The 9th Cologne Summer School in Philosophy (CSSiP) on
“Practical Reasons: Their Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Creation”
will take place in Cologne, September 15–19, 2014. Our special guest this year will be David Enoch (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel). Enoch defends a strong version of normative and moral realism – the view that normative and moral truths are universal, objective, and are discovered rather than constructed. In his lectures, Enoch will first expand on the nature of the debate and underlying motivations for realism. He will then address two main challenges to such a view – namely, the claim that even if there are such reasons or normative truths we have no way of coming to know about them; and worries having to do with normative disagreement. Enoch will conclude with highlighting a way in which even on a realist account, reasons can still be created by us, drawing some more practical lessons. The Summer School mainly aims at professional philosophers and advanced graduate students.
Attendance is free, but limited to 50 participants – to be selected on the basis of motivation and qualification. Online application is possible through May 15. Add a short letter sketching your academic background and your main motivation for participating in the Summer School. If you are interested in giving a brief presentation (approx. 20 minutes) on Enoch’s work, please send along an abstract of up to 1,000 words. We will inform you about the success of your application soon after the deadline.
I assume most philsophers, even wildly successful philosophers, think they wrote an excellent paper that did not get the attention it deserved. I would ask folks to mention papers by themselves or by others that they think have been unjustly overlooked or that did not get the attention it deserved. Such papers should be at least 5 years old. Please don't bother mentioning famous papers that you think should be even more famous. Please limit yourself to one paper of your own.
I'll start with Peter Railton's "Locke, Stock, and Peril".
I'm especially pleased this month to introduce our Featured Philosopher, Ann Cudd. Ann is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas (rock chalk!), and has done truly pioneering work in moral and political philosophy. Her post follows the break. Welcome Ann!
Imagine a person who is not at all motivated to help others. I don't just mean a person who doesn't care about others as much as she should; I mean a person who is literally not motivated at all, not even to the tiniest degree. Now comes the question: Could such a person genuinely believe that she is morally obligated to help other people?
This question lies at the heart of a complex philosophical debate. Motivational externalists (in one sense of the term) argue that it is possible for an agent to hold a moral belief in the absence of any corresponding motivation. It could be that the agent genuinely believes she has this moral obligation but simply doesn't care at all about what she is morally obligated to do. By contrast, motivational internalists argue that such a belief would be impossible. On this latter view, it is necessarily the case that if an agent believes she is morally obligated to do something, she is at least somewhat motivated to do it.
Although work in this area draws on numerous different kinds of considerations, one important form of argument involves appeals to people's ordinary intuitions. It is with regard to this one form of argument that we have seen especially impressive progress over the past few years. There has been a real surge of research involving systematic experimental studies about people's intuitions on this question, and we now know far more about the intuitive view bout these matters than we did even a couple of years ago.
So I was thinking that it might be a good idea to try to put together a summary of some of the key recent findings on this topic. I've included a draft of such a summary below. Please write in if you have done some other work that should be added in, or if there is anything I should change in what is already there. (I will be happy to add in further information as it appears.) And more importantly, feel free to write in if you have any thoughts about how these findings might or might not be relevant to the larger philosophical debate.
This one day-conference aims to raise and explore problems surrounding the following questions: do we have responsibilities as participants in the global economy? What are the grounds of these responsibilities? What kinds of responsibilities are they? What are the responsibilities of different types of individual and collective agents such as citizens, consumers, states and corporations? Keynote Speaker is Elizabeth Ashford (St. Andrews).
My collegue Jeremy Williams is organising two cracking conferences this summer here at Birmingham. The first one of these, Ethics, War and Intervention, will be on Friday the 30th of May. The keynote at this conference will be Jeff McMahan (Rutgers) who will be talking about ‘The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention: With Comments on Syria’. There's also a call for abstracts for this conference (deadline: 21st of March; see more information about this conference HERE). The second conference is called New Directions in Public Reason and this one will be on Monday the 16th and Tuesday the 17th of June. The speakers at this conference include Gerald Gaus (Arizona) and Fabienne Peter (Warwick) amongst others. If you are interested in this conference, please see HERE.