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Science & More Talks

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The “Science & More” talks are a series of work in progress talks at the Center for Logic, Language and Cognition (LLC) in Turin and run by the ERC project. We use it to present our own work in progress and to learn about the ongoing research of our colleagues. From time to time, also speakers from outside Turin present their work.

Thematically, the talks are centered around philosophy of science, but we are also open to topics from related areas (e.g., logic, epistemology, philosophy of language) and other philosophical subdisciplines where exact methods are applied.

The talks take place on Wednesdays from noon (=12:00) to 13:00, followed by a joint lunch in one of the surrounding restaurants. They are meant to be low-key events, open to everybody and aiming at the improvement of ongoing work through critical, but constructive discussion.

Upcoming Talks

The seminar takes a summer break and will start again in September!

Past Talks

Wednesday, 27 June, 12:45-13:45 (due to a Consiglio meeting we meet later than usual)
Aula 13, 1st floor, Palazzo Nuovo

Vincenzo Crupi (University of Turin): The logic of evidential conditionals

Once upon a time, some thought that indicative conditionals could be effectively analyzed by means of the material conditional. Nowadays, an alternative theoretical construct largely prevails and receives wide acceptance, namely, the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. Partly following earlier critical remarks made by others (most notably, Igor Douven), I advocate a revision of this consensus and suggest that incremental probabilistic support (rather than conditional probability alone) is key to the understanding of indicative conditionals and their role in human reasoning. There have been motivated concerns that a theory of such evidential conditionals (unlike their more traditional suppositional counterparts) can not generate a sufficiently interesting logical system. I will present results largely dispelling these worries. Happily, and perhaps surprisingly, appropriate technical variations of Ernst Adams’s classical approach allow for the construction of a new logic of evidential conditionals which is nicely superclassical, fairly strong, and also (as it turns out) a kind of connexive logic.

Friday, 25 May, 11:00-13:30
Aula 8, Palazzo Nuovo (first floor)

Workshop in Philosophy of Science

Instead of the usual longer presentation on Wednesdays, we have four short ones on a Friday, featuring young and promising philosophers of science, affiliated to various European universities.

11:00—11:35 Mike Stuart (London School of Economics): Locating Objectivity in Models of Science
11:35—12:10 William Peden (Durham University): Selective Confirmation Answers to the Paradox of the Ravens
12:10—12:20 Coffee Break
12:20—12:55 Mattia Andreoletti (IEO Milan): Rules versus standards in drug regulation
12:55—13:30 Borut Trpin (University of Ljubljana): Some Problematic Consequences of Jeffrey Conditionalization

The abstracts can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 May, noon
Aula 23, Palazzo Nuovo (first floor)

Andrea Iacona (University of Turin): Strictness vs Connexivity

I will compare two views of conditionals that exhibit some interesting affinities, the strict conditional view and the connexivist view. My aim is to show that the strict conditional view is at least as plausible as the connexivist view, contrary to what the fans of connexive logic tend to believe. The first part of the talk draws attention to the similarity between the two views, in that it outlines three arguments that support both of them. The second part examines the case for the theses that characterize the connexivist view, Aristotle’s theses and Boethius’ theses, and finds that the core intuition on which it rests is consistent with the strict conditional view, so it can be accommodated within classical logic.

The paper can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, 18 April, noon
Aula 16, Palazzo Nuovo (first floor)

Noah van Dongen, Felipe Romero and Jan Sprenger (LLC/University of Turin): Semantic Intuitions—A Meta-Analysis

One of the most famous papers in experimental philosophy (Machery, Mellon, Nichols, and Stich, 2004) analyzes semantic intuitions in prominent cases taken from Saul Kripke’s seminal book “Naming and Necessity” (1970). Machery and colleagues found cross-cultural differences in semantic intuitions pertaining to the reference of proper names in Kripke’s “Gödel” and “Jonah” cases, which were transformed into vignettes that are usable for experimental research. Their paper kicked off an experimental research program on cross-cultural differences in semantic intuitions. But what is the state of the art right now, almost 15 years later?

We conduct a statistical meta-analysis of experiments which investigate systematic semantic intuition differences between Westerners and East Asians and present our preliminary findings. Along the way, we explain some problems we experienced in completing the project,such as the question of which studies should be included and which ones should be left out as being too remote from the original experiment.

The project is joint work with Matteo Colombo (Tilburg University).

Wednesday, 11 April, noon.
Aula di Antica (in the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, second floor of Palazzo Nuovo).

Claus Beisbart (University of Bern): Reflective equilibrium fleshed out

Reflective equilibrium (RE) is often taken to be the crucial method of normative ethics (Rawls), philosophy (Lewis) or understanding more generally (Elgin). Despite its apparent popularity, however, the method is only vaguely characterized, poorly developed and almost never applied to real-world problems in an open-minded way. The aim of this talk is to present an operationalization and a formal model of the RE. The starting point is an informal characterization of what I take to be the key idea of RE, viz. an elaboration of one’s commitments due to pressure from systematic principles. This idea then is spelled out in the framework of the Theory of Dialectical Structures, as developed by Gregor Betz. The commitments of an epistemic subject are described as a position in a dialectical structure; desiderata for the positions are postulated; and rules for changing the commitments expounded. Simple examples, in which the model is applied, display a number of features that are well-known from the literature about RE. The talk concludes by discussing the limitations of the model. This paper is based upon work done jointly with Gregor Betz and Georg Brun.

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