Men discuss Sellars

Oh look!  It’s a book on Sellars.  By men.


Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism, and Realism is the first study of its kind to address a range of realist and idealist views inspired by psychological nominalism. Bringing together premier analytic realists and distinguished defenders of German idealism, it reveals why psychological nominalism is one of the most important theories of the mind to come out the 20th century.

The theory, first put forward by Wilfrid Sellars, argues that language is the only means by which humans can learn the types of socially shared practices that permit rationality. Although wedded to important aspects of German idealism, Sellars’ theory is couched in bold realist terms of the analytic tradition. Those who are sympathetic to German idealism find this realist’s appropriation of German idealism problematic. Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism and Realism thus creates a rare venue for realists and idealists to debate the epistemic outcome of the mental processes they both claim are essential to experience. Their resulting discussion bridges the gap between analytic and continental philosophy.

In providing original and accessible chapters on psychological nominalism, this volume raises themes that intersect with numerous disciplines: the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics. It also provides clarity on arguably the best available account of why humans can reason, be self-aware, know, and act as agents.

Table of contents

Abbreviations of Sellars’ Texts
Introduction: Psychological Nominalism and German Idealism, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Part I: Psychological Nominalism and Realism
1. “Psychological Nominalism” and the Given, from Abstract Entities to Animal Minds, James R. O’Shea, University College Dublin, Ireland 
2. Hegel and Sellars’ “Myth of Jones”: Can Sellars have more in common with Hegel than Rorty and Brandom suggest?, Paul Redding, University of Sydney, Australia
3. The Metaphysics of Sensation: Psychological Nominalism and the Reality of Consciousness, Ray Brassier, American University of Beirut, Lebanon 
4. Language, Norms, and Linguistic Norms, Willem deVries, University of New Hampshire, USA
Part II: Psychological Nominalism and Idealism
5. On the Pittsburgh School, Kant, Hegel, and Realism, Tom Rockmore, Peking University, China
6. Reading Wilfrid Sellars’ “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man,” with Robert Brandom
at One’s Side, Joseph Margolis Temple University, USA
7. A Kantian Critique of Sellars’ Transcendental Realism, Johannes Haag, Universität Potsdam, Germany
8. Psychological Nominalism and Conceptual Relativism: an Idealist’s Take, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Oh look! 9 male speakers

Which probably isn’t the cultural crisis under discussion.


The speakers:

Ian Angus (Vancouver, Canada)

Thomas Arnold (Heidelberg, Germany)

Diego D’Angelo (Würzburg, Germany)

Eddo Evink (Groningen, the Netherlands)

Cees Leijenhorst (Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

Corijn van Mazijk (Groningen, the Netherlands)

Ovidiu Stanciu (Paris, France)

Christian Sternad (Leuven, Belgium)

Claudio Tarditi (Torino, Italy)


Why am I telling you about this?  Find out about Gendered Conference Campaign here.

MOMiCon – A Noteworthy Conference for Several Reasons | April 3, 2016 | UC Berkeley | You can read their full mission statement here.


A non-exhaustive list of reasons why this conference is noteworthy:

–All the speakers are women

–It’s abbreviation is a smart pun

–The conference is attempting to show how academic events can accommodate mothers better:

“The Misconceptions of the Mind Conference (MoMiCon) has two aims:

(1) to bring together a small group of nationally-recognized female social scientists to present their work challenging common (mis)conceptions of the mind, engage with each other in cutting-edge intellectual dialogue, and generate high-quality video content to share with the public as scientific outreach,

and (2) to serve as a model for how to run a small, high-profile workshop-style conference while accommodating the needs of women who are academics with young children. The hope in focusing on this group is to start a broader conversation about how academic norms and institutions can change to accommodate scholars with different needs throughout their academic careers, thus reducing barriers to excellence in scholarship and facilitating academic outreach”

–The sessions look really interesting:

Keynote – Alison Gopnik
The “Parenting” Misconception: Why “Parenting” is a scientifically inaccurate and practically
dubious way to understand the relations between children and the people who care for them

Tania Lombrozo – Learning isn’t just about getting the right information

Linda Wilbrecht – Teenagers are not lacking their frontal lobes

Abigail Marsh – Human nature is not fundamentally selfish

Marjorie Rhodes – We’re not born racist

Keynote – Mary Ann Mason
Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower: How does family formation affect
academic women and men across their career, from graduate student through retirement.

June Gruber – Positive emotions aren’t all positive

Iris Mauss – Pursuing happiness can make us unhappy

Amy Cuddy – Feeling powerless is not being powerless

Men on Death and the afterlife

For an explanation of our Gendered Conference Campaign, see here.

Death and the Afterlife
22 January 2016

This symposium is an interdisciplinary exchange focused on the recent book Death and the Afterlife, by Professor Samuel Scheffler (New York University). It will bring together perspectives from social anthropology, philosophy, and political theory…It is open to scholars from all fields, and papers will be presented with a broad audience in mind.

Confirmed speakers:

Professor Samuel Scheffler (Department of Philosophy, New York University)
Professor Hallvard Lillehammer (Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London)
Professor Joel Robins (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
Dr James Laidlaw (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Dr Jonathan Mair (School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures, University of Manchester)
Dr Paul Sagar (Deparment of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge)

Congratulations! Your All Male Panel is Statistically Unlikely

The issue of conferences in which all the invited speakers are male is probably well known to blog readers, and is the target of campaigns such as the Gendered Conference Campaign and the hilarious Tumblr Congrats, You Have An All Male Panel. Recently, Greg Martin, a mathematician at UBC, gave an interview with the Atlantic with a nice mathematical argument showing that most all-male panels are in fact statistically quite unlikely. This nicely undercuts an all-too-common response among conference organizers that their all-male panel “just happened” or was simply the result of chance.

If conference speakers were being chosen by a system that treated gender fairly (which is to say, gender was never a factor at all), then in any conference with over 10 speakers, say, it would be extremely rare to have no female speakers at all—less than 5 percent chance, depending on one’s assumption about the percentage of women in mathematics as a whole.

Turning that statement around, we conclude that any such conference without any female speakers must have come into being in a system that does not treat gender fairly.

Martin’s interview also links to a Conference Diversity Calculator that lets you play around with calculating the likelihoods of various demographic distributions among conference speakers, given their representation among the pool of available speakers.