TOPICS IN ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY 3
This is the third meeting of analytic philosophers from Serbia and Romania, in an effort to forge and sustain academic collaboration between philosophers from the two neighboring countries. (Details about the first meeting here and about the second one here.) We hope the collaboration will continue for many years to come!
The meeting takes place on April 19-20, 2019 and is hosted by the University of Bucharest. There will be 17 participants, 4 on the Serbian side (Vojislav Božičković, Milan Jovanović and Miljana Milojević - speakers, Vanja Subotić - commentator) and 12 on the Romanian side (Nora Grigore, Paula Tomi, Gheorghe Ștefanov, Adrian Ludușan, Adrian Briciu - speakers, Andreea Popescu, Emilian Mihailov, Mihai Rusu, Sergiu Spătan, Alexandru Dragomir, Bianca Savu and Marian Calborean - commentators); Professor Mircea Dumitru will be the keynote speaker. Below you can find the program of the event and the abstracts of the presentations.
The workshop is organized by Paula Tomi, Miljana Milojević and the Institute of Research for the Humanities (IRH-ICUB), University of Bucharest. Please send an email to Paula Tomi at paulapompilia[at]yahoo.com if you want to participate. The workshop will be held at the Faculty of Philosophy, Splaiul Independenței 204, sector 6, Bucharest.
You can download the poster of the event here.
Friday, April 19
Room "Mircea Florian"
10.00-11.15: Vojislav Božičković (University of Belgrade), "Travels of Blue Paradox"
Comments: Andreea Popescu (University of Bucharest)
11.30-12.45: Nora Grigore, "The Requirement to Justify Omissions of Morally Good Deeds and What It Can Say about the Moral Normative Force"
Comments: Emilian Mihailov (University of Bucharest)
14.15-15.30: Paula Tomi (University of Bucharest), "Some Issues with the Minimalist Theory of Truth"
Comments: Vanja Subotić (University of Belgrade)
15.45-17.00: Milan Jovanović (University of Niš), "Bad Influence: A Story about Influence Theory of Causation, Frankfurt-Style Cases and Preemption"
Comments: Mihai Rusu (USAMV Cluj-Napoca/Babeș-Bolyai University)
17.15-18.30: Adrian Briciu (West University of Timișoara), "Bullshit and Other Forms of Deceit"
Comments: Bianca Savu (University of Bucharest)
Saturday, April 20
Room "Constantin Noica"
10.30-12.00: [Keynote speaker] Mircea Dumitru (University of Bucharest), "Modal Logic as Higher-Order Logic"
14.00-15.15: Adrian Ludușan (Babeș-Bolyai University), "Determinacy of Reference and Internal Categoricity"
Comments: Alexandru Dragomir (University of Bucharest)
15.30-16.45: Gheorghe Ștefanov (University of Bucharest), "Deviant Hinge Epistemology and Epistemic Angst"
Comments: Sergiu Spătan (University of Hamburg)
17.00-18.15: Miljana Milojević (University of Belgrade), "Persons as Functional Properties"
Comments: Marian Calborean (University of Bucharest)
Vojislav Božičković (University of Belgrade), "Travels of Blue Paradox"
A paradox due to Moore (1952) arises in relation to saying things such as 'It is raining but I do not believe it is.' While various attempts have been made to solve it, they tend to place the solution out of semantics. Searle (1970) for one diagnoses practical inconsistency in that one starts out to perform an action and gets in the way of its successful performance. On the other hand, in claiming in relation to Moorean assertions that Moorean sentences are senseless, Wittgentsein (1953, IIx) is one of the sole voices that speaks of a semantic contradiction. Following Wittgenstein's lead, I offer a semantic solution to Moore’s paradox by way of examining and criticizing Lawlor’s and Perry’s rival attempt to solve it on semantic terms. First, I will deal with omissive beliefs such as 'It is raining but I do not believe it is' and then with commissive beliefs such as 'It is raining, but I believe it is not.'
Nora Grigore, "The Requirement to Justify Omissions of Morally Good Deeds and What It Can Say about the Moral Normative Force"
Is one required to justify omitting morally good deeds that go beyond duty? Intuitively, it seems that no justification can be required from the person who does not give one's life to save others. Then why does the problem of supererogation demand a justification for omitting morally good deeds on pain of irrationality? I argue that this counter-intuitive demand is due to a particular way of seeing the normative force of the good, namely as a compulsive force of moral obligation. In case of omissions, this force seems to fail and to require thus, a justification.
Paula Tomi (University of Bucharest), "Some Issues with the Minimalist Theory of Truth"
It is often said that deflationary theories of truth may surpass some of the problems that haunt the classical truth theories (as the correspondence or coherence theory). However, this does not mean that deflationary theories of truth are flawless. One of the most well-known deflationary theories of truth is Paul Horwich’s minimalist theory. The minimalist theory states that truth can be exhausted by the T-schema and its instantiations. My aim through this paper is to sketch some possible arguments that can be raised against Horwich’s theory and some possible responses to a part of them.
A first issue that may occur is linked with the claim that the T-schema exhausts the notion of truth (Eklund, 2012). It is not clear if deflationists mean the concept or the property of truth. In any case, some problems occur. A second issue was raised by Field (1992). It regards the fact that minimalism may not work for all possible truth-bearers. Horwich (1998) aimed to provide a general truth theory. Horwich takes propositions to be the main truth-bearers. He sketched a development of minimalism for other truth-bearers (as utterances). Field argues that the proposal does not seem to work, because it is not a deflationary one.
One of the most significant critiques against minimalism concerns the role of the truth predicate. A minimalist considers that the sole role of truth is to make possible some generalizations. Truth is a logical or generalization device. Minimalists claim that truth is able to express generalizations based on their instantiations. This idea was heavily criticized. Gupta claims that deflationists do not make a distinction between the instances of a conjunction and the universal statement. According to Gupta (1993), one should draw such a distinction, because the instances of a conjunction and the universal statement do not always imply the same things.
I believe that minimalism is able to solve, or partially solve, some of these issues and I aim to develop this claim throughout this paper.
Milan Jovanović (University of Niš), "Bad Influence: A Story about Influence Theory of Causation, Frankfurt-Style Cases and Preemption"
Faced with the seemingly unsolvable problem of late preemption, David Lewis had abandoned his original counterfactual analysis and formulated a new theory of causation. In turn, this new theory – the Influence theory of causation (ITC) – has been interpreted in various ways and, consequently, strongly criticized. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relevance and adequacy of the counterexamples offered against ITC. I start with the attempt to provide the most charitable reading of Lewis’s characterization of the central notion of his theory – the notion of influence. I will argue that if we allow for two layers of context-sensitivity in the definition of influence, ITC can avoid a number of problems, including the famous counterexample (CE) formulated by Bigaj. However, it was argued that even the two-layer reading of ITC cannot account for some other problems which become apparent in formulations of the two prominent CEs to ITC (put forward by Schaffer and Hall). I will show that these two CEs do not introduce new problems for ITC because they, arguably, share the same structure with the infamous Frankfurt-style cases which Lewis explicitly addressed. Nevertheless, I will argue that Lewis’s strategy for dealing with this kind of cases (the similar strategy is also defended by Noordhof) creates more problems than it solves. I will conclude that even with the most charitable “two-layer” reading of ITC, together with the re-conceptualization of the Schaffer’s and Hall’s CEs as already addressed problems within ITC, ITC still suffers from inherent problems which become apparent in Lewis’s attempts to resolve Frankfurt-style CEs. I will argue that their origin lies in the underlying tension in our ordinary concept of causation which can be seen as a good reason to abandon ITC and argue in favour of causal pluralism.
Adrian Briciu (West University of Timișoara), "Bullshit and Other Forms of Deceit"
In this light essay I will survey and analyze various forms of verbal deceit. I will use the Gricean framework, and the conversational maxims, to give a map and a short analysis of lying, misleading without lying, half-truths, bullshit and so on. Of these I will focus mainly on bullshit. Building on Frankfurt’s seminal paper I’ll explain in what way bullshit is a form of deceit and argue that, theoretically, it can be best understood as a quiet violation of the second maxim of quality. G.A. Cohen has suggested that besides the everyday type of bullshit analyzed by Frankfurt we can, unfortunately, encounter plenty of bullshit in the academia. Although it is generally agreed that his initial attempt to circumscribe this type of bullshit fails to pass muster, by Cohen’s very own standards, I will show that there is a way to make his suggestion precise. Finally, I will use it to look at two types of bullshit: pseudo-scientific bullshit and intellectual impostures of the kind described in Sokal & Bricmont and Bouveresse.
Mircea Dumitru (University of Bucharest), "Modal Logic as Higher-Order Logic"
Propositional modal logic is usually viewed as a generalization and extension of propositional classical logic. The main argument of this paper is that a good case can be made that modal logic should be construed as a restricted form of second order classical logic. The paper examines one aspect of this second order connection having to do with an incompleteness phenomenon. The leading concept is that modal incompleteness is to be explained in terms of the incompleteness of standard second order logic, since modal language is basically a second order language.
Adrian Ludușan (Babeș-Bolyai University), "Determinacy of Reference and Internal Categoricity"
The article surveys the problem of the determinacy of reference in the contemporary philosophy of mathematics focusing on Peano arithmetic. I present the philosophical arguments behind the shift from the problem of the referential determinacy of singular mathematical terms to that of nonalgebraic/univocal theories. I examine Shaughan Lavine’s particular solution to this problem based on schematic theories and an 'internalized' version of Dedekind’s categoricity theorem for Peano arithmetic. I will argue that Lavine's detailed and sophisticated solution is unwarranted. However, some of the arguments that I present are applicable, mutatis mutandis, to all versions of 'internal categoricity' conceived as a philosophical remedy for the problem of referential determinacy of arithmetical theories.
Gheorghe Ștefanov (University of Bucharest), "Deviant Hinge Epistemology and Epistemic Angst"
Deviant Hinge Epistemology is a view on the epistemic justification of empirical beliefs which grows not only out of Wittgenstein's considerations from On Certainty, but incorporates a larger amount of the views expressed by the later Wittgenstein and also some further developments by other philosophers (Elizabeth Anscombe's action theory and Wilfrid Sellars's critique of empiricism, in particular). I try to prove the virtues of Deviant Hinge Epistemology by applying it to Pritchard's Closure-Based Sceptical Paradox and showing how it can be solved without either falling into Mooreanism, or making hinges non-propositional.
Miljana Milojević (University of Belgrade), "Persons as Functional Properties"
There is a multitude of different theories of personhood and personal identity. Persons were treated as special kinds of animals, brains capable of sustaining psychological continuity, special kinds of physical entities constituted, but not identical, to physical objects which are bearers of appropriate (psychological) properties. All of these accounts treat persons as individuals motivated by the belief that it is possible to define criteria of personal identity which can obtain only between individuals. I will try to show that this motivation is insufficient and that the search for criteria of personal identity is in turn motivated by the belief that persons are individuals – making the whole project circular and in need of further justification. Although there are some accounts of persons that depart from this project and consider persons as properties, they focus on social relational properties which leads to the view that persons are nothing more than mere social constructs. Account that I will try to defend is based on neo-Lockean Parfitian insights that personhood can be attributed to entities capable of moral and legal actions due to their psychological properties and their psychological continuity. I will argue that persons are “maximal minds”, a set of properties of a specific cognitive architecture. Further, I will argue that the appropriate cognitive architecture is not realized in any particular part of a human being but in its entire organism, and sometimes in cognitive systems wider than biological organisms. Although this view allows for multiple realizability of persons and denies the possibility of providing criteria for personal identity, it solves many of the problems that other accounts face, such as the problem of spatial coincidence of objects, “too-many thinkers problem”, contingency of identity, etc.