Cristina Bicchieri – It’s Not a Lie if You Believe It: On Norms, Lying and Self-Serving Belief Distortion

September 20, 2019 Leave a comment

The Department of Philosophy will host Cristina Bicchieri on Friday, October 11, 2019 as part of the Concordia Philosophy Speaker Series.

Speaker: Cristina Bicchieri is the S.J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics, is Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and is Professor of Legal Studies at the Wharton School. Her intellectual affinities lie at the border between philosophy, game theory, and psychology.

Time:  Friday, October 11, 2019, 3 to 5 p.m.

 Location: Room LB-362 LB – J.W. McConnell Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) Concordia University

Title: It’s Not a Lie if You Believe It: On Norms, Lying and Self-Serving Belief Distortion

Abstract:  This paper focuses on belief distortion in the context of lying decisions. We employ a two-stage variant of the “dice under the cup” paradigm, in which subjects’ beliefs are elicited in stage 1 before performing the dice task in stage 2. In stage 1, we elicit the subjects’ beliefs about (i) majoritarian behavior or (ii) majoritarian normative beliefs in a previous session and, in order to identify self-serving belief distortion, we vary whether participants are aware or unaware of the upcoming opportunity to lie in the dice task. We find that belief distortion occurs, but only with a specific kind of belief. When subjects are aware of the dice task ahead, they convince themselves that lying behavior is widespread in order to justify their lying. In contrast with beliefs about majority behavior, we find that beliefs about the extent to which lying is disapproved of are not distorted. Believing that the majority disapproves of lying does not inhibit one’s own lying. These findings are consistent with a model where agents are conditional norm-followers, and where honest behavior is a strong indicator of disapproval of lying, but disapproval of lying is not a strong indicator of honest behavior.


This is a free public lecture. Co-presented by the Social Justice Centre and the Montreal Philosophy of Science Network. All are welcome.


Jessica Gelber – Can Aristotle accept cross-species teleology?

September 20, 2019 Leave a comment

McGill University

Department of Philosophy

Colloquium Series


Jessica Gelber

University of Toronto


Can Aristotle accept cross-species teleology?


Friday October 4, 2019

3:30 pm

Leacock 927

Demi-journée d’étude/Half-day workshop – Le concept de fonction en biologie : Nouvelles perspectives philosophiques

September 18, 2019 Leave a comment

English will follow.

Demi-journée d’étude

Le concept de fonction en biologie : Nouvelles perspectives philosophiques

vendredi 4 octobre 2019, 13h30 – 18h00

UQAM, Pavillon Thérèse-Casgrain (W), Salle W-5215

Cette demi-journée d’étude rassemblera des chercheuses et chercheurs en philosophie de la biologie dont les travaux offrent des perspectives nouvelles sur le concept de fonction biologique. Y seront entre autres discutés les enjeux soulevés par la consonance téléologique et/ou normative du concept de fonction, ceux de la possibilité et de la nature des explications fonctionnelles en biologie, ceux qui concernent la relation à établir entre le fonctionnement des entités biologiques et les fonctions de leur parties, et ceux soulevés par le projet philosophique d’unification de la notion de fonction.

Half-day workshop

The concept of function in biology: New philosophical perspectives

Friday October 4 2019, 13:30 – 18:00

UQAM, Thérèse-Casgrain Building (W), Room W-5215

This half-day workshop will gather philosophy of biology researchers whose work offers novel perspectives on the concept of biological function. Will be discussed, among other things, issues raised by the teleological and/or normative dimensions of the function concept, those pertaining to the possibility and the nature of functional explanations in biology, those concerning the relationship between the functioning of biological entities and the functions of their parts, and those raised by the philosophical project of unifying the various uses of the function notion.   


13h30-14h10 | Justin Garson

(Hunter College)

Edmond Goblot’s (1858-1935) Selected Effects Theory of Function: A Reappraisal

14h10-14h50 | Parisa Moosavi

(York University)

Can Artificial Machines Have a Natural Good?

14h50-15h30 | Antoine C. Dussault

(Collège Lionel-Groulx/CIRST)

Functions Need not Explain the Presence of their Bearers

15h30-16h | Pause/Coffee break

16h-16h40 | Brandon Conley

(Colgate University)

From Dysfunction to Disease

16h40-17h20 | Christophe Malaterre


Which Functions Do Ribozymes Have? A Plea for Pluralism

17h20-18h | Rafraîchissements/Cocktail


Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST)

Chaire de recherche du Canada en philosophie des sciences de la vie


Réseau montréalais de philosophie des sciences/Montréal philosophy of science network

Collège Lionel-Groulx

Yacin Hamami – Rigor judgments in mathematical practice

September 16, 2019 Leave a comment

The Montreal Inter-University Workshop on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics presents:

Yacin Hamami (VU Brussels):
Rigor judgments in mathematical practice
Friday, September 20, 2019
McGill University, Leacock Building, Room 927. 3:30-5:00pm


How are mathematical proofs judged to be rigorous in mathematical practice? Traditional answers to this question have usually considered that judging the rigor of a mathematical proof proceeds through some sort of comparisons with the standards of formal proof. Several authors have argued, however, that this kind of view is implausible (see, e.g., Robinson, 1997; Detlefsen, 2009; Antonutti Marfori, 2010), and have thus called for the development of a more realistic account of rigor judgments in mathematical practice. In this talk, I will sketch a framework aiming to move forward in this direction. My starting point is the observation that judging a mathematical proof to be correct or rigorous amounts to judging the validity of each of the inferences that comprise it. Accordingly, the framework focuses on the processes by which mathematical agents identify and judge the validity of inferences when processing the text of an ordinary mathematical proof. From the perspective of the resulting framework, I will then discuss what is sometimes called the standard view of mathematical rigor, by examining whether there is any ground supporting the thesis that whenever a proof has been judged to be rigorous in mathematical practice it can be routinely translated into a formal proof.


Chris Smeenk – How Scientific Theories get their Content: (Replacing) A Just-So Story

September 16, 2019 Leave a comment

You’re cordially invited to the 5th Annual McGill University History and Philosophy of Science program talk:

Chris Smeenk (Western):

How Scientific Theories get their Content: (Replacing) A Just-So Story

Monday, September 16, 2019

McGill University, Leacock Building, Room 927. 3:30-5:00pm


An appealing just-so story tells us that the content of a scientific theory — what it says about the observable — can be deduced from its basic postulates, with the assistance of auxiliary assumptions. Theories are successful to the extent that these consequences match what we see. Although it is initially plausible, there are several reasons why this just-so story needs to be replaced. It fails by over-estimating the extent to which we can survey the content of our theories. We typically assess theories based on understanding their consequences for a few tractable cases. It also under-estimates the role of theory in guiding ongoing inquiry, leading to an impoverished conception of success.

I will sketch an alternative approach, indebted primarily to Howard Stein and George Smith. On this view, understanding content begins with representing the observer as a “measuring apparatus” of sorts. Theories extend our reach by making it possible to reliably measure new fundamental quantities the theory introduces. Specifying the content requires a model of how we interact with a target system. The resulting picture of the nature of scientific theories, and the challenges to fully specifying their content, leads to a different perspective on theory choice. I will illustrate these general themes with two cases from the history of physics, the development of celestial mechanics and contemporary cosmology.

More information:

Vanessa Wills – Black Woman Marxists on Race, Gender, and Class

September 16, 2019 Leave a comment

Pour sa 42e conférence, Fillosophie a le plaisir d’accueillir Vanessa Wills (The George Washington University) qui présentera une conférence intitulée “Black Woman Marxists on Race, Gender, and Class” le vendredi 20 septembre à 13h au département de philosophie de l’UQAM (455 René Lévesque Est), local W-5215.

Cet événement est gratuit et ouvert à tout le monde.

Du café et des collations seront servis, et la conférence sera suivie d’un petit cocktail.

Venez en grand nombre !

Vous pouvez aussi consulter les détails de l’événement sur Facebook

Bio : Vanessa Wills is a political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist working in Washington, DC. She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University. Her areas of specialization are moral, social, and political philosophy, nineteenth century German philosophy (especially Karl Marx), and the philosophy of race. Her research is importantly informed by her study of Marx’s work, and focuses on the ways in which economic and social arrangements can inhibit or promote the realization of values such as freedom, equality, and human development. She is the author of several papers, notably “Revolutionary Admiration” published this year in the volume The Moral Psychology of Admiration, and “‘Man is the Highest Being for Man’: Marx’s Radical Irreligion”, also published this year in The Blackwell Companion to Atheism and Philosophy.

Fillosophie est un regroupement d’étudiantes en philosophie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), qui propose une série de conférences mensuelles afin de promouvoir la place des femmes en philosophie.

Groupe de lectures philosophiques – Bergson, « Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion »

September 14, 2019 Leave a comment

Invitation à un groupe de lectures philosophiques

Automne 2019

« Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion » d’Henri Bergson

Vous êtes invité(e)s à participer à un groupe de lectures philosophiques. Ce groupe vise à rassembler ceux et celles qui partagent un intérêt pour la réflexion philosophique autour de grandes œuvres de la tradition.

Nous consacrerons nos rencontres de l’automne au livre d’Henri Bergson « Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion ».

Les rencontres, qui se tiendront des lundis au restaurant Végo (1720 Saint-Denis – Métro Berri-UQÀM), prendront la forme d’une discussion libre sur le texte choisi.

Ce groupe est ouvert à tous et à toutes et vise entre autres à promouvoir l’existence de pratiques philosophiques vivantes, libres et indépendantes des cadres institutionnels habituels. En ce sens, la participation à ce groupe ne nécessite aucun prérequis, si ce n’est une forte disposition à la critique argumentée des idées.

Les rencontres auront lieu tout au long de l’automne, selon l’horaire suivant :

  • 23 septembre : Chapitre 1 L’obligation morale de la page 5 à la page 33 (s’arrêter à « en coïncidence avec le principe même de la vie ? »)
  • 7 octobre : Chapitre 1 L’obligation morale de la page 5 à la page 33 (commencer par « Quelque hétérogénéité qu’on puisse trouver d’abord entre l’effet et la cause ») jusqu’à la fin du chapitre
  • 21 octobre : Chapitre 2 La religion statique de la page 62 à la page 92 (s’arrêter à « et qui allait jusqu’à payer pour cela une somme de cinquante centimes »)
  • 28 octobre : Chapitre 2 La religion statique page 92 (commencer par « Mais fermons cette parenthèse et résumons-nous. ») jusqu’à la fin du chapitre
  • 11 novembre : Chapitre 3 La religion dynamique
  • 25 novembre : Chapitre 4 Remarques finales. Mécanique et mystique


Pour plus d’informations :