Loading Events
Find Events

Event Views Navigation

Past Events

Events List Navigation

March 2017

Ben Groom (LSE): “Discounting the Future: Comparing Expert Views of Economists and Philosophers”

22 March 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

This paper will compare expert views from economics and philosophy across the different quantitative measures on individual determinants of the SDR. This will allow drawing conclusions on how representative those economic experts with policy influence are. Besides these quantitative analyses, we will put a specific focus on comparing the qualitative issues raised by both experts groups, which may point in important directions where scientific research on discounting may be undertaken in the future and policy might have to be revised.

Find out more »

Philosophy and Nazism (the Forum)

23 March 2017, 6:00 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Nazism pervaded every level of German society, and philosophers were not immune. While much scholarship has understandably focused on recriminations of key figures, tonight’s panel reflect on some broader questions raised: Can philosophy help us understand the nature of evil? And does thinking philosophically really help us live better lives?

Find out more »
April 2017

Johanna Thoma (LSE): “In Defence of Preference Cycles”

25 April 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

I argue that acyclicity of preference cannot be defended as a general requirement of instrumental rationality. The standard instrumentalist defence of the requirement to have acyclical preferences, namely the money pump argument, relies on a fatal equivocation about the standard of instrumental rationality. Instead, I show that on the most plausible view of the standard of instrumental rationality, acyclicity can be justified as a conditional requirement of instrumental rationality: It turns out to be a requirement of instrumental rationality for agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. For the rest of us, instrumental rationality is more permissive.

Find out more »

Hypocrisy (the Forum)

25 April 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, 99 Aldwych
London, WC2B 4JF United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Why do we tend to judge hypocrites more harshly than those whose actions, however bad, appear consistent with their beliefs? Is hypocrisy better understood as inevitable weakness of the will or as inexcusable deception? In this event, the panel will ask: Is hypocrisy a moral dead-end or a step on the path to better behaviour? Is there such a thing as ‘honest’ hypocrisy? Which contemporary issues tend to make hypocrites of us, and are we, the hypocrites, really all that bad?

Find out more »

LSE PhD Student Session: Deren Olgun & Silvia Milano

26 April 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Deren Olgun: "Reasons make actions rational" Abstract: When is something a reason for you to act?  All existing answers to this question either run into conflict with ordinary language in the cases in which we are mistaken (e.g. 'non-psychologism') or in the cases in which we aren't (e.g. 'psychologism') or they fail to offer a univocal characterisation of the relation (e.g.…

Find out more »
May 2017

Prejudice (the Forum)

3 May 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
+ Google Map

With recent political events and a spike in the reporting of hate crime, the concept of prejudice has become prominent once more. But are we more or less prejudiced than at other points in our history? And is prejudice always wrong, or even avoidable? If it is avoidable, how can this be achieved? We put these questions to a philosopher, psychologist, sociologist, and activist.

Find out more »

Casey D. McCoy (Edinburgh): “Interpretive Analogies Between Statistical and Quantum Mechanics”

8 May 2017, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Philosophers have on occasion noticed various analogies between interpretive approaches to statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Probably the most often noted analogy is between the Boltzmannian approach to statistical mechanics and the de Broglie-Bohm approach to quantum mechanics. The possible and pertinent analogies do not end there however. The purpose of this talk is to draw them out in order to see what is suggested about the two theories' interpretation. The main lessons I draw are as follows. First, I claim that there is at least one interpretation available in statistical mechanics which has been so far overlooked and has a natural analogy in the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics. Second, I show that to a certain extent the interpretive choices in both theories depend importantly in how stochasticity is interpreted, a point which has not been seriously raised in the literature. Finally, I suggest that pursuing these analogies suggests the possibility of a kind of “measurement problem” in statistical mechanics.

Find out more »

Celebrity (the Forum)

8 May 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
+ Google Map

If video killed the radio star, how are we to understand celebrity in a world of Twitter, YouTube, and reality TV? Has the social function of celebrity changed, or are new kinds of celebrities performing the same function in different ways? Our panel will consider what celebrities are for, what their rights and responsibilities might be, and what our attitude towards celebrities ought to be.

Find out more »

Hasok Chang (Cambridge): “If you can spray phlogiston, is it real? A pragmatist conception of reality”

9 May 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Any statements we make in science are about some presumed entities (e.g., hormones, electrons, or the gross national product), unless it is a pure report of sensation within oneself. Entity-realism is prior to truth-realism, since it would not make sense to maintain that a statement about nature is true unless it speaks about real entities. Therefore it is necessary for realists to grapple with ontology in some basic sense. But how can we actually judge what is real? In a move partly inspired by Hacking, I propose a coherence theory of reality: we should, and usually do, consider as real the presumed referents of concepts that play a significant role in a coherent system of practice. This judgement of reality is internal to each system, and it is continuous with everyday usage as in “Ghosts aren’t real.” The demand for coherence rules out many things, but also rules in many things. In the absence of what else we might operationally mean by “real”, we should have the audacity to embrace the reality of many different kinds of things (as with Dupré’s “promiscuous realism”), even if the concepts referring to them belong to mutually incommensurable systems of practice. This is what we ought to do if we really take success as our only reliable guide in deciding what to be realist about.

Find out more »

Christian List (LSE): “What matters and how it matters: A choice-theoretic representation of moral theories”

10 May 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

We present a new “reason-based” approach to the formal representation of moral theories, drawing on recent decision-theoretic work. We show that any moral theory within a very large class can be represented in terms of two parameters: (i) a specification of which properties of the objects of moral choice matter in any given context, and (ii) a specification of how these properties matter. Reason-based representations provide a very general taxonomy of moral theories, as differences among theories can be attributed to differences in their two key parameters. We can thus formalize several distinctions, such as between consequentialist and non-consequentialist theories, between universalist and relativist theories, between agent-neutral and agent-relative theories, between monistic and pluralistic theories, between atomistic and holistic theories, and between theories with a teleological structure and those without. Reason-based representations also shed light on an important but under-appreciated phenomenon: the “underdetermination of moral theory by deontic content”.

Find out more »

Capitalism (the Forum)

16 May 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
+ Google Map

For much of the early part of the twentieth century, political theorists debated the moral and economic merits of capitalism in competition with communism. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites, and the triumph of the market economy, those on the political left briefly flirted with the idea of market socialism. But critics of capitalism are running out of alternative ideas, to the point that a placard at an anti-capitalism march proclaimed ‘Replace Capitalism with Something Nice!’. Are we stuck with capitalism? How far can it be modified? How far should it be modified?

Find out more »

Jonathan Parry (Birmingham): TBC

17 May 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Jonathan Parry is a Birmingham Fellow in Global Ethics, specialising in moral and political philosophy. He is also Deputy Director of the University of Birmingham's Centre for the Study of Global Ethics.

Find out more »

Workshop on Determinism, Probability and Agency

19 May 2017, 1:45 pm7:15 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

On 19 May, this workshop will bring together faculty and graduate students to investigate the connections between probability, determinism and agency. Further information is available on the workshop website.

Find out more »

Eleanor Knox (KCL): “Spacetime Functionalism and Non-Commutative Geometry”

22 May 2017, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

Abstract: Spacetime functionalism, the view that spacetime is as spacetime does, allows for an interesting interpretational perspective on both classical and quantum gravitational theories. In this paper, I'll explore the consequences of a particular kind of spacetime functionalism for a particular variety of non-commutative gravitational theory. The spacetime functionalism I advocate analyses the spacetime concept as a functional one, and…

Find out more »

Film (the Forum)

23 May 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
+ Google Map

"Film is made for philosophy", wrote Stanley Cavell, "it shifts or puts different light on whatever philosophy has said about appearance and reality, about actors and characters, about scepticism and dogmatism, about presence and absence". Does the language of cinema lend itself to questions of metaphysics and mortality? How can a character, a close up, or a cut represent a concept? In this panel, a filmmaker, a film critic, and a philosopher explore the ways in which film has engaged with philosophy and ask how far we might consider film itself a philosophical medium.

Find out more »

Philosophy of Language for Decision Theory

25 May 201726 May 2017
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

This two day workshop will explore the connections between philosophy of language and decision theory. Confirmed speakers include Richard Bradley, Chloé de Canson, Julien Dutant, Paul Egré, Terry Horgan, Rosanna Keefe, Harvey Lederman, Christian List, Ofra Magidor, Anna Mahtani, Daniel Rothschild and Robbie Williams.

Find out more »

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

30 May 2017, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

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…

Find out more »

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

31 May 2017, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

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…

Find out more »
June 2017

Fifth LSE Graduate Conference in Philosophy of Probability

2 June 20173 June 2017
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

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.

Find out more »

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

5 June 2017, 5:15 pm6:45 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map

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.

Find out more »
+ Export Events