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.

Perception Workshop (Bain, Corns & Gray)

As part of the Research Seminar Series, on May 4th we will have a workshop on perception, focusing on pain. The event is in Room 0.01 (one door down from the usual), from 1-6pm, in the John Percival Building.This will be another great event, so not to be missed! Speakers and titles below.

David Bain (Glasgow): Why take painkillers?

Jennifer Corns (Glasgow): Pain is not a natural kind

Richard Gray (Cardiff): Pain and perception

UPDATE BELOW: Chon Tejedor (Hertfordshire) ‘Science in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus’

The talk below was cancelled, so Jon Webber (Cardiff) will be speaking at the same time (Wednesday April 27th, 4.15-5.45pm in Room 0.02, John Percival Building), on ‘Sartre’s Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions’. Abstract below.

Jon Webber (Cardiff)
Title: Sartre’s Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions
 Abstract: This talk is focused on a puzzle about Part III of Sartre’s short early book Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions — does he really sketch one theory, or are there in fact two different theories in here?
This question has been getting quite some attention recently, including two papers in Analysis of all places.
I think this talk will appeal not only to people interested in Sartre or phenomenology more generally, but also to anyone interested in emotion and affectivity, or in philosophy of mind generally, as well as anyone interested in the whole post-Kantian transcendental shebang.

The next research seminar is on Wednesday April 27th, where Chon Tejedor will be speaking on ‘Science in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus‘. Usual time and place of 4.15-5.45pm in Room 0.02, John Percival Building.

Abstract: In this paper, I explore Wittgenstein’s early discussion of the principles of the natural sciences – a discussion which is divided in the Tractatus into a negative section and a positive one. In the former, Wittgenstein seeks to establish that the notion of natural necessity is self-stultifying, insofar as it relies on an understanding of logical operations that it simultaneously attempts to subvert. Hence, the principles of the natural sciences should not be understood as capturing such a notion. In his positive discussion, Wittgenstein suggests that the principles of the natural sciences are both a priori and optional, in that they provide instructions or stipulations for the generation of senseful propositions within particular scientific systems. Wittgenstein’s treatment of the principles of the natural sciences leads him to some intriguing conclusions on causation and induction.


Some of this material is covered in: Chon Tejedor, The Early Wittgenstein on Metaphysics, Natural Science, Language and Value (Routledge, 2015): chaps. 4 & 5.

The book will be out in paperback in the summer.

Extended Mind Workshop (Rowlands, Roberts & Toon)

As part of the Research Seminar Series, on April 13th we will have a workshop on the concept of the Extended Mind, drawing in ideas across philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. We have great speakers for this event, so not to be missed!


This event is in Room 1.19, John Percival Building (NOTE ROOM CHANGE), on Wednesday April 13th.


2.00-3.10pm Mark Rowlands ‘Rilkean memory’

3.10-4.20 Tom Roberts ‘Extended mental state attributions’

4.20-4.30 Break

4.30-5.40 Adam Toon ‘Science and the extended mind’



Mark Rowlands (Miami)

Title: Rilkean Memory

Abstract: This paper identifies a form of remembering sufficiently overlooked that it has not yet been dignified with a name. I shall christen it Rilkean Memory. This form of memory is – at least typically – thoroughly embodied and/or embedded. Rilkean memory is a form of involuntary, autobiographical memory that is neither implicit nor explicit, neither declarative nor procedural, neither episodic nor semantic, and not Freudian. I shall argue that admitting Rilkean memory into our ontology points us in the direction of a very different conception of both the mind and the person.


Tom Roberts (Exeter)

Title: Extended Mental State Attributions

Abstract: Recent versions of the extended mind theory have added a historical criterion to the list of conditions that must be satisfied by a representational resource if it is to be counted among the constituents of an agent’s mind: not only must the resource play a suitable functional role in the agent’s cognitive economy, it must also have a certain causal history. This paper examines some epistemic challenges, raised by this historical criterion, that emerge when we attempt to attribute extended mental states both to others and to ourselves. Self-attributions of extended states are shown to lack the first-person privileges traditionally associated with introspective access, including immunity to error through misidentification.


Adam Toon (Exeter)

Title: Science and the Extended Mind

Abstract: We typically think of cognition as something that happens inside the head. Recently, a number of philosophers of mind and cognitive science have argued that this is a mistake. In fact, according to the extended mind thesis, cognition and mind sometimes extend beyond brain and body into the world. This talk will consider the implications of the extended mind thesis for philosophy of science. I will argue that these implications are far-reaching. In particular, I will show that the notion of extended cognition has important consequences for our view of the nature of scientific concepts, scientific understanding, and debates between realists and empiricists concerning the role of instruments in the creation of scientific knowledge.

Beatrice Han-Pile (Essex) ‘Hope and Agency’

The next research seminar is on Wednesday March 16th, where Beatrice Han-Pile will be speaking on ‘Hope and Agency’. Usual time and place of 4.15-5.45pm in Room 0.02, John Percival Building.

Abstract: What has become known as the ‘orthodox’ definition of hope (OD) defines the latter as follows: ‘A hopes that p if and only if (1) A desires (or wishes for) p and (2) A assigns to p a degree of probability between (and excluding) 0 and 1’. Recent critics have accepted the OD but deemed it insufficient to account for strong hope, and thus proposed further conditions. I identify the underlying problem, namely the ‘Low Probability Assignment Problem’ (LPAP), and draw out the implications of the OD for the agential structure of hope. I argue that two of the most influential accounts (Pettit’s and Martin’s) fail to provide a fix to the LPAP because they rely on an overly cognitivist and voluntarist conception of the agency involved in hope, a conception which is both untrue to hope as a phenomenon and incompatible with the agential implications of the OD they try to build upon. Finally, I clear the way for an alternative fix to the LPAP by exploring the minimum conditions on agency which would make an alternative solution both compatible with the OD and true to the phenomenon of hope. Building on previous work, I refer to this kind of agency as ‘medio-passive’ and outline some of the ways it is played out in hope.