The Musical Mind (Forum for Philosophy)

4 November 2020|

 

The Musical Mind (Forum for Philosophy)

Music is thought to have played an important role in human evolution, but how far back does it go? What role did it play in the evolution of the mind? Does music today have anything in common with music in prehistory? And is the ability to hear music uniquely human or something we share with […]

Anti-vaxxers & Other Sceptics (Forum for Philosophy)

28 October 2020|

 

Anti-vaxxers & Other Sceptics (Forum for Philosophy)

Will a future COVID vaccine be undermined by anti-vaxxers? What are the causes of declining vaccination rates? Why does this medical scepticism persist, and how might it be tackled? Or might there be times when scepticism is justified? And if so, how are we to determine when we should and when […]

On Time (Forum for Philosophy)

20 October 2020|

 

On Time (Forum for Philosophy)

‘Time is a big invisible thing that will kill you’, wrote philosopher Craig Callender. It also affects all aspects of our lives, from the political to the very nature of our experience. As lockdown made clear, it can be agonizing to be in a state of limbo, to have routines disrupted, unable to […]

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    Aron Vallinder (Forethought Foundation, Oxford): “The Evidentialist’s Wager”

Aron Vallinder (Forethought Foundation, Oxford): “The Evidentialist’s Wager”

7 October 2020|

 

Aron Vallinder (Forethought Foundation, Oxford): “The Evidentialist’s Wager”

Suppose that an altruistic and morally motivated agent who is uncertain between evidential decision theory (EDT) and causal decision theory (CDT) finds herself in a situation in which the two theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act […]

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    Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

12 May 2020|

 

Ali Boyle (Cambridge): “Don’t Ask: Classification in Comparative Cognitive Science”

Many projects in comparative cognitive science (which I mean to include research in both comparative psychology and artificial intelligence) are structured around what I’ll call ‘classificatory questions’ – that is, questions about whether nonhuman cognitive systems have the same cognitive capacities as humans. These projects […]

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    Susanne Burri and Bryan Roberts (LSE): “The Good News About Killing People”

Susanne Burri and Bryan Roberts (LSE): “The Good News About Killing People”

18 March 2020|

 

Susanne Burri and Bryan Roberts (LSE): “The Good News About Killing People”

We propose a ‘Cautionary News Principle’ when justifying the decision to commit an irreversible act, such as one that involves killing. The principle states that whether such a decision is justified depends on the extent of possible cautionary news in the future, whereas confirmatory news can […]

Nature/Nurture (Forum for Philosophy)

7 March 2020|

 

 

Nature/Nurture (Forum for Philosophy)

Scientists agree that nature and nurture are essential ingredients in human development. But if both the blank slate and genetic determinism have been rejected, why do researchers still disagree and what is it that they disagree about? Join us as we’ll explore the issues at stake, taking a wide variety of perspectives, from the […]

Peace (Forum for Philosophy)

4 February 2020|

 

 

Peace (Forum for Philosophy)

Peace is highly valued, but how is it achieved? Why are some periods in world history relatively peaceful compared to others? What, if anything, can be done to ensure peace now? Are there limits to what we are justified in doing to ensure peace? Is pacifism a justified response to war? We discuss the […]

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    Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

9 December 2019|

 

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Thermodynamics “smells more of its human origin than other branches of physics”, Bridgman famously wrote in 1941. Taking a closer look at the history of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, we find that this ‘human smell’ enters the subject as early as the writings of Maxwell, who makes use of concepts such […]

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    Thom Scott-Phillips (Central European University): “The Art Experience”

Thom Scott-Phillips (Central European University): “The Art Experience”

3 December 2019|

 

Thom Scott-Phillips (Central European University): “The Art Experience”

Art theory has consistently emphasised the importance of situational, cultural, institutional and historical factors in viewers’ experience of fine art. However, the link between this heavily context-dependent interpretation and the workings of the mind, and its evolution, is often left unexamined. Drawing on Relevance Theory—a prominent, cogent and […]