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PRACTICAL AGENCY AND VALUES WORKSHOP 24TH-25TH MAY 2013

Questions about values and practical normativity are vital in many areas of philosophy - e.g. not just in moral, social, political and legal philosophy, but also in the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, and in epistemology.

This workshop, funded by the Mind Association, aims to clarify the role of conceptions of agency in theories of value and practical reason and will bring together philosophers working in different traditions.

Main Speakers:

Ulrike Heuer (University of Leeds, UK)

Peter Poellner (University of Warwick, UK)

Simon Robertson (University of Cardiff, UK)

Registration:

All are welcome and attendance is free, but please register (so we know how much tea and coffee we should provide) by email to pyrlad@warwick.ac.uk.

Organising Team:

Daniel Vanello (main contact)

Adam Arnold

Fabienne Peter

Peter Poellner

Dariush Sokolov

Detailed Description:

Questions about values and practical normativity are vital in many areas of philosophy - e.g. not just in moral, social, political and legal philosophy, but also in the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, and in epistemology. This workshop aims to clarify the role of conceptions of agency in theories of values and practical reasons. It proposes to do so by bringing together philosophers working in different traditions.

A first picture foregrounds deliberative or reflective agency. This picture comes in different versions. Externalists about practical reasons emphasize the ability of rational agents to correctly perceive the reasons and values that there are. Humean and Kantian constructivists, by contrast, emphasize the constitutive role of practical agents. There are, of course, important differences with regard to the role of desires that divide Humean and Kantian constructivists, but what unites them is that is that they root values and practical reasons in the will of practical agents.

Nietzschean approaches have challenged this picture by linking values not to deliberative or reflective agency, but to what Nietzsche called the "drives" - unconscious psycho-physiological processes. This alternative picture has gained some plausibility in light of recent findings in cognitive science. There is, however, a lot of disagreement about what it implies for our understanding of agency - both with regard to motivation and to practical normativity.

Phenomenological approaches may help here, as they emphasize the relevance of the first-personal experience in accounts of values. Phenomenology is currently experiencing a revival and focuses on questions such as the following. Importantly for the context of this workshop, these approaches take a broad view of the first-personal perspective, one not limited to perception or cognition, but one including the role of affects. What can the first-person experience of values tell us about their nature, especially about their objectivity? And what can it tell us about the relationship between values and motivation?

Programme:

Friday 24 May

2 pm – 3:30 pm

Ulrike Heuer (Leeds): Reasons to Intend

Respondent: Adam Arnold

3:30 pm - 3.45 pm Coffee / tea

3.45pm – 5:15 pm

Peter Poellner (Warwick): Sartre on Action, Value, and Autonomy

Respondent: Daniel Vanello

5:15pm - 5:30pm Break

5:30 – 7:00 pm

Simon Robertson (Cardiff): Nietzsche, Value and Normativity

Respondent: Dariush Sokolov

7:00 - 7:30 pm

General Discussion