02 Sep Morgan & Salje – Du temps et du soi
Conférences atlantiques de philosophie 2018
Cycle de conférences organisé par le Centre atlantique de philosophie (Université de Nantes)
About the Self and Time – Du soi et du temps
Daniel Morgan (York) & Léa Salje (Leeds)
Lieu : Salle C248, bâtiment Censive, Chemin de la Censive du Tertre
Les conférences auront lieu en anglais, avec la possibilité de poser des questions en français.
4/09/2018 à 10h
Daniel Morgan – Non-accidentality and the de se
Why are de se mental states essential? What exactly is their de se-ness needed to do? I argue that it is needed to fend off accidentalness. If certain beliefs – those that are based on exercises of single-object faculties, like nociception or proprioception – were not de se, then any truth they achieved would be too accidental for the subject to count as knowing. If certain intentions – intentions that are in play whenever we intentionally do anything – were not de se, then any satisfaction they achieved would be too accidental for the subject to count as intentionally acting. Mental states’ hyper intensional profiles are relevant, in a systematic but underexplored way, to whether they non-accidentally achieve their aim – truth in the case of beliefs, satisfaction in the case of intentions. In an important range of cases, the hyper intensional profile that is essential to avoid being accidental is: being de se.
4/09/2018 à 14h
Léa Salje – Memory, IEM, and me
Suppose that it’s a conceptual possibility that memories could be transplanted from one subject to another. On the face of it, such cases of Shoemakerian ‘q-memory’ challenge the claim that judgments based on memory are immune to error through misidentification (IEM). Gareth Evans argued that this challenge fails: he argued that the deliverances of memory are always first personal in content, so q-memory is at best a way of generating illusions about how things were in one’s own past. It isn’t a way of knowing how things used to be with someone else. The aim of this talk is to argue that even if Evans is right, he doesn’t do enough to establish that memory is a directly first personal way of epistemically encountering oneself. That’s because even once it’s established that memory contents are always first personal, there’s still a question left over about who these first person contents refer to. This is a highly unusual question to ask about first person contents, but in the special case of q-memory it’s not obvious how to answer it. Rather than settle the question, I show that the IEM of memory judgments is preserved on all its answers. But importantly, I demonstrate that on only one of these answers is its significance the one which Evans took it to have. This, then, is a paper in equal parts about memory, first person thought, and IEM.
5/09/2018 à 10h
Daniel Morgan – Why the de nunc not the de se is the strongest case for essential indexicality
The standard argument for the claim that all action involves indexical thought appeals to the de se. In any action, I must think about myself. Moreover, the thought about myself will only have an impact on my action if is de se. So, every action involves indexical thought, because every action involves de se thought.
Both premises of this argument have been contested by skeptics about essential indexicality (e.g. Cappelen and Dever, Magidor, Millikan), I think fairly. In relation to the first premise, the question arises of why my focus in acting couldn’t just be directed outward on the things in the world I am acting on. In relation to the second premise, the question arises of why I couldn’t get by with a non-de se mode of presentation of the self that is directly hooked up to my actions.
However, we can also run a parallel argument involving the de nunc not the de se. In any action, I must think about the moment of action. Moreover, the thought about the moment of action will only have an impact on my action if it is de nunc. So, every action involves indexical thought, because every action involves de nunc thought. The bulk of this talk will involve explaining why this parallel time-focused argument for essential indexicality cannot be blocked in the way that the original agent-focused argument can be.
5/09/2018 à 14h
Léa Salje & Daniel Morgan – About time
Discussion of indexical thought in contemporary philosophy of mind is dominated by de se thought. The appeal is plausibly that of a privileged deviant: de se thought doesn’t seem to behave like other kinds of singular thought, and its misbehaviour apparently earns it a highly privileged and basic role in our cognitive economies. It is sometimes observed – though typically as something of an afterthought – that de nunc thought displays some analogous behavioural features, and that it correspondingly occupies an analogue of some aspects of the privileged cognitive role associated with de se thought. For instance, like de se thought, it is plausible that all de nunc thoughts are guaranteed against netting an unintended object or no object at all, and that some de nunc thoughts are IEM. And arguably, de se and de nunc thought play roughly symmetrical roles in psychological explanations of action. But the particulars are often left gestural, with readers left to fill in the details from the case of de se thought.
By prioritising de se thought as the central platform for discussion of indexical thought in general, we risk systematically under-recognising some of the most important and unusual features of de nunc thought. The aim of this talk is to reframe discussion of de nunc thought on its own terms. We discuss important epistemic goods had by now-states that are lacking from I-states, that have risked falling under the radar. For example, temporal indexical thought is comparatively much less tolerant of substantive misconceptions of its object than I-thought is, and the range of judgments that are IEM relative to a de nunc concept is vastly greater than those IEM relative to a de se concept. Our discussion brings a somewhat revisionary idea in its train: that a properly worked out philosophy of mind for indexical temporal thought will show de nunc thought to play a more fundamental role in our cognitive economies than de se thought.