Institut Jean Nicod

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Reality & Representation


Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris - Salle de réunion, RDC

Contact: Uriah Kriegel




Mercredi 24 mai, 15h30-17h00
Andrew Lee (NYU) "Minds, Magnitudes, and Mereology"

Abstract: I'll discuss two different kinds of structures exhibited by experiences—mereological structure and magnitudinal structure. I'll show how mereological and magnitudinal concepts give us useful tools for theorizing about the structure of experience. In particular, applying these concepts allows us to formulate substantive principles about the structure of experience, to develop atomism and holism about experience, to elucidate two mechanisms for acquiring novel phenomenal concepts, and to account for several structural features of experience—namely similarity, intensity, quantity, and complexity.

Lundi 12 juin, 16h-18h
Nick Stang (Toronto) "Varieties of Idealism"

Mardi 4 juillet de 10h30 à 12h30
Sean Power (Trinity College Dublin)
"Temporal Constitution, Temporal Content, and Time's Structuring of Perceptual Experience"

Past sessions

Mardi 20 septembre de 10h30 à 12h30
Patrick Todd (Edinburgh), "How to Russell Open the Future"

Mardi 4 octobre de 10h30 à 12h30
Uriah Kriegel (IJN), "Monism and Universals"

Mardi 2 mai, 10h30-12h30
Jean-Baptiste Guillon (College de France) "The mereology of common-sense dualism".

In classical mereology, the Weak Supplementation Principle (WSP) states that it is not possible for P to be a proper part of W if there is not another part of W, disjoint from P. Some mereologists, including Peter Simons, consider WSP as analytically contained in our common sense notion of parthood. However, in his SEP entry “Mereology”, Varzi notices one kind of philosophical view that has been accepted by some philosophers and that violates WSP, namely the dualist view according to which a person could exist as a disembodied soul, or rather as having her soul as unique part (without supplement). Of course, very few philosophers today would defend such a dualist view, but there is a growing literature suggesting that, whether or not dualism is philosophically defensible, it seems to be our common sense model of the human mind (see Bloom 2004, Bering 2006, Dennett 2006, Nichols 2007). Now, if our common sense mereology of persons violates WSP, this would suggest at least that our common sense notion of part does not analytically contain WSP. In this talk, I will investigate whether common sense dualism really violates WSP, or whether it is possible to give alternative models of common sense dualism that satisfy WSP.

Lundi 15 mai, 16h-18h
Daniël Hoek (NYU) "Mathematics as a metaphor"

Abstract: Scientists and the folk constantly use mathematics in describing the world. How can it be that reference to mathematical entities facilitates the description of concrete reality? The puzzle is especially vexing to the nominalist, who denies that mathematical objects even exist. But even mad-dog Platonists ought to ask themselves from time to time how it can be that investigations of remote and causally inert abstracta can serve a practical purpose. In an attempt to address the question, Stephen Yablo proposed that our use of mathematics to describe the concrete world around us is just like our use of metaphors to do the same. While that's an intriguing suggestion, it’s not all that illuminating unless we have an account of how, precisely, the relevant class of metaphors work. In this talk, I try to supply such an account. I’ll outline, in formal terms, a transformation on propositions that, at the same time, explains how relevant information is extracted from the metaphors we wrap them in, and how purely concrete information is extracted from the partly mathematical statements we use to present it. I will also prove a conservativity result, stating (roughly) that derivations involving reference to mathematical objects retain their classical validity after they’ve been transformed in this way into a sequence of propositions about the concrete world.