Graduate Research Seminar Talks by Jeremias Koh, Nicole Kuong and Farooq Jamil Alvi

Date:10 April 2018
Time: 2-5pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3-05-23)

2pm to 3pm: Jeremias Koh, NUS, “Scalarity Across Normative Domains”

In his paper “Scalar Consequentialism the Right way” (2017), Neil Sinhababu argues that ordinary thought supports the notion that the rightness of moral action is a scalar property, and develops a consequentialist theory that accounts for this. After briefly explaining the relevant aspects of Sinhababu’s arguments, I’ll consider how they can be combined with those made by Brian McElwee (2017) in “Supererogation Across Normative Domains”, as well as some implications of this combination for epistemic normativity.

About the speaker:
Jeremias is a Master’s student at the NUS Department of Philosophy. His current research interests are in moral philosophy. His broader interests include Chinese and political philosophy, philosophy of mind, and epistemology.

3pm to 4pm: Nicole Kuong, NUS, “Zarathustra’s reactive attitudes towards Eternal Recurrence”

“The most abysmal thought” and “the heaviest weight” are the words Nietzsche used to describe the doctrine of eternal recurrence. Although the doctrine is believed to give people an attitudinal orientation, it is presented as a cosmological thought in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Within this narrative, the readers follow Zarathustra’s journey in coming to terms with this radical world view. It is the purpose of this paper to examine this highly emotional journey towards eternal recurrence, from its revelation to its final acceptance. Zarathustra’s emotions, although mentioned by scholars, are often overlooked for their significance in understanding the developmental process of his embracement of eternal recurrence and eventually becoming “the teacher” of this doctrine. I further draw a connection between Zarathustra’s emotional reactions in the narrative and Peter Strawson’s seminal theory of reactive attitudes. In doing so, it is my hope to tease out Nietzsche’s use of particular literary devices in order to construct an interpersonal framework that allows Zarathustra to fully commit to eternal recurrence, and eventually to love life.

About the speaker:
Nicole holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Literature from University of Warwick, UK. Her main research interests are in Nietzsche, philosophy of literature and Chinese philosophy. Other interests include ethics and continental philosophy.

4pm to 5pm: Farooq Jamil Alvi, NUS, “The phenomenal world of imagination”

The aim of my talk is to make a persuasive case for a crucial role of phenomenology within imagination. Specifically, I will argue that there can be no changes to what is imagined without a change in the phenomenology of that imagining. The representationalist framework of mind will serve as the basis for this thesis. Accordingly, I will argue my case by focusing on showing why we should consider it plausible to hold that the representational content of an imagining is derived from the phenomenal character of the imagining. This is a specific application of the Phenomenal Intentionality thesis to the act of imagination. I will further support this claim by investigating the Cognitive Phenomenology thesis as it applies to sensory phenomenology within imagination.

My purpose is to provide support to accounts of imagination that argue for the necessary nature of sensory phenomenology within imagination, such as the one advanced by Kind (2001). These are accounts of imagination with much controversy. I argue that this arises because such accounts are beset by a fundamental worry: if sensory phenomenology is inextricable from imagination, what exactly is its supposed role within an imagining? By focusing on phenomenology in general (not just of the sensory type), I contend that we will be able to diffuse this controversy and bring such theories of imagination on more stable footing.

The talk is based on a paper in progress and will provide ample opportunity for discussion. Given the subject, the talk intends to make use of a number of enticing metaphors and visual examples to illustrate the key points.

About the speaker:
Farooq has a cross-disciplinary background, with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and nearly a decade in the corporate world focusing on market innovation and strategic communications. His interest in Philosophy stems from his desire to challenge the assumptions underlying much of his practical knowledge and experience. He aims to question the very questions that are considered answered in traditional empirical frameworks. His specific area of interest is Philosophy of Mind, with a current focus on phenomenal consciousness.

All are welcome

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