Université de Genève

Quodlibeta 2023/2024

un cycle de conférences du Département de Philosophie



    Le but du cycle de conférences "Quodlibeta" est de présenter la philosophie à un public plus large. 

    Les événements on lieu au IFAGE, à la salle IF408, les mercredi 14h15-16h00. 

    événemments 2024

    • Ralf Bader (Fribourg), Rectification and nested counterfactuals, 15 mai, 14.15-15.45
    • Hans Joachim Glock (Zürich), Animal Normativity? - Hold the Horses!, 17 avril, 14.15-15.45
    • Christian Sachse (Lausanne), Evolving Essences and Ecological Complementarity: The Dynamic Interplay of Sexual Reproduction and Speciation, 27 mars, 14.15-15.45
    • Béatrice Lienemann (Fribourg), Plato on the Role of Perception, Memory and Recollection in Knowledge, 6 mars, 14.15-15.45



    Ralf Bader (Fribourg), Rectification and Nested Counterfactuals

    Wednesday, 15th of May, 14.15-15.45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    The non-identity problem threatens to undermine the possibility of rectifying historical injustices. When the existence of the descendants of the victims of injustice is dependent on the injustice having taken place, it is not possible to rectify the injustice by bringing about a situation that corresponds to what would have happened had the injustice not taken place. This paper uses nested counterfactuals to develop a solution to the non-identity problem.

    Hans Joachim Glock (Zürich), Animal Normativity? - Hold the Horses!

    Wednesday, 17th of April, 14.15-15.45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    In the philosophy of animal minds and cognitive ethology a debate has recently arisen between proponents of a ’normative animal thesis’ according to which humans are essentially and uniquely normative, and champions of ‘animal normativity’, who detect various forms of normative behaviour in non-human animals. This presentation contributes to this debate by i) identifying a minimalist but basic notion of a norm as a standard of assessment, ii) showing how normativity thus understood diversifies into classificator, evaluative and deontic normativity; iii) arguing that intelligent animals are capable of classifying and normatively assessing phenomena; iv) specifying how the  idea of deontic social norms can be operationalized for non-linguistic subjects.


    Christian Sachse (Lausanne), Evolving Essences and Ecological Complementarity: The Dynamic Interplay of Sexual Reproduction and Speciation

    Wednesday, 27th of March, 14.15-15.45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    This presentation delves into the dynamic interplay between the essence of species, sexual reproduction, and speciation within the context of biological and philosophical inquiry. By adopting Ernst Mayr’s Biological Species Concept, we explore the notion of a ‘relative essence’ – the capacity for interbreeding – as a dynamic characteristic that evolves over time. We examine how allopatric and sympatric speciation illustrate the emergence of essentially different groups through reproductive isolation and disruptive selection, respectively. The discourse extends to the cohesive force of sexual reproduction, which, while fostering species unity through gene exchange, also accommodates sexual dimorphism and the co-evolution of sexes. This raises questions about the role of sexual selection in driving or restraining divergence between males and females. Furthermore, we investigate how disruptive selection facilitates ecological specialization, potentially allowing sexually reproducing species to adapt to dual ecological niches without necessitating speciation. Through this exploration, we uncover the nuanced balance between divergence and cohesion, challenging traditional metaphysical views on the evolution of biological diversity and the essence of species.


    Béatrice Lienemann (Fribourg), Plato on the Role of Perception, Memory and Recollection in Knowledge

    Wednesday, 6th of March, 14.15-15.45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    In my talk, I argue for a “dynamic” (or processual) understanding of the distinction between knowledge and belief in Plato (in contrast to a static conception, as the “two-worlds-theory” has it), which also allows cases of transition from belief to knowledge. I then argue that sense perception can play a crucial role in the acquisition of certain kinds of knowledge, in particular in human cognition of the perceptible realm, although it also functions as an impetus and enabling condition in the process of attaining knowledge of Forms. I will discuss passages from four dialogues in order to show that (not only Aristotle but also) Plato ascribes an indispensable role to perception in the acquisition of different kinds of knowledge. The passages demonstrate that sense perception, along with memory, not only plays the negative role of offering deceptive impressions but also plays a constructive part in motivating us to improve our cognitive grasp and in enabling us to access to the perceptible realm.



    événements 2023

    Tous les événements ont lieu au IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19).

    • Olivier Massin (Neuchâtel),  13 décembre, 14.15-15.45
    • Dominique Demange (Paris Nanterre), Universale exit in esse per operationem naturae. Morphogenesis and universals in Roger Bacon's Communia naturalium, 22 novembre, 14.15-15.45
    • Gonzalo Rodriguez Pereyra (Oxford), Bolzano on the Identity of Indiscernibles, 18 octobre, 14.15-15.45
    • Colin King (Providence), Logic and ontology in Aristotle’s Topics, octobre 4, 14.15-15.45
    • Vincent Lam (Berne): Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and tipping points: interdisciplinarity and values in Earth system science, mai 10, 14.15-15.45
    • Martin Lipman (Leiden): On time, standpoints and metaphysical relativity, avril 19, 14.15-15.45
    • Klaus Corcilius (Tübingen): Practical Truth in Aristotle, 29 mars, 15.15-15.45
    • Nick Huggett (UIC): Resolving the Problem of Time without circularity - a work in progress with Karim Thébault (Bristol), 15 mars, 14.15-15.30
    • Christine Clavien (Genève): Shifting Responsibilities: an Ethical Challenge Posed by the Use of Reasoning Bypassing Interventions, 8 mars, 14.15-15.45

    Colin King (Providence), Logic and ontology in Aristotle’s Topics

    We, 4 October, IF 408 (Place des Augustins, 19), 14:15-15:45

    The purpose of this paper is to clarify some logical and ontological features of the theory of predication in Aristotle’s Topics. At the heart of this theory lie items known as predicables – accident, genus, property, definition. This four-part typology of predicate-expressions is developed for a special purpose in the Topics: to provide a method of argumentative training for dialectical disputation (Top. A1, 100a). The predicables track what certain types of predicate signify; the relations into which they enter are the proper relations of their significata. To be clarified in this paper are how such relations yield logical rules in dialectic, and the status of such rules. I shall concentrate in particular on the rules of the genus. I address for the system of genus predication a central question for the entire system of predicables: how do we derive logical rules from the features of the item signified by a predicate, in this case: the genus?  In particular: How do we go from this particular item to rules which govern inferences between statements in which, presumably, the item itself is not mentioned?

    Vincent Lam (Bern), Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and tipping points: interdisciplinarity and values in Earth system science

    Wednesday 10th of May, 14:15-15:45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    Earth system science (ESS) and modelling have given rise to a new conceptual framework in the recent decades, which goes much beyond climate science and modelling. Indeed, Earth system science and modelling have the ambition “to build a unified understanding of the Earth”, involving not only the physical Earth system components (atmosphere, cryosphere, land, ocean, lithosphere) but also all the relevant human and social processes interacting with them. This unified understanding that ESS aims to achieve raises a number of epistemological issues about interdisciplinarity. We argue that the interdisciplinary relations in ESS between natural and social / human sciences are best characterized in terms of what is called ‘scientific imperialism’ in the literature and we show that this imperialistic feature has some detrimental epistemic and non-epistemic effects, notably when addressing the issue of values in ESS. This paper considers in particular the core ESS concepts of Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and tipping points in the light of the philosophy of science discussions on interdisciplinarity and values. We show that acknowledging the interconnections between interdisciplinarity and values suggests ways for ESS to move forward in view of addressing the climate and environmental challenges.

    Martin Lipman (Leiden), On time, standpoints and metaphysical relativity 

    Wednesday 19th of April, 14:15-15:45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19)

    Does the world correspond to what it is like from the standpoint of a particular moment in time, or does it rather correspond to some overarching atemporal standpoint? I have come to believe that this is a false choice. The world harbors both temporal and atemporal standpoints, and comprises what things are like from each of these standpoints. In this talk, I briefly motivate this approach and discuss a general framework that helps us make sense of a world that harbors the incompatible facts that obtain relative to different standpoints. The framework also includes accounts of what it is for something to be a standpoint and what it is to adopt a standpoint in our representation of things. Although I illustrate the involved commitments with temporal examples, the framework is intended to be relevant to any case where something has a property relative to some entity.

    Klaus Corcilius (Tübingen), Practical Truth in Aristotle

     IF 408 (Place des Augustins, 19), 29 mars, 15.15-15.45

    This paper offers a new interpretation of Aristotle’s account of practical truth as the agreement of “true practical reasoning” with “right desire". Four questions are posed: What is right desire? In which way can thinking that a particular thing or course of action is good be true? How can right desire and practical reasoning agree on the same object? Why does Aristotle speak of practical truth in the first place? The answers will situate Aristotle’s account of practical truth in his general teleology of the practical. The main philosophical claims are the following: (i) practical rationality, like all rationality for Aristotle, is fundamentally concerned with principles; (ii) practical truth is the conscious pursuit of a particular course of action as agreeing with the pursuit of an appropriate value in a given situation as that value’s appropriate embodiment. (iii) Aristotle conceptualises this embodiment as a kind if identity. (iv) Practical truth is the best result and achievement (ergon) of episodes of practical reasoning; however, it is neither the essence of practical rationality, nor otherwise a guiding concept in the architecture of Aristotle's philosophy of human affairs.

    Christine Clavien (Genève), Shifting Responsibilities: an Ethical Challenge Posed by the Use of Reasoning Bypassing Interventions

    Wednesday 8th of March, 14:15-15:45, IF 408 (Place des Augustins 19).

    Reasoning bypassing interventions aiming at influencing the behaviour of a target population are increasingly used by in power decisionmakers in the public or private sector. To justify the implementation of such an intervention, the ethical gold standard is to show that, despite its reasoning bypassing feature, the target population’s autonomy is respected. In this regard, one may show that the intervention is aligned with the objectives and preferences of the target population (shared preferences justification) and that the target population consents to the intervention (consent justification). I will argue that these are important ethical considerations but that they may blind us of further issues. To illustrate, I will highlight a mechanism of shifting responsibilities that is important to consider while evaluating the appropriateness of reasoning bypassing interventions.