Philosophy Research Seminar - welcome for incoming MA/PhD students
|Dates:||11 May 2017|
|Times:||14:00 - 16:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
This seminar, which will include talks from a member of staff and a current PhD student, will form part of the School Welcome Event for those holding MA and PhD offers.
14.00-15.00 - Fred Horton (Manchester)
- Title: The Normativity of Deliberative Contractualism
- Abstract: Moral contractualism holds that we ought to act according to the code that we would agree to in certain hypothetical, idealised circumstances. Any such theory must provide a plausible account of the normativity of such agreements – that is, an explanation of agents’ reasons to comply with this hypothetical contract. Nicholas Southwood has offered a novel version of this kind of theory, called Deliberative Contractualism. Southwood argues that morality’s foundations are located in the common code we would agree to if we were deliberatively rational. To be deliberatively rational is to follow the deliberative norms that he takes to be presuppositions of the activity of deliberation itself. Our reason to comply with this common code is founded on the interpersonal account of practical reason Southwood develops. The idea is that the normativity of deliberative contractualist principles is implicit in his account of deliberative agency. To have the capacities that are constitutive of deliberative agency presupposes that we stand in an inescapable normatively significant relation to others, and that we have reasons to express the demands of this relation. This paper provides a brief overview of Southwood’s account and raises two worries, the first concerning the nature of the inescapable relation that Southwood claims all competent agents stand in to each other. It seems that either the relation is going to be too weak to establish the kind of normativity needed for the moral obligations Southwood wants to derive, or it would need to rely on some other source of normativity, which would undermine Southwood’s ambition to provide an ‘explanatory rock bottom’ account of morality’s foundations. Even if this can be met, and competent agents do stand in this inescapable relation, there is a second worry for Southwood, namely, whether this relation implies following the deliberative norms he identifies. This worry is all the more pressing given that these norms clearly have moral content. This needn’t be a case of vicious circularity, provided Southwood can show that we can have an independent grip on deliberative normativity. I question whether he manages to demonstrate this.
15.00-16.00 - Catharine Abell (Manchester)
- Title: What is Fiction?
- Abstract: What distinguishes works of fiction from works of non-fiction? I argue that works of fiction are distinguished by the institutional context within which they are produced. I draw on this account to illuminate both what it is to appreciate a work as fiction and the relation between fiction and the imagination.
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