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

Matteo Bonotti (Cardiff/Politics) ‘Aural Morality: Accent and the Democratic Soundscape’ (co-authored with Yael Peled, McGill)

Hi all,

For the research talk this week, on Wednesday October 12th, we have Matteo Bonotti (Cardiff Politics) talking on ‘Aural Morality: Accent and the Democratic Soundscape’, which is a co-authored paper with Yael Peled (McGill).

The talk is at 4.15-5.45pm, in the now not so new room of 3.58, John Percival Building.

Abstract: Recent years have seen a noticeable surge of interest among political philosophers in questions concerning the relationship between language and politics, such as competing models of normative language regimes, conceptions of language rights and their scope and nature, and the political ethics of a global lingua franca. This interest, however, has been almost entirely committed to a liberal democratic approach, mainly focused on the issue of language rights against a background of fair democratic procedures, with little attention, if at all, given to more participatory and deliberative forms of democratic life. The absence of such attention is particularly intriguing in the context of deliberative theories, where language, and linguistic interaction more specifically, seemingly ought to comprise a crucial element in their formulation and evaluation. Disregarding the political essence of live speech in multilingual democratic theories, and particularly in those that follow a more deliberative approach, we propose, results in severe linguistic “epistemic injustice” (Fricker 2007). In particular, we focus on the question of accent, and the often-covert role that it plays in assigning credibility deficit – or excess – to the accented speech of individuals in monolingual political debates that take place in multilingual democracies. Given the considerable impact of sensorial data on democratic life, we argue, it is impossible for democratic theory, and particularly deliberative models of democratic theory, to maintain the preference for considering language primarily as a neutral system of thoughts while overlooking its sensory-based interactive and communicative nature. The same likewise holds for the emergent body of literature on linguistic justice more broadly. We begin the discussion by looking at deliberative democratic theory broadly intended, and at the implications of its preference for conceptualising language as an ideal communication system of thoughts at the expense of its communicative and interactive nature. We argue that the preference for the former paradoxically hinders rather than advances the deliberative model’s capacity to deliver on its promises and aspirations. We then move on to discuss the critical importance of sensory data to moral and political agency, and its more ready recognition of their importance in a constitutive rather than instrumentalist conception of language. We focus on the phenomenon of accent in real-life and live political interaction, and argue that the often-covert role that accent plays in the political life of multilingual democracies generates serious epistemic injustices of the testimonial type. Considering the emerging literature on linguistic justice, we examine the way in which differing conceptions of language unavoidably result in differing conceptions of normative language regimes, and locate deliberative theories along the dialogical end of the spectrum. We conclude by offering a more detailed account of the complex and interdependent relationship between democratic deliberation and a democratic soundscape, and the various policy measures needed to sustain it.