Charlotte Newey (Cardiff): ‘Disagreement about aid effectiveness’

The first research seminar of the Spring Semester 2017 is this Wednesday 8th Feb, where Charlotte Newey will be talking on ‘Disagreement about aid effectiveness’. The seminar is in the usual time and place of 4.15-5.45pm, in room 3.58 John Percival Building.

Abstract: When we give money to international aid organisations we assume that our donations help to avert great harms and bring benefits to the global poor. But expert disagreement about the effectiveness of aid entails that we should not be confident about these assumptions. In my talk I explore the moral implications of two propositions: (a) some donations do not bring any benefits at all and (b) even where donations benefit one group, they may bring harms to other vulnerable groups; people who would not have been harmed otherwise.

Peter Sedgwick (Cardiff) ‘Hobbes: Sovereign Power and Money’

For the last research seminar of this semester we have our own Peter Sedgwick speaking on ‘Hobbes: Sovereign Power and Money.’
Time and place of: 4.15-5.45pm, Wednesday 7th December, room 3.58 John Percival Building.
There will be a wine reception after the talk, to which everyone is welcome.

Dianna Taylor (John Carroll University) ‘Are Women’s Lives (Fully) Grievable? Gendered Framing and Sexual Violence’

For the research seminar this week we have Dianna Taylor (John Carroll University) speaking on ‘Are Women’s Lives (Fully) Grievable? Gendered Framing and Sexual Violence’.
Time and place of: 4.15-5.45pm, Wednesday 30th November, room 3.58 John Percival Building.
Abstract: This talk analyzes the ambivalence with which sexual violence against women continues to be met in the United States. My argument that within contemporary Western societies such as the U.S., women’s lives do not (fully) count as lives, with the result that harms against them are not (fully) recognized as harms, and are therefore not (fully) grieved is informed by Judith Butler’s work in Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?. In her book, Butler interrogates three questions: “Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? What makes for a grievable life?” This talk recasts these questions as follows: Do women count as human? Do women’s lives count as lives? Are women’s lives grievable? The first part of the talk provides an overview of relevant aspects of Frames of War, and then shows how women’s lives have come not to fully matter, such that injury to women, specifically in the form of sexual violence, does not generate moral outrage. The second part again recasts Butler’s questions in order to consider whether some groups of women count as more fully human than others, with the result that injury to the lives of other groups of women is less recognizable, less grievable, and, therefore, less grieved. The talk concludes by thinking about possibilities for resistance. Throughout, I refer to particular instances of rape and sexual assault that have occurred within the U.S. in order to illustrate my points.
Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (New York: Verso, 2004), 20; original emphasis.

Two talks this week: Rennick (Cardiff) on Time Travel and Reidy (Tennessee) on Rawls

Two talks this week!

On Tuesday Nov. 8th, David Reidy (University of Tennesse) will be speaking on ‘Life needs no justification: Reflective equilibrium and stability in Rawls’ thinking’. The talk is 5-6.30pm, Room 0.31, John Percival Building (abstract below).

As part of the regular Wednesday Seminar Series, Steph Rennick (Cardiff) will be talking on ‘Bilking the Future (aka The time traveller, the fortune teller, and the banana peel that foiled them)’, 4.15-5.45pm, in room 3.58, John Percival Building (abstract below).


Reidy abstract: In this paper, I explain Rawls’s thinking about reflective equilibrium and stability and trace its genesis to his engagement with early 20th century positivists such as Ducasse, with American Pragmatism, and with Wittgenstein. With Rawls’s ideas of reflective equilibrium and stability properly understood, I then take up the status of metaphysical commitments within his thinking.

David is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Distinguished Humanities Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennesse, Knoxville. He has published a number of books on John Rawls, the Philosophy of Law, and Human Rights.

Rennick abstract: Backwards time travel, at least at first glance, seems to allow for the possibility of bilking attempts – attempts to change the past and thereby engender a contradiction (as in the Grandfather Paradox) – and thus defenders of the possibility of time travel must account for why and how such attempts fail. Analogously, foreknowledge seems to allow for future-direct bilking attempts: that is, attempts to avoid a future that is known and thus in some sense fixed. Here I argue that the same explanation for why and how past-directed bilking attempts fail can be offered in relation to the future: the future is just as immutable as the past, and the very same banana peels that trip up the would-be grandfather killer can foil the future-bilking foreknower. I also consider Horwich’s argument for improbability of time travel, and an analogue for foreknowledge, suggesting that here the symmetry breaks down.

Anna Farennikova (Bristol) ‘Bayesianism and the perception-cognition divide’

The research talk this week is by Anna Farennikova (Bristol) on ‘Bayesianism and the perception-cognition divide’. Time and place is Wednesday 26th October, 4.15-6pm, room 3.58 John Percival Building.

Abstract: Perceptual experience and belief are frequently treated as distinct kinds of mental states. A belief might prompt a new perceptual experience, and new experience can confirm or trigger a belief. Despite causal influences of this sort, it was commonly held that perceptual experience is insulated from the information contained in beliefs. However, recent scientific evidence shows that this picture is mistaken: perception is routinely influenced by beliefs and expectations. This evidence of cognitive penetration thus erodes a strict perception-cognition divide. Two recent approaches to the mind, Bayesianism and Predictive Coding, do further damage to the divide. According to these approaches, influences from cognition on perception are not just pervasive, but integral to its functioning. In this talk I’ll argue that if these two approaches are correct, there is no use in saving divide. Perception and cognition do not exist. Understood as paradigm changes, Bayesianism and Predictive Coding imply eliminativism with respect to belief and experience. They constitute a real revolution in the philosophy of mind, and it is time for philosophers to embrace the change.

Rennick and Webber on Aristotle on BBC Radio Wales

Stephanie Rennick and Jonathan Webber were on BBC Radio Wales this week talking about Aristotle.

Steph explained Aristotle’s contributions to logic and metaphysics, and how these can be applied to the idea of time travel. Jon gave background on Aristotle’s life and explains his contributions to ethical thought.

They were joined by Carwyn Jones of Cardiff Metropolitan University, who applied Aristotelian ethics to sport.

The show is available on iPlayer until 8th November:

Catch it while you can!

Two lectures and discussion with Prof. Michael Krausz (Bryn Mawr College)

On Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October we’ll be hosting a visit by Professor Michael Krausz, Milton C. Nahm Professor of Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College. Trained at the Universities of Toronto and Oxford, he has been visiting professor at Georgetown University, Oxford University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, American University in Cairo, University of Nairobi, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, University of Ulm, and other institutions. He has also been on the Liberal Arts faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music since 2002. He has written numerous books on aspects of ethics, aesthetic, hermeneutics, philosophy of language, and music, along with a great many articles and book-chapters.

During his visit Professor Krausz will be offering two lectures with subsequent discussion:

‘Relativism’, Wednesday October 19th, 2.10 p.m. to 4 p.m., Room 2.03

‘The Ideals and Aims of Interpretation’, Thursday October 20th, 3.10pm to 5pm, Room 3.47