Institut Jean Nicod

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Doc'in nicod

Séminaire doctoral et postdoctoral de l'Institut Jean-Nicod.
Doctoral and post-doctoral seminar of the IJN.

Doc'in Nicod is a biweekly seminar providing an opportunity for young researchers, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows from the IJN to receive feedback on work in progress from fellow graduate students and researchers of the Institute. Each session will feature one researcher of the IJN as a commentator.

The seminar is open to the public.

Talks will be held at the Institut Jean Nicod, ENS, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris. Conference room of the Pavillon Jardin.

Contact: Géraldine Carranante or Armando Lavalle


Session 1
Friday, October 20, 2017, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Matthieu Koroma (Sid Kouider's Team, Laboratoire des Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique UMR 8554)
Commentator: Jérôme Dokic
Title: An emotion regulation account of the paradox of fiction


In this talk, I examine an account on how emotions in fiction can be considered as a case of emotional regulation and how this account makes possible reconciling the different philosophical positions on the paradox of fiction. For this purpose, I will argue first that the philosophical solutions proposed for solving this paradox are all valid at different stages of the process of emotional regulation. Moreover, I show that the solutions are incomplete when they are considered independently. Nevertheless, they adequately solve the paradox of fiction if they are taken as interacting processes within the framework of emotional regulation and they make sense of the possibility of fictional experience. I will conclude with some remarks on how philosophy can be useful for psychology in revealing the underlying structure of the psychological processes, but also on how psychology can be useful for philosophy in showing how the dynamics of cognition are fit to answer contradictions tackled by philosophical problems.


Session 2
November 11, 2017, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Speaker: Samuel Lee (NYU Philosophy PhD student)
Commentator: Pierre Jacob
Title: Mental Causation and Overdetermination


The exclusion problem is usually presented as an argument that mental entities fail to cause anything physical. This conclusion is not easy to swallow, and many have sought ways to resist it. I will try to show that no satisfactory way of disarming the argument has yet been articulated. Mostly I want to talk about a view similar to the view termed ‘compatibilism’ in the literature on this topic. When I say ‘compatibilist’, I mean someone who fends off the exclusion argument by defending one of the following two claims. One, that the overdetermination that comes with mental causation isn't relevantly similar to, for example, firing-squad cases. Or, two, that mental causation is relevantly similar to those sorts of cases but is nonetheless just about as widespread as we naively take it to be.
I am a compatibilist, but I accuse my allies in this of adopting indefensible versions of our shared view. To make good on this accusation, I first explain why it is usually a problem for theories to posit widespread overdetermination, and then argue that existing compatibilists do not evade this problem. What's needed to successfully evade the problems is a theory of causation which accords mental causation a non-redundant explanatory role, even when these mental entities are overdeterminers of the effects under discussion. I give some independent motivation for one such theory before showing how its treatment of certain higher-level causes as fundamental causes allows it fill the role just outlined.

Session 3
November 24, 2017. 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Speaker: Anna Giustina (IJN, ENS, PSL)
Commentator: François Recanati
Title: Primitive Introspection

Session 3
December 8, 2017, 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Speaker: Andrés Soria (IJN, ENS, PSL)

Session 4
December 15, 2017, 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Speaker: Martin Fortier (IJN, EHESS, PSL)
Commentator: Dan Sperber
Title: The Amazonian challenge to the purported universality of psychological essentialism: biological and ethnic non-essentialism among the Shipibo-Konibo and the Huni Kuin (Peruvian Amazon)


The study of concepts has been deeply transformed by the discovery that many concepts are defined in essentialist rather than probabilistic and prototypical terms (e.g., Medin & Ortony, 1989; Gelman, 2003). Several studies have suggested that psychological essentialism (PE) is not only a pervasive cognitive phenomenon but is also a universal one (Astuti et al., 2004; Moya et al., 2015; Sousa et al., 2002). I will first distinguish between four components of PE: topological, inferential, structural and temporal essentialism. I will subsequently argue that previous cross-cultural studies of PE have focused on the study of structural and temporal essentialism, leaving aside the two other components. I will also point out methodological and theoretical limitations. Next, I will present new experimental data I collected in two indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon: the Shipibo-Konibo (SK) and the Huni Kuin (HK). Ethnography suggests that these cultures are quite non-essentialist. In a first series of studies (administered in a paper-and- pencil fashion and in Spanish) with young SK and HK adults, I found evidence for essentialism for most of the components and for non-essentialism only for few of them. In a second series of studies (administered through personal interviews and in HK language) with old HK participants (40 years old and above), I found evidence for strong non-essentialism for all components. Two interpretations of these data will be put forward: the differences between the two groups may reveal deeply entrenched cognitive differences or they may be an artefact of the data collection method