Ross Hall, Room 122
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
The Department of Philosophy at the University of Wyoming provides a series of speakers throughout the semester on a variety of topics. Speakers and dates are available of upcoming events as well as past events.
Dr. Robert Cummins, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Davis, will present "Physicalism, Functionalism and Autonomous Explanation" on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118.
Abstract: Perhaps the dominant project in late the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in analytic philosophy was the attempt to naturalize mental content. This project was a reaction to the introduction of functionalism in the philosophy of mind by Hilary Putnam. If mental states are functional states, then, like all functional states, they are multiply realizable, and hence not subject to reduction to states that are unproblematically physical. Science friendly philosophers of mind could point out that the state of being a set mouse trap doesn’t reduce either, and no one is a dualist about mouse traps. While dialectially effective, this move leaves dualism an open possibility. Hence, the concerted effort to naturalize mental states generally, and intentionality—mental content—in particular. Left out of this discussion for the most part was the obvious fact that functional analysis is ubiquitous in the sciences and engineering generally. Should we be trying to naturalize the property of being a resistor, or gene, or heart?
In this paper, I argue that a proper understanding of functional analysis should lead us to abandon reductionism as traditionally conceived, but that it also provides us with a framework in which we can replace reduction hierarchies with function-implementation hierarchies. This framework allows for autonomous functional explanation while enforcing a physicalist friendly requirement on the confirmation of functional analyses.
Dr. Tim Dare, University of Auckland, New Zealand, will present "Predictive Risk Modeling as Screening: An Ethical Analysis" on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 6:15 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 215.
Dr. Justine Kingsbury, Waikato University, New Zealand, will present "Conceptual Housekeeping," on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118.
Prior academic year events can be viewed in the "past events" link.
Be sure to check back for more information on future lectures.