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October 2017

LSE PhD Student Session: Nicolas Cote & David Kinney

18 October 2017, 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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Parallel Universes (the Forum/BSPS Lecture)

23 October 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead? This thought experiment was devised to illustrate a fundamental puzzle in quantum mechanics. A radical solution is that the cat is both alive and dead, but in different, parallel universes. This is the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ of quantum mechanics and our panel of philosophers and physicists will discuss why it is controversial and its strange consequences.

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Owen Griffiths (LSE): “Isomorphism invariance and overgeneration”

24 October 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: The isomorphism invariance criterion of logical nature has much to commend it. It can be philosophically motivated by the thought that logic is distinctively general or topic neutral. It is capable of precise set-theoretic formulation. And it delivers a plausible extension of ‘logical constant’ which respects the intuitively clear cases. Despite its attractions, the criterion has recently come under…

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Alison Fernandes (Warwick): “Deliberative Approach to Causation” (joint meeting with the LJDM, held at UCL)

25 October 2017, 5:30 pm6:15 pm
UCL Psychology Dept., Room 313, Psychology Dept, UCL, 26 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AP United Kingdom
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Abstract: Fundamental physics makes no clear use of causal notions; it uses laws that operate in relevant respects in both temporal directions and that relate whole systems across times. But by relating causation to evidence, we can explain how causation fits in to a physical picture of the world and explain its temporal asymmetry. This paper presents a deliberative account…

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Quantum Investigations in Algebraic Approach: Opening Lecture and Reception

26 October 2017, 6:00 pm8:30 pm
5th Floor, Old Building, Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
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An opening lecture by Miklós Rédei, in advance of a one-day conference in his honour. Followed by a wine reception, in the Senior Common Room on the 5th floor of the Old Building (OLD) at LSE. Further information about the lecture and conference are available on the Conference Webpage.

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Quantum Investigations (Rédei-Fest)

27 October 2017
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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A conference on the foundations of quantum theory, in honour of Professor Miklós Rédei. For more details, visit the Conference Webpage.

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Who Is a Refugee? (the Forum)

30 October 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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Some people crossing borders are called refugees while others are not. But who is a refugee? What precisely is the relationship between migration and seeking refuge? Can we justify the distinction between refugees, migrants, and displaced people? Our panel discuss whether current legal definitions are need of modification, and if so, what should be altered and why.

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November 2017

Max Steuer (LSE): “Expertise in Well-Defined Problems and Expertise in Ill-Defined Problems in Economics”

1 November 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: This paper argues that while expertise in ill-defined economic problems benefits from some level of expertise in well-defined problems, the two kinds of expertise are not the same.  Expertise in ill-defined problems requires different skills.  It is important for applied economics to understand the relationship between ability in well-defined economic problems and ill-defined problems as many economic policy issues…

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Alex Voorhoeve (LSE): “Egalitarianism under Ambiguity”

8 November 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Decision-makers are in an ambiguous situation when they are not in a position to assign precise probabilities to all of the relevant possible outcomes of their actions. Such situations are common – novel medical treatments and policies addressing climate change are two examples. Many people respond to ambiguous situations in a cautious, or ambiguity-averse manner, and there are good reasons…

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The Politics of Mental Health (the Forum)

8 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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At the intersection of the personal and the political, we explore the relationship between mental health and economics, politics, and society at large. Is it even possible to distinguish between mental illness that derives from an individual’s physiology or childhood experience and that which has broader social or political causes? Why do particular mental illnesses appear to characterize certain eras? Could social change limit the spread of mental illness in contemporary society?

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Lakatos Award Lectures and Ceremony

9 November 2017, 6:00 pm8:00 pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Lectures by the 2015 and 2016 Lakatos Award winners, Thomas Pradeu and Brian Epstein, followed by a public award ceremony.

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Biological Identity: An Expert Workshop

10 November 2017, 10:00 am1:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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This half-day expert workshop will consider questions of biological identity with reference to Thomas Pradeu's book The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity, winner of the 2015 Lakatos Award. It accompanies the Lakatos Award lecture on 9 November and is followed by The Ant Trap: An Expert Workshop. Further information is available on the conference webpage.

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The Ant Trap: An Expert Workshop

10 November 2017, 2:00 pm5:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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This half-day workshop will explore some of the issues raised by Brian Epstein’s Lakatos Award winning book, The Ant Trap.  It accompanies the Lakatos Award lecture on 9 November and follows Biological Identity: An expert workshop on Thomas Pradeu’s book The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity. Further information is available on the conference webpage.

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Adrian Boutel (LSE): “Can selection save the special sciences?”

14 November 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: David Papineau (2009) has posed a dilemma for the Fodorian picture of causal laws in the special sciences, involving multiply-realised causes and effects. If the causes are genuinely physically diverse, then their production of a common effect is coincidental; but if they share relevant physical features, it is reducible. Papineau acknowledges that selection offers an answer to this puzzle:…

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Strong Feelings (the Forum)

14 November 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Does anger impede political progress or is it essential for change? Does love make us biased or is it the foundation of ethical thinking? Might shame alter not merely our perception of the world, but the very world itself? Reason is often contrasted with emotion, but what if emotion is essential for understanding traditional philosophical ideas? And how did we end up thinking that reason could ever do without emotion?

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Thomas Ferretti (LSE): “Rawls’ indexing problem: Which combination of social primary goods can maximize the freedom of the least well-off?”

15 November 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Rawls proposes that public institutions should maximize the freedom of the least well-off by distributing social primary goods. But if one can easily understand how to maximize one good like income, things get more difficult when it comes to maximizing the value of a bundle of many different goods. I will argue that, within the restricted settings of Rawls’…

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Otávio Bueno (University of Miami): “Weyl, Identity, Indiscernibility”

20 November 2017, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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As part of his attempt to interpret the foundations of non-relativist quantum mechanics, Hermann Weyl developed a suggestive technique to accommodate aggregates of quantum particles while taking into account these particles’ apparent lack of identity (see Weyl , pp. 237-252, and Weyl ). The technique is suggestive in that it attempts to make sense of the putative restrictions on the applicability of identity in the quantum domain without changing either the underlying logic or the relevant set theory. In this paper, I reconstruct this technique and assess its feasibility, contrasting it with attempts to make sense of the foundations of non-relativist quantum mechanics by jettisoning identity entirely and revising both the underlying logic and the relevant set theory (French and Krause ). I argue that Weyl’s original approach has significant benefits.

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The Minds of Birds (the Forum)

20 November 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What is it like to be a bird? What do they think and how do they feel? What can comparative psychology tell us about the intelligence of birds? And what can we learn about birds, and about ourselves, from our encounters with them? In this dialogue, world-leading comparative psychologist Nicola Clayton and author and naturalist Mark Cocker give us a bird’s eye view on the world, and consider how human thought and culture have been shaped by interaction with birds.

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Bryan Roberts (LSE): “The Mechanics of Markets”

22 November 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Many philosophers and economists have concluded that the models of economics and finance are strictly inaccurate. This paper argues on the contrary that techniques from physics, and especially classical mechanics, can be used to accurately represent the microdynamics of financial markets. I give a number of simple examples to illustrate this approach to econophysics to newcomers, and then propose a general Hamiltonian framework for quantitative finance from first principles.

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Roman Frigg (LSE): “How Models Work” (Inaugural Professorial Lecture)

23 November 2017, 6:00 pm9:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Abstract: Models are crucial in many scientific contexts, and many investigations are carried out on models rather than on reality itself. How can models inform us about the properties of something beyond themselves? The answer is that they are representations of their respective target systems. But what does it mean for a model to represent something else? In this lecture I…

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