Philosoφ- 2022

August 26, 2022 - August 27, 2022
Virtual Event



Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

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Philosoφ- 2022 Theme: Reduction, Emergence and Downward Causation

Abstract submission details:

We call for extended abstractsof about 800-1000 words on the topics of reduction, emergence and downward causation.

Extended abstract submission deadline:March 20th, 2022  New deadline April 30th 2022

Online link for submission of abstract and personal details: EasyChair 

Notification of acceptance date:April 20, 2022

Final paper submission deadline: August 1, 2022

Main Contacts:

  1. Mr. Ganesh Bharate (Research Scholar, IIT Kanpur: [email protected] )

  2. Mr. Kaamesh Singam (Research Scholar, IIT Kanpur: [email protected])

  3. Dr. Lalit Saraswat (Assistant Professor, IIT Kanpur: [email protected])

  4. Dr. Vineet Sahu (Associate Professor, IIT Kanpur: [email protected])

About Conference Theme:

There are various forms of reduction such as intertheoretical (Nagel 1961), constructionism (Carnap) and mereological (Putnam 1958) reduction in the logical positivist tradition within Philosophy of Science. This has various implications for the special sciences (Fodor 1974) such as biology, psychology and sociology. Reductionism faces the problem of denying causal efficacy to the entities studied by the special sciences. Herbert Feigl within the logical positivist tradition took a position called molar behaviorism that is an intermediate position between reductionism and emergentism. This idea of reductionism has given rise to compositional identity (Place 1970), central-state theory (Armstrong 1968), strict identity (Smart 1970) in Philosophy of Mind. If we want to save the phenomena of our mental experience, i.e., if we want to argue that we have the capacity to act on the basis of our mental desires, then we would like to take an affirmative position regarding the causal efficacy of mental states. If the problem of mental causation is generalized (Kim 1997), then we face a general problem of downward causation for all special sciences.

The emergentist tradition on the other hand takes an affirmative stance regarding the causal efficacy of the entities studied by the special sciences. For example, it takes the mind as an emergent entity with new kind of relatedness (Morgan 1924). But even the emergentist position faced a downfall (McLaughlin 2008) due to its claim of configurational forces. Recently we see that non-reductive physicalism has become a paradigmatic position for philosophers: By denying micro-physicalism (Mumford & Anjum 2017) and arguing for subset of powers (Wilson 2016) and causal constraints (Juarrero 2013), one can make sense of mental (or higher-level) causation without violating the principle of physical causal closure. Campbell (2015) has argued that these problems regarding inconsistencies of mental causation and emergence are due to our commitment to substance metaphysics, and that an alternative of process metaphysics eliminates these problems. A framework of robust reductionism (Wimsatt 2006) allows causal efficacy of special sciences while accepting successional reductionism. Still the question regarding causation of mental qua mental is vexed due to the way in which causation is construed or the way in which the mind is construed. Besides, there have also been attempts to talk about reduction and emergence within the framework of compositional explanations in science (Gillett 2016) and the new mechanist framework, with strict attention being paid to claims made by scientists.

We invite extended abstracts that deal with the above mentioned problems as well as on the following areas:

  • Philosophy of Mind

  • Ontology of emergent levels

  • Causal powers or intervention based approaches to downward causation

  • Various approaches towards mental causation

  • The new mechanism approach to reduction and emergence

  • Case studies from various fields of science in support of emergence and downward causation

  • Any related topics 

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