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

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.

Epistemic Vice Workshop, October 3rd

NB: Attendance is free but please notify Alessandra Tanesini at in advance as spaces are limited.

Epistemic Vice Workshop
3th October 2016
Room 1.26 John Percival Building, Cardiff University

09:00-09:30- Arrival

09:30-11:00 Alessandra Tanesini (Cardiff University): ‘Arrogance and Self-abasement: Two Vices of Intellectual Self-Governance’

11:15-12:45 Charlie Crerar (University of Sheffield): ‘Vice Psychology: Motivational Approaches to Intellectual Vice’

14:15-15:45 Ian James Kidd (Nottingham University) ‘A Deep Conception of Epistemic Vice’

15:45-16:00 Break

16:00-17:30 Bob Roberts (Baylor University) ‘Vicious Epistemic Pride’

The John Percival building in n 16 on the map that can be dowloaded from:

Chon Tejedor (Hertfordshire/Oxford) ‘The Early Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religion’

The first research seminar of Autumn 16-17 semester is on Wednesday 28th September, where Chon Tejedor will be speaking on ‘The Early Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religion’. Usual time and place of 4.15-5.45pm, but UNUSUAL Room of 3.58, John Percival Building.

Abstract: In this paper, I argue for a new interpretation of Wittgenstein’s treatment of the ethico-religious attitude in the Tractatus. For Wittgenstein, this attitude is neither emotive (as is sometimes defended in expressivist readings) nor one conditioned by a transcendental subject (as defended in transcendental readings). The ethico-religious attitude is, instead, dispositional and intimately connected to the type of conceptual clarity (clarity in our language and thought) that Wittgenstein seeks to generate with his book. Key to my approach is the view that the method of the Tractatus has a fundamental ethical and religious dimension, for Wittgenstein.