Tuesday, 15 March 2011

2011 Waterloo PGSA Conference

The University of Waterloo Philosophy Graduate Student Conference - 2011

Conference Schedule:

Friday, April 1

Session 1
Hagey Hall 373

10:00 AM Ivan Kasa Stockholm/MIT
“Neo-Fregean Abstractionism and Mathematical Truth”
This paper aims to restore a more balanced view on how Bob Hale and Crispin Wright’s Neo-Fregean theory of abstractionism relates to questions raised in Benacerraf’s classic Mathematical Truth. I claim that, contrary to received opinion, the prevalent strands of thought in Mathematical Truth cannot be taken to support abstractionism as a response to epistemological worries surrounding a homogenous Tarskian semantics.

11:00 AM Yuna Won Yonsei University, South Korea
“Modified Acceptability Condition of Indicative Conditionals”
This paper will deal with conditionals having a true antecedent and consequent – I will call them idle conditionals. Most of theories of conditionals have regarded them as true but uninteresting conditionals. However, most idle conditionals are rarely used in our daily lives and even seem to be unacceptable. Most theories of conditionals have ignored this issue and thought that philosophical theories do not need to reflect all mundane intuitions. It means those theories cannot explain why we are not willing to assert and accept idle conditionals. I will suggest Modified Acceptability Condition (MAC) to explain the phenomenon and show that MAC can be generally accepted by existing theories. Furthermore, MAC will solve some puzzling cases neglected in most of theories of conditionals. Finally, I will show that it will bring some benefits to the existing theories.

12:00 PM Avery Archer Columbia University
“Unpacking the Guise of the Good Theory of Desires”
According to the Guise of the Good Theory of Desires, desires are associated with the good in a sense roughly analogous to how beliefs are associated with the true. In this paper, I consider the three most common strategies for unpacking Guise of the Good Theory of Desires — namely, The Desire-as-Belief Thesis, The Desire-plus-Belief Thesis, and The Desire-as-Perception Thesis. I argue that all three approaches are unacceptable. I conclude by laying the foundation for a fourth way of unpacking the Guise of the Good Theory; namely, The Desire-as-Imperative Thesis. According to the Desire-as-Imperative Thesis, desiring to φ is equivalent to being the recipient of an imperative to φ. I argue that the Desire-as-Imperative Thesis offers us a way to unpack the Guise of the Good Theory of Desires that avoids the difficulties confronting the other three approaches.

Friday, April 1

Session 2
Hagey Hall 373

2:30 PM Matt LaVine University at Buffalo
“Truth and Fictional Discourse”
One of the most intuitive positions with respect to giving an account of truth-in- fiction is that determining what is true in a particular story begins and ends with determining what the storyteller says. Unfortunately, when this is understood as identifying truths in fiction with those things directly stated or implied (in a strictly logical sense) by the storyteller, problems seem to arise. Lewis famously demonstrated some of these. He then replaced the intuitive picture with one in which the storyteller’s claims are supplemented by collective belief worlds of the intended audience as truth-in-fiction truth-makers. Interestingly enough, in doing so, Lewis focused on coming up with truth-conditions for sentences of the form, ‘in fiction, p’, much more so than answering the question, ‘in virtue of what do these truth-conditions hold?’ In this paper we investigate problems that arise from Lewis neglecting this latter question and try to give our own tentative answer. This answer will come from a tweaking of Searle’s horizontal conventions posited in his paper, “The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse.” Finally, this answer, which brings us back rather closely to the intuitive position, will be used to meet the difficulties that Lewis’s picture ran into.

3:30 PM Rhys McKinnon University of Waterloo
“Responding to Prompts and Challenges”
In this paper I propose a principle of interpretation for the content of challenges and prompts to assertions based on the criterion of what constitutes wholly adequate responses. I suggest that this is a unifying principle for the linguistic data, inasmuch as wholly adequate responses generally consist in giving one’s reasons for an assertion. I argue that the linguistic data is best explained by a reason-based norm such as Jennifer Lackey’s Reasonable to Believe Norm of Assertion (RTBNA). Consequently, I argue against John Turri’s claim that the data is best explained by the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (KNA).

4:30 PM Andrew Parker Wilfrid Laurier University
“Hacker’s Davidson: On Incommensurability”
In my paper I examine P.M.S Hacker’s arguments for relativism, conceptual schemes and un-translatability between languages. Hacker’s strategy to save “incommensurable conceptual schemes” is to argue- contra Davidson- that there can be “untranslatable languages”. I will argue that Hacker’s road to “different conceptual schemes” is paved with “different languages” not “different concepts”. Although Hacker rejects Davidson’s “salient point”- that nothing can force us to decide if a disagreement between interlocutors lies in their beliefs rather than their concepts- I argue Hacker begs the question by postulating a non-empirical “conceptual scheme” in his account of “incommensurability”. I argue- contra Hacker- that rather than postulating “incommensurable conceptual schemes” we are left with the fact that humans have many different ways of talking about one and the same world.

Saturday, April 2

Session 1
Hagey Hall 373

10:00 AM Steven James University of Texas at Austin
“De Re Hallucination: A Distinctive Kind of Object Dependence”
Veridical perceptions and their subsequent perceptual beliefs give rise to object-dependent mental states. Hallucinatory phenomena force us to account for merely putatively object-dependent mental states and one familiar attempt to do so appeals to subjects’ related object-independent mental states. This fails to properly account for a particular class of hallucination; namely, de re hallucination. I identify what is needed in light of this result and make a suggestion for how theoretical progress can be made.

11:00 AM Yang Liu Columbia University
“The Sorites Paradox and Fuzzy Logic”
This paper studies degree theoretic approach to vagueness. The aim is to provide an explanation for the Sorites paradox from degree theorists' perspective. The paper includes a discussion of degrees and tolerance, both of which are taken to be fundamental features of language governing the use of vague predicates. A de- fense of degree theory is inserted in its due place. The analysis will then lead to the introduction of a basic propositional fuzzy logic which will serve as a conceptual framework within which the Sorites are treated. The paper shows that there is way of treating tolerance within degree theory by introducing a fuzzy notion of validity.

12:00 PM Justin Donhauser University at Buffalo
“Whales Are(n’t) Fish”
Contra the possibility of complete reduction of all domain-specific taxonomies to that of a unitary “final science,” several philosophers defend the view John Dupré dubs “promiscuous realism” and others variously call “pluralistic realism,” “semirealism,” and “perspectival realism.”1 In Dupré’s words ‘promiscuous realism’ [henceforth, PR] is the view that, “there are countless legitimate, objectively grounded ways of classifying objects in the world. And these may often cross-classify one another in indefinitely complex ways” (1993, 18). This essay is a critical discussion and defense of PR, which clarifies what the view should and should not entail. It is shown that PR is not a species of realism if it is compatible with a remark Dupré (1999; 2002) makes implying that a subset of the members of a biological kind can cease to be members of that kind without a change in the properties of those members. Toward that end, I provide an explicatory gloss of PR [§1], endorse Dupré’s original defense of the claim that whales are fish [§2], and show that PR is incompatible with Dupré’s follow-up claim that they are not and identify his error [§3]. Subsequently, inspired by some remarks of Diana Raffman and adopting positions advanced by Anjan Chakravartty, I offer a theory of how terminological vagueness and processes of abstraction in theory construction generate the legitimately crosscutting taxonomies espoused by PR [§4]. In closing, I briefly recapitulate the beneficial features of PR that bar errors like Dupré’s and evaluate the benefits of having equally unprivileged crosscutting taxonomies [§5].

3:30 PM Keynote Address
Dr. Diana Raffman University of Toronto
“Psychological Hysteresis and the Dynamic Sorites Paradox”
Abstract TBA

7:00 PM Conference Dinner

Ennio’s Restaurant
384 King Street n., Waterloo

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