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Frege Lectures

The Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy

 

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The Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy are named in honour of the German mathematician and philosopher Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege. We have chosen Frege as the patron for our lecture series as he is widely recognised for his clarity and unpretentious, no-nonsense style of dealing with philosophical problems. So are the lecturers we are honoured to host in Tartu.

 

Gottlob Frege lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2022

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GOTTLOB FREGE LECTURES IN THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 2022

DANIEL D. HUTTO (Wollongong): WHY I AM NOT AN ENACTIVIST?

The Lecturer:

Daniel D. Hutto is the Senior Professor of Philosophical Psychology and the Head of School of Liberal Arts at the University of Wollongong. His research area is mainly philosophy of mind and psychology. In his recent work, he has developed a distinctive version of naturalism, called “relaxed naturalism”, and has endorsed the enactive and embodied approach to cognition.

He is the author of The Presence of Mind (John Benjamins, 1999), Beyond Physicalism (John Benjamins, 2000), Wittgenstein and the End of Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), Folk Psychological Narratives (MIT, 2008), and with Erik Myin, Radicalizing Enactivism, (MIT Press, 2013) and Evolving Enactivism (MIT Press, 2017).

The Lectures:

Enactivism has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in today’s philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Asking us to rethink cognition, at root, enactivists also promote ways of conceiving of nature and our place in it that, if accepted, would have seismic implications beyond the philosophy of mind. Many proponents of enactivism are keen to say how we might, by adopting their frameworks, re-shape our thinking about metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and even ethics and politics. The overarching theme of this lecture series is to scrutinize and challenge these proposals. These Frege lectures, organised under the theme ‘Why I Am Not An Enactivist’, critically examine the signature, core commitments of various contemporary versions of enactivism – on topics such as sense-making, vital norms, objectivity, naturalism, concepts, truth, ethics and politics. The analyses provided seek to show why such commitments are problematic and why they ought to be resisted and rethought. In the end, what we are left with, after these philosophical labours will either be a modest but stronger version of enactivism or, depending how one carves things up, something that does not properly warrant the label enactivism at all.

Times and Venues:

September 13 – Jakobi 2-114

10.15-11.45: Reaffirming Presence, Experience, and the World. 

14.15-15.45: The Matter with Mattering.

September 14 – Jakobi 2-336

10.15-11.45: A Positively Relaxed Naturalism

September 15 – Jakobi 2-114

10.15-11.45: Concepts in Our Midst: Artefacts, Institutions and Folk Philosophies.

14.15-15.45: The Truth of (Radical) Enactivism.

September 16 – Jakobi 2-226

16.15-17.45: Public Lecture: Truth, Justice, and the Enactive Way.  

The event is related to the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund)

Previous lectures

GOTTLOB FREGE LECTURES IN THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 2019
JENNIFER NAGEL (Toronto): EPISTEMIC INTERACTION

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The Lecturer:

Jennifer Nagel is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and the president of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association (2018-19). She is working mainly in the fields of epistemology and philosophy of mind with a focus on metacognition and the attribution of knowledge and belief. She is the author of Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) and several important papers in the intersection of epistemology and the philosophy of mind.

The Lectures:
In the regular flow of human conversation, we send many signals to each other about what we do and do not know. This series of lectures begins by examining what sociologists working in conversation analysis call “the epistemic backchannel”, with an eye to understanding its purpose and its impact on communication. Empirical work on representations of the epistemic gradient between speakers can help philosophers understand the social division of epistemic labor. At the same time, empirical theories of what is happening in the backchannel can be improved by philosophical attention to the distinction between knowing and merely seeming to know. Subsequent lectures will examine the features of our instinctive knowledge attribution mechanisms that make skeptical arguments attractive, and what the limits of these mechanisms can tell us about the relationship between knowledge and argumentative support.

Times and Venue
September 17 – Jakobi 2-114
10.15-11.45: The epistemic backchannel
14.15-15.45: Epistemic territory in conversation

September 18 – Jakobi 2-336
10.15-11.45: Factive mental states
14.15-15.45: Mindreading in the predictive processing framework

September 19
10.15-11.45: Knowledge, justification, and argument (Jakobi 2-114)
14.15-15.45: The natural origins of philosophical skepticism (Public lecture at Jakobi 2 lecture theatre, 226))

The event is related to the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund) and to the research project IUT20-5 (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research).

The event is related to the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund) and to the research project IUT20-5 (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research).

 

GOTTLOB FREGE LECTURES IN THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 2018

TIMOTHY WILLIAMSON (Oxford): PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS

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The Lecturer:
Timothy Williamson is the Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University and a professorial fellow of New College, Oxford. He is a fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a foreign member of several learned societies. He has been President of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association. Williamson has been widely recognised for his significant contributions to philosophy of language and logic, metaphysics, epistemology and metaphilosophy. His books include Identity and Discrimination (1st ed. Blackwell, 1990), Vagueness (Routledge, 1994), Knowledge and Its Limits (Oxford University Press, 2000), The Philosophy of Philosophy (Blackwell, 2007), Modal Logic as Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2013), Tetralogue: I'm Right, You're Wrong (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Doing Philosophy: From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning (Oxford University Press, 2018).

The lectures:
The first five lectures will explain philosophical ways of thinking in terms of an understanding of philosophy as a theoretical science, though not a natural science (mathematics is another example of such a science). They will conclude with an account of the nature of much progress in philosophy. The lectures are based on Timothy Williamson’s recently published book Doing Philosophy: From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning.

The last lecture is a public lecture and it will explain how the imagination generates not only fiction and fantasy, but both practical and theoretical knowledge of the real world.

Times and Venue
September 4 – Jakobi 2, 336
10.15-11.45: Common Sense and Disputation
14.15-15.45: Clarifying Terms

September 5 – Jakobi 2, 336
10.15-11.45: Doing Thought Experiments
14.15-15.45: Comparing Theories

September 6
10.15-11.45: Logic and Model-Building (Jakobi 2, 336)
14.15-15.45: Knowledge from Imagination (public lecture at Jakobi 2 lecture theatre, 226)

The event is related to the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund) and to the research project IUT20-5 (Estonian Ministry of Education and Research).

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GOTTLOB FREGE LECTURES IN THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY 2017
TIM CRANE (Central European University): THOUGHTS, THINKING, AND THINKERS

The Lecturer:
Tim Crane is a professor of philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the Central European University. He has founded the Institute of Philosophy in the University of London and he is the President of the Aristotelian Society for 2016-17. Crane is well-known for his work in philosophy of mind and metaphysics. His books include The Mechanical Mind: A Philosophical Introduction to Minds, Machines and Mental Representation (1st ed. Penguin 1995), Elements of Mind (Oxford University Press 2001), Intentionalität als Merkmal des Geistigen: Sechs Essays zur Philosophie des Geistes (Fischer Verlag 2007), The Objects of Thought (Oxford University Press, 2013), Aspects of Psychologism (Harvard University Press, 2014), and The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist's Point of View (Harvard University Press 2017). He has also edited several books on topics in philosophy of mind and metaphysics.

The lectures:
One of Frege’s most famous principles was ‘always to separate sharply the psychological from the logical, the subjective from the objective’. Given Frege’s influence on analytic philosophy, it is surprising that the philosophy of mind has not followed his advice here. Many discussions of intentionality or mental representation, for example, have concentrated exclusively on the nature of the proposition, whether in the specific version defended by Frege in ’The Thought’ (1918), or the versions defended by Bertrand Russell, David Lewis or Robert Stalnaker. But it is not obvious what the theory of the proposition has got to do with the psychological, as opposed to (say) the semantics of propositional attitude attributions. Frege himself distinguished between thoughts (propositions) and ideas, or mental representations. In these lectures Tim Crane examines the consequences of following Frege’s advice, and approaching the study of thinking or intentionality in terms of ideas rather than propositions.

Times and Venue
October 9 - at Jakobi 2, 336
10.15-11.45: Intentionality: the state of the debate
14.15-15.45: Thoughts

October 10 - at Jakobi 2, 336
10.15-11.45: Thinking
14.15-15.45: Thinkers

The event is supported by the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies, and the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA (Graduate School of Linguistics, Philosophy and Semiotics), and financed by the (European Union) European Regional Development Fund.

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The Lecturer
Huw Price is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge as well as Academic Director of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, which he founded in 2012 with Martin Rees and Jaan Tallinn. Previously he has been a professor at the University of Sydney and at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Price has published books on philosophy of physics (Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point (OUP, 1996); (co-ed with Richard Corry) Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited (OUP, 2007)), and on topics such as truth, naturalism, pragmatism and expressivism (Facts and the Function of Truth (Blackwell, 1988), Naturalism Without Mirrors (Oxford University Press, 2011), Expressivism, Pragmatism and Representationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

The Topic
Huw Price will deliver three lectures, under the general title "Naturalism, pragmatism and representationalism"

There has been much recent interest in a position variously described as global or universal expressivism, or as non-representational pragmatism. For example, in a 2015 interview Allan Gibbard describes his progress to such a view, saying “As I use the term ‘expressivism’, I, like Price and Horwich, am a universal expressivist.” Other enthusiasts for the view, from rather different directions, include Robert Brandom and Simon Blackburn. In these lectures, Price sets out his own motivations for taking such a view seriously, and his conception of what it involves.

June 27 - at Jakobi 2, 336
11:15-12:45: Two Notions of Naturalism
15:15-16:45: Representationalism – From Nihilism to Dualism

June 28 - at Jakobi 2, 336
11:15-12:45: The End of ‘the World’

Frege lectures are rounded off with a public discussion on existential risks between Huw Price and Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Skype and Kazaa. Tallinn is a co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (cser.org), Future of Life Institute (futureoflife.org), and philanthropically supports other existential risk research organizations. He is also a partner at Ambient Sound Investments (asi.ee), an active angel investor, and has served on the Estonian President's Academic Advisory Board.

16:15-18:00: A Taxi to the Twenty-Second Century – the Cambridge-Tallinn Connection. At Jakobi 2, lecture theatre (226)

Huw Price and Jaan Tallinn met in a taxi in Copenhagen in 2001. From that unpromising starting point, they came together with the distinguished British astronomer, Lord Martin Rees, to co-found a Centre in Cambridge to increase the probability that this will not be, in Lord Rees' words, "our final century". In this event Price and Tallinn will talk and answer questions about the history and vision of their Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER.ORG), and the broader global community of researchers of which it is now an important part.

Supported by the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (European Union, European Regional Development Fund).

 

 

 

 

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Gottlob Frege Lecturs in Theoretical Philosophy 2015
Jennifer Saul: "Language that Matters: Politically and Ethically significant Speech"

The Lecturer - Jennifer Saul
Jennifer Saul is head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield, UK. Saul's primary research is in analytic philosophy of language and feminist philosophy. In her most recent book, Lying, Misleading and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics (Oxford University Press 2012), she argues that the distinction between lying and misleading is theoretically significant and illuminates a variety of issues in philosophy of language concerning semantic content, implicature, and assertion. Moreover, because it is also an ethically meaningful distinction, it demonstrates some ways in which communication and speech are apt for ethical analysis.

In philosophy of language, Saul is also known for her work on substitution of co-referential terms in simple sentences. In 2007, Saul published Simple Sentences, Substitution and Intuitions (Oxford University Press) in which she develops her views on these issues with attention to their methodological implications.

In feminist philosophy, Saul is known for her book Feminism: Issues & Arguments, Oxford University Press (2003), an introductory text that explores a variety of feminist views and explores their application to controversies over such topics as pornography, abortion, and veiling.

From 2011-2013, Saul was Director of the Leverhulme-funded Implicit Bias and Philosophy International Research Project. The project brought together nearly 100 researchers in philosophy and psychology to explore the implications of research on implicit bias and related topics for epistemology, philosophy of mind, and moral/political philosophy. Jennifer Saul is Director of the Society for Women in Philosophy UK and Co-Chair of the British Philosophical Association's Women in Philosophy Committee. She is on the Editorial Board for Symposia in Gender, Race, and Philosophy, and on the Analysis Committee. In 2011 she received Distinguished Woman Philosopher Award in Washington, DC by the Society for Women in Philosophy.

The Topic
Jennifer Saul's 2015 Frege Lectures, "Language that Matters: Politically and Ethically Significant Speech", concern a collection of issues at the under-explored intersection of philosophy of language with moral and political philosophy. The first two lectures explore subtle ways of communicating racist ideas that are no longer considered fit for explicit expression. Lectures 3 and 4 explore the distinction between lying and misleading, exploring both the proper way to draw this distinction and its ethical significance. Lecture 5 steps back from specifically linguistic issues to look at reasons for the under-representation of women and members of other (and overlapping) groups. Lecture 6 returns to philosophy of language with a close look at the pragmatics of efforts to rectify this under-representation.

The Lectures
June 30:
11:15-12:45: Dogwhistles: Political Manipulation and Philosophy of Language
15:15-16:45: Generics Don't Essentialise People; People Essentialise People!

July 1:
11:15-12:45: Just Go Ahead and Lie
15:15-16:45: Lying, Misleading and What is Said

July 2:
11:15-12:45: Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat and Women in Academia
15:15-16:45: The Pragmatics of Inclusivity

 

Frege Lectures 2014: François Recanati: Contextualism and Singular Reference

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2013

Wolfgang Spohn: Reflexive Rationality

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2012
John Perry: Three Theories of the Attitudes, June 26-28

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2011
David Papineau: Varieties of Naturalism, June 29-July 1

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2010
Stephen Stich (Rutgers): Experimental Philosophy & The Bankruptcy of the "Great Tradition", June 28-30

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2009
Simon Blackburn: Reason and Representation, September 21-23, 2009

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2008
Paul Boghossian: Objective Knowledge, June 10-13, 2008

Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2007
Wolfgang Künne: Conceptions of Truth, February 13-15, 2007

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