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Research seminars

All are welcome to our philosophy research seminars, presented by visiting speakers, members of staff and PhD students.

With the exception of the Philosophy Postgraduate Welcome Workshop, all research seminars will take place on Wednesdays and will run from 15.15-17.00, with a break.

All seminars are located either in HBS 2.53 or the Cordingley Lecture Theatre, please see below for details.

Please contact Paula Satne ( if you have any queries.

2017-18: Semester One

21 September 2017: Philosophy Postgraduate Welcome Workshop

Talks will take place in HBS 2.53 between 15.00 and 17.00, and will be followed by a wine reception in the ALB boardroom.

PhD Student Talk: Aby Connor (Manchester)

Title: Phenomenal Duration and Potential Bodily Activity

Abstract: Glancing towards my office window I notice a raindrop slide down the windowpane. In doing this, I perceive a temporally extended event. This claim has two parts. I am firstly claiming that the event itself is temporally extended, that is, the event has an objective duration. And, I am secondly claiming that I perceptually experience the event as being temporally extended. That is, it seems to me that the event takes time. The duration over which the event seems to last is its phenomenal duration.

I am concerned with how duration is presented in experience. I outline a widely accepted principle of phenomenal duration: The Principle of Presentational Concurrence, to which I present the challenge of slow time. I argue that, if we accept that phenomenal duration is presented in terms of potential bodily activity, we can not only account for how duration is presented in experience but also overcome the problem of slow time.

Staff Talk: Sean Crawford (Manchester)

Title: Falling Out of Thinking

Abstract: The paradigm of a de re attitude is a perception-based belief expressible by a sentence containing a demonstrative, “That is an F”. How should we understand the semantic nature of perceptual demonstrative reference? Is such reference irreducibly singular? Or it is to be analysed non-singularly in terms of definite description concepts understood quantificationally? There are good reasons for maintaining that it should be understood as irreducibly singular and, moreover, that this require it to be object-dependent, that is, actually to be de re, so that if no object (res) is successfully singled out, there is no demonstrative thought to be had.

27 September 2017: Dr Frederique Janssen- Lauret (Manchester)

Location: HBS 2.53

Title: Russell, Quine, Lewis: Analytic Philosophy, Ontology and Systematicity

Abstract: In 1901, Russell expressed his 'great hopes' for a new, highly systematic philosophy, borrowing its methods from the latest developments in mathematics and physics. Were his hopes realised? More than a century later, some say we are in a heyday of systematic philosophy, typified the possible-world ontology of Lewis, `the most systematic philosopher since Leibniz'. But all is not as it seems. In this paper I will show that Lewis's ontology and ontological methods are systematic insofar as they're inherited from the systematic philosophy of his teacher Quine and answering Quinean questions. But other parts of Lewis's system are assumed without argument---physicalism, singular reference---and do not always cohere well with each other; for instance, Lewis's account of radical translation is framed in non-physicalist terms, and his Ramseyan account of theoretical terms pushes towards inscrutability of reference. Lewis's remarks about philosophical methodology in his published work and correspondence also pull in different directions, sometimes towards letting common sense have the final word, sometimes towards deferring to science. Influences from Armstrong and his interpretation of Moore explain the common-sense leanings to some extent, but I argue that even on a charitable reading the resulting picture does not add up to a systematic approach to philosophy and its methods.

18 October 2017: Prof Francois Recanati (Institute Jean Nicod)

Location: Cordingley Lecture Theatre

Title: Fictional, Metafictional, Parafictional

Abstract: Fictional uses are the uses of fictional proper names (e.g. ‘Sherlock Holmes’) one finds in the fiction in which the names in question are introduced. Such uses are not genuinely referential : they rest on pretence — the pretence that there is an individual the author is referring to. Metafictional uses of proper names (‘Sherlock Holmes was created by Doyle in 1887’) are genuinely referential : they refer to a cultural object, arguably a variety of abstract artefact. In the talk I will discuss a third type of use of fictional names : parafictional uses, illustrated by ‘In the story, Holmes is a clever detective who solves cases for a variety of clients, including Scotland Yard’. I will discuss two approaches to such uses, one that assimilates them to metafictional uses, and another one that assimilates them to fictional uses. I will try to steer a middle course between the two approaches, by exploiting the linguistic notion of a dot-object. In the last part of the talk I will reframe the issue in terms of mental files.

8 November 2017: Mr Andy Kirton (Manchester)

Location: HBS 2.53 

Title: TBC

Abstract: TBC

15 November 2017: Prof Sophie Grace-Chappell (Open University)

Location: Cordingley Lecture Theatre

Title: No More Heroes Any More

Abstract: In this paper I discuss the connected notions of heroism and admiration. I suggest that the paradigm case of admiration is the case where we respond with a "Wow" to something or someone that seems epiphanic--that seems a kind of miracle or wonder given its unpredictability from its preconditions. I argue that this analysis of admiration helps explain (a) how admiration is vulnerable to explaining-away determinism, and also (b) why there is a distinction between our admiration of sporting heroes and of other heroes.

6 December 2017: Dr Richard Christian (Manchester)

Location: HBS 2.53

Title: TBC

Abstract: TBC

Previous speakers

2016-17: Lubomira Radoilska (Kent), Sylvia Barnett (Manchester), Lea-Cecile Salje (Leeds), Jules Holroyd (Sheffield), Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck), Chris Hughes (KCL), Helen Beebee (Manchester), Pilar Lopez-Cantero (Manchester), Fred Horton (Manchester), Catharine Abell (Manchester), Joel Smith (Manchester), Joey Montgomery (Manchester), Lydia Farina (Manchester), Michael Scott (Manchester) and Graham Stevens (Manchester), Paula Satne (Manchester), Stephen Ingram (Manchester), and Richard Yetter Chappell (York).

2015-16: Nikk Effingham (Birmingham), Al Mele (FSU), Jess Leech (Sheffield), David A. Nicolas (Jean Nicod), Michaela Massimi (Edinburgh), Catherine Z. Elgin (Harvard), Stacie Friend (Birkbeck), Lee Walters (Southampton), Finn Malcolm (Manchester), Tom Crowther (Warwick), Chris Ovenden (Manchester), Yu Gu (Manchester), Marcello Orieste Fiocco (UC Irvine), Nathan Duckett (Manchester), Helen Yetter Chappell (York), Luke Russell (Sydney), Thomas Smith (Manchester), Pila Lopez-Cantero (Manchester).

2014-15: Nicholas Jones (Birmingham), Emily Caddick Bourne (Cambridge), Kathleen Stock (Sussex), Debbie Roberts (Edinburgh), Christy Mag Uidhir (Houston), Peter Vickers (Durham), Johannes Roessler (Warwick), Heather Logue (Leeds), John Heil (Washington St. Louis), Matthew Smith (Leeds).

2013-14: Ian Proops (Austin), Daniel Whiting (Southampton), Ian Phillips (UCL), Jonathan Farrell (Manchester), Jason Turner (Leeds), Steinvör Thöll Árnadóttir (Stirling), Barry Dainton (Liverpool), Louise Richardson (York), Miranda Fricker (Sheffield), Jani Haikkarainen and Markku Keinanen (Tampere, Finland), Tom Smith (Manchester), Josh Parsons (Oxford), James Maclaurin (Otago).