Research seminars

This year we intend to have most of our seminars in person and on campus (any exceptions to this will be noted below).

Most seminars will take place on Wednesdays from 3.15pm to 4.50pm, with a five-minute break between the talk and the Q&A (any exceptions to this will be noted below).

The location is Roscoe 2.3.

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Stephen Ingram.

2021/22: Semester 2

Prof Mike Ridge (Edinburgh): 23 February

Please note that this seminar will be taking place entirely on Zoom.

To request the Zoom link, contact Stephen Ingram.

  • Title: Playfulness as a Moral Virtue?
  • Abstract: In this paper I investigate whether playfulness might be a specifically *moral* virtue.  This hypothesis might seem less plausible than both the hypothesis that playfulness is a prudential virtue and the hypothesis that it is an intellectual virtue (both of which I also think are true). However, the idea has a lot more going for it than it might at first seem, or so I shall argue.  I'll start by drawing on some of my previous work with an account of what play itself is, then build an account of playfulness on the back of that account of play. I then defend what I consider a plausible sufficient condition for a character trait's being a moral virtue. With all of these pieces in place I offer several considerations in favour of the hypothesis that playfulness as I have characterized it is indeed a moral virtue - or, more cautiously, that for most people with a basic level of moral integrity and moral competence, playfulness is a moral virtue. The playfulness of Loki and the Joker is another matter.  If time allows I will discuss what I consider the most powerful objections to this view and some possible directions for future research.

Prof Ingrid Robeyns (Utrecht): 16 March

Please note that this seminar will be taking place entirely on Zoom.

To request the Zoom link, contact Stephen Ingram.

  • Title: Three Ecological Arguments for Economic Limitarianism
  • Abstract: Economic limitarianism is the moral view that there should be an upper limit to how much income and wealth persons can have. It could be formulated as a political view, or as a voluntaristic moral view, or as a combination. So far, a range of arguments has been offered for economic limitarianism. This paper looks into the question whether one could make an ecological argument, and if so, whether such an argument would be distinctively ecological. At first sight, one might think such an argument is possible, since there is a clear positive correlation between the income and wealth levels of persons and their negative impact on ecosystems. However, one might argue that analytically, this does not amount to an ecological argument for economic limitarianism, since one might imagine a superrich person who uses their fortune simply to save more and more, or who uses their fortune to establish a collection of very expensive paintings. Is there then a genuine ecological argument for economic limitarianism? I will show that the answer to this question depends on what we take to be the success criteria for an argument, that is, when we judge that an argument is sound and plausible. I will present three different types of analyses or arguments that one could make, and argue that while on the most analytical of those types there is no distinct ecological argument for economic limitarianism, the other more action guiding analyses do give us ecological reasons for economic limitarianism.

Carlo Ranieri (Manchester) and James Lloyd (Manchester): 30 March

Please note that this session will consist of two separate, shorter presentations.

Carlo Ranieri

  • Title: TBC
  • Abstract: TBC

James Lloyd

  • Title: TBC
  • Abstract: TBC

Anne-Marie McCallion (Manchester) - 4 May

Please note that this session will be shorter than usual - it will run from 3.15pm-4pm.

  • Title: Why is Women's Philosophy Impossible?
  • Abstract: In her 1990 work Is Women’s Philosophy Possible? Nancy Holland defines ‘women’s philosophy’ as philosophical work that “arises from, explicitly refers to, and attempts to account for the experience of women” (Holland, 1990: 1). She distinguishes this from feminist philosophy which she identifies as a mode of critique that draws attention to problematic social and philosophical norms.  A women’s philosophy, according to Holland, would depict the lived reality of women’s experiences without a self-conscious desire to muster oppositional force against these societal or disciplinary norms. Holland maintains that such a philosophy is not possible within the Analytic tradition as it is currently practiced and advocates a reimagination of central disciplinary assumptions in order to make room for the possibility of this so-called women’s philosophy.

    The aim of my talk is to show that if we take seriously the criticisms Holland presents against Analytic philosophy, our prescribed course of action should not be one of reimagining theoretical assumptions within Analytic philosophy. It should instead be one of altering public and academic perception of what counts as ‘real’ philosophy. This course of action, in contrast to Holland’s solution, would affirm the existence of a women’s philosophy as opposed to depicting it as a distant imaginary concept. It would also enable and encourage Analytic philosophers to explore and incorporate the vast and varied feminist literatures – that I argue should in fact be considered women’s philosophy – which exists within other traditions, disciplines, and communities.

Gong Chen (Manchester) and Luiz Leal (Manchester) - 11 May

Please note that this session will consist of two separate, shorter presentations.

Gong Chen

  • Title: A Non-Cognitivist Indispensability Theory of Metaphor
  • Abstract: According to the Dispensability Thesis (DT), every metaphor can be translated fully into a literal utterance. Among those who favour DT, every metaphor can be paraphrased without loss of meaning as a non-metaphor. However, this approach fails to account for metaphor because some metaphors are imprecise. According to the Indispensability Thesis (IT), there is some metaphorical meaning which escapes literal paraphrase. Usually, IT is presented as a form of cognitivism, according to which there is a metaphorical meaning. Against this, I will introduce a non-cognitivist version of IT, originating from Davidson. In his view metaphor may cause or invite people to see something, some similarities, and so on, instead of containing any metaphorical meanings or any paraphrase.

Luiz Leal

  • Title: The metaphysics of sound: towards a reconciliation
  • Abstract: The philosophical debate on sound has recently been reinvigorated by a growing support for non-property theories, which include both wave-based and event views of sound. Yet, the latter two have often been portrayed as rival views. In this talk, I will argue that they are only apparently irreconcilable. In order to do so, I will first characterise what I will refer to as ‘the problem of sound’. After identifying the fundamentals of the Wave View and the Event View, I shall provide reasons why a wholesale adoption of either view runs into difficulties. I will subsequently argue that the problem of sound arises from the very nature of that debate as conflated with the issue of sound location. Instead, I will argue for the non-spatiality of sound, which underscores my proposal for a ‘sonic reconciliation’. I will conclude by indicating how my approach is aimed at integrating the core intuitions underlying the two views.

Jonas Faria Costa (Manchester) and Hannah Battersby (Manchester) - 18 May

Please note that this session will consist of two separate, shorter presentations.

Jonas Faria Costa

  • Title: TBC
  • Abstract: TBC

Hannah Battersby

  • Title: TBC
  • Abstract: TBC

Previous speakers

  • 2021/22: Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester) and Ajinkya Deshmukh (Manchester), Rob Trueman (York), Siobhan Chapman (Liverpool), Jessie Munton (Cambridge), and Benedetta Magro (Manchester).
  • 2020/21: Joe Morrison (Queen's University Belfast), Oliver Spinney (Manchester), Leonie Smith (Manchester), John Schwenkler (Florida State University), Simon Walgenbach (Manchester), Natasha McKeever (Leeds), Elisabeth Camp (Rutgers), Emile Chan (Manchester), Alex Silk (Birmingham), Justina BerškytÄ— (Manchester), and Andre Carus (LMU).
  • 2019/20: David Liggins (Manchester), Luke Russell (Sydney), Sonia Roca Royes (Stirling), Nakul Krishna (Cambridge), Jonathan Mitchell (Manchester), Wesley Buckwalter (Manchester), and Tom Smith (Manchester).
  • 2018/19: Stephen Ingram (Manchester), Andreas De Jong (Manchester), Catharine Abell (Manchester), Samuel Lebens (Haifa), Stephen Gardiner (Washington), Marie Guillot (Essex), Joseph Kisolo-Ssonko (Nottingham), Graham Stevens (Manchester), Leonie Smith (Manchester), Penelope Orr (Manchester), Jeroen Smid (Manchester), Thomas Uebel Manchester), Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool), Jani Jakkarainen (Tampere), Dawn Wilson (Hull), and Jon Bebb (Manchester).
  • 2017/18: Abigail Connor (Manchester), Sean Crawford (Manchester), Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester), Francois Recanati (Institute Jean Nicod), Andy Kirton (Manchester), Sophie Grace-Chappell (Open University), Richard Christian (Manchester), Kevin Mulligan (Lugano), Roberta Ballarin (University of British Columbia), Fraser MacBride (Manchester), and Sean Crawford (Manchester).
  • 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).