselves. The liberal, it is said, thereby cannot justify curtailing a market transaction on the basis of what is sold, only on the basis of how it is sold. That is, unless she can point to a procedural defect such as coercion, fraud, or impaired bargaining, according to the anti-commodification critique she cannot condemn markets in everything from civic goods (including votes and citizenship), to necessary goods (including health care and education) to physical goods (such as intimate labor and body parts).

The anti-commodification theorist is surely correct that if this were all the liberal had to say in the face of noxious markets, it would be inadequate: even if everyone had equal bargaining power and no one was misled, there remain some items that simply shouldn’t go to the highest bidder. Yet there is equally ample reason to be put off by the strategies anti-commodification theorists have offered for restricting market choices in a liberal democracy. My aim in this paper is thus twofold. First, to expose the flaws in the two leading strands of anti-commodification theory. And second, to show that the political liberal can indeed account for the noxiousness of various kinds of markets above and beyond identifying procedural defects therein. I will offer an argument grounded in Rawlsian political liberalism, according to which a principle of equal basic rights and another of sufficiency in basic needs and the social basis of self-respect can yield substantial grounds for restricting the sale of civic goods, necessary goods, and in many cases, physical goods. I devote the first part of the paper to exploring and discrediting the two trenchant strands of anti-commodification theory, the second to articulating the political liberal argument against markets in civic and necessary goods, and the third to exploring the implications of this argument for markets in intimate labor and body parts.

129 CAPE lecture Chien-hsing Ho (2018/4/18)

Speaker: Chien-hsing Ho (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
Date: 18:00-19:30, Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
Venue: Small conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (京都大学文学部 B1F 小会議室) (No. 8

Ontic Indeterminacy: Reconstructing Chinese Madhyamaka Thought

According to Indian Madhyamaka, all things originate dependently and have no independent, invariable nature or existence. Consequently, things are said to be empty. In Chinese Buddhism, this doctrine of emptiness was ardently expounded by Sengzhao僧肇(374?−414 CE) and Jizang吉藏(549−623 CE), two leading exponents of Chinese Madhyamaka. On their view, things are empty mainly because they are devoid of determinate nature and form (無定性、無定相). For exegetical reasons, this lack of determinate nature and form may best be explicated in terms of conceptual and linguistic indeterminability.
In my talk, I intend, based on Sengzhao’s and Jizang’s works, to reconstruct an ontological notion of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy (OI), which involves the thesis that all things are indeterminate with respect to the ways they are (their existence, nature, property, form, etc.). This notion bears some resemblance to the analytic-philosophical notion of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI) and for my reconstruction I make use the determinable-based account of MI presented by Jessica Wilson. The crucial task here is to explore how the notion of OI would tackle a few issues that (may) concern advocates of MI, namely, the issues of indeterminate existence and identity as well as an issue pertaining to the problem of change.

128 CAPE lecture Prof. Jochen Vollmann (2018/3/23)

Speaker: Prof. Jochen Vollmann  (Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Date: 17:00-18:30, Friday, March 23rd, 2018
Venue: Conference room,1F, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
京都大学文学部 1F 会議室 (No. 8

Title ” Palliative care exceptionalism? A broader perspective on end of life care and modern medicine.”

127 CAPE lecture Prof. Leon Horsten (2018/3/17)

Speaker: Prof. Leon Horsten (University of Bristol, Kyoto University)
Date: 15:00-17:00, Saturday, March 17th, 2018
Venue: Second lecture room, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
京都大学文学部 第2講義室 (No. 8

Naive Metaphysics

In recent publications, Kit Fine proposed a new methodology for metaphysics. According to the traditional way of doing metaphysics in analytical philosophy, one must first sort out ontological questions (“do entities of kind F exist?”). If the answer to such questions is affirmative, then one may proceed to metaphysics proper (“what is the nature of the entities of kind F?”). Fine’s proposal involves an inversion of this order. On his proposed methodology, we must already in a first stage enquire into the nature of the entities that we want to investigate.
This stage of the investigation is called *naive metaphysics*. Only in a subsequent, critical stage, should we investigate whether such entities really exist, and whether such entities can ontologically be reduced to other kinds of entities. In my lecture, I will go even further than Fine’s proposal. I will argue that there are sound methodological reasons to concentrate all our efforts on the first stage (naive metaphysics), and to abandon the second, critical, stage altogether.

126 CAPE lecture Prof. Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (2018/2/6)

Speaker: Prof. Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Tuesday 6th February 2018
Venue: Lecture room No.9 of Faculty of letter in Research Building No.2 (No. 34

Of Primary Features in Aesthetics: A Critical Assessment of Generalism and a Limited Defense of Particularism

Contemporary analytical aesthetics saw a heated debate about whether there are general critical principles that determine the merits/demerits of an artwork. The so-called generalists say ‘yes’, whereas the so-called particularists say ‘no’. On the particularists’ view, a feature that is a merit in an artwork might well turn out to be a defect in another, so critical principles purporting to delimit features of merits and defects are pretty much in vain. Against this, the generalists argue that while some features change their merit/demerit statuses in the way suggested by the particularists, not all features do; there are still some features that remain as constant merits or defects across different contexts; these are what the generalists call ‘primary features’. If so, the generalists maintain that there are still general critical principles generated by these primary features. In my paper, I provide a limited defense of particularism by critically assessing three eminent generalists’ arguments for the existence of primary features. I argue, on the one hand, that Beardsley’s invariant and explanatory conception of primary features is too strong such that there is no compelling reason for us to believe their existence. On the other, I argue that Sibley’s prima facie conception and Dickie’s isolation conception of primary features are both too weak such that even if primary features under these conceptions exist, they do not generate the right sort of critical principles the particularists are concerned to refute. If so, I contend that there’s reason to believe that particularism remains as a live option.

125 CAPE lecture  Prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene (2018/1/22)

Speaker: Prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene(Leibniz Universität Hannover)
Date: 16:30-18:00, Monday 22nd January 2018
Venue: 2nd lecture room, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Systematicity: The Nature of Science

The paper addresses the question of what the nature of science is. I will first make a few preliminary historical and systematic remarks. Next, in answering the main question, I shall propose the following thesis: Scientific knowledge is primarily distinguished from other forms of knowledge, especially from everyday knowledge, by being more systematic. This thesis has to be qualified, clarified, developed and justified. In particular, I will develop the thesis in nine dimensions in which it is claimed that science is more systematic than everyday knowledge: regarding descriptions, explanations, predictions, the defense of knowledge claims, critical discourse, epistemic connectedness, an ideal of completeness, knowledge generation, and the structure and representation of knowledge. Finally, I will compare my answer with alternative answers.
(This talk is a summary of his book Systematicity: The Nature of Science, Oxford UP, 2013)

124 CAPE lecture Dr. Michael Campbell (2018/1/12)

Speaker: Dr. Michael Campbell (Researcher, Centre for Ethics as the Study of Human Value, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic)
Date: 17:00-, Friday 12th January 2018
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

The Very Idea of Public Reason

In a globalised world where societies are multicultural, decisions concerning public policy are made on the background of plural and incommensurate values. It is the mark of a non-authoritarian state that in making such decisions due respect is paid to the views of all citizens. In this context, the concept of public reason encompasses both the aspiration that our decisions be justifiable to one another, and the conviction that such justifications are possible, at least in principle if not always in practice. In the following paper I consider different interpretations of the doctrine of public reason, and I consider whether any such concept is possible. I consider in particular two threats to the concept. On the one hand, the public reasons theorist must take care to avoid underplaying the diversity of different perspectives held between reasonable individuals in the political sphere. On the other hand, they must take care not to allow such diversity to rob the concept of public reason of any substantive content. Whether this tightrope can successfully be walked remains to be seen, but the possibility of walking it remains central to the aspiration for democratic accountability in modern societies.

123 CAPE lecture Dr. Matthé Scholten (2018/1/11)

Speaker: Dr. Matthé Scholten (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Date: 15:00-17:00, Thursday 11th January 2018
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.(京都大学文学部 B1F 大会議室) (No. 8

Decision-making capacity and competence to consent to treatment and research

In this talk, I will provide an overview over the debate on decision-making capacity and competence to consent to treatment and research. I start by showing how the concept of competence fits the framework of informed consent and how it relates to the values of autonomy and wellbeing. I then introduce three conceptions of competence: the status approach, the outcome approach and the functional approach. While rejecting the former two approaches, I proceed to expound the functional approach to competence, in particular the model proposed by Grisso and Appelbaum. According to this model, a person is competent to consent just when she possesses the following four abilities to a sufficient extent: (1) understanding, (2) appreciation, (3) reasoning and (4) evidencing a choice. After explicating the nature of these abilities, I draw out some important implications for medical practice. If there is time, I will close by pointing to two fundamental controversies surrounding the concept of competence, namely the questions whether competence is risk-relative and whether the four abilities are sufficient for competence.

122 CAPE lecture Dr. Miranda Anderson (2017/12/8)

Speaker: Dr. Miranda Anderson (Edinburgh)
Date: 18:00-19:30, Friday 8th December 2017
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Mind In World: A History of Distributed Cognition

Distributed cognition means that the mind is not ‘brainbound’ but extends across brain, body and world. Our project examines evidence of distributed cognition from Classical Greece to Modernism in Europe. Now we want to look at Japan and Asia. Join Dr Miranda Anderson for this lecture if you’re interested in:
• distributed cognition
• a history of distributed cognition in Europe
• a future project on the history of distributed cognition in Japan and Asia

121 CAPE lecture Dr. Miranda Anderson (2017/12/8)

Speaker: Dr. Miranda Anderson (Edinburgh)
Date: 18:00-19:30, Friday 8th December 2017
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Mind In World: A History of Distributed Cognition

Distributed cognition means that the mind is not ‘brainbound’ but extends across brain, body and world. Our project examines evidence of distributed cognition from Classical Greece to Modernism in Europe. Now we want to look at Japan and Asia. Join Dr Miranda Anderson for this lecture if you’re interested in:
• distributed cognition
• a history of distributed cognition in Europe
• a future project on the history of distributed cognition in Japan and Asia

120 CAPE lecture Prof. Peter Dietsch (2017/10/31)

Speaker: Prof. Peter Dietsch (Université de Montréal)
Date:October 31st, Tuesday, 2017
Time: 17:00-18:30
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Money creation, debt, and distributive justice

Theories of justice appeal to a variety of criteria to determine what social arrangements should be considered just. For most theories, the distribution of financial resources matters. However, they take the existence of money as given and tend to ignore the way in which the creation of money impacts distributive justice.
Those with access to collateral are favoured in the process of credit creation. Building on a preliminary section that lays out a typology of money in modern economies, this paper identifies four sources of bias stemming from the creation of different kinds of credit: loans from commercial banks to individuals and corporations; interbank lending; lending from central banks to commercial banks; the fourth source of bias stems from credit “destruction” rather than credit creation: selective bail-outs by central banks during financial crisis once again favour some economic agents over others.
What legitimates the claim that these biases are injustices rather than mere inequalities? The final section of the paper argues that since alternative designs of the financial architecture of our society are available that significantly reduce these forms of bias, we can indeed qualify them as unjust.

Peter Dietsch is a philosopher and economist working on questions of economic ethics at the Université de Montréal. His research focuses on analysing the economic dimensions of social justice as well as on assessing economic policies from an ethical perspective. In the latter context, he has published extensively on the ethics of tax competition and of monetary policy. Dietsch is the author of ‘Catching Capital – The Ethics of Tax Competition’ (Oxford University Press, 2015) and co-editor (with Thomas Rixen) of ‘Global Tax Governance – What is Wrong With It and How to Fix It’ (ECPR Press, 2016). He is a member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada and received a fellowship for experienced researchers from the Humboldt Foundation in 2011.

119 CAPE lecture Prof. Michael Weisberg (2017/10/21)

Speaker: Prof. Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)
Date: October 21st 2017
Time: 16:30-18:00
Venue: Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters MainBuilding, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.

Title: Confirmation Theory for Idealized Models

When a flu pandemic strikes, who should get vaccinated first? What’s our best strategy for minimizing the damage of global climate change? Why is Philadelphia racially segregated? Why do most sexually reproducing species have only two sexes, in roughly even proportions? These and many other scientific and practical problems are studied with highly idealized mathematical and computational models. When should we believe these models and follow the advice they suggest? Philosophy of science tells us that we should believe models when they are well-confirmed, but this simple answer isn’t very helpful here. Traditional confirmation theory explains how empirical evidence bears on the truth of hypotheses and theories, but the highly idealized models at the heart of the life and social sciences are known to be false from the outset. Moreover, classical ideas about confirmation have been developed for relatively simple hypotheses, while many contemporary models have thousands of variables.

Despite these challenges, it is possible to develop an account of model confirmation that can speak to the reliability of models and their results. I will sketch a theory that has two parts: First, theorists validate models, confirming hypotheses about model/target system relations. Second, they employ robustness analysis to investigate the stability of model results. Taken together, validation and robustness tell us when models are reliable and help us understand the appropriate domain of their application. Not only does this theory better align our accounts of scientific method with modern theoretical practice, it also helps us understand when to believe the results of models.

118 CAPE lecture Prof. Carol Lin (2017/10/20)

Speaker: Distinguished Professor Chih-Chieh (Carol ) Lin 林志潔 (Associate Dean, National Chiao Tung University School of Law, Taiwan)
Date: October 20th Friday 2017
Time: 17:00-18:30
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Aged Society in Asia – Die with Dignity and Patient’s Self-Determination Act

117 CAPE lecture Dr. Daniele Macuglia (2017/10/16)

Speaker:Dr. Daniele Macuglia (University of Chicago)
Date: 16 October 2017
Time: 16:30-17:30
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Silence in the History and Communication of Science: the Hanford Works and News Reporting of Silence, 1945-1989

Hanford was a nuclear production complex located in Washington State. Although supposed to turn the US into a stronger military force during the Cold War, the environmental consequences of the nuclear research carried out in the facility ended up overshadowing its original political purpose. During its active period (1943-1987) the high-level of radioactive waste produced at Hanford harmed thousands of people living in the area, causing relevant environmental disasters which make the site the most contaminated region in the US even today. Despite what is stated in the current secondary literature, which considers Hanford as a silent facility which operated without any kind of public awareness or involvement, in my talk I will show that some citizens long suspected that Hanford’s management of the radioactive waste was not really safe. By means of extensive research on The Seattle Times Historical Archives, this study investigates the boundary between science and the public providing significant hints for both philosophical and historical studies on the production and transmission of knowledge and its impact on society.

第116回CAPEレクチャー Dr. Carina Pape (2017/10/13)

Speaker: Dr. Carina Pape (JSPS postdoc fellow, /Faculty of Letters (Ethics), Kyoto University)
Date: October 13th, Friday, 2017
Time: 18:00-19:30
Venue: Meeting room , 1st floor of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University. (No. 8

Title: Habits
Bad habits, traditional customs, or polite manners are not distinctly moral issues, unless they harm others.
Drawing on Immanuel Kant, phenomenology, and research on moral development, first I will distinguish between mores (habits, customs, manners), morals, and morality to illustrate if and how habits can be morally relevant. Drawing on the feminist phenomenologists Helen Ngo and Linda Martín Alcoff, I argue that our habitual bodily responses participate in morally relevant discourses for in which participation is our responsibility.
I will illustrate the force of habit, using Michel de Montaigne’s Essais, youtube-clips, and my own observations concerning habits that are culturally conditioned. I will also discuss how the perceptual frameworks which underlie racist attitudes are ‘learnt and acquired through bodily habit’ (Ngo) and how our responsibility comes into play. Lastly, I will raise the question: If I am morally responsible for my bodily habits – how can I change them?

第115回CAPEレクチャー Prof. Hanti Lin (2017/9/20)

Speaker: Prof. Hanti Lin (UC Davis)
Date: September 20th 2017
Time: 16:30-18:00
Venue: Seminar room No.9, 1st floor of Research Building No.2  (No. 34

Hume’s Dilemma and the Normative Turn—Or How It Is Possible to Justify at Least Some Kind of Induction

Is it possible to justify at least some kind of induction? Hume’s dilemma tries to answer in the negative; a simple version goes like this: “To justify an arbitrary kind of induction, the *empirical* thesis that it will (always or often) lead to a true conclusion has to be argued for, either demonstratively or inductively; the demonstrative route is impossible, while the inductive route is circular.” I want to resolve this dilemma by defending a quite general escape route. Here is the idea: (i) to justify induction of a certain kind, we can argue for a non-empirical, *normative* thesis instead, a norm that guides some inductive practices; (ii) unlike empirical theses, normative theses might be justified a priori and demonstratively, without relying on empirical studies or inductive inferences. Call this the normative turn, which has been implemented in various ways by some (formal) epistemologists, such as Bayesians, learning theorists, and Reichenbach (who is probably the earliest pioneer of the normative turn). Unfortunately, those people tend to set aside Hume’s dilemma quickly and rush to develop their own implementations of the normative turn. In their hands, the normative turn is mostly practiced but not really defended. So I want to defend the normative turn—to consider possible ways Hume’s dilemma might be thought to strike back, and to address those worries by reference to the general features of the normative turn, without commitment to any particular implementation.

A note on the mathematical prerequisite: I will keep it to a minimum. You only need to have propositional logic in mind, and I will prepare all the others for you, pictorially.

114 CAPE lecture Prof. Julianne Chung  (2017/8/1)

SpeakerJulianne Chung (Assistant Professor, University of Louisville)
Date: August 1st 2017
Time: 15:00-18:00
Venue: Seminar room No.10, 1st floor of Research Building No.2 (No. 34

Taking Skepticism Seriously: How the Zhuangzi can Inform Contemporary Epistemology
This paper explores a few of the ways that the Zhuangzi can inform contemporary analytic epistemology. However, to accomplish this, I must first give some account of what the Zhuangzi does. Because it is controversial as to how to interpret the positive philosophical project proposed in the Zhuangzi, I begin by briefly outlining and summarizing the case for my fictionalist interpretation of the text. Then I use this interpretation as a springboard for discussing how the Zhuangzi can be brought into productive dialogue with a perennial philosophical question: namely, the question of how we should respond to skeptical arguments (and similar). Specifically, I argue that the Zhuangzi can be reasonably interpreted as exemplifying an approach that is different from dominant contemporary responses to skeptical arguments in at least three significant ways: i) It is fictionalist, ii) It motivates a skeptical perspective rather than a claim, and iii) It accomplishes its aims in a stylistically and substantively atypical, but nonetheless contextually savvy way. However, there are also at least three significant ways in which it is relevant to contemporary debates about skeptical arguments: i) It can be used to respond to the same sorts of skeptical arguments that occupy contemporary commentators, ii) It can be used to address a number of questions, influential in contemporary epistemology, that arise in connection with such arguments, and iii) It can be used to suggest important new questions for epistemologists to pursue going forward―questions that promise to considerably advance epistemology (and philosophy more broadly).

Skepticism, Metaphor, and Epistemic Feelings
One feature of debates about skeptical arguments that has largely been overlooked by contemporary analytic philosophers is that disputes about them are pervasive across a number of philosophical traditions. Some of the most general and powerful skeptical arguments—arguments from regress, arguments from circularity, and arguments from skeptical hypotheses—have been defended, and attacked, by Euroamerican, Indian, and Chinese philosophers alike. In other words, skepticism—as well as resistance to it—is in some sense a cross-cultural phenomenon. Because of this, it cries out for a cross-cultural explanation: that is, an account of why this is so. In this paper, I argue that the view that believing is knowing is a primary conceptual metaphor (which I characterize as a form of epistemic fictionalism) promises to provide at least the beginnings of such an explanation. I proceed by first briefly explaining what primary conceptual metaphors are before going on to explain why believing is knowing is plausibly among them, drawing on recent literature on epistemic feelings. Following that, I show how this account can be used to offer a unified (if partial) response to these three particularly pressing philosophical questions: i) Why are skeptical arguments appealing? ii) Why are skeptical arguments difficult to accept? and iii) Why are these features of skeptical arguments widespread? In other words, why is skepticism—as well as resistance to it—in some sense a cross-cultural phenomenon?

This workshop is supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), JSPS: Dialetheism and Asian Philosophy: Construction of international research basis for Analytic Asian Philosophy (16H03344).

113 CAPE lecture Mr. Kai Tanter (University of Melbourne) (2017/7/21)

Speaker: Mr. Kai Tanter (University of Melbourne)
Date: July 21 (Friday) 2017
Time: 15:30–17:00
Venue: Small meeting room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
Map:(No. 8:

Inferentialist Semantics for Atomics, Predicates, and Names

Inferentialism is a theory in the philosophy of language which claims that the meaning of expressions ought to be understood in terms of their inferential roles or relations, rather than truth and reference. It naturally lends itself to a proof-theoretic semantics, where meaning is understood in terms of inference rules applied within proofs, instead of more traditional model-theoretic semantics. Most work in proof theory has been focused on logical constants, with relatively little work on the semantics of atomic sentences and subatomic terms. Drawing on Robert Brandom’s idea of material inference and Greg Restall’s bilateralist interpretation of the multiple conclusion sequent calculus, I present a compositional proof-theoretic semantics for atomic sentences and their component names and predicates. Brandom’s notion of material inference applies to those inference which are good in virtue of their non-logical vocabulary. For example, from ‘Paula is a platypus’ to ‘Paula is a monotreme’. Applied to “parts” of sentences, Brandom’s claim is that predicates are governed by asymmetric and names by symmetric inferences rules. Based on Brandom’s ideas I set out general rule forms for atomic sentences, predicates, and names within the multiple conclusion sequent calculus. This system has several interesting features: (1) the rules for atomic sentences are determined by those for their component predicates names; (2) cut elimination for the system can be proved; (3) model theoretic extensions can be interpreted as idealisations derived from the more fundamental inference rules.

112 CAPE lecture Dr. Yoriyuki Yamagata(2017/7/6)

Validity of bilateral classical logic and its application

In this talk, we report an ongoing work to define a notion of validity on Rumfitt’s bilateral classical logic. In particular, we define validity over the implicational fragment of the propositional bilateral classical logic, following Prawitz’s article “Ideas and Results in Proof Theory”. As an application, we prove strong normalization of such system under normalization rules, which reduce all introduction/elimination, reductio-ad-absurdum/elimination and reduction-ad-absurdum/contradiction-rules pairs on main branches of derivations. Further, we discuss the relation of our notion of validity and Dummett’s verificationist semantics. Although our definition of validity is hopelessly non-constructive, we argue that there is a way in which verificationists accept our notion of validity, by showing that the notion of decidability can be multiply interpreted.

111 CAPE lecture Prof. Yumiko Inukai (2017/7/4,6)

The contemporary notion of the minimal self with reference to early modern philosophers like Descartes, Locke, Berkeley & Hume

In recent years, some philosophers have begun to pay more attention to the relationship between phenomenal consciousness and subjectivity in their investigation of the self again.  Instead of settling the question regarding the existence and the nature of the self first, they attempt to illuminate the structure of experience in which a sense of the self as a subject of experience arises in the first place, as phenomenologists would do.  This approach has proven to be quite fruitful: it has yielded a basic, yet critical, and popular notion of the self –  “the minimal self.” It is a self at the most fundamental level, which is intimately connected with the character of first-personal perspective of conscious states.  In this seminar, we will first explore, in particular, Dan Zahavi’s account of the minimal self.  Then, unlike Zahavi who often draws his inspirations from phenomenologists like Husserl and Sartre (for good reasons), we will look at some Early Modern philosophers’ views of the self (Descartes, Berkeley, Locke and Hume) to see if they already recognized the aspect of subjectivity in our conscious experience and used it in their accounts in some way.

110 CAPE lecture Dr. Itsuki Hayashi (2017/6/29)

The Secret Lives of Evanescents: A Critical Analysis of the Buddhist Argument for Rebirth

In the Pramāṇasiddhi chapter of Pramāṇavārttika, Dharmakīrti famously argues for the possibility of rebirth. By rebirth, however, Dharmakīrti does not mean transmigration of the soul, for the idea of enduring souls is rejected as an illusion; instead, he means evanescent minds make up a causal series (cittasantāna) that extends beyond the duration of a physical life. While contemporary physicalists might object to this view, John Taber (2003) argues that the Buddhist can advance an Occam’s Razor argument to show that rebirth is at least not impossible. In this presentation, I show that later Buddhists, particularly Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla (8th century), develop the argument in such a way that Occam’s Razor is no longer applicable. What is more, the argument appeals to a criterion of ontological dependence that resembles supervenience to show that mind does not depend on body, which renders the Buddhist doctrine even more suspect vis-à-vis contemporary metaphysics. Having clarified the challenges, I will suggest that the Buddhist can evade the challenges if karma is real (or ideal) and if ‘mind’ is to be understood as a karmic rather than cognitive entity.

Key words: persistence, rebirth, supervenience, causation, physicalism

109 CAPE lecture Prof. Kevin Kelly (2017/6/28)

Deduction and Induction in Statistics

The distinction between inductive and deductive reasoning is among the most basic in philosophy.  But where, exactly, should one draw it?  The logical positivists drew it in terms of logic—deductive inferences are those in which the conclusion follows by first-order logic from the premises.   By that standard, all statistical inference is inductive, because the proposition that a sample was received never logically entails the intended conclusion.  We propose, instead, to characterize deductive inference in terms of guaranteed, arbitrarily low chance of error.  We present three arguments in favor of the proposal.  (1) It reflects the situation of real, as opposed to mathematically formalized, deduction.  (2) Unlike the received view, it allows one  to transfer logical insights from epistemology and the philosophy of science to issues that arise in advanced statistical data analysis.  (3) Finally, it rests on a deep, topological  analogy between the logical and statistical cases.  Time permitting, we illustrate the idea with a statistical application of tremendous practical and ethical consequence: the inference of causal connections from non-experimental data.

108 CAPE lecture Prof. Wen-fang Wang (2017/6/13)

On Pritchard’s Solutions to Radical Skeptical Paradoxes

D. Pritchard (2016) has recently analyzed what he called “radical skeptical paradoxes” and offered his solutions to them. According to Pritchard, there are two kinds of skeptical paradoxes that ground on two intuitively plausible principles: one grounds on a version of epistemic closure principle, while the other grounds on what he calls ‘underdetermination principle’. Pritchard further argues that there is no unified undercutting solution to both paradoxes, so he appeals to two different ideas – Wittgenstein’s hinge commitment and McDowell’s disjunctivism – to solve these paradoxes. I argue in the talk that Pritchard’s solutions to radical skeptical paradoxes do not succeed. I explain in the first part what these radical skeptical paradoxes and their presuppositions are. In sections two and three, I explain Pritchard’s solutions to these paradoxes and argue that his solutions are not satisfactory.

107 CAPE lecture Prof. Georg Northoff (2017/6/12,13)

Talk I: World-brain Problem I: Spatiotemporal model of consciousness
From 14:00 to 16:00 on 12th June 2017

Talk II: World-brain problem II: Spatiotemporal ontology of consciousness
From 14:00 to 16:00 on 13th June 2017

With Profs. Szu Ting Cheng (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan) and Kai Yuan Cheng (National Yang Ming University, Taiwan) as discussants.

There is much debate about consciousness and mental features in general in both neuroscience and philosophy. However, despite intense debates, both empirical mechanisms and ontological characterization of mental features remain unclear. I here suggest a novel approach to mental features, namely a spatiotemporal approach that can account for both empirical mechanisms and ontological characteristics of mental features. My main argument for both talks is that the mind-body problem can be replaced by what I describe as world-brain problem.

The first talk will focus on developing a spatiotemporal model of consciousness as based on recent empirical findings in neuroscience. Empirically, consciousness can be related to the capacity of the brain’s spontaneous activity to construct its own “inner time and space”. I will present various empirical examples which also connect well with existential and phenomenological approaches to consciousness and especially “inner time consciousness”. Moreover, this aligns well with the concept of time in ancient Chinese philosophy as by Zhuangzhe.

The second talk will focus on the ontology of consciousness. The spatiotemporal model of consciousness presupposes an ontology that focuses on relation and structure as constructed in spatiotemporal terms. This leads to ontic Structural realism (OSR) of mental features which must be distinguished from the traditional property-based ontology with the assumption of mental and/or physical properties. OSR of mental features considers the relation between world and brain in spatiotemporal terms which makes it possible to establish necessary connection between world-bran relation and mental features. I therefore consider world-brain relation including its spatiotemporal features as necessary condition of possible consciousness, i.e., ontological predisposition of consciousness (OPC). I conclude that the question for mental features can ontologically be addressed in terms of world-brain relation rather than mind-body relation – the mind-body problem may consecutively be replaced by what I describe as “world-brain problem”.

106 CAPE lecture Prof. Javier Perez-Jara (2017/6/2)

World, God, and Being in Heidegger’s Ontological Phenomenology

Heidegger insisted from Being and Time to the end of his life in the correlativity of man and being, understood as the meaningful presence of things through time. In order to prove this point, I will pay attention to the development of Heidegger’s theological positions. Until 1928, Heidegger maintained that true philosophy has to be methodologically a-theistic, and that his own thinking denied the ontic existence of God. Nevertheless, after being unable to write the projected second part of Being and Time due to the insufficiencies of traditional metaphysical language, Heidegger started to use poetic and prophetic language around the concept of being. In Contributions to Philosophy, Heidegger, influenced by Hölderlin, talked about a future and mysterious “last god” linked to a new understanding of being in general, hidden now in the epoch of planetary technology. In his Letter on Humanism, Heidegger rejected Sartre’s consideration of his own philosophy as atheistic, and in other texts Heidegger divided the world into earth, sky, mortals, and the god(s). Finally, in his Der Spiegel interview from 1966, but which was only allowed to be published posthumously, Heidegger famously held that only a god can save us.

Simultaneously, Heidegger presented his thinking as a Destruktion of onto-theo-logy, understood as the worldview that considers God as the Supreme Being that explains all the other beings. With the death of the ontotheological God, mankind’s technological prowess has generated the dangerous illusion of man as the new Lord of beings. Using the language of prophecy, Heidegger held that the only salvation from this situation was to wait for the future coming or absence of the last god. Moving away from some known scholars’ perspectives, my paper will investigate who this enigmatic god is, and why Heidegger decided to combine the language of philosophy, poetry, and prophecy in order to lead towards a deeper understanding of existence.

105 CAPE lecture Dr. Filippo Casati & Prof. Ricki Bliss (2017/6/1)

Filippo Casati
Heidegger and the paradox of Being

The vast majority of analytic philosophers have considered Heidegger both obscure and incomprehensible. The main reason is that, especially in the late part of his philosophical trajectory, he intentionally challenges the principle of non-contradiction, endorsing inconsistent positions. Of course, this was enough for the faint of heart – at least, hearts in thrall to Aristotle – to condemn him to the realm of the nonsensical. In my talk, I will show that one possible way to make sense of Heidegger is to interpret him as a dialetheist. I will also briefly show how my interpretation can help us to better understand Nishitani – one of the most important thinkers of the Kyoto School.

Ricki Bliss
Priest, One, and Svabhava: Bringing own-being back

In his One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness Graham Priest argues for, amongst many other things, an account of the structure of reality according to which everything is empty.  The view that he develops is, in fact, consistent with that of the Chinese Buddhist Hua-Yen tradition, where, crucially, everything depends on everything else.  To understand why one would want to argue for the emptiness of all things, one first needs to understand what it is that these things are empty of.  Translated variously as `own-being’, `essence’, `intrinsic nature’, and `substance’, the Sanskrit term `svabhava’ is what picks out that thing that the Buddhist analysis is supposed to show us everything, it turns out, is lacking.

According to Priest’s view, everything is empty, it lacks `own-being’, and, thereby, has purely relational quiddity. Everything is empty, on Priest’s view, because everything has its nature in dependence upon something, in fact, everything, else.  Interestingly, though, it is also a feature of Priest’s view that everything is also self-dependent.  In this paper, I suggest that self-dependence looks dangerously close to smuggling back in the kind of `own-being’ that the Buddhist analysis, and Priest’s with it, is designed to avoid; and therewith, that Priest’s attempt at developing a Hua-Yen account of the structure of the world fails by its own lights.

104 CAPE lecture Prof. Joe Morrison (2017/5/26)

  • Speaker:Prof. Joe Morrison (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)
  • Date & Time:26, May, 2017(Fri) 16:30- 18:00
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Second Philosophy and logical contingentism

Penelope Maddy argues that logical truths are only contingently true. Her premises include: (1) logical truths are truths about stable features of the world, (2) while humans may struggle to detect worldly features which don’t exhibit such structuring (and struggle to reason non-classically about the world), this is not because such structures necessarily obtain, but because (3) our cognitive abilities have developed in response to these (relatively abundant) structures in our environments.  However, (4) not all parts of the world exhibit the kinds of stable structures which would ground classical reasoning, but instead possess structures which might ground non-classical reasoning. (5) It’s possible that an organism could reliably detect and infer on the basis of those kinds of structures instead, in a way which might count as knowledge, and so (6) might evolve to exhibit and exploit non-classical reasoning. It follows that such organisms could come to know non-classical logical truths.

My line of response to Maddy’s argument concerns the issue of how she conceives of the link between inferential abilities (reasoning) and the domain of logical facts (worldly structures). I argue that the relationships between the types of inferential habits that organisms might in fact adopt and the kinds of structures that might exist in the world is weaker than Maddy requires for her argument for logical contingentism to work.

103 CAPE lecture Dr. Carina Pape  (2017/5/19)

  • Speaker:Dr. Carina Pape (Research fellowship at the Graduate School for Letters, Kyoto University)
  • Date & Time:19, May, 2017 (Fri) 18:00-19:30
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:


Attitudes describe my position towards the world, including my knowledge and beliefs, my feelings, and my ideological point of view. I will combine Strawson’s reactive attitudes (indignation) with John Turri’s remarks on the need for “factive attitudes” and interpret this need as a feature of the natural attitude (Husserl). I will employ a thought experiment and describe the perspective of a person who experiences the attitude of indignation and compare it to the perspective of the person who is blamed.

Knowledge first epistemology is useful here, because in this case a false belief constitutes a moral knowledge. This can be explained with our need for factive attitudes. The need for factive attitudes is related to a need for objectivity, but no human endeavor is objective, but always biased. Bias includes presumptions and prejudice, but also intuition.

Through intuition it is related to the phenomenological idea of the “life world” (Lebenswelt). The need for factive attitudes is a feature of the natural attitude, the attitude towards the life world, which only becomes conscious when it is challenged.

I argue that we live within our moral attitudes just as we live within our natural attitude. We tend to transform our moral values into seemingly universal facts. Phenomenology questions objectivity and can lead to a bias-sensitive approach. Intersubjectivity is also helpful, because it reaches beyond subjective statements and complies with our need for factive attitudes.

The need for factive attitudes also shows up in the attitude of indignation, because to experience this attitude I have to be positive about it. Through intersubjective verification or falsification either the attitude’s norms can turn out to be wrong or the ‘facts’ it is built upon.

If two persons share the same normative context and the same definition of “norm violation” and act accordingly to that, only the opposed propositions upon which they build their attitudes can be the cause of (a flashback of) indignation. Such a flashback is an intersubjective falsification, which makes one of those reflections possible that can modify an indignant attitude according to Strawson.

態度は世界に対する私の立場を記述しており、私の知識、信念、感情、イデオロギー的な見方を含んでいる。私は、ストローソンの反応的態度(憤りなど)をジョン・トゥリ(John Turri)の「叙実的態度」(factive attitudes)の必要性への着目と結びつけ、この必要性を自然的態度(フッサール)の特徴として解釈するつもりである。そして私は、ある思考実験を行い、憤りの態度を経験している人のパースペクティヴを記述し、それを、非難されている人のパースペクティヴと比較してみたい。

ここでは、知識を一のものとする認識論(knowledge first epistemology)が有用である。なぜなら上の事例においては、誤った信念が道徳的知識を構成しているからだ。このことは、私たちが叙実的態度を必要としているということと関連づけて説明されうる。叙実的態度が必要であることは、客観性が必要であることと関わっている。とはいえどんな人間の努力も決して客観的ではなく、常にバイアスがかけられている。バイアスは、推定や先入見のみならず、直観をも含んでいる。




二人のひとが同じ規範的なコンテクストと、同じ「規範への違反」(norm violation)の定義を共有しており、それに従って行為しているとしよう。その場合には、二人が自分たちの態度を立脚させている命題が対立していることだけが、憤りの原因(憤りのフラッシュバック)でありうる。そのようなフラッシュバックは、間主観的な反証である。そしてこの間主観的な反証は、ストローソンによれば、憤りの態度を変更しうる諸々の可能的な反省のうちのひとつをなす。

102 CAPE lecture Prof. Christian Coseru, Prof. Sheridan Hough (2017/5/17)

  • Speaker:Prof. Christian Coseru (College of Charlton), Prof. Sheridan Hough (College of Charlton)
  • Date & Time:17, May, 2017 (Wed)  15:00–18:00
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Christian Coseru, “Consciousness and Causation”
Does consciousness cause behavior? Can causal accounts of generation for material bodies explain how conscious awareness comes to have the structural features and phenomenal properties that it does? In this presentation, I first consider various arguments against reductive physicalism. I then review arguments about the structure of phenomenal consciousness that do not eschew causal-explanatory reasoning. Finally, I entertain the question whether the Buddhist principle of dependent arising, which underscores a dynamic conception of efficient causality, allows for elements defined primarily in terms of their capacity for sentience and agency to be causally efficacious.

Sheridan Hough, “Nietzsche on Consciousness: Epiphenomenalism, Genealogy and Archaeology”
Is Nietzsche an epiphenomenalist? No. But—why does he occasionally make remarks that tempt the reader to think of his theory of mind in this way? A number of commentators argue that Nietzsche does endorse epiphenomenalism. On the other hand, Nietzsche makes many complex and original remarks about consciousness, and for every passage that casts doubts on the causal efficacy of conscious states there are always a number of counterexamples ready to hand—for example: if conscious states don’t cause anything, then why does Nietzsche occasionally claim that consciousness is dangerous? It seems clear that one of Nietzsche’s complaints about consciousness has more to do with reifying ‘Consciousness’ as a substantive faculty, rather than treating it as a kind of mental state that we can and do have. But what is it about conscious states that Nietzsche finds ‘superfluous’, ‘false’, ‘corrupt’, ‘superficial’? Why is Nietzsche such a critic of consciousness? Nietzsche’s ‘theory of consciousness’ is clearly up to much more than the epiphenomenalist is willing to admit: but why does Nietzsche make these kinds of remarks? What concerns might he have in common with the epiphenomenal approach? I will argue that the conscious, scrupulous examination of our lives is a crucial element in improving them, but that careful examination must be as clear-eyed as possible about the impossibility of obtaining a clear and unbiased view of the human terrain. If what humans say about themselves, their culture, and their environment, can indeed diminish, reduce and distort human possibilities, then the epiphenomenalist’s dismissal of conscious states as a chimera is no remedy; however, the epistemologist’s cheerful confidence in our reflective powers will not save us, either. We must consciously reflect on ourselves with a cannier eye, one that is able, as Nietzsche puts it, to ‘see into the depths’: we must do ‘genealogy’ to discover how we have developed, and in order to make sense of that developmental process. Nietzsche also wants us to become good ‘archaeologists,’ able to reflectively dig into the millennia of habit and custom that shore up our ‘inherited’ ways of seeing the world.

101 CAPE lecture Dr. Hsun-Mei Chen (2017/4/17)

  • Speaker:Dr. Hsun-Mei Chen (National Taiwan University/Kyoto University)
  • Date & Time:17, April, 2017 (Mon)  18:15–19:45
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Is Vimalakīrti’s Silence a Denial of Language Expression?

This paper presents an English translation and a novel philosophical interpretation of the original Sanskrit text of the Entrance into Non-daulity (Advayadharmamukhapraveśaparivarta), a core fascicle in Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa sūtra. Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa sūtra, an influential Mahayana Buddhist sūtra in East Asian, is well known for its profound explanation of emptiness (śūnyatā) and non-duality (advaya), especially in chapter on the Entrance into Non-duality. In this chapter, thirty-one Bodhisattvas expound how one should enter the gate of non-duality by examining the deluded differentiations made by sentient beings, and then Mañjuśrī Bodhisattvas concludes that all the previous explanation are still in the realm of duality and the non-duality should transcend all language proliferation. Finally, Vimalakīrti, a lay Buddhist practitioner, demonstrates the ultimate understanding of non-duality by keeping silence in front all bodhisattvas in the end of this chapter. Traditionally, this important silence is understood as a denial of any language expression of the truth. However, in this paper, I will argue that Vimalakīrti’s silence is not a denial but rather a non-dual embrace of all language expression.

100 CAPE lecture Dr. Damian Szmuc (2017/4/4)

  • Speaker:Dr. Damian Szmuc (University of Buenos Aires, CONICET))
  • Date & Time:4, April, 2017(Tue) 16:30~18:00
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Infectious Logics and Their Philosophy

Infectious logics are a family of peculiar non-classical logics which count with a truth-value that acts infectiously. By this, it is understood that every compound sentence which receives this value, has a component that is assigned this very same value. Thus, these values behave according to the motto “one bad apple spoils the whole barrel”. But infectiousness not necessarily has to be a bad feature. In fact, in this talk I present a plethora of philosophical motivations for embracing infectious logics, going from Buddhist philosophy to computational errors, and from meaninglessness to analytic logical relations of various kinds.

99 CAPE lecture Prof. Jochen Vollmann (2017/4/3)

  • Speaker:Prof. Jochen Vollmann(Ruhr-University Bochum)
  • Date & Time:3, April, 2017 (Mon) 16:00~18:00
  • Venue:5 lecture room of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Ethical issues at the end of life. European perspectives.


98 CAPE lecture Prof. Nancy S. Jecker (2017/3/20)

  • Speaker:Nancy S. Jecker, Ph.D., Professor (University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Bioethics and Humanities)
  • Date & Time:20, March, 2017 (Mon) 16:00-18:00
  • Venue:3 seminar room of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto UniversityMap:(No. 8:
  • Language: English 質疑応答は適宜通訳が入る予定です

Age-related Inequalities in Health and Healthcare: The Life Stages Approach

How should healthcare systems prepare to care for growing numbers and proportions of older people? Older people generally suffer worse health than younger people do. Should societies take steps to reduce age-related health inequalities? Some express concern that doing so would increase age-related inequalities in healthcare. This paper addresses this debate by (1) presenting a prima facie argument in support of three principles for distributing scarce resources between age groups; (2) framing these principles of age group justice in terms of life stages; and (3) indicating policy implications that merit further attention in light of rapidly aging societies.
Key Words: Justice, Age Group, Resource Allocation, Population Health, Equality.


97 CAPE lecture Prof. Stephen Jenkins  (2017/3/17)

  • Speaker:Prof. Stephen Jenkins (Humboldt State University)
  • Date & Time:17,March, 2017 (Fri) 16:30-18:00
  • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
  • Map:(No. 8:
  • Language: English

Once the Buddha was a Warrior: Compassionate Killing, Torture and Warfare in Indian Buddhist Scriptures and Commentaries

Buddhist traditions offer a richly nuanced ethic for compassionate warfare and punishment that supported regimes of vast geographical and cultural diversity for millennia. The Euro-American concept of Buddhist pacifism undermines the ability of cultures to engage their own ethical resources in times of crisis and to understand their history. Mainstream, Madhyamaka, Yogācāra and tantric traditions validate harsh use of force to rehabilitate criminals, overthrow tyrants, kill enemies of the Dharma, recover what is wrongly taken, or prevent greater harm etc. The theory of compassionate killing is rooted in hypothetical situations presented through narrative tales, which allows attention to the complex ambiguity of lived reality. A complex array of concerns is evident that resist the constraints of Western ethical categories. For instance, to kill one’s own mother leads straight to hell, but killing someone else’s mother does not. Historiography and narrative offer many examples of kings waging war for Buddhist motivations or committing mass violence against religious “outsiders.” Buddha’s past lives include snipers, war ministers, martial artists, soldiers, warhorses, war elephants, kings etc., who often heroically die in battle. The touchstone commentarial example of Buddha killing in a past life, deployed in many cultures and times, parallels modern terrorist situations. There is also concern for avoiding armed conflict [including maintaining an intimidating and well paid military], humane treatment of prisoners, limits to punishment and torture, minimizing enemy casualties, spiritual harm to warriors, economic exploitation, ending multigenerational cycles of violence, damage to infrastructure and natural environment, and postwar reconciliation. Warfare should only be pursued when all alternatives have failed; compassion is a state’s first defense [and literally makes an individual arrow-proof]; kings must question their own culpability for exploitation that creates enemies; physical punishment, even torture and killing, must benefit the recipient; the destruction of infrastructure and the natural environment is forbidden. Superficially selfish policies of economic exploitation and conquest undermine national security. A nation will thrive or fail based on its capacity for compassion, rather than on the ethics of self or national interest. A broad range of past research will be summarized and issues from Aśokan edicts to tantric sādhanas for killing may be addressed.


96 CAPE lecture Dr. Andreas Kapsner (2017/2/24)

    • Speaker:Dr. Andreas Kapsner (LMU Munich)
    • Date & Time:24, Feb. 2017 (Fri) 16:30–18:00
    • Venue:Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
    • Map:(No. 8:
    • Language: English

The End of Means Paternalism

In this piece, I will analyze the idea of means paternalism, which is the idea that a government can act paternalistically without altering the goals or ends of citizens. Rather, it can recognize the ends of the citizens and affect their behavior in such a way that they choose better means to reach those ends. The government, that is, brings you to do what you truly want to do, not what it itself thinks is best for you. Several modern defenses of governmental paternalism rest on the assumption that means paternalism can be justified. In fact, they argue that means paternalism is the only form of paternalism that is justifiable and restrict their endorsement of paternalism accordingly. For this to amount to a relevant defense of paternalism, of course, one needs to assume that means paternalism is possible in the first place. The literature acknowledges that it is in fact very hard to achieve pure means paternalism, but there is a certain optimism that through progress in technology and technique we will get closer and closer to pure means paternalism and may eventually be able to reach it. In this essay, I show that in fact this hope is in vain, and that pure means paternalism is virtually impossible. I then analyze what consequences that finding has for the new defenses of paternalism.

95 CAPE lecture 桂 紹隆 教授 (2017/1/18)

Two Meanings of Negation in Indian Philosophy

Indian grammarians developed two meanings of negative particle naÑ (=na or a-); namely, when it is attached to a noun phrase, it is called paryudāsa ‘limitation’ negation and when it is attached to a verb, it is called prasajya-pratiṣedha ‘negation (subsequent to tentatively) applying’. Indian philosophers interpreted them as ‘implicative negation’ and ‘non-implicative negation’ respectively; in other words, the former negation (of an item A) implies affirmation (of non-A), while the latter negation (of a proposition A) does not imply affirmation (of any other proposition). I shall discuss some basic meanings and uses of those two kinds of negation as well as Indian Buddhist concept of ‘contradiction’ (virodha). I would also like to discuss whether Indian philosophers were aware of Law of Non-contradiction/Excluded Middle and Law of Double Negation. My conclusion is: when paryudāsa negation is used, those two laws should be applied but when prasajya-pratiṣedha is used, they cannot be applied.

94 CAPE lecture Prof. Catherine Mills (2016/11/17)

    • Speaker:Prof. Catherine Mills (Monash University, Australia)
    • Date & Time:17 November, 2016 (Thur) 16:30–18:00
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Moral responsibility in pregnancy: reactive attitudes and embodiment

Despite its importance within discussions of the concept of responsibility in moral philosophy, Strawson’s account of reactive attitudes has had little influence in reproductive ethics and specifically in attempts to articulate the kinds of responsibilities that might be entailed in pregnancy. Given its emphasis on the interpersonal and emotional aspects of responsibility, though, it would at first blush seem a potentially useful theoretical approach for throwing light on responsibility in the course of pregnancy. This is also suggested by recent references to the concept of reactive attitudes in discussions of antenatal phenomena such as miscarriage (eg. Miller) and abortion (eg. Little). In this paper, I consider whether the framework of reactive attitudes is useful more generally for considering responsibility in pregnancy and reproduction. With reference to theories of pregnant embodiment, I argue that while its emphasis on interpersonal or social dimensions of responsibility is valuable, there are nevertheless significant problems for this approach in reproductive ethics.

93 CAPE lecture Prof. Zach Weber (2016/11/14)

    • Speaker:Prof. Zach Weber (University of Otago)
    • Date & Time:14, November, 2016 (Mon) 16:30–18:00
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (NO.8)
    • Language: English

Paraconsistent set theory and inconsistent mathematics

Paraconsistent set theory takes as axiomatic the `naive’ comprehension principle that every collection forms a set. The infamous paradoxes are then just theorems. The background logic that makes this coherently possible is substantially weaker than classical logic; but the expressive power of the theory is substantially stronger than classical set theory.
With these competing forces in the background, we will look at two interrelated goals:

Recapture — reassurance that nothing too important mathematically is lost
Expansion — where new insights and results are gained, studying novel mathematical objects not visible with any other theory

I will survey the development of paraconsistent set theory, showing how the basic properties of ordinal and cardinal numbers can be established, along with new perspectives on `proper classes’, the axiom of choice, and the continuum hypothesis. With this foundation, I will mention some further work in inconsistent mathematics: from computability theory, arithmetic,
analysis, and topology. Throughout I will call attention to the challenges that this research program faces.

92 CAPE lecture Prof. Chin-Mu Yang(楊金穆) (2016/11/11)

    • Speaker:Prof. Syraya Chin-Mu Yang(国立台湾大学)
    • Date & Time:11, November, 2016 (Fri) 18:00–19:30
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Semantic Considerations on Contingentist Quantified Modal Logic

Timothy Williamson has defended necessitism, the thesis that necessarily
everything is necessarily something: ‘(NE) - □∀x□∃y x = y’. By contrast,
contingentism, a negation of necessitism, accepts the contingency of being
- there are things which exist contingently. Williamson rightly remarks
that ‘common sense has no authority to decide between necessitism and
contingentism; it is a more theoretical dispute’. And so, he claims that
necessitism can be justified in a framework for quantificational, or
higher-order, modal logic, which originated from the proof theoretic work
of Ruth Barcan Marcus. Typically, the well-known Barcan Formula (BF) -
∀x□φ(x)→□∀x φ(x), and its converse (CBF) - □∀xφ(x) →∀x□φ(x), have been
taken as the characteristic formulas for the necessitist quantified modal
logic. In contrast, the contingentist’s quantified modal logics by and
large repudiate BF and CBF.

I will examine some intrinsic semantic problems with the contingentist’s
treatments in the framework of possible worlds semantics. Special attention
will be paid to the difficulties with variable domains. I show that
sticking to the legitimacy of the Being Constraints, the use of names as
rigid designators in modal contexts will render truth value gaps in
variable domains and by the same reasoning we may not have appropriate
assignments of free variables in de re modal contexts. However, I show that
this can be solved if we opt for a mid-way, i.e. equinumerous domains. We
will not appeal to constant domains, nor will we accept variable domains,
but simply assume that all domains have the same cardinality, though not
the same set of objects. A semantic treatment will be proposed so that both
BF and CBF can be validated, but the thesis of necessitism will no longer

A genuine threat will be noted, that is, the intended interpretation of de
re sentences may not express the imposed de re modality. Two options to
deal with this problem will be suggested. (i) The appeal to the rigidity of
names based on a substitutional interpretation of quantifiers in
alphabetical-expansion models However, when modal contexts are involved, we
may be forced to rephrase universal sentences in terms of a conjunction
with an infinite number of conjuncts and to re-interpret a formula with an
existence quantifier in terms of an infinitary conjunction. We then need an
infinitary language and take as the required underlying system a certain
version of infinitary logic. Alternatively, we may suspense with names and
put forth some special semantic treatment to express the rigidity of
variables. We would have a much more complicated, or even ad hoc,
semantics, and the price could be too high to pay.

Clearly, for the contingentist, the moral is: there is no loyal road to the
theorization of metaphysical modality in terms of quantified modal logic.
Perhaps, Williamson is right when he points out that the contingentist
‘must take a more instrumental attitude to the model theory’. (2014: 714).
Then why not accept the necessitist’s quantaified modal logic?

91 CAPE lecture Prof. Robert Sparrow (2016/11/7)

    • Speaker:Prof. Robert Sparrow
    • Date & Time:7, November(Mon)16:30-18:00
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Robots, rape, and representation

Sex robots are likely to play an important role in shaping public understandings of sex and of relations between the sexes in the future. This paper contributes to the larger project of understanding how they will do so by examining the ethics of the “rape” of robots. I argue that the design of realistic female robots that could explicitly refuse consent to sex in order to facilitate rape fantasy would be unethical because sex with robots in these circumstances is a representation of the rape of a woman, which may increase the rate of rape, expresses disrespect for women, and demonstrates a significant character defect. Even when the intention is not to facilitate rape, the design of robots that can explicitly refuse consent is problematic due to the likelihood that some users will experiment with raping them. Designing robots that lack the capacity to explicitly refuse consent may be morally problematic depending on which of two accounts of the representational content of sex with realistic humanoid robots is correct. If sex with a robot that fails to explicitly consent is a representation of rape then the design of such robots will most likely be morally wrong for the same reasons. If, on the other hand, sex with such robots is never a representation of rape – and especially if that’s because they have been designed so as always to consent to sex — then the design of sex robots may well be unethical for what it expresses about the sexuality of women.

About the lecturer:
Prof. Rob Sparrow is a Professor in the Philosophy Program, a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, and an adjunct Professor in the Centre for Human Bioethics, at Monash University, where he works on ethical issues raised by new technologies. He is the author of some 70 refereed papers and book
chapters on topics as diverse as the ethics of military robotics, human enhancement, artificial gametes, cloning, and nanotechnology. A list of his publications and research interests may be found at:

90 CAPE lecture Dr. Yuri Cath (2016/10/27)

    • Speaker:Dr.Yuri Cath (La Trobe University)
    • Date & Time:27, October, 2016(Thur) 16:30-18:00
    • Venue:Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Knowing What It Is Like, Choice, and Consent

Can I know what it is like to deliver a stand-up comedy routine, give birth to a child, or go to war, without having had those experiences myself? Is it possible to gain this ‘what it is like’ (WIL)-knowledge by reading stories or talking with the experienced? Philosophers often hold a pessimistic attitude towards this possibility on the grounds that one can only know what it is like to have an experience if one has had an experience of that same type oneself (Lewis 1998, Paul 2014). And endorsements of this pessimistic attitude can also be found in novels, films, and pop music. But, I shall argue, a puzzle now arises because there are also countless examples of everyday practices and judgments that testify to our holding an optimistic attitude towards this same possibility. In this paper I discuss how this puzzle can be illuminated and potentially dissolved by appealing to recent work in epistemology on knowledge-wh and in the philosophy of mind on empathy. I also show how my solution to this puzzle can help us to evaluate recent arguments by Paul (2014, 2015) concerning WIL-knowledge and transformative choices, and discussions in applied ethics concerning WIL-knowledge and informed consent (Bayne and Levy 2005, Dodds and Jones 1989, Oakley 1992).

89 CAPE lecture Prof. Catherine Mills (2016/10/21)

    • Speaker:Prof. Catherine Mills (Monash University, Australia)
    • Date & Time:21, October, 2016(Fri) 14:45–16:15
    • Venue:2 lecture room of Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto UniversityMap: (No. 8)
    • Language: English

Seeing, feeling, doing: Mandatory ultrasound laws, empathy and the politics of abortion

In recent years, a number of states in the USA have adopted laws that require pregnant women to have an ultrasound examination, and be shown images of their fetus, prior to undergoing a pregnancy termination. While there is a growing critical literature on such laws, there has been little attempt in bioethics or philosophy to unpack one of the basic presumptions of them: that seeing one’s fetus changes the ways in which one might act in regards to it, including in terms of the (ethical) decision about whether to allow it to live or not. However, this presumption raises significant questions about the relation between visibility, emotion and ethics that bioethicists would do well to analyze.

I address these questions to yield insight into the role of emotion in ethics, which seems to underlie mandatory ultrasound laws. First, I consider the theory of maternal bonding and its use in these attempts to limit access to abortion. Second, I elaborate notions of maternal bonding in terms of recent philosophy of empathy, with particular reference to comments by moral sentimentalist, Michael Slote, on the relevance of empathy to the ethics of abortion. I argue that while it may not be technically possible to empathize with a fetus, ultrasound laws nevertheless seek to elicit this empathic relation, while simultaneously suppressing empathy with pregnant women. The approach I develop ultimately gives rise to a new account of the politics of emotion in relation to abortion – not in terms of grief and shame, but in those of a critical analysis of the (variable) mobilization of empathy and care.

88 CAPE lecture Prof. Franz Berto (2016/10/12)

    • Speaker:Prof. Franz Berto (University of Amsterdam)
    • Date & Time:12, October, 2016 (Wed) 16:30–18:00
    • Venue:Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
    • Map: (No. 8)
    • Language: English

Dialetheism and the Exclusion-Expressing Device

Dialetheism is the view that, against the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC), some A’s are true together with their negation, not-A. Hence a famous anti-dialetheic objection, which I will cal the “Exclusion Problem”: dialetheists cannot rule out anything, or express disagreement, for their dialetheic negation of A is compatible with A. In this talk I propose a strategy to address the problem, which starts by assuming a primitive notion of exclusion and defines via it a notion of contradiction, rhetorically called *absolute*, such that no contradiction of this kind is acceptable for a dialetheist. Via such a notion we can express in a non-question-begging way what the opposition between dialetheists and non-dialetheists consists in, and we can give to the dialetheist a non-pragmatic exclusion-expressing device. The big issue is whether such a device is free from dialetheically intractable revenge paradoxes. I have no answer to this, but I’m curious to hear what my audience thinks!

87 CAPE lecture Dr. Chun-Ping Yen (2016/10/11)

    • Speaker:Dr. Chun-Ping Yen (CUNY)
    • Date & Time:11, October, 2016  (Tue) 18:15–19:45
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (no.8)
    • Language: English

How to Be a Semantic Holist?

The view that meaning is holistic is highly controversial and is usually not treated as an independent thesis but rather appears as a vital drawback of a theory of meaning in the literature for its not being able to deliver a notion of shared meaning. Such attitude is so prevalent that oftentimes people simply take semantic holism as a reason for the rejection of a theory without further argument. As is often the case, however, there is no agreement among those engaged in the debate what semantic holism is. With the varied definitions of the doctrine, commentators disagree on not only its truth but also its content and intelligibility.
In this paper, I suggest understanding semantic holism as characterizing the determination relation between the meaning of an expression and its determinants and argue that we can best capture the features maintained by the holist by construing semantic holism as the view that the meaning of an expression E is determined by E’s relations to every other expression in the language of individual competent users. It follows from my definition that, firstly, the often alleged worry that if meaning is holistic, any change in one’s language will change the meanings of all the expressions in the very language does not follow. Secondly, it is an inevitable outcome that there is no guaranteed meaning sharing available for semantic holism so understood. This latter fact, however, does not commit us to the rejection of semantic holism. For holistic meanings, like their non-holistic counterparts, are sharable either across individuals or time slices, or so I shall argue.

86 CAPE lecture Dr. Sara M Langston (2016/10/7)

    • Speaker:Dr. Sara M Langston (Senmurv Consulting LLC)
    • Date & Time:7, October, 2017(Fri)16:30-
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Reimagining Icarus: Defining the Ethical and Legal Parameters for Human Space Exploration

Space exploration and human spaceflight inherently raise numerous practical, ethical and legal issues for consideration, to include medical, scientific and technological implications. In some instances, ethics and law may overlap, this is particularly evident in the area of bioethics. Whereas, in other areas such as risk, ethics and law can be more visibly distinct. This talk will highlight some of the significant and pressing issues facing the space industry today with regard to developing practical ethical and legal frameworks for human space exploration. Topical parameters here can be broadly categorized as: 1) Medical – this includes bioethics, medical uncertainty, spaceflight selection and medical monitoring, and informed consent; 2) Environmental – human implications and planetary protection, and space as the ‘province of all mankind’; 3) Risk Management – appropriately evaluating the risks inherent to human spaceflight is one of the more demanding yet currently underdeveloped areas of moral decision-making frameworks, this includes comprehending the relevant risk culture and geopolitical climate; and 4) Societal conceptions and perceptions on what it means to be an ‘astronaut,’ and the accompanying rights and duties of spacefarers. These overarching topics present a big picture perspective on some of the pertinent interconnected physical, legal and ethical parameters for individuals engaged in human space activities. Yet the global nature of space exploration activities also calls for a wider discussion on appropriate ethical approaches to developing practice and norms, particularly on the questions of risk, uncertainty and understanding in what ways human spaceflight and exploration impact and inform our societal and moral frameworks on Earth.

85 CAPE lecture 牧野英二教授 (2016/10/5)

    • Speaker:牧野英二教授(法政大学)
    • Date & Time:5, October, 2016(Wed)14:00-16:00
    • Venue:Large conference room in the basement, Faculty of Letters Main Building, Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University.
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language:Japanese

ディルタイの「生の哲学」と「歴史的理性批判」の射程 ーカント、ハイデガー、アーレントを手掛かりにしてー

①ディルタイ(Wilhelm Dilthey,1833-1911)の「生」(Leben)とは、どのような概念であったか。
③「歴史的理性批判」(Kritik der historischen Vernunft)とは、どのような批判の試みであったか。

84 CAPE lecture Dr. Liu Chi Yen (2016/9/21)

    • Speaker:Dr. Liu Chi Yen
    • Date & Time:21, September, 2016(Wed)16:30-18:00
    • Venue:the meeting room on the first floor (1F 会議室) of the building of faculty of letters, Yoshida main campus, Kyoto University
    • Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

How to escape triviality results?

“Adams’ thesis” is often interpreted as the claim that the subjective probability of an indicative conditional A→B equals the corresponding conditional probability P(B|A). Many scholars show that this interpretation will be attacked by triviality results, so they reject Adams’ thesis. I will show what triviality results are and what they have in common. Then I try to give another interpretation of Adams’s thesis to escape triviality results. First, I propose a 3-valued semantics for indicative conditionals and claim that the probability of A→B is equal to probability of A∧B. Second, from the way we bet on indicative conditionals, I distinguish the probability of an indicative conditional from the assertability of an indicative conditional, and interpreted Adams’ thesis as:
The assertability of a simple indicative conditional p→q equals the corresponding conditional probability P(q|p), provided P (p) > 0.
Finally, I will argue that this interpretation can escape all triviality results on the market.

The 83rd CAPE Lecture Prof. Yumiko Inukai (29/7/2016)

Self-reflection in Hume and Locke
Locke maintains that the self is a thinking thing who is always aware of itself as a subject of thinking or perceiving; thus he says, “it being impossible for anyone to perceive, without perceiving, that he does perceive” (Locke 1975: 138). He grants reflexive consciousness as an integral aspect of the self as a subject. Hume, on the other hand, does not seem to be able to allow the self to have such self-reflexivity that Locke does, given his official view of the self merely as a bundle of perceptions, nothing more, nothing less. This difference is clearly reflected in their accounts of personal identity. However, Hume still argues that personal identity arises from consciousness that Hume considers as “a reflected thought” (T App. 20). What sort of reflection does Hume have in mind? How could Hume explain the mind’s act of reflection without introducing a mind as a distinct actor? Is Hume’s “reflected thought”
different from Locke’s self-reflexivity in their explanations of personal identity? I will attempt to answer these questions by first considering Locke’s self-consciousness that appears in his account of personal identity, and then discussing Hume’s possible explanation of reflection.

The 82nd CAPE Lecture Dr. Paolo Bonardi (25/7/2016)

Title: The Semantic Content of Empty Names and the Logic of Nonexistent Objects

Millianism is the doctrine according to which the semantic content of a proper name is exhausted by its referent. My talk will be about the so-called empty (proper) names, more specifically: names that belong to fiction/pretense (e.g. “Sherlock Holmes”); and names that are empty because of an error (e.g. “Vulcan”). It will be my goal to outline a Millian account of empty names according to which: names from fiction and error refer to actual and necessarily nonexistent objects; these objects cannot have ordinary properties (e.g. being a detective), whereas they can have – and in fact have some – non-ordinary properties (e.g. being something such that fictionally, it is a detective). I will argue that the logic of such objects is not positive free logic but a version of classical logic.

The 81st CAPE Lecture Dr. Michael Campbell (15/7/2016)

    • Lecturer: Dr. Michael Campbell(Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy / Centre for Bioethics, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
    • Date:Friday, 15 July, 2016, 18:00〜19:30
    • Venue: Main Conference Room (大会議室), Basement,  Faculty of Letters Main Bldg.
      Map: (No.8)
    • Language: English

Title: All Life’s a Maze: Bioethical Issues in Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon

In this paper I discuss Daniel Keyes’ work Flowers for Algernon, paying particular attention to the bioethical issues raised by the novel in its depiction of the lives of its twin protagonists, Charlie and Algernon, and their treatment at the hands of the medical establishment. Flowers for Algernon depicts a developmentally challenged individual, Charlie, who is given an experimental therapy which dramatically improves his intelligence but with unforeseen side-effects. A central narrative arc is Charlie’s changing relationships with the clinicians who administer the treatment; he gains, and then gradually loses, a sense of fellowship with them, finally concluding that he has more in common with the hyper-intelligent mouse subject, Algernon, than with the researchers. Keyes’ work can be read as an extended criticism of the supposition that human life can be understood through the methods of the ‘life sciences’. Alternatively, from a Marxist perspective, Charlie’s progress can be seen as an instance of the dawning of class-consciousness, and hence as a critique of the bourgeois aspects of the medical sciences.

I elaborate and reconcile these two readings, showing how the deficiencies in the researchers’ understanding of Charlie stem from a source which is at once political and conceptual. I suggest that the urge to treat Charlie and Algernon as objects fit for systematic study represents a value-laden privileging of one kind of understanding over others. As such, the work as a whole dramatises and applies the Platonic belief in the fundamental interdependence of moral, political and epistemological issues.

As well as helping to illuminate issues of perennial concern in research ethics, the paper will address, inter alia, broader methodological issues to do with the relationship between literature and philosophical ethics.

The 80th CAPE Lecture Mr. Kyle Michael James Shuttleworth (2016/7/1)

Title: Authenticity: An Intercultural Ethic?
Abstract:In the English translation of Watsuji Tetsuro’s 倫理学, the concept of ‘本来性’ is translated as ‘authenticity’. In Western philosophical thought, however, authenticity is intricately bound to the historical context from which it emerged. One thus ought to question whether authenticity can be abstracted from its historical context, and imported into a foreign culture. In light of this, the primary aim of this investigation will be to explicate precisely that which Watsuji’s concept of ‘authenticity’ entails. This will then enable one to determine whether that which Watsuji advocates is akin to the concept of authenticity as espoused in the West. That which is stake is not merely a linguistic quibble, but rather the search for an intercultural, conceptual ground upon which to conduct ethical
discourse between East and West. The thesis which will be posited in this enquiry then, is whether the ethic of authenticity can provide a conceptual bridge between Eastern and Western philosophical traditions.

The 79th CAPE Lecture Dr. Malcolm Keating (2016/6/10)

    • Lecturer: Malcolm Keating
 (Assistant Professor of Humanities (Philosophy)
      Yale-NUS College, Singapore)
    • Date:Friday, June, 10, 2016, 18:00〜19:30
    • Venue: Conference Room (会議室), 1F,  Faculty of Letters Main Bldg.
      Map: (No.8)

Title: Is Ellipsis Completion Knowledge? Linguistic Interpretation in Classical Indian Philosophy
Abstract:Natural languages vary in how much information they encode into lexemes. Yet speakers can utter subsentential units which are syntactically or otherwise incomplete and still communi- cate successfully. Linguists and philosophers, in analyzing this widespread interpretive prac- tice of completing ellipsis, differ over whether such utterances constitute genuine speech acts, are disguised but complete syntactic/semantic units, as well as how the ellipsis is completed– syntactically, semantically, or pragmatically. The answers to these questions are significant since, for instance, they may challenge the thesis that languages are compositional, that is, with expressions being semantically determined by their syntax and lexical semantics.
Classical Indian philosophers, although committed to the compositionality thesis, gave vary- ing accounts of how interpretive practices allowed for ellipsis completion. The philosophers known as the Bhatta Mimamsa argued that an interpretive process, which they called arthapatti or “postulation,” could yield certain knowledge of what is elided. For instance, since the San- skrit language is highly inflected, someone who hears a speaker say “the door, the door!” can rely on syntactically-encoded information to help them recover a complete sentence, “Close the door, close the door!” In the 16th century, Narayana Bhatta discusses this process in the Manameyodaya, arguing that postulation requires the positing of words in order for there to be anvaya or “connection” within the expression. This argument is posed in response to opponents who argue that only the word meanings, and not the words themselves, must be posited.
I then draw connections between Narayanabhatta and contemporary Anglophone literature on the topic. In particular, I argue that the position of Narayana’s opponent (who is identified as belonging to another school of Mimamsa, the Prabhakara) is roughly analogous to that of pragmatic contextualists. In contrast, the Bhatta view could fruitfully be reconstructed as an abductive completion of lexical underspecification, along the lines of James Pustejovsky’s pro- posal. However, due to the ambiguity in the notion of connection, these reconstructions must be tentative, as Indian proposals maybe consistent with multiple formal analyses. The cru- cial implication to draw from their dialectic is the claim that ellipsis completion rises to the level of knowledge, and that it does so through a rational process grounded in the principle of compositionality.

The 71st CAPE Lecture Prof. Philip Gerrans Workshop(2015/11/09)

Abstract:Planning and decision making, social and moral cognition, reasoning, cognitive development and self-representation depend on emotional processes. Psychologists and neuroscientists in these fields draw on philosophical theories of emotion to interpret their results while, at the same time, the philosophy of emotion is now deeply intertwined with empirical work on emotions, ranging from molecular to psychological levels. Yet there is no established theoretical consensus about the nature of emotional processing and the relationship between emotions (and affective experience) and cognition.
This paper attempts theoretical unification via a method advocated by Dominic Murphy “we arrive at a comprehensive set of positive facts about how the mind works, and then ask which of its products and breakdowns matter for our various projects” . The approach is similar to the way in which philosophical theories of human motivation and the cognitive science of reward processing have mutually informed each other. I explain some specific puzzles about the nature of emotional phenomena: Depersonalisation Disorder, delays in effects of anti-depressant treatment on mood, Social Anxiety Disorder. I also explain how the processing account deals with general questions about the relationship between phenomenology and intentionality of emotional experience that motivate theoretical disagreement.
The main competitors in the theory of emotion: Darwinian, Somatic, Feeling and Representational have all focused on a real and important aspect of emotion. Emotions are adaptations, they have bodily consequences and modes of expression, their felt aspect is essential to their role in human life, and they depend essentially on representational processes. Precisely how these aspects interact and which are causally primary in episodes of emotion cannot be understood in the absence of a processing account. Or so I claim!

The 70th CAPE Lecture Prof. Seahwa Kim Workshop (2015/10/19)

Title: The Rationality of Emotion toward Fiction

In this article, I will deal with the normative question with respect to our emotional responses to fiction. It is the question of whether our emotional responses to fiction are rational. Many think the charge that our emotional responses to fiction are irrational was mounted by Radford. Consider the following three propositions:

(i) We feel a rational emotion toward someone or something only if we believe that the object of our emotion exists.
(ii) We know characters and situations in fiction do not exist.
(iii) We feel a rational emotion toward fictional characters or situations.

They are jointly inconsistent, and in order to avoid it, we have to reject one of them. Radford’s solution is to reject (iii). So he is taken to claim that when we are frightened by a horror film, our fear is irrational. In this article, against Radford’s charge, I will defend the claim that our emotions toward fiction are rational.

The 69th Lecture:Prof. Wilfried Sieg Workshop(14,Septemmber,2015)

Title: Church without dogma: what is a computation and why does it matter
Abstract: Church’s and Turing’s theses assert dogmatically that an informal notion of effective calculability is adequately captured by a particular mathematical concept of computability. I present analyses of calculability that are embedded in a rich historical and philosophical context, lead to precise concepts, and dispense with theses.To investigate effective calculability is to analyze processes on symbolic configurations that can in principle be carried out by human calculators. This is a philosophical lesson we owe to Turing. Drawing on that lesson, I formulate boundedness and locality conditions for human computing agents.Turing’s work is then compared with Post’s, and we will diagnose a remarkable conceptual confluence. The confluence found its expression in overlapping mathematical and methodological work. However, we will also note a dramatic divergence as to the ultimate grounds of Post’s “natural law” for computability; there are deep connections to Gödel’s 1972 note “A philosophical error in Turing’s work”.

The 68th Lecture:Wendell Wallach(29,July,2015)

Title:A Dangerous Master: How to keep technology from slipping beyond our control
While most of us consider emerging technologies to be a source of both promise and productivity, there is also considerable disquiet about specific fields of research and about the overall trajectory of technological developed. Indeed, in some minds, technology has become the primary determinant of human destiny, and may even reinvent the human species, as we have known it out of existence. Various risks get exacerbated as we become increasingly reliant on complex systems whose actions cannot be fully predicted and therefore not fully controlled. Furthermore, new technological possibilities are appearing at an accelerating rate even as oversight fall far behind. This talk will introduce themes from my new book A Dangerous Master: How to keep technology from slipping beyond our control (Basic Books, June 2015). I will focus upon risks posed by the adoption of new technologies with a particular focus on how those risks might be managed through innovative engineering practices, the reinforcement of core values, and the new approaches to oversight and governance.

The 67th Lecture:Prof.Adrien Barton(21,July,2015)

Title: From Libertarian Paternalism to Nudging—and Beyond
Nudges, as championed by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, aim to influence people to make better decisions without infringing on their freedom of choice: considering people as organ donors by default, changing the shape of plates to reduce calorie intake, framing risks about medical treatments, reminding people vividly about the health consequences of smoking, arranging canteens so that consumers would chose healthier dishes, using “tough-talking” slogans like “don’t mess with Texas”: all those nudges aim at attaining desirable outcomes without coercion.Since their inception, nudges have raised several philosophical issues. This talk will give an overview of the important problems faced by nudging policies, in the light of a special issue of a Review of Philosophy and Psychology we have been editing. Nudges will first be categorized according to the cognitive process on which they rely, and according to their goals. Libertarian paternalism will then be characterized as a special kind of advocacy of nudges. This advocacy is however weakened in a number of cases in which it purports to apply. But nudges might be justified alternatively by standard paternalistic arguments, the harm principle, or democratic decision processes. Some nudges might be complemented or replaced by alternative policies, like education or boosting, depending on factors like their effect on individual autonomy, or their institutional publicity and transparency. Finally, nudge advocates should provide mechanistic evidence to answer concerns related to both their external validity and normative issues.

The 66th Lecture (8-9,July,2015)

Prof. Bongrae Seok WS
Speaker: Prof.Bongrae Seok (Alvernia University)
Venue:KUASU multipurpose room, Faculty of Letters East Building 2F, Kyoto University . (No.62)
Date: Thusday and Friday, 8-9 July, 2015, 18:10-19:40

July 8 (Wed)
Title : Empathy and Nociceptive Mirror Emotion in Embodied Moral Psychology
Abstract :
In recent studies of moral judgments, psychologists analyze the moral mind from the perspectives of Kantian reasoning, Humea n emotion, or Rawlsian principle and identify diverse processes of moral cognition. But the body (i.e., the physical sense a nd activity) of a moral agent are not fully and seriously considered in their analyses. In this presentation, I will develop a moral psychology of the body, i.e., a moral psychology of embodied and other regarding emotion. How does the body initiat e, influence, and sustain moral judgments and decisions? How does it motivate compassionate actions and other-regarding behaviors? I will explore this relatively uncharted territory of embodied moral psychology by focusing two psychological phenomena. First, I will focus on empathy (particularly its affective resonance and embodied response to others’ pain and suffering). I will argue that our embodied nociceptive mirror emotion is the foundation of our empathic concern towards other suffering. At a basic level of moral cognition, our empathy to others’ pain is processed by affective resonance and motivational prep aredness that are supported by brain regions (such as the anterior insula) that sense and react to bodily change. As we obse rve others’ pain, we not only think to relieve their suffering but we also sweat profusely and breathe abruptly. The embodi ed process is a critical element of empathy’s prosocial and moral orientation.
Second, I will discuss psychopathy and its lack of full embodiment in moral cognition. Typically psychopathic (dispositional or behavioral) orientations are associated with a deficit in affective processing that integrates specific types of stimuli with visceral and autonomic reactions. It seems that psychopaths suffer from disrupted emotional processes that motivate prosocial behaviors via embodied reactions. They know and recognize others’ pain and suffering but do not react (in their phys iological and behavioral reactions) to them appropriately. Once again the body plays important roles in some aspects of mora l cognition where affective social perception gives rise to prosocial helping behaviors.
(1)Recent Studies in Moral Psychology (Kantian, Humean, Rawlsian Approaches etc.)
(2)Embodied Approaches to Cognition
(3)Embodied Approaches to Social Psychology
(4)My Approach – Embodied Approach to Moral Psychology -Empathy (Nociceptive Mirror Emotion)-Psychopathy (absence of empathic concern due to insufficient bodily response)

July 9 (Thu)
Title : Embodied Space in Psychopathology and Art
Abstract :
In this presentation, I will analyze the experience of seemingly non-sensuous or non-sensible things, such as empty spaces ( space gaps, space islands, wide open space, the absence of presence, or the presence of absence). I will argue, quite parado xically, that to experience such non-sensuous things, sensual imagination (tactile, visceral, motor, and holistic somatic se nse) is necessary. Our basic sensory encounter with the world, according to many philosophers such as Merleau Ponty and psyc hologist such as J. J. Gibson, is embodied; it is guided by our tactile and kinetic interaction with the object in the world . That is, we perceive and understand the presence of physical entities and their relations to our bodily in teraction with t hem. What about empty space? Do we experience empty space in this embodied and sensual way? In this presentation, I will foc us on embodied metaphors (embodied spatial distinctions) and psychopathologies (agoraphobia, acrophobia etc.) of space and u se them as examples to support my embodied interpretation of spatial perception. I will argue that embodied perception is im portant and perhaps necessary in the full experience of space. The body is required for us to experience, understand, and ap preciate the bodiless openness.


The 65th Lecture:Prof.Kevin T.Kelly(2,July,2015)

Title : Rhetoric, Reliability, and Inductive Inference
Abstract : Socrates argued to persuade. He also sought the truth. In deductive reasoning, the two go together—valid argumentation leads from true information to true conclusions, and that fact supports or may even boost the rhetorical force of valid deduct ive arguments. Inductive reasoning, by definition, generates conclusions that go beyond the information provided. Such rea soning can be very persuasive, as when scientists prefer simple, unified, sharply tested explanations over complex, diffuse explanations that rely on multiple coincidences—a bias known popularly as Ockham’s razor. But it is harder to say how suc h a bias conduces to true belief. It is tempting to try to make induction look deductive, by adding metaphysical assumption s, such as Leibniz’ view that God is an engineer who likes elegant universes. But that strategy is both rhetorically and e pistemically self-defeating, since the added assumptions are not subject to scientific investigation at all. Instead, we wi ll present a mathematical argument, based on ideas from learning theory, to the effect that Ockham’s is necessary for stayi ng on the straightest path to the truth, even if that path cannot be perfectly straight. Our a rgument singles out Ockham’s razor as the right rhetorical principle for inductive inference, but optimal, inductive truth-conduciveness is so weak that the argument may actually undermine our native credence in simple, unified theories. Inductive skeptics assume that weaker standards of truth conduciveness should be paired with weaker credence in the conclusions. We respond that standards are c ontextually relative to ambitions. High or even full belief is justified by weak standards as long as they are the best sta ndards achievable in the problem at hand.

The 64th Lecture (2015/06/02)

Prof. Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond Lecture
Title: Successes and limits of modern physics
Venue: Seminar Room 10 Rsearch Building No.2, Kyoto University. (No.34)
Date: Jun. 2 (Tue.) 2015 18:10-19:40
Abstract: Are the modern physical sciences on the verge of reaching a complete and final knowledge of the Universe, explaining all natural phenomena, including those studied by other disciplines (biology, psychology, etc.), as some believe, or, as others argue, do they meet unsurpassable limitations due to the very nature of the world according to some fundamental discoveries of the XXth century (impossibility to exceed the velocity of light, quantum uncertainty principle, etc.)?Both these pretenses seem unjustified.For, if no epistemological problem can be interpreted as signaling an intrinsic limitation of our potential knowledge, it remains true that a reasonable view of physical science (as for any science) necessarily takes into account its borders and leads to dismiss a too optimistic reductionism. Furthermore, the present concrete conditions which rule modern scientific research (technicisation, industrialisation, etc.) restrict its long term capacities. This is especially true for physics, which, paradoxically, is ever more able to transform the world and less apt to understand it. Is this situation a temporary one? That is the question.
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