"Rational Agency and Self-Consciousness"

July 31, 2023 - August 4, 2023
Department of Philosophy, University of Cologne

Albertus Magnus Platz
Cologne 50923

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


University of Cologne

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The Cologne Summer School regularly hosts leading epistemologists who present their current work through a series of lectures, defend their views against critical comments and engage in intense discussion with the participants over a full week. The Summer School mainly aims at professional philosophers and graduate students, but anyone is welcome to apply.

Over the past two decades, Ram Neta has developed an influential account of what is sometimes called "the basing relation"—this is the relation between, on the one hand, an agent's thinking or doing something, and, on the other hand, the reason(s) in the light of which the agent thinks or does that thing. According to this account, the basing relation requires at least a primitive form of self-consciousness.  Neta uses this account to explain the difference between those things (like judgments, or intentional actions) that are assessable by the standards of rationality, and those (like twinges) that are not.  The explanation thus provided has implications concerning many of the current topics in epistemology.

Relating to Neta’s work, this year’s Summer School will focus on the following themes: 

  • the nature of belief and its relation to credence 
  • what it is for an agent to possess evidence 
  • what constraints coherence imposes upon our beliefs and credences, and why it imposes those constraints 
  • the irrationality of epistemic akrasia 
  • disjunctivism 
  • the relation between understanding, on the one hand, and how things can appear to us (either perceptually or intellectually) on the other

Attendance is free but limited to 50 participants – to be selected on the basis of motivation and qualification. Online application is possible through April 15. Please supply a short letter that sketches your academic background and main motivation for participating in the Summer School. If you are interested in giving a brief presentation (approx. 20 minutes) related to Neta’s work, please also send an abstract of no more than 1,000 words. We will inform you about the result of your application soon after the deadline.

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April 15, 2023, 12:00am CET

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