The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science studies knowledge, reasoning, and value in all their forms.

tilburg university

TILPS Colloquium

Upcoming Colloquia

Wednesday, 19 April 2017, 16:45 - 18:00

Room: DZ 010

Speaker: Reuben Stern (MCMP Munich)

Title: Reifying Modus Ponens

Abstract: McGee (1985) shows that there is no connective other than the material conditional that validates both modus ponens and “import-export” (i.e., the principle according to which (x & y) -> z and x -> (y -> z) are logically equivalent). Here, we argue that modus ponens is not left completely out to dry when the semantics validates import-export (but not modus ponens) because applications of modus ponens are still guaranteed to be successful in the sense that one should, as a matter of necessity, become more confident in upon learning that and x ->are true. We conclude by discussing the implications of this work for a general theory of argumentation. Specifically, we argue that there are at least two distinct senses in which arguments can succeed -- in the sense that one is convinced of the conclusion upon learning the premises, and in the sense that one is convinced of the conclusion upon learning that her standing beliefs in the premises commit her to believing the conclusion -- and that these senses are brought into focus by counterexamples to modus ponens (because these are examples where the arguments are convincing in the former sense, but not the latter).

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 16:45 - 18:00

Room: DZ 007

Speaker: Chris Clarke (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Title: Causation is Counterfactual Dependence. Your Intuitions are Corrupt

Abstract: Philosophers of causation reject the suggestion that causation requires counterfactual dependence. And they do so because this suggestion conflicts with the results of some well-known thought experiments, especially thought experiments that seem to demonstrate the possibility of causal preemption. I argue that the results of  thought experiments involving causal pre-emption are unreliable. It follows that these experiments do not provide strong reason to reject the view that causation requires counterfactual dependence. Nor do they provide strong reason to reject the view that causation just is counterfactual dependence. I then provide some positive, theoretically grounded reasons to endorse the view that causation is counterfactual dependence. And I explain briefly why I think this has interesting implications for our understanding of a variety of other philosophical and scientific issues.

Recent Colloquia

Thursday September 8th, 2016, 11:00 - 12:45

Room: t.b.a.

Speaker: Daniel Steel (British Columbia)

Title: Intergenerational Impartiality and Discounting the Future: Beyond the Prescriptivist versus Descriptivist Dichotomy

Monday October 17th, 2016, 16:45-18:00

Room: DZ 007 (Dante Building)

Speaker: James McAlllister (Leiden University)

Title: What Do Patterns in Empirical Data Tell Us about the Structure of the World

Abstract: In this paper, I shall discuss the relation between features of empirical data and structures in the world. I shall defend the following claims. Any empirical data set exhibits all possible patterns, each with a certain noise term. The magnitude and other properties of this noise term have no influence on the evidential status of a pattern: all patterns exhibited in empirical data constitute evidence of structures in the world. Furthermore, distinct patterns constitute evidence of distinct structures in the world. From these premises, it follows that the world must be regarded as containing all possible structures. In the remainder of the talk, I shall discuss the meaning and implications of the latter claim.

Tuesday November 15th, 2016, 16:45-18:00

Room: DZ 007 (Dante Building)

Speaker: Daniel Cohnitz (Utrecht University)

Title: Thought Experiments and the (Ir-)relevance of Intuitions in Philosophy

Abstract: A central topic in recent contributions to metaphilosophy is the role of intuitions in philosophy, especially their role as evidence for (or rather against) philosophical theories. Intuitions seem to play this role in conjunction with so-called "hypothetical cases" or "thought experiments". I will argue that appearances are misleading here. Even though hypothetical cases, in a broad sense of the notion, play some role in many areas of philosophy, this role isn't always the same. And for most of the roles I will identify, only one of them could give rise to the methodological worries about the evidential weight of intuitions, because only one of these roles has room for an evidential use of intuitions.

Thus, even if hypothetical cases are often considered in philosophy (for some purpose or other), the fact that we might be able to say something interesting and binding about one role that hypothetical cases play, doesn't mean that we have thereby said something interesting and binding about all areas of philosophy, or the dominant methodology, etc.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016, 15:45 - 18:00

Room: DZ 005

Speaker: Justin Sytsma (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ)

Title: Are religious philosophers less analytic?

Abstract: Some researchers in philosophy of religion have charged that the sub-discipline exhibits a number of features of poor health, prominently including that “partisanship is so entrenched that most philosophers of religion, instead of being alarmed by it, just take it for granted” (Draper and Nichols, 2013, 421). And researchers in experimental philosophy of religion have presented empirical work that supports this contention, arguing that it shows that confirmation bias plays a notable role in the acceptance of natural theological arguments among philosophers (De Cruz, 2014; Tobia, 2015; De Cruz and De Smedt, 2016). But while these studies indicate that there is a correlation between religious belief and judgments about natural theological arguments, they do not establish that causation runs from belief to judgment as has been claimed. In this paper I offer an alternative explanation, suggesting that thinking style is a plausible common cause. I note that previous research has shown a significant negative correlation between analytic thinking style and both religious belief and religious engagement in the general population (Shenhav, Rand, and Greene, 2012; Gervaise and Norenzayan, 2012; Pennycook et al., 2012, 2013; Jack et al., 2016). Further, other research has shown a significant positive correlation between analytic thinking style and training in philosophy that is independent of overall level of education (Livengood et al., 2010). Pulling these threads together, I hypothesize that there is an especially strong correlation between thinking style and religiosity among philosophers. This hypothesis is tested by looking at a sample of 524 people with an advanced degree in philosophy. The results support the hypothesis, showing a medium-large negative correlation between analytic thinking style and religious engagement that is roughly twice as strong as has been reported for the general population (r=-0.39 among men, r=-0.34 among women). And the correlation is even stronger if we restrict to Christian theists and non-theists (r=-0.61 among men, r=-0.62 among women).

New Year's Colloquium

Tuesday, 10 January 2017, 12:00 - 13:15

Room: DZ 004

Speaker: Harrie de Swart, Tilburg University (Professor emeritus)

Title: Most Votes Count? Frequently not!

Abstract: By asking voters to give an evaluation of the candidates instead of asking them to give their most preferred candidate or their ranking of the candidates, Balinski and Laraki made recently clear that Majority Rule in many cases makes the candidate with the worse evaluations the winner. They illustrate this also in the case of the most recent presidential elections in the USA.

Thursday, 17 January 2017, 12:45 - 14:00

Room: DZ 005

Speaker: Karolina Krzyzanowska (LMU Munich)

Title: The puzzle of missing-link conditionals

Abstract: It is a common intuition that the antecedent of an indicative conditional should be relevant for its consequent, that they should be somehow connected. However, only very few semantic theories of conditionals do justice to this intuition, while the majority tends to dismiss it as a pragmatic rather than a semantic phenomenon. Nevertheless, no one has offered a satisfactory pragmatic explanation of why conditionals such as “If dolphins cannot breathe under water, Berlin is the capital of Germany” strike us as odd. In my talk, I will discuss a seemingly plausible pragmatic account of the oddity of missing-link conditionals, and I will present the results of empirical investigations that may shed some new light on the semantics and pragmatics of indicative conditionals.

Thursday, 2 February 2017, 16:45 - 18:00

Room: CZ 116

Speaker: Christine Straehle (University of Groningen)

Christine Straehle is Professor for Political Philosophy and Public Affairs at the Faculty of Philosophy. Her research interests are in political philosophy, ethics, questions of global justice, and conceptions of vulnerability and autonomy in moral philosophy. Before joining the University of Groningen, Straehle was Associate Professor of Ethics, Political and Social Philosophy in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and in the Philosophy Department at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Straehle has received several fellowships and is a member of the Centre for PPE at the University, as well as a collaborator of the Centre de Recherche en Éthique (CRÉ) of the Université de Montréal and a research associate of the Global Justice Network based at the University of Frankfurt. In 2015-2016, she was John Stuart Mill Visiting Chair in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Hamburg.

Title: Vulnerability, Rights and Social Deprivation in Migration Ethics

Friday, 31 March 2017, 12:45 - 14:00

Room: DZ 007

Speaker: Chiara Lisciandra (University of Groningen)

Title: On the introduction of social preferences in behavioral economics

Abstract: Behavioural economics is a field of study that is often thought as interdisciplinary insofar as it uses psychological insights to inform economic models. Yet the level of conceptual and methodological exchange between the two disciplines is disputed in the literature. On the one hand, behavioural economic models are often presented as psychologically informed models of individual decision-making (Camerer and Lowenstein 2003). On the other hand, these models have often been criticised for being simply more elaborated `as if' economic models (Berg and Gigerenzer 2010). The aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate by looking at a central topic in behavioural economics: the case of social preferences. Have findings or research methods been exchanged between psychology and economics in this research area? Have scientists with different background `travelled' across domains, in this way transferring their expertise from one discipline to another? By addressing this and related questions, this paper will assess the level of knowledge transfer between psychology and economics in the study of social preferences.