Special Issue CfA

Call for Abstracts: Idealism and the Metaphilosophy of Mind (John Templeton New Directions in the Study of Mind)

We invite abstracts between 500 and 1,000 words for presentation at the Idealism and Metaphilosophy of Mind conference, London 15th and 16th September 2016. The conference is part of the Idealism and Philosophy of Mind project, John Templeton New Directions in the Study of Mind, led by Giuseppina D’Oro, Paul Giladi and Alexis Papazoglou.

Keynote speakers: David Macarthur and Paul Redding

Deadline: Anonymized abstracts in PDF should be emailed to Idealism and the Philosophy of Mind (idealismandthephilosophyofmind@gmail.com) by March 31st 2016. Decisions by the end of April.

Authors of selected abstracts will be asked to submit the full draft of the papers by mid August.

Selected papers will be considered for publication as part of a planned special issue of Inquiry on Idealism and the Metaphilosophy of Mind.

Graduate students: there will a section for graduate students. Graduate students should indicate (next to the title) that their abstract should be considered for the graduate section.

Description

Are explanations of human actions which appeal to reasons compatible with the causal explanations used to account for natural phenomena such as hurricanes, volcanic explosions and the like?

The problem of the relation between the explanatory practices of the human and natural sciences was addressed by Kant who sought to reconcile theoretical and practical reason by showing that theoretical/scientific knowledge rests on abstract formal conditions which disclose reality as causally determined. Kant’s philosophy aimed to reconcile the claims of theoretical and practical reason by showing that theoretical/scientific knowledge does not yield unconditioned knowledge of reality; it rather discloses reality from the perspective of finite beings whose knowledge is conditioned. Within Kant’s framework of transcendental idealism the task of defending the autonomy of practical reason is thus closely linked to a conception of philosophy as a second-order enquiry whose task is to make explicit the formal conditions of theoretical/scientific knowledge.

This conception of philosophy has come under attack from increasingly naturalistic views of the role and character of philosophical analysis. As a result, the defence of the autonomy of the human sciences has also changed and it is now almost exclusively articulated from a naturalistic standpoint. The question for non-reductivists does not tend to be: “what are the postulates and heuristic principles at work in the natural and the human sciences?” But rather: “how can mind fit in the natural world?” The task of philosophy is no longer that of uncovering the presuppositions underpinning different “forms of experience”, and show how they enable different ways of knowing, but rather to assume the methodological superiority of the natural sciences and then to articulate forms of non-reductivism which do not upset the presuppositions of scientific knowledge. Even when such naturalistic assumptions are relaxed, as in the case of “liberal naturalism”, non-reductivism is still predominantly articulated from a naturalistic platform.

This conference explores a form of non-reductivism which has its roots in the idealist tradition and which challenges the view that a defence of the autonomy of the human sciences must be launched from a naturalistic platform. It explores a form of post-Kantian non-reductivism in the philosophy of mind which articulates the defence of the human sciences from the perspective of a conception of philosophy as a second-order enquiry whose task is to make explicit the heuristic principle at work in different forms of enquiry.

Possible topics and questions include (this is not an exhaustive list):

What are the metaphilosophical assumptions that govern contemporary attempts to defend the autonomy of the mental?

Are softer forms of naturalism, such as liberal naturalism, in a better position to solve the various location problems which have been encountered by forms of non-reductivism launched from a more traditional naturalistic platform?

To what extent is a metaphilosophical commitment to the continuity of philosophy and the natural sciences responsible for the under-representation of forms of non-reductivism (such as Kantian-inspired ones) which presuppose a conception of philosophy as an epistemologically first science?

Can forms of non-reductivism which reject the assumption that a defence of the autonomy of the mental must be articulated from a naturalistic starting point succeed in their task without committing to a form of supernaturalism?

For further information: contact the Idealism and Philosophy of Mind team at idealismandthephilosophyofmind@gmail.com

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Idealism and the Philosophy of Mind is part of the Templeton funded New Directions in the Study of Mind led by Tim Crane: http://www.newdirectionsproject.com/

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