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November 2017

Alisa Bokulich (Boston University): “Losing Sight of the Forest for the Ψ: A Call for a Successor to the Realism Question”

27 November 2017, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Traditionally the realist project in quantum theory has taken one of two forms: First, defending one of many different possible interpretations of quantum theory as the one true depiction of reality. Second, defending what has been termed wavefunction realism, according to which ordinary space is an illusion and we in fact live in a 3N-dimensional configuration space, where N…

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Graham Oddie (U Colorado Boulder): “Cognitive value, accuracy and the vindication of epistemic norms”

28 November 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: A number of philosophers have argued that certain epistemic norms can be justified by appeal to the fundamental value of truth or accuracy. In his recent monograph (Accuracy and the Laws of Credence, OUP 2016) Richard Pettigrew makes an impressive case for the comprehensive grounding of epistemology in the epistemic utility of accuracy together with standard principles of decision…

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Remco Heesen (Cambridge): “Statistical Biases in Peer Review”

29 November 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Various biases are known to affect the peer review system, which is used to judge journal articles for their suitability for publication and grant proposals for their suitability for funding. These biases are generally attributed to cognitive biases held by individual peer reviewers. For example, gender bias in peer review is explained by the (explicit or implicit) gender bias…

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Sovereignty (the Forum)

29 November 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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The Brexit debate saw a revival in talk of ‘sovereignty’. But what exactly is it, and why is it so highly prized? What are its essential features and what are its limits? In a globalized world, is sovereignty something modern states can achieve? We will explore this elusive concept, and ask whether it is still a useful concept in the twenty-first century.

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December 2017

Foundations of Quantum Theory Book Workshop: Cats, Fleas and Symmetries

4 December 2017
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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A workshop on Klaas Landsman's Open Access book, The Foundations of Quantum Theory, with talks by Klaas Landsman, Jeremy Butterfield and Bryan Roberts. For more information, visit the Workshop Website.

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Time Travel (the Forum)

5 December 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Born of science fiction, thinking about time travel has allowed us to visit possible and lost worlds, and rediscover the past through modern eyes. It also raises big puzzles: If you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather when he was a young man, would you still exist? Would changing the past mean you returned to a different present? What about travelling to the future? Two philosophers and a science fiction writer discuss time travel, and how thinking and writing about it has changed science and philosophy.

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LSE Philosophy Holiday Party 2017

5 December 2017, 6:30 pm11:30 pm
The Venue, Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, LSE, Houghton St
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll and raise money for Mind at the LSE Philosophy Holiday Party feat. The Critique of Pure Rhythm + Student DJs.

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Health and Disease: Can the Biostatistical Theory Be Defended? (CPNSS Symposium)

6 December 2017, 1:00 pm4:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Featuring Christopher Boorse (University of Delaware), Daniel Hausman (University of Wisconsin-Madison & LSE) and Elselijn Kingma (Southampton University).

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Philosophy, Politics and Economics Conference in honour of Luc Bovens

7 December 2017
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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On 7 December, this conference will bring together scholars from around the world to celebrate the work of Prof Bovens and his contributions to philosophy, politics and economics. Further info is available on the conference webpage.

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January 2018

The Philosophy of Race (the Forum)

8 January, 8:00 am5:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Race continues to shape the political, cultural, and economic character of our societies, with communities and resources determined along racial lines. But what is race and why is it so significant? Is it simply another form of social classification grounded in inequality, conflict, and violence? If so, how are we to understand race as a resource for cultural cohesion rooted…

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Adam Caulton (Oxford): “Physical entanglement in permutation-invariant quantum mechanics”

8 January, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Attendants may wish to have a look at the related article. Adam Caulton is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Balliol College.

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Streaming Consciousness (the Forum)

9 January, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Is it possible to express the richness, variety, and depth of our inner experience, our thoughts and feelings? If so, what is the best way to do it? Should we turn to literature or to philosophy? And what can they teach each other about understanding, expressing, and performing the self? In this event, award-winning novelist Eimear McBride will discuss these…

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Mike Otsuka (LSE): “Reciprocity versus Redistribution: The Case of Collective Pensions”

10 January, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Pensions involve transfers from those who are young, healthy, able-bodied, and productive to those who are elderly, infirm, and out of work. Are these justified as redistributive transfers between distinct individuals – from those who are lucky to others who are unlucky – in order to eliminate brute luck unfairness? Or are they justified on grounds of reciprocity involving…

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Hugh Mellor (Cambridge): “Chances and Conditionals”

17 January, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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In a projected book, "Most Counterfactuals Are False", Alan Hájek infers the truth of its title from the ubiquity of chance. I argue in this talk that he is wrong: the ubiquity of chance does not verify his title: chances do not falsify counterfactuals. Single-case chances are perfectly consistent with determinism, i.e. with hidden variables that make relevant counterfactuals safe (i.e. truth-preserving). Not even indeterminism enables chances to stop these counterfactuals being safe and, for some values of the chances, knowably so.

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Culture under Fire (the Forum)

17 January, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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From the recent destruction of Palmyra and the looting of the National Museum of Iraq, cultural artefacts are one of the many casualties of armed conflict. What exactly is cultural property and whose property is it? How should we weigh its value against other priorities during times of conflict? What risks should be taken to protect it, and who is responsible for rebuilding and restoring when the conflict is over? Our speakers discuss the political and ethical issues around culture in war zones.

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LSE PhD Student Session: Silvia Milano & Christina Easton

24 January, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Silvia Milano: “Bayesian Beauty” Abstract: The Sleeping Beauty problem has attracted considerable attention in the literature as a paradigmatic example of how self-locating uncertainty `creates havoc' for standard Bayesian principles of Conditionalisation and Reflection. Furthermore, it is also thought to raise serious issues for diachronic Dutch Book arguments. I show that, contrary to the consensus view, it is possible to…

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Being Alone (the Forum)

24 January, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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‘Hell is other people’, noted Jean Paul Sartre—rather rudely, it might seem to an outside observer. But is the pursuit of philosophical understanding an inherently solitary pursuit by its nature? From Augustine to Kant, philosophy has cherished the image of the deep thinker immersed in solitudinous reflection. But how does solitude differ from loneliness? And in an age of increasing…

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Nicolas Teh (Notre Dame): “Newton-Cartan Theory, Symmetry, and Observers”

29 January, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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In this talk, I will explore several philosophical themes that have recently emerged in the foundations of Newton-Cartan theory (a geometric non-relativistic theory of gravity), especially the status of the theory's "gauge symmetries", the role of symmetry-breaking observer fields in the theory, and the theory's relationship with teleparallel gravity. Part of the material will be based on joint work with Derek Wise and James Read (respectively).

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Anneli Jefferson (Birmingham): “Moral self image and moral decision making”

31 January, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Our moral decisions and actions are guided by what we take to be morally permissible and impermissible. In this talk I consider another factor which may affect both our judgment of moral permissibility and our moral conduct, our moral self-image. In particular, I ask whether a positive view of our own moral character traits is conducive to making good moral decisions and acting well. I discuss arguments from self-consistency that support this hypothesis. I then turn to the bias known as the better than average effect, and argue that our need for a positive moral self-image can lead us to be insensitive to evidence that we are acting immorally. The belief that we are morally superior facilitates unwarranted complacency and can lead to warped moral judgment via mechanisms of self-justification. This danger is particularly high when moral self-descriptions and evaluations of behaviour are very abstract. Very concrete moral self-ascriptions on the other hand are likely to have a positive effect. I conclude that while a positive moral self-image can be of limited benefit under tightly circumscribed conditions, it will in many cases be detrimental to moral judgment and conduct.

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The Politics of Marriage (the Forum)

31 January, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, 99 Aldwych
London, WC2B 4JF United Kingdom
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Marriage is an odd mix of sex, religion, and politics. Our speakers ask what marriage is and whether there is there any distinctive moral value in it. Should the state promote it? Is it possible to have an ‘equal’ marriage, or is marriage fundamentally an oppressive institution? Should marriage be rejected in favour of civil partnerships, or something else, or perhaps nothing else?

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