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August 2019

Speaker Series: Ken Taylor (Stanford)

August 23, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Neither a Populist nor a Vanguardist Be: Respecting the Will and Wisdom of the People Abstract: This paper considers three different conceptions of “the people” and what it means to “respect” their collective  will and wisdom: (a) the democratic conception of the people as what I call a sprawling demos; (b) the populist conception of the people as an authentic folk; (c) and finally the vanguardist conception of the people as the semi-mute masses in need of revolutionary transformation. While the ultimate aim…

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October 2019

Speaker Series: Robin Dembroff (Yale)

October 11, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Positions in Patriarchy: Retooling the Metaphysics of Gender

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Polanyi Visitor Talk: David Albert (Columbia)

October 14, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

"How to teach Quantum Mechanics - Part I"   Abstract: Albert distinguishes between two conceptually different kinds of physical space: a space of ordinary material bodies, which is the space of points at which one could imaginably place (say) the tip of one's finger, or the center of a billiard-ball, and a space of elementary physical determinables, which is the smallest space of points such that stipulating what is happening at each one of those points, at every time, amounts to…

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Polanyi Visitor Talk: David Albert

October 14, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

"How to Teach Quantum Mechanics: Part I"

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November 2019

Speaker Series: Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown)

November 15, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

"Moral Ecologies and the Harms of Sexual Violation"

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January 2020

Speaker Series: Paul Horwich (NYU)

January 17 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Caldwell 105, Caldwell 105 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill,
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"The Nature of Necessity" My talk will be about the concept of ‘necessity’ – the idea that some propositions are not merely true, but necessarily true. Or, to put it in less technical-sounding terms, that certain facts have to obtain; that things must be that way; that these things couldn’t have been otherwise. The central question I'll be addressing is: ‘What is it for a fact to be necessary rather than contingent, or rather than being merely a possible fact?’ I'll introduce the topic by saying…

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Speaker Series: Sam Berstler

January 24 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

"I Didn’t Do It: Very Implausible Denials and Social Unreality" Abstract: When I make a very implausible denial, I deny phi-ing, in a context in which (1) before I speak, it is common knowledge that I phi-ed and (2) after I speak, it remains common knowledge that I phi-ed.  Very implausible denials ought to strike us as absurd.  And in some cases, they do.  But in other cases, they don’t.  Furthermore, in some of the non-absurd cases, the speaker, in making…

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Speaker Series: Johann Frick

January 27 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

"National Partiality, Immigration, and the Problem of Double-Jeopardy" ABSTRACT: A foundational conviction of contemporary liberal thought is that all persons matter equally. However, states frequently pursue policies that are strikingly partial towards compatriots over foreigners. A common strategy for justifying this partiality appeals to associative obligations incurred by standing in special relationships with fellow citizens. Such arguments face an important hurdle. I argue for a “Boundary Principle”, according to which special relationships among members of a group cannot justify strong forms of partiality, unless the boundaries of…

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February 2020

Speaker Series: Kenny Easwaran

February 3 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

"Infinite Ethics Meets Decision Theory" ABSTRACT: Some classic forms of utilitarianism presume that the goodness of a state of affairs can be determined by adding up numerical representations of the welfare of each of the people. When a population is infinite, however, this doesn't yield useful results. But there have been suggestions for how to say when such states of affairs are better or worse, even without assigning numerical scores to them, particularly in a series of papers by Vallentyne…

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Balter Distinguished Lecture: Harjit Bhogal (Maryland)

February 28 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Strikingness Some facts are striking. That is, they seem to call out for explanation in a way that other facts do not. If a coin is tossed 50 times and lands heads every time, that’s striking. The correlation between the moral truths and our moral beliefs is striking (at least according to some people). The fact that the microwave background radiation is uniform in temperature throughout the universe is striking. And strikingness plays an important role in our theory choice — if a…

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