The Mind Fellows & Scholars
The Association was established in 1900 on the death of Henry Sidgwick, who had supported Mind financially since 1891 and had suggested that after his death the society should be formed to oversee the journal. Since then, the Mind Association has grown to take on a wider role in the philosophical community.
Mind fellowships are intended for early and mid-career academics in post, part-time or full-time, in an institution of higher education in the UK or Republic of Ireland who are engaged in research in any area of philosophy. Find more information here.
The Mind studentships are designed to support a promising philosophers who does not have other means of support (e.g. a temporary or permanent lectureship or a research fellowship) and to enable them to conduct full-time research. Find more information here.
Below you find the recordings of the talks given by the Mind fellows and the Mind scholarship holders. Please click on their name to listen to their presentation.
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Elena Cagnoli Fiecconi (UCL)
Ethics for Rational Animals
In this talk, I sketch the structure and the main conclusions of the monograph I worked on during my time as a Mind Fellow. The monograph’s main goal is to show that Aristotle’s ethical works are best studied in conjunction with his works on natural science and psychology. This study allows us to shed light on the rationality of human cognition and desire, as well as on Aristotle’s account of understudied phenomena like attention and deliberative phantasia (a close relative of deliberative imagination). Taking my cue from these and other key aspects of Aristotle’s moral psychology, I argue that for Aristotle humans do not regulate their behaviour simply by discerning truth from falsity. On the basis of this thesis, I sketch a new account of phronêsis (practical wisdom) as a persuasive rational excellence and a new interpretation of the sense in which Aristotle takes akratic agents to be ignorant.
Perceptual phenomenal character: a tale of two research programmes
One central focus in contemporary philosophy of perception is total hallucination: a kind of perceptual experience that is subjectively indistinguishable from perceiving the mind-independent world, but which doesn’t involve perceiving it. The orthodox approach in philosophy of perception assumes that that total hallucinations are possible.
An alternative approach starts not from the possibility of total hallucinations, but rather from the possibility of Dave Chalmers’ Eden: a world in which perceptual phenomenal character fully reveals the nature of the properties one perceives. Arguably, in such a world, naïve realism about perceptual phenomenal character is true—the phenomenal character of perception simply consists in the subject perceiving things in her environment.
On this alternative, while the “fall” from Eden to the actual world requires that we recognise that features of the subject make a significant contribution to perceptual phenomenal character, it is an open empirical question whether perceptual phenomenal character collapses entirely into the subject—whether features of the subject can suffice for the sort of phenomenal character typical of perceiving the mind-independent world. In other words, it is an open empirical question whether total hallucinations are possible, and a proponent of this approach hypothesises that they are not.
Following a suggestion of Bill Fish’s in a forthcoming paper, I suspect that the disagreement between the orthodox approach and the alternative is best understood not in first-order terms, but rather as a methodological clash between opposing research programmes. If that’s right, many criticisms of naïve realism about perceptual phenomenal character (especially those concerning its ability to account for total hallucinations) miss the mark. The key question then becomes: what reasons are there to abandon the orthodox research programme in favour of the alternative? Again, following Fish (and some other naïve realists) I suspect that it will give us traction with the hard problem of consciousness. But as against Fish and other naïve realists, I don’t think we need to embrace primitivist views about sensory qualities in order to get it.
Mind Scholarship Holder
The Puzzle of Humiliation
Find a downloadable handout for James' talk here.
On the face of it, being humiliated consist, in part, in one’s appearing (sometimes being made to appear) in a certain kind of way to others. It is also plausibly regarded to be a way of being harmed. In this paper, I argue that these two natural thoughts lead to a puzzle which calls into question the idea that I can rationally regard myself as being harmed by being humiliated. To illustrate the force of this puzzle, consider three strategies of response, one which appeals to the frustration of desire, another to the painfulness of humiliation and a third to the idea that to be humiliates is to suffer an injury to one’s dignity or self-respect. Each of these strategies, I contend, faces challenges which show them to be not so straightforward as they might have initially appeared.
Mind Scholarship Holder
Conscious recollection, of the kind characterised by sensory mental imagery, is often thought to involve episodically recalling experienced events in one’s personal past. One might wonder whether this overlooks distinctive ways in which we sometimes recall ordinary, persisting objects. Of course, one can recall an object by remembering an event in which one encountered it. But are there acts of recall which are distinctively objectual in that they are not about objects in this mediated way (i.e., by way of being about events in which they featured)? This question has broad implications, not least for understanding the nature and role of imagery in remembering, the requirements of memory-based singular thought about objects, and the alleged sense in which remembering involves ‘mental time travel’ through which one ‘relives’ past events. In this talk, I argue that we sometimes do recall objects from our past without remembering events in which they featured.