Contemporary Philosophy Research in Progress Seminars (CPR Research in Progress)

This is a new seminar series designed to help facilitate the development of research. It seeks to provide a forum for researchers and PhD candidates to try out ideas at an early stage of development and encourage the development of ideas. 

The seminars will feature short presentations, a maximum of 40 minutes and ideally shorter, so time can be focused on discussion. Sessions will start at 2.30 sharp every other Thursday and last one hour. This seminar series is originally conceived for the presentation of work in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of technology and philosophy of cognitive science; however related areas and even those further afield are also welcome to be proposed for presentation. Sessions will run on alternate weeks from the current philosophy of mind reading group. Those who are interested in presenting research are asked to contact Robert Clowes at the institute.


First session

Thursday 30th of June, 
2.30 p.m. - Room 1.05 - Edifício ID.

João Fonseca - “Multiple Realization as Heuristic in Psycho-Neural Explanation”

"This talk is a departure from the more traditional discussions of Multiple Realization comprising the topic of the autonomous status of psychology as a special science in relation to neuroscience. In contrast to simple conceptual possibilities, this talk explores the implications of actual cases of biological Multiple Realization of Psychological functions toward the scientific task of obtaining generalizations in current Behavioral Neuroscience. Against the common belief that considers Multiple Realization as an obstacle to such generalizations I suggest that, on the contrary, it provides us with important information that function as heuristics to constrain our demand for the right sort of generalizations."


Second Session

Thursday 21st of July
2.30 p.m. - Room 1.05 - Edifício ID.

Dina Mendonça - "My Mind as Another".

All welcome.


Third Session

January 25 -
2.30 p.m. Room 1.05, ID Building

Ana Falcato - "Minimalism without Minimal Propositions"


My aim in this talk is to present and refuse one sui generis version of Semantic Minimalism, which I dubbed “Minimalism without Minimal Propositions” (MWMP).

Common semantic minimalists usually defend one of the following trains of thought:
1) the semantic content of an utterance is exhausted by the syntactic constituents of the correspondent sentence-type together with its mode of composition and the role played by this kind of content is much more constrained than is often supposed.
2) There is a minimal content – a Minimal Proposition – which is expressed by every utterance of the same sentence-type S, no matter how different their contexts of utterance are. That Minimal Proposition is the content that can be grasped and reported by someone ignorant about the relevant characteristics of the context in which an utterance of S took place.

Contrary to most current Semantic Minimalism proposals MWMP does not subscribe either 1) or 2), even if its supporter also proclaims himself to be a Minimalist. Basically a minimalist without minimal propositions argues that there need not be any such thing as a Minimal Proposition for an utterance of a sentence S to be understandable, sharable or reportable. Because many syntactically complete and well-formed sentences are semantically incomplete, MWMP will defend, those sentences do not express propositions, even if minimal ones, but only “propositional radicals” or “propositional schemes”.

But MWMP is as misguided a proposal as Minimalism in any of its forms. Departing from a very impoverished notion of Pragmatics, one of its fundamental premises is the establishing of a sharp division between “semantic content” and “pragmatic content” in interpreting utterances of sentence-types. But on the core of this premise lays an abusive restriction of tasks to both types of content to perform and – what’s worse – the formal ascription of “semantic content” to an entity which does not exist.

All welcome.


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