Russell proved over a century ago that a naive conception of structured propositions is inconsistent. Hodes (2015), Dorr (2016), and Goodman (2017) have recently reformulated Russell’s argument in the language of higher-order logic, and concluded from it that distinctions in reality cannot always reflect all the syntactic structure of the language in which we draw those distinctions. But they also float the idea that such distinctions might nevertheless have sentence-like structure, so long as this structure fails to neatly correspond to the syntactic structure of the sentences we use to draw those distinction. Perhaps, that is, the popular metaphor of facts being like sentences written in God’s “book of the world” is tenable after all. In this talk I’ll give a way of making this metaphor precise, and prove a new limitative result showing that, given natural assumptions, it too is inconsistent.
The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will be meeting on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 in room 7314 of the Graduate Center, CUNY (365 5th Avenue). The (provisional) schedule is as follows:
Feb 4. Melvin Fitting, CUNY
Feb 11. Benjamin Neeser, Geneva
Feb 18. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING
Feb 25. Achille Varzi, Columbia
Mar 4. Eric Bayruns Garcia, CUNY
Mar 11. Jeremy Goodman, USC
Mar 18. Romina Padro, CUNY
Mar 25. Kit Fine, NYU
Apr 1. Elena Ficara, Paderborn
Apr 8. Chris Scambler, NYU
Apr 15. Jenn McDonald, CUNY
Apr 22. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING
Apr 29. Tommy Kivatinos, CUNY
May 6. Daniel Durante, Natal
May 13. Martina Botti, Columbia
May 20. Vincent Peluce, CUNY
We’re a community of philosophers of language centered in New York City. We have a meeting each week at which a speaker presents a piece of their own work relating to the philosophy of language.
Luca Incurvati (ILLC/Amsterdam)
Dan Hoek (NYU)
Peter Klecha (Swarthmore)
Chris Tancredi (Keio University, Tokyo)
Yael Sharvit (UCLA)
Thony Gillies (Rutgers)
Yale Weiss (CUNY)
Friederike Moltmann (CNRS)
Amir Anvari (Institut Jean Nicod, ENS)
David Balcarras (MIT)
Nadine Theiler (ILLC, Amsterdam)
Valentine Hacquard (Maryland)
- September 18 – Cristina Beltrán (NYU)
- October 9 – Jennifer Scuro (New Rochelle) – “Mapping Ableist Biases: Diagnoses and Prostheses”
- November 6 – Lillian Cicerchia (Fordham)
- March 12 – Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt)
- April 9 – Ann Murphy (New Mexico), “Hunger on Campus: Continental Philosophy and Basic Needs”
- April 16 – Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt/IAS), “Criticism and Its Discontents: A Defense of an Immanent Critique of Forms of Life”
February 12May 7 – Robin Celikates (Amsterdam/IAS), “Radical Civility? Civil Disobedience and the Ideology of Non-Violence”
Our topic for Spring 2018 will be Formal Frameworks for Semantics and Pragmatics. We’ll be investigating a range of questions in semantics and/or pragmatics which involve or are relevant to the choice between different kinds of overall structure for theories in these areas.
In most sessions, the members of the seminar will receive a week in advance, copies of recent work, or work in progress from a thinker at another university. After reading this work, students discuss it with one of the instructors on the day before the colloquium. Then at the Tuesday colloquium, the instructors give a summary review and raise criticisms or questions about the work. The author responds to these, and also to questions from the audience.
The main seminar meetings are on Tuesday from 4-7, in the second floor seminar room of the Philosophy Department. Additionally, there will be a supplementary meeting open to all students participating in the seminar (whether enrolled or not) on Mondays from 4-5,
in the same location in the fifth-floor seminar room.
This seminar is open to all interested parties.
There is a googlegroups mailing list for the class. If you want to receive announcements, please add yourself to that list. (To be able to access the mailing list’s web interface, you’ll need to log into Google’s systems using an identity Google recognizes, like a Gmail address, or a NYU email address because of how NYU’s authentication systems are connected to Google. But there’s no real need to see the mailing list’s web interface. You just need some email address to be added to list, then any messages we send to the list will get forwarded to all the email addresses then registered on the list. If you want us to add an address to the list that you can’t log into Google’s systems with, just send us a message with the address you want registered.)
Schedule and Papers
Papers will be posted here as they become available. Some may be password-protected; the password will be distributed in class.
- 23 Jan
- Introductory session (no meeting on Monday 22 Jan), Jim’s handoutSome people asked for more background reading. Here are two useful textbooks: Heim & Kratzer, then von Fintel & Heim. Here is a survey article about different treatments of pronoun anaphora. Here is a course page with links to more reading.
- 30 Jan
- Jim Pryor (NYU, web, mail), “De Jure Codesignation“
- 6 Feb
- Mandy Simons (CMU, web, mail), “Convention, Intention, and the Conversational Record” and (with Kevin Zollman) “Natural Conventions and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide“(Mandy is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 5 Feb at 6:30.)
- 13 Feb
- Paul Pietroski (Rutgers, mail), “Semantic Typology and Composition” (minor updates posted on Friday 9 Feb at 1:06 AM).
- 20 Feb
- Karen Lewis (Columbia/Barnard, web, mail), “Anaphora and Negation” and “Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites“
- 27 Feb
- Daniel Rothschild (UCL, web, mail), “A Trivalent Approach to Anaphora and Presupposition” and (with Matt Mandelkern) “Projection from Situations“(Daniel is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 26 Feb at 6:30.)
- 6 Mar
- John Hawthorne (USC, mail), (with Cian Dorr) Selections from If… : A Theory of Conditionals
- 13 Mar
- Spring Break
- 20 Mar
- Lucas Champollion (NYU, web, mail), (with Dylan Bumford and Robert Henderson) “Donkeys under discussion”
Lucas suggests that readers who are short on time might skip or skim section 6, which is exclusively devoted to discussion of previous work.
- 27 Mar
- Matthew Mandelkern (Oxford, web, mail), “Bounded Modality“
- 3 Apr
- Paolo Santorio (UC-San Diego, web, mail), “Conditional Excluded Middle in Expressivist Semantics” (primary) and “Nonclassical counterfactuals” (secondary)
- 10 Apr
- Una Stojnić (Columbia, web, mail), “Discourse and Argument“
- 17 Apr
- Seth Yalcin (UC-Berkeley, web, mail), “Conditional Belief and Conditional Assertion” and “Notes on iffy knowledge“
- 24 Apr
- Stephen Schiffer (NYU, web, mail), “When Meaning Meets Vagueness (Accommodating Vagueness in Semantics and Metasemantics)” (revised 20 April)
- 1 May
- Maria Aloni (ILLC and Philosophy/Amsterdam, web, mail), “FC disjunction in state-based semantics“(Maria is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 30 Apr at 6:30.)
Each colloquium is held on Wednesday at 4:15 P.M. All colloquia will take place at the Graduate Center in rooms 9204/9205 except as otherwise noted. Please call (212) 817-8615 for further information.
Download an interactive PDF version of the schedule here.
February 6 • Jerrold Katz Memorial Lecture
Ned Block (New York University)
“Perception is Non-Propositional, Non-Conceptual and Iconic”
Francesco Pupa (Nassau Community College)
“Determiners are Phrases”
Robert Rupert (University of Colorado, Boulder)
“There Is No Personal Level: On the Virtues of a Psychology Flattened from Above”
Reed Winegar (Fordham University)
“Kant on Infinity”
March 6 • Marx Wartofsky Memorial Lecture
David Schweickart (Loyola University Chicago)
Manolo Martinez (University of Barcelona)
“A Rate-Distortion Theory of Concepts”
Vanessa DeHarven (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
“The Distinctness of the Three Distinct Goods in Republic II”
Eli Friedlander (University of Tel Aviv)
“The Intuitive Intellect from Kant to Goethe”
April 3 • Prospectives’ Day
CUNY GC Faculty Panel
Daniel Harris (CUNY Hunter College)
April 17 • Logic Panel
- Romina Padro (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem in Logic”
- Saul Kripke (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem and the Quinean Conception of Logic”
- Michael Devitt (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem: A Quinean Picture”
April 24 — No Colloquium (Spring Recess)
Arindam Chakrabarti (SUNY Stony Brook)
“Some Problems Concerning Touch, Touching and the Self-Aware Body”
Briana Toole (CUNY Baruch College)
“The Not-So-Rational Racist: Articulating a New Epistemic Duty”
The Department’s colloquium series typically meets on Thursdays in the Seminar Room at Gateway Transit Building, 106 Somerset Street, 5th Floor at 3:00 p.m. Please see the Department Calendar for scheduled speakers and more details.
- 01/31 Department Colloquium-Prof. Brian Epstein (Tufts)
- 02/07 Inclusive Pedagogy by Prof. Zoë Johnson-King (NYU)
- 02/28 Climate Lecture-Prof. Teresa Blankmeyer Burke (Gallaudet University)
- 03/14 Mesthene Lecture-Prof. Lara Buchak (UC Berkeley)
- 03/28 Break It Down Lecture-Prof. Paul Pietroski, “Human Languages: What are They?”
- 04/11 Class of 1970s Lecture: Prof. Gideon Rosen (Princeton) Alexander Teleconf. Lecture Hall, 4:30-7:30 pm
- 04/18 Break It Down Lecture-Prof. Larry Temkin, “Population Ethics: Forty Years On”
- 04/25 – 04/27 Semantics Workshop (Lepore)
- 04/27 Rutgers Day 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- 05/03 Epistemology Conference
- 05/04 Epistemology Conference
- 07/21 – 07/26 Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy
Despite their importance in the history of philosophy and in particular in the work of Aristotle and Kant, mental capacities have been neglected in recent philosophical work. By contrast, the notion of a capacity is deeply entrenched in psychology and the brain sciences. Driven by the idea that a cognitive system has the capacity it does in virtue of its internal components and their organization, it is standard to appeal to capacities in cognitive psychology. The main benefit of invoking capacities in an account of the mind is that it allows for an elegant counterfactual analysis of mental states: it allows us to analyze mental states on three distinct yet interrelated levels. A first level of analysis pertains to the function of mental capacities. A second level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, irrespective of the context in which they are employed. A third level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, taking into account the context in which they are employed. I show how an account on which perception is constitutively a matter of employing discriminatory capacities allows for a unified account of perceptual content, perceptual consciousness, and perceptual evidence.
Working Papers in Ethics and Moral Psychology is a speaker series conducted under the auspices of the Icahn School of Medicine Bioethics Program. It is a working group where speakers are invited to present well-developed, as yet unpublished work. The focus of the group is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on topics in ethics, bioethics, neuroethics, and moral psychology. The meetings begin with a brief presentation by the invited speaker and the remaining time is devoted to a discussion of the paper. The speakers will make their papers available in advance of their presentation to those who sign up for the Working Papers mailing list.
11 Oct: Jordan Mackenzie, NYU
8 Nov: Susana Nuccetelli, St. Cloud State
13 Dec: Michael Brownstein, John Jay
14 Mar: Kyle Ferguson, CUNY
18 Apr: Jeff Sebo, NYU
23 May: Johann Frick, Princeton
“Everyone is female”—this is the first of several “untenable claims” presented by Andrea Long Chu in her forthcoming book Females: A Concern (Verso, 2019). Drawing inspiration from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto and her forgotten play Up Your Ass, this lecture in numbered theses whips through a variety of ugly objects (films, manifestos, performance art, psychoanalysis, porn, and the alt-right) to give a portrait of femaleness as a universal category of self-ablation against which all politics—even feminist politics—revolts.
Andrea Long Chu is a writer and critic completing her doctorate at New York University. Her writing has appeared, or will soon, in n+1, Boston Review, The New York Times, New York, Artforum, Bookforum, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4Columns, differences, Women & Performance, TSQ, and Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Her book Females: A Concern is forthcoming this year from Verso.
People in Support of Women in Philosophy is a group dedicated to the advancement of women and those who experience marginalization within the field of philosophy. Our group meets weekly to workshop papers, help members prepare for conference presentations and seminars, host guest speakers, and in general celebrate the work of our women and gender-non-conforming colleagues and mentors. Men are welcome and encouraged to take part as allies.