Department of Philosophy

Colloquium Series: 2019-2020

Talks will be in Rabb Graduate Center, Room 338, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Events are updated throughout the semester. Please check back often.

Fall 2019

A Talk by E.J. Green

September 13, 2019

Professor Green, from the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, will be speaking on:

Binding and Differentiation in Multisensory Object Perception

Cognitive scientists have long known that the sensory modalities interact during perceptual processing. Cross-modal illusions like the ventriloquism effect show that the course of processing in one modality can alter the course of processing in another. But how do the modalities interact in the specific domain of object perception? In this talk I will distinguish and analyze two kinds of multisensory interaction in object perception. First, the modalities may bind features to a single object or event. For example, we might perceive a wine glass as both transparent (through vision) and smooth (through touch). Second, the modalities may cooperate when differentiating an object or event from its surroundings in space or time. For example, we might combine information from vision and touch to perceptually resolve the spatial boundaries of an object that is partially occluded, but whose non-visible portion can be felt. I distinguish three kinds of multisensory binding and evaluate evidence for each. I then consider the case for multisensory differentiation. I argue that existing evidence for multisensory differentiation is inconclusive. I highlight ways that the issue might be empirically resolved. I also draw out implications of multisensory object perception for the architecture and representational format of perception.

A Talk by Ned Markosian

October 18, 2019

Professor Markosian, from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will be speaking on: 

Three New Arguments for The Dynamic Theory of Time

There are two main ways of thinking about time that have 
emerged in the metaphysics literature in recent years. According to The 
Static Theory of Time (which is the majority view), time is just like 
space – it is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single 
manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. On this view, there is 
nothing special about the present moment, and time's apparent passage is 
merely a subjective feature of the way humans happen to perceive the 
world. The other view is The Dynamic Theory of Time, according to which 
time is very different from space, the present is special, and the 
passage of time is a genuine and objective feature of the world. This 
talk features three new arguments for The Dynamic Theory of Time: (1) an 
argument about personal identity and moral responsibility, (2) an 
argument concerning the aesthetic value of music, and (3) a sentimental 
argument that focuses on the correct way to appreciate certain important 
but poignant truths about the passage of time.

A Talk by Regina Schouten

November 22, 2019

Professor Schouten of the Philosophy Department at Harvard University, will be speaking on:

 "The Distributive Demands of Mutual Respect"

My goal in this talk is to argue that the ideal of mutual respect at the heart of relational egalitarianism has quite radically distributively egalitarian implications. I'll begin by considering the bedrock liberal commitment to arranging social cooperation on terms of mutual respect among free and equal citizens. I'll argue that that bedrock commitment generates constraints that any reasonable political conception of justice must abide by; that those constraints are instantiated in the Rawlsian politically liberal requirement that any reasonable theory of justice must ensure for the protection of the basic liberties and their material prerequisites; and that robust distributive requirements follow from the ideal of mutual respect in just the way these Rawlsian constraints follow from that ideal.

Spring 2020

The Ninth Annual Spring Conference: Designing Species

February 29, 2020


A Talk by Jamie Dreier -- POSTPONED*

March 20, 2020

Professor Dreier, the Judy C. Lewent and Mark L. Shapiro Professor of Philosophy at Brown University, does his research in the areas of ethics, political philosophy, rationality and decision theory. His current work concerns noncognitivism, practical rationality, moral relativism and the problem of infinite utility.

A Talk by David Chalmers -- POSTPONED*

April 28, 2020

Professor Chalmers is a University Professor, professor of philosophy and neural science and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University. He is also an honorary professor of philosophy at the Australian National University and co-director of the PhilPapers Foundation. He is interested in the philosophy of mind (especially consciousness) and the foundations of cognitive science as well the philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology, and many other areas. (Please note this talk is on a Tuesday.)

* COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)
In response to COVID-19, Brandeis is cancelling the rest of the events scheduled in the Spring semester. We are working with our colloquium speakers to reschedule their talks for the following semester.