Texas Tech University

Philosophy Department Speaker Series, 2009-2010

Niko Kolodny (University of California--Berkeley)

Public Lecture: "A Problem with If-Then Arguments"

Thursday, October 1, 7:30 PM

Engl/Phil 106


It may seem obvious that arguments of the form "P.  If P, then Q. Therefore, Q." are good arguments.  (For example, it seems perfectly fine to reason: "Socrates is a man.  If Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal.  Therefore, Socrates is mortal.")  I suggest that this may not be so.  The problem is that there are cases in which P is true and "If P, then Q" is true, but Q is false.  I then try to explain why it *seems* that arguments of this form are good.  (This lecture draws on joint work with John MacFarlane.)

Department Colloquium: "Incidental Transmission"

Friday, October 2, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil 264


For many philosophers, it is a truism that if there is reason for the end, then there is, because of that, reason to take the means. Whether reasons for ends derive from our desiring those ends, or whether they derive from their relation to things of independent value, these reasons "transmit" or "transfer" to their instruments. Assuming that there is such a phenomenon as "instrumental transmission," how is it best understood? I begin by criticizing some existing proposals, in particular that reason for the end transmits in its full force to necessary means. I then venture my own proposal: roughly, that reason for the end transmits to the means to the extent that the  probability of achieving the end is higher if one takes the means. This account suggests that instrumental transmission may be a special case of a broader phenomenon, which permits, first, transmission to actions that are not means to an end, but conditions that more broadly help tobring it about, and second, transmission of reason that we do not actually have, but would have under other conditions. It also raises the possibility that instrumental transmission may be something of a myth: that while reasons for ends are correlated with reasons for means, they do not explain them.

Peter Railton (University of Michigan)


Public Lecture: "Happiness, Satisfaction, and Morality"

Friday, October 16, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil LH01

Departmental colloquium: "Rationality in Belief and Desire:  A Unified Account"


Engl/Phil 264

Christopher Hom (Texas Tech University)

Departmental colloquium: "A Puzzle about Pejoratives"

Friday, October 30th, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil 264

Darren Hudson Hick (Texas Tech University)

Departmental colloquium: "Toward an Ontology of Authored Works"

Friday, November 13, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil 264

David Miguel Gray (Texas Tech University)

Departmental Colloquium: "From Experience to Delusions: Non-phenomenal Contributions to Delusional Reports of Alien Control in Schizophrenia"

Friday, December 4, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil 264

Jacob Beck (Texas Tech University)

Departmental Colloquium: "Analog Magnitudes: A Case Study in Non-Conceptual Cognition"

Friday, February 26, 4:00 PM

Engl/Phil 264

Graduate Student Philosophy Conference Keynote Speaker:

Peter Carruthers (University of Maryland)

“Self-Knowledge of Affective Attitudes is De Re, not De Dicto”

Friday, April 2, 7:30 PM

Room TBA


This talk will challenge the view that affective propositional attitudes (desires and emotions) can be introspected, and/or known with authority, and/or are privilegedly accessible to their subjects. We can introspect the valence component of these attitudes, and to some degree their arousal component. We can also know which objects or events they are directed at, characterized de re. But our knowledge of the degrees of desire or emotion directed at those things can only be arrived at by self-interpretation. Likewise for our knowledge of the fine-grained de dicto propositional contents that give rise them.

Jeremy Schwartz (Texas Tech University) and David Hayes (European College of Liberal Arts, Berlin)

Departmental Colloquium:  “Piety as Gratitude in Plato's Euthyphro”

Friday, April 16, 4 PM


Daniel Nathan (Texas Tech University)

Public Lecture:  "Making the Subject Objective: Toward a Naturalist Theory of Beauty"

Thursday, April 29, 7:30 PM


Past Speakers

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