Dennett’s FBtBaB: Chapter Eight

This post presents a question about chapter 8 of Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. For more information see this post.


On pages 161-162 Professor Dennett expresses his regret for certain formulations he used for presenting his position. The position in question is homuncular functionalism and Professor Dennett has come to regret the use of the terms “committee” and “machine” in presenting it. I can see, why he finds the term “committe” misleading. He is unhappy with the “cooperative bureaucracy” suggested by it. Continue reading “Dennett’s FBtBaB: Chapter Eight”


Dennett’s FBtBaB: Chapter Six

I have recently started reading Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. The area of research covered in this book is mostly foreign territory, but I am currently on a visit to Tufts and did not want to miss the opportunity to learn from one of its best known thinkers. I even used the opportunity to contribute comments on the book to an online forum for Tufts students. Continue reading “Dennett’s FBtBaB: Chapter Six”

Register for SNOW

CfR for a workshop I help organising.


Call for Registration!

Social Norms and Obligation Workshop

Tuesday 18th October 2016

We cordially invite registration for the Social Norms and Obligation Workshop (SNOW). The workshop will be held at the University of Sheffield on Tuesday 18th October 2016.

What are social norms? How, if at all, do social norms relate to obligations? How do social norms differ from other norms such as moral, prudential, and logical norms? Do linguistic norms count as social norms? If social norms are obligating, are different social norms obligating in different ways? Who are the subjects addressed by social norms?

Keynote: Ulrike Heuer (University of Leeds) – Title tbc.
Invited paper: Brittany French (Simon Fraser University) – ‘Two Kinds of Wronging’
Invited paper: Albert Newen (Ruhr Universitat Bochum) – ‘Whom to blame and whom to praise. A cross-cultural pilot study to prove the influence of social hierarchy for attribution of moral evaluations’
Invited paper: Ingrid Salvatore (University of Salerno) – ‘What is pluralism: Institutions, obligations, individuals’
Keynote: Anandi Hattiangadi (University of Stockholm) – ‘Logical disagreement’

Please write to Jack Warman at to register your attendance no later than the Friday 7th October. Please include your preferred name, your institutional affiliation, and your dietary preferences. Lunch will be provided. There is a fee of £15 for the workshop dinner. Please indicate whether you will be joining us for dinner.


Visit to Hamburg

I am currently in Hamburg for an internship – or more exactly a Research Employability Project – at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS). My main role here is to support the editorial team at the HIS which publishes the Mittelweg 36 journal and maintains the Soziopolis platform. Continue reading “Visit to Hamburg”

What I Am Reading: Lynne Rudder Baker – Human Persons as Social Entities

Lynne Rudder Baker’s paper offers a sustained argument for what a number of people might have thought before and even proposed informally: Humans persons are social entities and therefore should be taken to be a part of social ontology.

Here is the Abstract of the paper:

The aim of this article is to show that human persons belong, ontologically, in social ontology. After setting out my views on ontology, I turn to persons and argue that they have first-person perspectives in two stages (rudimentary and robust) essentially. Then I argue that the robust stage of the first-person perspective is social, in that it requires a language, and languages require linguistic communities. Then I extend the argument to cover the rudimentary stage of the first-person perspective as well. I conclude by enumerating ways in which human persons differ from nonhuman animals.

Baker’s argument for this makes heavy use of her other works in metaphysics and especially those on personality. The main concepts are explained in this paper, but many questions might be left open, which can be answered by consulting her other work. As I see it, the outcome is a paper in which Baker justifies a thought, the thought that human persons are social entities, that is in the air by integrating the though into her own metaphysical system.

There are some worries, however, concerning her arguments for human beings as social entities. There are always some worries. Here are few: Continue reading “What I Am Reading: Lynne Rudder Baker – Human Persons as Social Entities”

Upcoming Talk: Corporations as Group Agents

Next week (on the 16th of June) I am going to present a paper on corporations as group agents at the 3rd International Conference Economic Philosophy in Aix-en-Provence. In the paper I am going to discuss the specific problems one faces when on tries to take corporations as group agents.

I am afraid that if you have not registered yet for the Conference, it is too late for that now. However, I hope that at some point my thoughts on this topic will have matured enough that they can be published.

We Are All Very Bad at Philosophy

I think that we are all very bad at philosophy, all of us, all human beings. This is not to say that there is no qualitative difference between different philosophical output. I have seen papers and books which were supposed to argue for a point and failed to do so in any epistemically justified way, while other papers and books provide genuinely insightful points in a convincing way. If I remember what I wrote as a bachelor student and what I write now, it is quite clear to me that there are important differences in quality. What I sometimes think is not that these differences do not matter, but rather that even though there are these differences, in the big picture they are small. Le me put it in the following way: While the difference between the good and bad actual philosophers are important, the difference between the best actual philosopher so far and the ideal potential philosopher is much greater. Continue reading “We Are All Very Bad at Philosophy”