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May 2017

Jeff McMahan (Oxford): “Might We Benefit Animals by Eating Them?”

30 May, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Leslie Stephen once wrote that “The pig has a stronger interest than anyone in the demand for bacon. If all the world were Jewish, there would be no pigs at all.”  In recent debates about the ethics of eating animals, some have advanced the related claim that if people cause animals to exist and give them good lives in…

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Eden Lin (Ohio): “Future Desires, the Agony Argument, and Subjectivism about Reasons”

31 May, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: According to subjectivism about normative reasons for action, there is a reason for you to perform an action if and only if (and because) your performing it would promote the satisfaction of one of your desires. Presentist versions of subjectivism, on which present reasons are grounded in present desires, are threatened by Parfit's Agony Argument: they imply that there might…

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June 2017

Fifth LSE Graduate Conference in Philosophy of Probability

2 June3 June
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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This conference will bring together researchers and graduate students in Philosophy, Psychology/Cognitive Science, Physics, Medicine, Computer Science and related fields to discuss issues in the philosophy of probability. Keynote speakers: Maria Carla Galavotti (University of Bologna) Anna Mahtani (LSE) Julia Staffel (Washington University in St Louis) Sylvia Wenmackers (KU Leuven)   Further information is available on the conference website.

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Michael Stoeltzner (U South Carolina): “Model Choice and Crucial Tests. On the Empirical Epistemology of the Higgs Discovery.”

5 June, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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To quite a few observers outside the field of elementary particle physics, the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 appeared to be just the final step in a long series of discoveries and precision tests in which stronger and stronger accelerator experiments had confirmed all particles of the Standard Model (SM) and scrutinized their interactions. The present paper argues that this picture needs qualifications. They provide two important lessons for the role of crucial experiments in a theory-laden context and the operation of epistemic and pragmatic criteria of theory (or model) choice.

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Origins of Consciousness Workshop

7 June, 10:00 am5:00 pm

This one-day, interdisciplinary workshop will bring together philosophers, neuroscientists, experimental biologists and evolutionary biologists to discuss the origins of consciousness. Pre-registration is required. Further information is available on the conference website.

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Michael Spackman (GRI): TBC

7 June, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: TBC   #LSEChoiceGroup

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Heather Dyke (LSE): “Experience of Passage in a Static World” (BSPS Lecture)

12 June, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: The view that experience seems to tell us directly that time flows has long been accepted by both A-theorists and B-theorists in the philosophy of time. A-theorists take it as a powerful endorsement of their position, sometimes using it explicitly in an argument for their view, and other times more implicitly, as a kind of non-negotiable, experiential given. B-theorists…

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Anna Mahtani (LSE): “Betting scenarios and dilation”

14 June, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: TBC   #LSEChoiceGroup

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Harvey Brown (Oxford): “QBism: the ineffable reality behind ‘participatory realism'”

15 June, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Radcliffe Humanities Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities Lecture Room, Woodstock Rd
Oxford, OX2 6GG United Kingdom
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Abstract: The recent philosophy of Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, represents an attempt to solve the traditional puzzles in the foundations of quantum theory by denying the objective reality of the quantum state. Einstein had hoped to remove the spectre of nonlocality in the theory by also assigning an epistemic status to the quantum state, but his version of this doctrine was…

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José Díez (University of Barcelona): “Function and structure: A syncretic account of scientific representation”

16 June, 5:00 pm6:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: TBA

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Matteo Plebani (University of Santiago de Compostela): “Sosein as a subject matter”

20 June, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

Abstract: Drawing on recent work from Stephen Yablo and others on the notion of subject matter, I offer a new account of the notion of Sosein (Being-so) as a subject matter (or topic) and argue that in some cases Sosein might be independent from Sein (Being, Existence). The question whether numbers exist, for instance, is not part of the question…

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September 2017

John Worrall (LSE): “Placebo versus Active Controlled Clinical Trials: the FDA’s folly?”

27 September, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Suppose that a treatment T for some medical condition C is already available and is universally recognized to be effective; and suppose that some new treatment T´ for that same condition C is under investigation. From the scientific point of view (that is, laying aside pragmatic issues such as, perhaps, the relative cost of the two treatments) there would, it seems, be no interest in testing the experimental treatment T´ against placebo. What the physician wants to know is whether T´ is better than (or, at any rate, at least as good as) the already-known-to-be-effective T not whether it is merely better than placebo. Accordingly, trials on T´ should, one would have thought, be “active-controlled” (meaning that those in the control group receive the active treatment T) rather than “placebo-controlled”. (There also seem to be clear ethical objections to conducting placebo-controlled trials in such a situation since those in the control group in such trials are knowingly given a treatment that is less effective than another available treatment.)

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Reasons, Rationality, and Intentional Agency

29 September, 9:30 am30 September, 6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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This two-day interdisciplinary workshop will bring together philosophers, economists, and scholars from neighbouring disciplines to discuss issues ranging from new approaches to rational choice theory at one end of the spectrum to contributions concerning the metaphysics of intentionality and agency at the other. Further information is available on the conference webpage.

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October 2017

Is Post-modernism to Blame for Our Post-truth World? (the Forum)

2 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Did Derrida make us do it? Is our current situation the inevitable outcome of the intellectual adventuring of the twentieth century that critiqued grand narratives and challenged absolute truths? Or should we call upon the critical scepticism of post-modernism and post-structuralism with renewed vigour, to better see through the smoke and mirrors of contemporary culture? We ask what the relationship is between facts, alternative facts, and fiction, and explore the precarious status of truth in the twenty-first century.

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Daniel M. Hausman (Madison): “Is social science possible?” (Auguste Comte Memorial Lecture)

4 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, 99 Aldwych
London, WC2B 4JF United Kingdom
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Using economics as an example, this lecture addresses a perennial philosophical question that also occupied Auguste Comte: Can inquiries into social phenomena be sciences?

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Bridging the Gap: Scientific Imagination Meets Aesthetic Imagination

5 October, 9:30 am6 October, 6:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Why, how, and when do scientists imagine, and what epistemological roles does the imagination play in scientific progress? This conference aims to connect work on artistic and scientific imagination, and to advance our understanding of the epistemic and heuristic roles that imagination can play. Further information is available of the conference website.

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Invasive Species (the Forum)

10 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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From parakeets to grey squirrels, signal crayfish to Japanese knotweed, with the help of human beings, non-native species have adeptly squawked, crawled, and rooted themselves in unfamiliar ecosystems. Should we welcome these invaders as a sign of cross-species cosmopolitanism or attempt to remove them? Are some non-native species friends and others foes? When does conservation become ‘green xenophobia’ (Fred Pearce)?…

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Jake Nebel (NYU): “An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox”

11 October, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: I present a new problem for those of us who wish to avoid Parfit's repugnant conclusion. The problem is an intrapersonal, risky analogue of Parfit's mere addition paradox. I present the problem, consider and reject some solutions, and conclude by stating my preferred solution. The problem is important for three reasons. First, it highlights new conditions at least one of…

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Digital Selves (the Forum)

17 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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How does our ubiquitous digital culture affect our sense of self? Is the self distorted, or do we now possess an invigorating digital selfdom? Should we revise our philosophical conceptions of the self in the light of social media? Our panel of writers, artists, and political theorists explore what happens to memory, emotion, and thought in the age of Google.

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LSE PhD Student Session: Nicolas Cote & David Kinney

18 October, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Nicolas Cote (LSE): “Weakness of Will and the Measurement of Freedom” Abstract: Weakness of will often seems to get in the way of free choice. In a wide range of situations, ranging from serious cases of depression and drug addiction to more mundane cases of weakness of will, it is clear that deficiencies of willpower make certain courses of actions…

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