Calendar

Mar
29
Fri
Bjorndahl: The Epistemology of Nondeterminism. Logic, Probability, and Games Seminar @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Mar 29 @ 4:00 pm

Propositional dynamic logic (PDL) is a framework for reasoning about nondeterministic program executions (or, more generally, nondeterministic actions). In this setting, nondeterminism is taken as a primitive: a program is nondeterministic iff it has multiple possible outcomes. But what is the sense of “possibility” at play here? This talk explores an epistemic interpretation: working in an enriched logical setting, we represent nondeterminism as a relationship between a program and an agent deriving from the agent’s (in)ability to adequately measure the dynamics of the program execution. More precisely, using topology to capture the observational powers of an agent, we define the nondeterministic outcomes of a given program execution to be those outcomes that the agent is unable to rule out in advance. In this framework, determinism coincides exactly with continuity: that is, determinism is continuity in the observation topology. This allows us to embed PDL into (dynamic) topological (subset space) logic, laying the groundwork for a deeper investigation into the epistemology (and topology) of nondeterminism.

The seminar is concerned with applying formal methods to fundamental issues, with an emphasis on probabilistic reasoning, decision theory and games. In this context “logic” is broadly interpreted as covering applications that involve formal representations. The topics of interest have been researched within a very broad spectrum of different disciplines, including philosophy (logic and epistemology), statistics, economics, and computer science. The seminar is intended to bring together scholars from different fields of research so as to illuminate problems of common interest from different perspectives. Throughout each academic year, meetings are regularly presented by the members of the seminar and distinguished guest speakers.

details tba

02/08/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

03/29/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

04/19/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

Confucian Approaches to Intergenerational Ethics. Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Mar 29 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Since Confucianism is an intergenerational phenomenon, it should have unique insights into ethical issues surrounding our obligations to future generations. In the first part of this discussion, I examine two contemporary Confucian perspectives on intergenerational ethics. Proponents of Confucian Role Ethics have developed an interpretation of xiao as “intergenerational reverence” that binds the community together over time by reference to shared cultural models and evolving ethical values. The Chinese thinker Jiang Qing in turn argues for a political constitution in which the state depends not just on the will of presently existing citizens, but also serves to preserve and transmit the values of the past for the sake of future generations. While both interpretations share in common a critique of Western individualism and rights-based ethical framework, Jiang’s account of Confucian intergenerationality rests on the authority of tradition, whereas Confucian Role Ethics prioritizes the uniqueness of the situation at hand. In the second half of the discussion, I develop an alternative Confucian approach that is aligned with virtue ethics. On this view, our present virtue is the point of departure for understanding our relations with the past and future. I examine passages in early Confucian texts that suggest a notion of intergenerational virtue, which brings together various dispositions to see our own flourishing as linked with both past and future generations.

With a response from:

Susan Blake (Bard College)

Apr
4
Thu
Decolonizing Universalism. Serene Khader (Brooklyn College, CUNY) @ Columbia U Philosophy Dept. 716
Apr 4 @ 4:10 pm – 6:00 pm

Reception to follow

Apr
5
Fri
German Idealism Workshop @ Columbia University, Philosophy rm 716
Apr 5 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

8 February @Columbia

Patricia Kitcher: The Fact of Reason in Kant’s Moral Psychology

Response: Jessica Tizzard

22 February @NSSR

Matters of Love: A Conference

5 April @Columbia

Beatrice Longuenesse: Residues of First Nature

19 April @NSSR

Angelica Nuzzo: Approaching Hegel’s Logic Obliquely: Melville, Moliere, Beckett

Response: David Carlson

10 May @Columbia

Amy Allen: Turning Dead Ends into Through Streets: Psychoanalysis and the Idea of Progress

Apr
16
Tue
Promises and Perils of Neuroprediction @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Apr 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Neuroprediction, the use of neuroscientific data to predict human behavior, can sound like science fiction. But with the advent of neuroimaging and the continuing rapid development of other non-invasive brain measurements, neuroprediction is increasingly a real-world phenomenon.

Deep philosophical, legal, and neuroscientific questions arise regarding the use of these methods to predict behavior. Like all scientific tools, whether or not these technologies are used responsibly depends on who uses them. For instance, recent research illustrates the potential use of neuroprediction to assess an individual’s risk of (re-)engaging in antisocial conduct in forensic contexts. While the use of brain-based data may add predictive value to existing risk assessment tools, at the same time, the use (or misuse) of neuroprediction in courtrooms may imply violations of individual rights and liberties under the pretext of enhancing public safety. In addition to these legal implications, neuroprediction presents several technological and neuroscientific challenges. The non-invasive measures currently available are only indirect measures of cognitive activity. Understanding the conceptual, ethical, and legal dimensions surrounding the use of neuroprediction technologies helps crystallize the issues at hand and potentially provides moral guidance for those who wish to capitalize on these new tools as their prevalence and specificity continue to advance.

In this seminar, four experts from neuroscience, law, and philosophy will discuss recent findings in neuroprediction research, the predictive power of brain-based evidence compared to behavioral evidence, as well as the ethical and legal concerns emerging from the entrance of neuroprediction in the courts of law.

Speakers:
Arielle Baskin-Sommers, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Yale University
Martha Farah, Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Kent Kiehl, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of New Mexico
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics, Duke University

Discussant:
Jeffrey A. Fagan, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University

Moderator:
Federica Coppola, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University

Free and open to the public, but RSVP is required via Eventbrite. This event is part of the Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series.

Apr
18
Thu
Jennifer Marusic (Brandeis) @ Columbia University, Philosophy rm 716
Apr 18 @ 4:10 pm – 6:00 pm

Title: TBA

Reception to follow

Nemira Gasiunas – Philosophy of Psychology Workshop @ 302 Philosophy Hall, Columbia U
Apr 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

PoPRocks (formerly known as ‘WoPoP’) is an ongoing series in the NYC area for early career researchers – typically grad students, postdocs, people who got their PhD within the last few years, advanced undergrads etc. – working on philosophy of psychology/mind/perception/cognitive science/neuroscience/… . We usually meet roughly once every 2-3 weeks to informally discuss a draft paper by one of our members. Typically presenters send a copy of their paper around 1 week in advance, so do join the mailing list (by emailing poprocksworkshop@gmail.com or one of the organizers) or email to ask for a copy of the paper. We aim for a friendly, constructive discussion with the understanding that the drafts discussed are typically work in progress.

Presenters Spring 2019

All presentations will be on Thursdays at 7-9pm in 302 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University (Morningside Heights Campus).

February 28th – Kate Pendoley (CUNY)

​March 14th – Amogh Sahu (Columbia)

April 18th – Nemira Gasiunas (Columbia)

If anyone else would like to present on other Thursdays, get in touch.

Apr
19
Fri
German Idealism Workshop @ Columbia University, Philosophy rm 716
Apr 19 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

8 February @Columbia

Patricia Kitcher: The Fact of Reason in Kant’s Moral Psychology

Response: Jessica Tizzard

22 February @NSSR

Matters of Love: A Conference

5 April @Columbia

Beatrice Longuenesse: Residues of First Nature

19 April @NSSR

Angelica Nuzzo: Approaching Hegel’s Logic Obliquely: Melville, Moliere, Beckett

Response: David Carlson

10 May @Columbia

Amy Allen: Turning Dead Ends into Through Streets: Psychoanalysis and the Idea of Progress

Apr
26
Fri
Huttegger: Rethinking Convergence to the Truth. Simon Huttegger (UC Irvine) @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Apr 26 @ 4:10 pm

Convergence to the truth is viewed with some ambivalence in philosophy of science. On the one hand, methods of inquiry that lead to the truth in the limit are prized as marks of scientific rationality. But an agent who, by using some method, expects to always converge to the truth seems to fail a minimum standard of epistemic modesty. This point was recently brought home by Gordon Belot in his critique of Bayesian epistemology. In this paper I will study convergence to the truth theorems within the framework of Edward Nelson’s radically elementary probability theory. This theory provides an enriched conceptual framework for investigating convergence and gives rise to an appropriately modest from of Bayesianism.

The seminar is concerned with applying formal methods to fundamental issues, with an emphasis on probabilistic reasoning, decision theory and games. In this context “logic” is broadly interpreted as covering applications that involve formal representations. The topics of interest have been researched within a very broad spectrum of different disciplines, including philosophy (logic and epistemology), statistics, economics, and computer science. The seminar is intended to bring together scholars from different fields of research so as to illuminate problems of common interest from different perspectives. Throughout each academic year, meetings are regularly presented by the members of the seminar and distinguished guest speakers.

details tba

02/08/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

03/22/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

04/19/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

So You Want to Diversify Philosophy: Some Thoughts on Structural Change. Leah Kalmanson (Drake) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Apr 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Efforts to diversify philosophy, at the curricular level, often focus on increasing the content covered in a semester: i.e., making room for more women on the syllabus, making room for more non-Western texts and thinkers, etc. Similarly, efforts to diversify philosophy, at the professional level, often focus on making room for marginalized topics and/or members of under-represented groups at conferences, in anthologies, and among faculty (both in terms of demographics and research specializations). This all serves to create an antagonistic situation where marginalized voices must fight to be heard and those in the discipline must make “tough choices” about where to cede precious resources such as syllabus space, publication credits, and faculty hires. I suggest that part of the antagonism, at least in the case of Asian philosophy, arises because we are trying to fit non-European texts and thinkers into disciplinary structures that are themselves designed to accommodate a Eurocentric model for philosophy. By “disciplinary structures” I mean the philosophical canon and historical narrative as well as departmental course offerings, curricular requirements for majors and minors, classroom pedagogical practices, and academic research methodologies. Truly transformative change must take place at the structural level. In this brief talk, I consider the scope of such changes, in concrete terms, and raise questions about the effects these changes would have on the disciplinary identity of philosophy as we know it today.

With a response from:

Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)