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.


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