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Forskningsenheden for analytisk erkendelsesteori, metafysik og kognitionsfilosofi


Enheden koordinerer forskning om indbyrdes relaterede emner indenfor analytisk erkendelsesteori, metafysik, og kognitionsfilosofi. Fremtrædende forskningsspørgsmål i enheden angår for tiden modale betingelser for viden, epistemiske normer, dispositioner og responsafhængighed, ikke-repræsentationelle teorier om kognition, proces-baseret ontologi, viden om kontrafaktiske konditionaler, intuitioners rolle for modal viden, matematisk viden, videnskabelig realisme, naturbegreb og pragmatisme. Forskningsenheden tager metodologisk afsæt i den analytiske filosofiske tradition, med særligt fokus på begrebslige og logiske udredninger.

Enheden har en stærk international profil, med solide forbindelser til flere af verdens mest prominente forskningscentre indenfor feltet. Enheden fokuserer overvejende på at deltage i den verserende diskussion i internationale fagtidsskrifter, samt at videreformidle den nyeste viden indenfor området.

Enheden arrangerer et permanent forskningsseminar med deltagere fra hele universitetet, og organiserer ofte internationale workshops og konferencer.


Begivenheder E2020


Welcome to our Fall 2020 Research Colloquium in Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Cognition, which, unsurprisingly, will be livestreamed as zoom webinar but also, as long as possible,  take place as physical event in 1465/616 (or as otherwise announced).   

Please contact Johanna Seibt for the Zoom link. 

Our webinar/meetings will take at the usual time, Fridays 12:30-14:30.   

Sept 25:  Røgnvaldur Ingthorsson, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

McTaggart’s Paradox: Obscure or Misunderstood? 

There are few items in the philosophy of time that have received as much attention for the last century than McTaggart’s notorious argument for the unreality of time, often called McTaggart’s Paradox. Richard Gale observes that if “one looks carefully enough into the multitudinous writings on time by analysts, one can detect a common underlying problem, that being that almost all of them were attempting to answer McTaggart’s paradox” (1968, p. 6). The argument has in any case been extremely controversial. Practically everyone rejects the conclusion that time is unreal, and hardly anybody agrees on the content or professed validity of the argument, or of any of the many reinterpretations that have been offered. In this talk I will argue (or, really, demonstrate) that the argument has been found to be obscure because it has always been treated as a self-contained argument that is independent of the rest of McTaggart’s metaphysics. It has been treated that way in spite of McTaggart’s own words to the contrary. When it is treated as an argument that takes McTaggart’s metaphysics as given, then it comes across as a straightforward demonstration of a contradiction from certain premises. I will present what those premises are and how the argument builds on them. This does not mean that I think McTaggart is right. I think he is wrong but my disagreement with him revolves around the validity of the initial premises rather than on some mistake in the argumentation. In particular it is interesting that one of the premises is a thesis that is known today as the principle of temporal parity; the thesis that all moments of time are equally existent and real. The principle of temporal parity is a cornerstone in the so-called B-view of time, but it is typically rejected by adherents to the A-view. To my mind, this shows that McTaggart’s argument is circular when used by proponents of the B-view as a refutation of the A-view, and consequently as an argument in favour of the B-view.


Oct. 2: Jani Hakkarainen, Tampere University

               Main Questions of Metaphysics


Oct 7: Johanna Seibt, AU

                Types of Dynamic Continuity in General Process Theory



Oct 23: Rasmus Jaksland, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Title: Metaphysical approximation in Metaphysics of Science


In science and particularly in physics, we have a developed notion of approximation. We possess, in many cases at least, quantitative means with which to assess the epistemic risk of using an approximation (i.e. Newtonian Gravity) rather than a theory known to be more precise (i.e. general relativity). This paper explores how this aspect of approximations transfers to metaphysics of science: what epistemic risk are we for instance taking in assuming an object ontology in social theorizing rather than the more relational ontology suggested by quantum mechanics? The paper argues that we do have examples where we can derive the epistemic risk of a metaphysical approximation directly from the scientific theories; absolute simultaneity being an example. But for other metaphysical approximations, it is less evident how this obtains; relational vs. object ontology being an example. The paper closes with a speculation wheter this is (a) because metaphysical approximation is an alien concept, (b) because these approximations are not well understood in the scientific context either, or (c) because such ontological elements cannot actually be related by approximation. With further development in metaphysics and science (a) and (b) should be resolvable, whereas (c), it seems, would have rather extensive consequences for theorizing based on non-fundamental metaphysics.



Oct 30: Anna-Sofia Maurin, University of Gothenborg,



Nov 13   Asbjørn Steglich Pedersen, AU

An Instrumentalist Explanation of Pragmatic Encroachment

Many authors have found it plausible that practical circumstances can affect whether someone is in a position to know or rationally believe a proposition. For example, whether it is rational for a person to believe that the bank will be open tomorrow, can depend not only on the person’s evidence, but also on how important it is for the person not to be wrong about the bank being open tomorrow. This thesis is known as “pragmatic encroachment” on knowledge and rational belief. Assuming that the thesis is true, I ask what explains it. I argue that a particular variant of instrumentalism about epistemic reasons offers a natural explanation.


Nov. 20:  Helen Stewart, University of Leeds

Laws Loosened: How to make Way for Freedom in a Law-Governed World


In this paper, I shall consider a number of different ways in which philosophers in recent years have attempted to offer conceptions of natural law which in various respects suggest that the grip of law on reality might be less tight than has been traditionally supposed. One such loosening is represented by the suggestion that many laws might be best thought of as probabilistic rather than deterministic. A second kind of loosening has been the admission that some laws (perhaps even all laws) might hold only ceteris paribus. Yet a third is the suggestion that laws form a ‘patchwork’, not a pyramid, with the cover of law only “loosely attached to the jumbled world of material things” (Cartwright, 1999). How, though, are these different suggestions related to one another? Which kinds of loosening might entail which other kinds? And which, if any, might be most promising as regards making room in the universe for free will? In this paper I shall try to suggest that the first and second strategies are far less useful than the third in making the kind of space which would be required to subserve the reality of free will; and that a fourth kind of loosening – from laws as dictators to laws as constrainers might yet be more useful than any of the other three in this respect.


Nov. 27:  Philip Goff, Durham University

                (The Implications of Panpsychism for Meta-ethics, precise title to be announced)


Følgende medlemmer af programmet deltager regelmæssigt i enhedens aktiviteter. De fleste aktiviteter er åbne for andre interesserede. Kontakt koordinatoren for yderligere information.