11th Conference of the American Association of Mexican Philosophers
The American Association of Mexican Philosophers (AAMP) formally invites you to join its 11th Conference of the AAMP on March 8th and 9th. Feel free to invite your students too. All the talks will be in English though one will have a little bit of Spanish, given the nature of the topic.
A printer-friendly program is here (PDF) and the web-version is below.
Friday, March 8
Center for Global Engagement Auditorium
“A Revisionist Interpretation of Descartes’ Causal Principle”
Enrique Chávez-Arvizo (Joh Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY)
A well-known objection to Descartes’ claim that mind and body causally interact is that this claim is inconsistent with the causal principle introduced in his Third Meditation, which (it is supposed) imposes the restriction that there must be a likeness in essence between cause and effect. So, the objection goes, the fact that Descartes holds that the essence of mind and body are really distinct precludes his allowing interaction between them. In this talk, I shall provide a detailed examination of Descartes’ causal maxim and show that his general theory of causation does not rule out the interaction between mind and body. First, I shall briefly present the causal principle as it appears in the original Cartesian sources. Secondly, I shall consider two widely divergent interpretations of this precept, a Property Adequacy Interpretation (PAI) and my own Reality Degree Adequacy Interpretation (RDAI), and argue that the latter is more adequate and more faithful to Descartes’ own writings than the former. And finally, I shall claim that, read in this way, the Cartesian causal principle poses no problem for Descartes’ doctrine of mind-body interaction.
“Inference and Attention"
Carlos Montemayor (San Francisco State University)
Central questions about inferential reasoning concern its relation to conscious and unconscious cognition. Are there non-conscious representations driving (or determining) high-level cognition? If so, what are the properties of such non-conscious representations? There are two main debates about this issue in the contemporary literature. The first is the cognitive penetration debate, concerning the degree and extent to which high-level cognition influences or determines low-level cognition and vice versa. The second one concerns the epistemic status of conscious perception, and whether non-conscious perception may also play a similar, albeit not as fundamental, role. This latter issue is at the heart of the question concerning the epistemic role of consciousness. The focus of this paper is on the epistemic standard required for inference. Providing this account, however, should shed light on the nature of inferential reasoning in general.
“Divine Command Theory and Evolution”
Gustavo Ortiz Millán (National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM))
In this paper I shall argue that morality cannot depend on religion in the way the divine command theory maintains. In fact, contrary to what the theory claims, the relation of dependency runs in the opposite direction, i.e., that God’s commands can only make sense within the context of the acceptance of certain already existing moral norms that regulate communication and cooperation are already in place. I plan to construct my argument on the case of norms regulating truthfulness and promises, since these are some of the norms that most contribute to stabilize social communication and cooperation, and therefore, life within a society. These are probably among the clearest cases of moral norms that have to be previously accepted for God’s commands to make sense. These moral norms that make language and commitments possible arose in the process of the evolution of collective action and communication. In this way, the evolution of cooperation and morality precedes the emergence of any religion; without this previously existing linguistic and moral context, no social institution as complex as a religion can ever emerge. To be sure, later on religions institute their own moral codes, claiming that these derive from statements of the revealed divine will, and their god(s) tend to promote cooperation and trust within the group. God’s commands cannot go against the moral principles that have enabled communication, collective action, cooperation, and trust, because that would threaten the very survival of the group—and even of the religious institution themselves. Thus, morality does not depend on religion, but it is rather the emergence of religion that always and necessarily depends on morality. Therefore, the divine command theory is false.
“The Standard Story of Action and the Problem of Agential Guidance”
Jesús Aguilar (Rochester Institute of Techonlogy)
As befits a predominant orthodoxy the standard story of action has been subjected to constant and varied criticisms. One of these criticisms is the problem of agential guidance, namely, the apparent difficulty of accounting for key aspects involved in guiding an action. This problem is particularly challenging when a single type of mental state like an intention is thought to carry out a set of evidently complex functions required for the possibility of action guidance. This paper focuses on a set of criticisms originally presented by Harry Frankfurt in “The Problem of Action” (1978). Its main claim is that such criticisms continue to raise significant challenges to the standard story.
Saturday, March 9
Dodd Hall Auditorium
“Ground and Modality”
Alessandro Torza (National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM))
The theory of grounding has come to be the framework of choice for modeling metaphysical explanation and dependence. It is routine to characterize grounding by way of postulates constraining its behavior. The aim of the present paper is to show that a subset of those postulates is incompatible with the conjunction of two standard modal theses. A number of ways out are then considered, each of which is shown to be either implausible, highly contentious, or seemingly ad hoc.
“El Pensamiento Pocho”
Aurora Montemayor (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)
In this paper we will discuss the nature and being of the Pocho, a person of Latinx descent living in the borderlands. We will also analyze the development of epistomological de-linking from the colonizer in the Rio Grande Valley, as well as agents of de-colonization; we will analyze different authors such as Gloria Anzaldua, Walter Mignolo, and Enrique Dussel to support the different arguments being presented. By the end of this essay we would have gotten closer to the true identity of the Pocho and the Mexican, we would have also discovered agents of colonization used in everyday life that we don’t realize are there
“On the Alleged Objectivity of Logical Space”
Matías Bulnes (City University New York)
Logical space is the space of possibility among which we draw in reasoning. Since the dawn of analytic philosophy, logical space (or its kindred notion, mental content) has been taken to be objective. The idea has been that the possibilities that we reason with are determined by the objects and property that make up reality and so are the same for all subjects. This has led to numerous problems such as that of hyperintensionality, empty concepts, abstract and fictional thought, etc. In this paper, I argue that this is a largely accidental dogma of analytic philosophy which we should give up. I do so by showcasing the relative benefits of the alternative hypothesis of taken logical space to be idiosyncratic and by scrutinizing the sporadic arguments that have been put forward in defense of the objectivity of logical space.
For more information about AAMP see their website: aamp.mit.edu