Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier

Workshop sinnsfilosofi

Estetisk verdsettelse, hallusinasjoner og vennskap er blant emnene som kommer til å bli diskutert i denne workshopen, der medlemmer av FOF sin forskingsgruppe i sinnsfilosofi presenterer work i progress.

Raphael: Self-portrait with a friend
Raphael: Self-portrait with a friend
Photograph by E. Lambert of C2RMF


9.15-10.30 Ole Martin Skilleås: "Embedded Expertise: The Web of Aesthetic Beliefs and Its Enemies"

10.45-12.00 Franz Knappik: "Conceptual Problems in the Assessment of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations"

   12.00-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-14.15 Carlota Salvador Megias: "What I Justify When I Justify Friendship: A Neo-Wittgensteinian Approach to Mindedness, Value, and Practice"

14.30-15.45 Anita Leirfall: "Kant on the Perception of Forces"


Ole Martin Skilleås: "Embedded Expertise: The Web of Aesthetic Beliefs and Its Enemies"

Richard Wollheim’s ‘acquaintance principle,’ which insists that ‘judgements of aesthetic value … must be based on first hand experience of their objects and are not, except within very narrow limits, transmissible from one person to another,’ has been the orthodoxy in philosophical aesthetics. It presents the aesthetic subject as rather lonely – to a degree that is not warranted by a more thorough examination of the grounds of aesthetic appreciation.

Pessimism and optimism about aesthetic testimony – that you can can form aesthetic beliefson the say-so of someone else – will be examined, and a nuanced approach will be attempted from the perspective of aesthetic appreciation. To understand appreciation we need to expand its perimeters from the first person perspective to the ongoing practice perspective; to understand the role of acquiring a vocabulary, to grasp the importance of guided perception, and not least the value judgments inherent the practice one becomes a part of. The embedded expertise of the title is not a fossilized canon, but a shared mindset that permeates the practice of aesthetic appreciation.


Franz Knappik: "Conceptual Problems in the Assessment of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations"

Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVHs) are episodes in which it seems to subjects as if they were hearing voices, while no corresponding auditory perception is taking place. The label “AVH” groups together episodes that vary strongly with regard to a number of different phenomenal parameters. As a consequence, the study of AVHs in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, but also the diagnosis and treatment of AVHs, stand in particular need of reliable assessment tools. Questionnaires and interview scales for AVHs must be fine-grained enough to make possible detailed phenomenological surveys and specific diagnoses and interventions. Moreover, the descriptions and questions used in the assessment tools must be intelligible both to patients and to researchers and clinicians who employ them.

A number of detailed assessment tools have been developed which are partly or entirely dedicated to AVHs, but as I argue in this talk, these tools stand in need of improvement: they are not sufficiently sensitive to important conceptual problems that any attempt to characterize experiences like AVHs is confronted with. Identifying such flaws and proposing amendments is a significant contribution that philosophy can make to the study of AVHs, or so I shall argue. 


Carlota Salvador Megias: "What I Justify When I Justify Friendship: A Neo-Wittgensteinian Approach to Mindedness, Value, and Practice"

I will present a neo-Wittgensteinian naturalist philosophy of mind developed throughout the past thirty or so years by (among others) John McDowell, Cora Diamond, Stanley Cavell, and James Conant in the course of revitalizing one of the philosophy of friendship’s most enduring, intractable “problems:” That of justifying (the continuation or dissolution of) a particular friendship.

It is considered intractable because the two camps under which the classic solutions fall -- what I will call the “property” and “history” camps -- themselves give rise to new “problems” about the nature of friendship in general, given the value we feel friendship has today. These new problems are, respectively, the problem of fungibility (where an appeal to the friend’s properties as that which justify the friendship leads to the implication that, were a “more perfect” person with properties identical to the ones we value in the old friend to appear, we should have reason to ditch the latter) and the problem of arbitrariness (where an appeal to one’s history with an old friend as that which justifies the friendship makes the friend’s character irrelevant to our choice to remain with them, such that they could, in effect, be/come anybody and it would make no difference to us).

Both new “problems” run up against something about how we value our friends: That they are irreplaceable, and that they matter to us because of who they are. It is my position that these new “problems” are (to borrow a term from Conant) philosophical fictions. While they correctly identify some aspects of a friend’s value for each of us (their properties; our shared history), the approaches that generate these “problems” are inadequately attentive to the existence of -- and the distinction between -- several intertwining, dynamic scenes of value in philosophizing about sociocultural practice, in general, and practices of friendship, in particular. These are 1) the diversity of values -- moral as much as amoral -- afforded by myriad sociocultural practices the world over; 2) one’s inculcation into/participation in a(ny such) world of value and the minimal conception of personhood (or, if you prefer, picture of mindedness) this requires; 3) a highly particularized, historicized notion of the self -- its content; its actualization and fulfillment; its relationship to other such selves -- animating contemporary philosophies of interpersonality and selfhood; and 4) intellectual virtues by which one might approach and articulate the interplay between these three categories, reified in the notions of autonomy and intimacy with which contemporary philosophers work.

Bearing these dimensions of value in mind, we may accomplish the following: We can dismiss the “problems” of fungibility and arbitrariness on the grounds that they falsify the activity of justification within friendship without, at the same time, dismissing such an activity as a scene of philosophical inquiry and description, full stop. We can identify how such “problems” falsify the activity of justification by attending to the gap traditional approaches to friendship’s value instantiate -- between how these values are constituted by/through particular practices of friendship, on the one hand, and the assumptions about value/personhood that take philosophers afield of their subject matter, on the other. And we can produce descriptions of friendship’s structure and value that are truer to its unique phenomenology between particular friends and within particular practices of friendship than what is presently available, widening philosophy’s scope to friendships with and between individuals beyond the quasi-Aristotelian, rational adults it almost exclusively takes to be its proper subjects. Ideally, a description of friendship recognizable as our own would reflect the notion of selfhood in #3 and #4, above, within the constraints of #1 and #2.


Anita Leirfall: Kant on the Perception of Forces

In his works, Kant makes different and conflicting statements concerning the question whether we can perceive forces (powers) or not. In the Prolegomena, he writes that force, action, and reality, among other things, are wholly independent of experience. They contain no sensory appearance. Instead, they seem to refer to things in themselves. Contrary to this, in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant states that repulsive forces, but not attractive forces, are immediately given with the concept of matter. It is puzzling that Kant here maintains that we perceive the impenetrability of matter only in relation to touch, that is, via the sense of touch. In my talk, I shall discuss the following questions that emerge from these passages in Kant: i) How to reconcile the necessity that Kant attributes to forces, or powers, is a priori, that is, not empirical, with the claim that we can feel such forces (powers)? ii) What kind of feeling is this? iii) Do we feel these forces (powers) directly, or immediately, or as a result of their effects, that is, as empirical representations?


Alle interesserte er velkomne.