Wednesday, March 24, 2010

USyd Foundations of Physics Seminar: Wed 31st Mar

University of Sydney Foundations of Physics Seminars ( Wednesday, 31st March, 11:30am-1pm

Speaker: Pete Evans (University of Sydney)

Title: Sufficient structure for a dynamic view of time

"The traditional metaphysical debate between static and dynamic views in the

philosophy of time is examined in light of considerations concerning the

nature of time in physical theory. A sentiment commonly expressed in the

literature is that both static and dynamic views of time are consistent with

Minkowski's formulation of special relativity (in terms of Minkowski

spacetime). Adapting the formalism of Rovelli (1995, 2004), I set out a

precise framework in which to characterise some of the various

representations of time that we find in both physical theory and philosophy.

This framework is used to provide a new perspective on the argument for the

compatibility of the dynamic view of time and the special theory of

relativity. The origin of this compatibility is the dual representations of

time we find in special relativity. I extend this analysis to the general

theory of relativity with a view to prescribing the sufficiency conditions

that must be met for the dynamic view of time to be consistent with

classical physics."

Philosophy Common Room, Room S413, A14 Main Quad,

University of Sydney

1st annual workshop of the Early Modern Science Group

Charles Wolfe is organising the first annual workshop of the Early Modern Science group, to be held May 28. Further information can be obtained from Charles Wolfe.

The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge

Congratulations to Charles T. Wolfe and Ofer Gal on the publication of their edited book, The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, available through Springer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CFP: Workshop on "Composition, constitution, and mereology," Otago University

The Philosophy Department, Otago University is hosting a one day workshop on "Composition, constitution, and mereology" to take place on Saturday, 5 June 2010. Invited speakers include former SCFS visiting fellow Patrick Greenough and SCFS researcher Kristie Miller. Abstracts can be sent to by 16 April.

"Credence, experts and executive summaries," talk by John Cusbert

Abstract: The credence you assign to a proposition is an important part of your epistemic attitude toward that proposition. But it's not the whole story. Another important factor is the stability of your credence: roughly the extent to which you expect it to change as you acquire new evidence. Expert probability functions -- be they the credences of your trusted weather forecaster, the credences of your future self or the objective chances -- serve to guide your credences to particular values. But they also serve to stabilize your credences, relative to particular types of evidence. By exploring this feature, I think we can better understand the relationship between credence and expert opinion, including the relationship between credence and objective chance.


22 March 1 - 2:30 pm


University of Sydney philosophy common room

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Philip Adams interviews Robert Olby

If you missed Robert Olby's lecture 'Francis Crick, Hunter of Life's Secrets' on Tuesday there was a very nice interview with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live which is available as a podcast here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"The Status of the Fact-Value Distinction in the Teleological Sciences," talk by Jack Justus

Jack will be speaking in the Refectory, Wed 10 March, 3.30 - 5.00 pm.

Unlike descriptive sciences that are principally concerned with discovering, describing, and explaining phenomena, environmental sciences pursue more immediate goals, such as providing scientific bases for the preservation of biodiversity and natural resources. What distinguishes sciences of this kind from descriptive science is their emphasis on achieving non-epistemic objectives humans consider valuable. They can be labeled ‘teleological’ for this reason. Recent analyses have suggested teleological sciences are value-laden in a strong sense: attempts to demarcate the function of facts and values within them are misguided and obscure rather than illuminate their structure. In fact, the claim that values inextricably permeate teleological sciences has recently been taken to challenge the view that a “gap” exists between facts and values, the gap widely believed to explain why, for example, determining what agents should do is distinct from studying what they actually do and why they do it. These claims are overstated. Teleological sciences are better conceptualized as having a conditional form where stipulated goals reflecting ethical values set much of their general structure and methodologies, but in which this influence can be demarcated from the factual status of claims made within them. The conditional nature of teleological sciences makes this demarcation possible, and helps clarify the function of values in science in general.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eliminating innateness with Paul Griffiths

Paul Griffiths will be talking about some recent issues arising from recent work seeking to resurrect the folk concept of innateness by defending either an explicative or stipulative definition.

Monday March 8 1 pm - 230 pm
University of Sydney philosophy common room