Seoul Philosophy Graduate Conference

The 6th Seoul Philosophy Graduate Conference

The Graduate Student Division of Korean Society for Analytic Philosophy (KSAP Grad Division) welcomes you to the 6th Seoul Philosophy Graduate Conference (SPGC6) that will be hosted in Seoul National University in April, 2018.


    • Dates: April 21 (Sat) - April 22 (Sun), 2018
    • Conference Venue: Room 302, Building 4 (Shinyang Humanities Hall), College of Humanities, Seoul National University


Keynote Speakers

Jc Beall (University of Connecticut)

Joseph Ulatowski (University of Waikato)


Main Speakers

Haktan Akcin (Lingnan University)

Chris Atkinson (Lingnan University)

Joaquim Giannotti (University of Glasgow)

Mohsen Haeri (Tarbiat Modares University)

Donghoon Lee (Yonsei University)

Wooram Lee (University of Southern California)

Youngchan Lee (Seoul National University)

Jakob Ohlhorst (University of Cologne)

David Storrs-Fox (New York University)

Adrian K. Yee (University of Toronto)


Titles and Abstracts

Speaker: Jc Beall (University of Connecticut)

Title: On the universality of truth and its inexpressibility in some true theories

That there’s a universal truth predicate in and for our ‘common language’ (our natural language), which is true of all truths, has been long doubted in the face of truth-theoretic paradox (particularly the liar paradox). (Tarski’s famous work in this area shaped much of contemporary discussion.) Universalists say that there is a universal truth predicate purchased at the price of weak logic: logical consequence is subclassical. Restrictivists retort that the price of our true theories being governed by classical logic is the absence of a universal truth predicate. I think that both camps are right, properly understood. My aim in this talk is a marriage of the universalist and restrictivist positions.



Speaker: Joseph Ulatowski (University of Waikato)

Title: Do People Really Think that “P” Is True If And Only If P?

Tarski’s distillation of a rigorous account of truth into a system that turns on the acceptance of the so-called Convention-T and its various instances have had a lasting impact on philosophical logic, especially work concerning truth, meaning, and other semantic notions. In a series of studies completed from the 1930s to the 1960s, Arne Naess collected and analysed intuitive responses from non-philosophers to questions concerning truth, synonymy, certainty, and probability. Among the formulations of truth studies by Naess were practical variants of expressions of the form: ‘p’ is true if and only if p. This paper calls attention not only to Naess’ early findings but to a series of experimental results that suggest people respond affirmatively to the synonymy of a statement and its alethically quantified counterpart when the statement has content, but people are reluctant to affirm the generalisation from instances to a more abstract rendering that includes free variables.


Speaker: Haktan Akcin (Lingnan University)

Title: What is Really Wrong with Ontic Structural Realism? On the Possibility of Reading off Ontology from Current Fundamental Science

I argue that the central conflict between epistemic and ontic versions of structural realism concerns whether it is possible to read off ontology from current fundamental science. After taking a quick look at two arguments from the philosophy of modern physics challenging the ontic version, I assume that the ontic version is not vulnerable to these criticisms. However, even if we assume that structures are metaphysically superior to objects, that still does not say anything about the possibility of reading off ontology from current fundamental science. After I write down premises and conclusions of the arguments of ontic and epistemic versions, I show that the conclusion as regards to the possibility of reading off ontology from current science in the ontic version is already assumed in one of the premises; hence the argument begs the question. As a result, the problem of ontological discontinuity throughout radical theory changes in the history of science implied in the pessimistic meta-induction argument remains intact in ontic structural realism.


Speaker: Chris Atkinson (Lingnan University)

Title: The Aim of Belief and Withheld Belief

Teleological theories of belief face a serious threat: the exclusivity objection (Owens 2003). To counter this objection, McHugh (2012, 2013) appeals to a phenomenon he calls discretion: in certain circumstances a subject can choose to either belief that p or withhold belief in p. I argue that McHugh’s appeal does not work because teleological theories of belief fail to grant belief-status to withheld belief. If this observation is correct McHugh’s defence does not go through, and, more generally, it shows that teleological theories are inadequate theories of belief. Finally, I sketch a brief account of how a motivational theory of belief avoids the shortcomings of teleological theories.


Speaker: Joaquim Giannotti (University of Glasgow)

Title: Ontological Fundamentality

Among other things, physics is in the business of providing an account of the fundamental constituents of reality. The success of such an enterprise demands a clarification of the notion of fundamentality. On certain views, fundamentality is a form of ontological independence. A merit of this conception is to capture in a unified way the desiderata for a workable account of fundamentality. However, a conception of fundamentality as ontological independence faces two important objections. First, it is in tension with the possibility of fundamental and yet ontologically dependent entities. Second, it has worrisome implications with respect to the possibility of fundamental idlers, namely entities that play no active role in the workings of nature. My aim is to show that the previous possibilities do not jeopardize the plausibility of a conception of fundamentality as ontological independence.


Speaker: Mohsen Haeri (Tarbiat Modares University)

Title: A Place for Logic in the Philosopher’s Paradise

On various occasions, David Lewis offers two different pictures for the ontological scheme of reality. In Parts of Classes Lewis argues for a reconstruction of set theory using mereology; which eventually leads to the notion of singletons as a primitive concept. Therefrom, he gives a complete picture of reality that only includes individuals, classes, and their fusions. The second scheme is the Humean mosaic in which all contingent truths within a world ultimately supervene on the distribution of what Lewis calls perfectly natural properties (/relations) in that world. My aim in this article is to place logic into a unified account of these two narratives.


Speaker: Donghoon Lee (Yonsei University)

Title: Mental Counterpart Theory

It is contentious whether quantification sufficiently delivers existence. If to be quantified is to exist, then nonexistent but quantified objects become mysterious. Otherwise, how to understand existence become unclear. However, as realism is understood as mind-independence, existence may do so. For example, someone may argue that x exists just in case x is independent of any perspective. Then, it may be guessed that existence is independent of our minds while quantification is often dependent on them. In this context, the paper tries to examine how existence as mind-independence could be formulated rigorously, and how the suitable formulation captures ontological discourse well.

To formulate existence as mind-independence, the following types seem useful: what represents what; what is a mind; what is at a mind. They may be understood similarly to some primitives of counterpart theory (CT) for de re modality (Lewis, 1968). First, as some objects are a counterpart of other objects based on similarity in CT, some objects represent other objects. In that sense, they are a mental counterpart of something. Moreover, a possible world which possible objects stay in could be analogous to minds which mental objects is at. In that sense, they could be considered as mental worlds. Additionally, as there are possible objects in possible worlds, there are mental objects at perspectives.

Then, mental counterpart theory which consist of only three primitives such as the at relation, the counterpart relation, perspectives, and identity could contribute to many topics in recent metaphysics: intensional objects, nonexistent objects, metaphysical necessity, propositions.


Speaker: Wooram Lee (University of Southern California)

Title: The Real Myth of Coherence

This paper argues that the idea that there are formal requirements of coherence on intention is a myth, because so-called “coherence requirements” on intention are not norms we can breach, but rather constitutive principles of intention: one cannot count as having intentions unless one complies with the requirements. There is an important asymmetry between the intelligibility of attributing a pattern of intentions (and beliefs) that violate a coherence requirement to a person and the intelligibility of attributing the same pattern of ordinary desires. I argue that this asymmetry is best explained by the thesis it is constitutive of intending that one necessarily comply with the coherence requirements.


Speaker: Youngchan Lee (Seoul National University)

Title: Against Existence Principle

Had Socrates not existed, the proposition <Socrats does not exist> would have been true. In those situations, can the true proposition <Socrates does not exist> exist without Socrates? Some philosophers think it can, but according to Existence Principle, it cannot. Existence Principle states that intensional entities(propositions, properties, conditions, etc.) involving individuals cannot exist without the existence of those individuals. Therefore, it forbids singular propositions(propositions like <Socrats does not exist> that directly involve individuals) to exist without the existence of the individual it involves. If the principle holds, the proposition <Socrates does not exist> cannot exist in worlds where Socrates does not exist, even though it is true in those worlds.

In this article, I will present an argument against Existence Principle, which aims to show that an identity condition of an object is necessarily existent and does not presuppose the existence of that object. I will first show that a non-identity condition of an object can exist without that object, and extend that argument to show that an identity condition of an object exists necessarily, thus not ontologically depend on that object(which in most cases only contingently exists.) Then I will consider some possible objections to the argument.


Speaker: Jakob Ohlhorst (University of Cologne)

Title: How to Tragically Deceive Yourself

Self-deception is emotionally motivated belief against better evidence. This is a common way of glossing the phenomenon. This deflationist view yields a very expansive notion of self-deception: e.g. wishful thinking will also fall under this umbrella.

Another common idea is that the evidence that someone self-deceived dismisses cannot be too clear or strong, otherwise the subject would be inadmissibly irrational or delusional and not merely self-eceived. This is so because the self-deceived subject only has a limited arsenal of ways to avoid the abhorred conclusion: selective sampling of evidence, biased weighing etc. (Mele, 1997)

I argue, that there is a form of self-deception that I call tragic: in such cases the subject is able to dismiss compelling evidence without thereby necessarily becoming delusional. First, I will present an example of such a case. Second, I present a feature of our epistemology that may lead to such tragic self deception: certainties or hinges.

My account of certainties loosely follows Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty (1969). A peculiar form of such certainties leads to self-deception. I call them iHinges and they are adopted for subjective motivational reasons. They account for cases of tragic self-deception, because iHinges warrant dismissal of unpleasant incompatible evidence. One of the consequences that I will only be able to touch upon briefly is that delusion is itself a kind of self-deception.


Speaker: David Storrs-Fox (New York University)

Title: Alternative Possibilities and the Reverse Frankfurt Case

According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), a person is blameworthy or praiseworthy for doing something only if she was able when she did it to do otherwise. The strongest intuitive support for PAP comes from examples in which some factor causes a person to do something, renders her unable not to do it, and also renders her blameless for doing it. Harry Frankfurt’s famous counterexamples to PAP work by separating the causing from the ability-removing. In his examples (he claims), some factor renders a person unable not to do something without causing her to do it. Frankfurt claims that the person remains blameworthy in his examples, so PAP is false.

However, Frankfurt’s examples remain controversial and PAP remains popular. This paper seeks to undermine the support for PAP by reversing Frankfurt’s trick. In the cases I present, some factor causes the agent to do something without making her relevantly unable to do otherwise. Still, the factor renders her blameless in a way that parallels the examples from which PAP derives its appeal. She is forced to do something, yet (surprisingly) retains her ability to do otherwise. It is false that the agent in my examples is blameless because unable to do otherwise: she is able to do otherwise. I claim that the similarity between my examples and the PAP-supporting examples justifies the same conclusion about the latter. My cases are not counterexamples. But if I am right, they remove the strongest intuitive support for PAP


Speaker: Adrian K. Yee (University of Toronto)

Title: Three Tensions in D’Alembert’s Philosophy of Probability

This paper exposits and assesses the philosophical merits and deficits of the 18th century French natural philosopher Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s philosophy of probability. While his theory of probability has been well studied by historians of science, it has not been discussed in the philosophical literature. I argue that d’Alembert’s philosophy of probability commits him to denying the truth of at least three mainstream philosophical assumptions implicit in the contemporary mathematics of probability in the Kolmogorovian tradition: The Principle of Indifference, Independence, and an assumption I call Simultaneity. I further argue that despite this tension, d’Alembert’s philosophy of probability nonetheless retains internal coherence. That is, his view is best seen as a criticism of the mainstream views of probability of not only fellow Enlightenment thinkers of his time but even contemporary philosophers of probability. I conclude that his views can be interpreted as a significant proposal for a ‘non-classical theory of probability’ as a rational alternative to the extant ‘classical probability theory’ commonly used today.



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: ksapgrad at gmail.com


Sponsored by

The Veritas Research Center (directed by Prof. Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen), National Research Foundation of Korea, Moha Fund for Analytic Philosophy, Korean Society for Analytic Philosophy, and Department of Philosophy, Seoul National University


Philevents Link: https://philevents.org/event/show/39042