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Philosophy Day! Symposium FA21
December 10, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Our biannual Philosophy Day! symposium will be held on Friday December 10th from 1:00pm–6:00pm. Talks will be held online (zoom link). Unfortunately, with the pandemic still in effect and speakers on the east coast, we may have to abandon our usual group dinner. For SP22, we anticipate that the symposium will be an in-person event. [For further information or questions, contact organizer Nick Laskowski.]
‘General jurisprudence and metaethics’
- Abstract: David Enoch’s paper, ‘Is General Jurisprudence Interesting?’, aims to show that general jurisprudence (i.e., questions about the nature of law in general) does not merit as much philosophical interest as metaethics does. Enoch arrives at this conclusion by highlighting the features that ground our interest in metaethics and then showing that general jurisprudence lacks this feature. According to Enoch, morality’s normativity is what grounds the interest in metaethics. And although the law is also normative, it does not possess the same kind of normativity that morality possesses. The kind of normativity that morality possesses, namely, ‘full-blooded’ normativity, merits much more philosophical interest than the kind of normativity that the law possesses, namely, formal normativity. As a result, Enoch concludes that general jurisprudence is not nearly as interesting as metaethics. I shall argue that Enoch has failed to show that the law lacks full-blooded normativity; general jurisprudence could be just as philosophically interesting as metaethics.
1:45pm–2:00pm: Short Break / Spillover Q&A
‘Responding to the perspectival and annihilation objections in Berkeley’s immaterialism’
- Abstract: At the core of Berkeley’s philosophy is his claim that the being of sensible objects consists in being perceived—esse est percipi. Ultimately, this claim implies that no sensible object exists unless it is being perceived by someone. Berkeley’s immaterialism generates multiple problems. The perspectival objection questions how we could communicate in a community about similar objects if we are all perceiving numerically different objects. The annihilation objection concerns whether objects are created and destroyed each time we perceive them anew and then stop perceiving them. In this talk, I consider three potential responses to these objections on Berkeley’s behalf: the divine archetypes response, the weak-phenomenalist response, and the numerically different objects response. I shall argue that each response is insufficient, in so far as they incohere with Berkeley’s other claims about God’s impassibility or his polemic against abstract ideas.
2:45pm–3:00pm: Short Break / Spillover Q&A
‘Why isn’t there a distinctively political normativity?’
- Abstract: Are there different domains of normativity (e.g. moral normativity, prudential normativity, aesthetic normativity, etc.), which correspond to different kinds of ‘oughts’ (e.g. what one morally ought to do, epistemically ought, aesthetically ought, etc.)? Recently, some philosophers have defended the thought that political normativity is its own kind of normativity, distinct from moral normativity. Leader-Maynard & Worsnip (2018) argue that the five major arguments in favor of this thought fail to establish that political normativity is distinct from moral normativity. In this talk, I shall argue that Leader-Maynard’s & Worsnip’s arguments against political realism require a host of contestable assumptions about the nature of normativity.
3:45pm–4:00pm: Short Break / Spillover Q&A
‘Perceiving the normative world?’
- Abstract: In this talk, I will defend the idea that we can literally perceive aesthetic and ethical features of the world—a view that I call ‘direct perceptualism’. I will argue for this on the grounds that direct perceptualism provides the best explanation of how we learn concrete normative facts. Along the way I will argue against brute reliabilist views, intuitionist views, and indirect perceptualist views.
6:00pm–6:30pm: Zoom Reception
Speakers and participants invited!