wintersemester

Lorenzo Rossi and Julien Murzi: Philosophy of Language (lecture course with exercises)

This course offers an introduction to some central topics in the Philosophy of Language, focusing on issues concerning meaning, reference, truth, context, and communication. We will consider questions like the following. How does a proper name like ‘Christoph Waltz’ refer to a certain person? Is meaning just a matter of reference? Do descriptions, phrases such as ‘The fourth planet in the solar system’, work like names? What are we to make of expressions that don’t refer to anything that currently exists, e.g. ‘Santa Claus’ or ‘the largest natural number’? What do demonstratives, expressions such as ‘this’, mean? What is the relation between the conventional meaning of a sentence and what a speaker intends to convey by it? How does context affect linguistic communication? The first part of the course will provide an up to date introduction to contemporary Philosophy of Language. The second part will focus on conditionals: sentences of the form 'If ..., then...'. Conditionals play an essential role in everyday reasoning. And yet, philosophers and linguists still wildly disagree about their interpretation. In the second part of the course, we will bring to bear the materials learned in the first part to critically introduce, and discuss, the main contemporary approaches to conditionals. 

Guillaume Frechette: Descriptive Psychology and Value Theory in the Austrian Tradition (lecture course with exercises) 

What is value? What is it for an action or an object to be valuable? Like mass or energy, values are properties often attributed to a large scale of objects, but unlike mass or energy, it seems undeniable that this attribution itself is an essential part of the answer to the question about the nature of value. In economics, it was the so-called “Austrian school” of economists such as Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, Wieser, Mises and Hayek which first underlined the centrality of the economic agent in establishing an economic science of value. In the same tradition and at about the same time, the school of Brentano, sometimes called the “second Austrian school” – composed of philosophers such as Meinong, Marty, Stumpf, Ehrenfels, Höfler, Twardowski, Husserl, and many others – stressed the importance of understanding valuations, i.e. acts of attributing values, in order to build the philosophical disciplines of ethics and aesthetics. In this course, we will study the various theories of value proposed by these two Austrian schools, with a particular consideration of the second one. We will evaluate the different definitions of values proposed, e.g. in terms of desires (Ehrenfels), feelings (Meinong), or correct emotions (Brentano),  the axiological conceptions of the good, the bad, and the better, and the different accounts of the deontic categories of the right, the wrong, the required, the forbidden, and the permitted, that follow from these conceptions. Since value theory in the Austrian tradition is based on the centrality of acts of valuation, we will start our investigations with an introduction to the ontology of these acts. Such an ontology was developed by Brentano under the label of “descriptive psychology”, dealing with the classification of mental acts. For the purpose of this course, a special consideration will be given to acts of love and hate, which are the basic acts of valuation.

Chris Gauker: Imagistic Cognition (seminar)  

We often solve problems by means of mental images. For instance, if we need to replace the washer in a faucet, we can take the faucet apart, form visual images of the various parts as they come apart, and recall in imagery the order in which the parts came apart, and then, after we have replaced the washer, we can play this mental movie in reverse in order to put the faucet back together again. This kind of cognition is very different from the reasoning by means sentence-like thoughts bearing propositional content that has been the focus of philosophical and psychological theory.  This course will be a philosophical examination of the nature of such imagistic cognition. One question will be whether we can demonstrate on the basis of behavioral evidence that there really are representations that behave like mental images. Another question concerns the nature of the representation relation for mental images. Should we say that mental images are isomorphic to what they represent? May we model them as locations in a imagistic similarity space? Do mental images have a propositional content? Further questions include: Can a visual mental image represent the three-dimensional shape of an object? Must we be conscious of our mental imagery? Is mental imagery constitutive of what we call imagination or pretense? How can we tell the difference between a mental movie that represents something that could actually happen (such as a wine glass falling and shattering) and a mental movie that represents pure fantasy (such as a wine glass falling and turning into a bird and flying away)? In what sense can our mental imagery constitute knowledge?
The literature for the course will be drawn from both psychologists and philosophers. Johannes

Johannes Brandl and Josef Perner: Views of Action - How do we make sense of human action? (seminar) 

How do we make sense of human action? In this seminar, we compare some of the currently discussed theories which offer widely different answers to that question: According to the dominant belief-desire model, actions are generated from what an agent wants and believes to be the case. According to the goal-based model, one can make sense of an action simply by recognizing the goal that performing the action realizes, irrespective of whether the goal is conceived as a worthwhile result. Finally, the evaluative teleological model assumes that we understand goal-directed behavior as a human action basically when we regard the action as something that ought to be done to achieve some good. We will consider the advantages and disadvantages of each view both from a conceptual (philosophical) and an empirical (developmental) point of view.



sommersemester

Brett Topey & Julien Murzi: Epistemology of the A Priori (lecture course with exercises)  
How we can acquire knowledge about the world around us seems clear enough: we do so by observing. But not all of our knowledge can be acquired this way. We seem to know, for instance, that all reptiles are are animals, that 5 is a prime number, and that slavery is morally abhorrent, and none of those facts seems like something we can come to know by observation. Our knowledge of them, then, must somehow be independent of experience. But is this sort of knowledge really possible? If so, how? What, if anything, explains our ability to get at the truth in these domains? In this course, students will investigate possible answers to these questions by examining historical and contemporary work on the nature of a priori knowledge.

Charlotte Werndl: Philosophy of Physics (seminar)  

This seminar will provide an introduction to the philosophy of physics. We will begin with discussing Newtonian physics, in particular, determinism and indeterminism, and absolute versus relative space and time. Then we will turn to chaos theory, the limits of predictability, and finally to some problems in the foundations of classical statistical mechanics. Then we will continue with the philosophy of special relativity: Minkowski space-time, the meaning of the relativity principle, and the verifiability principle and (if time allows) also conceptual problems in general relativity theory such as the rise and fall of Euclidean geometry and Mach's principle.

Leonhard Menges: Skepticism about Responsibility (seminar)

When we blame a person for a mayor wrongdoing or a minor fault we seem to presuppose that she is responsible for what she did. Similarly, our legal systems presuppose that those who are punished are responsible for their illegal conduct. But are these presuppositions correct? Some philosophers have developed powerful arguments to the conclusion that (almost) no human being is responsible in the way that is necessary for being appropriately blamed or punished. In this seminar we will discuss recent attempts to establish this conclusion as well as some of the most promising replies.

Iulian Toader:  The development of modern metaphysics (seminar)  

This seminar examines the work of some major figures in the history of modern metaphysics: Descartes, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Nietzsche, Frege, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine, and Lewis. Our main interest will be in uncovering connections of ideas and patterns of argumentation that we can appropriate for a better understanding of contemporary debates in metaphysics. We will also be looking at methodological and epistemological views about metaphysics and its interaction with modern science and mathematics, with an eye towards reconsidering current disputes on the naturalization of contemporary metaphysics. Most of our readings will be drawn from A. W. Moore’s The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics: Making Sense of Things, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Patricia Palacio: Reduction and Emergence in the Sciences (seminar)  

The topic of emergence and reduction is nowadays one of the liveliest areas of research in both science and philosophy. The reason for this is related with recent developments in a number of successful research programs within physics, biology, chemistry and social sciences. These developments have encouraged us to rethink the relationship between complex entities and their parts as well as the relationship between different theories and, in this way, to revise claims about reduction and emergence in science. In this course we will address issues concerning this topic from an inter-disciplinary perspective. We will begin with the study of contemporary classics that will allow us to grasp the concept of emergence and reduction, then move forward to analyse potential examples of emergence in physics, continue with the discussion of potential examples of emergence in biology, and lastly, consider possible examples of reduction in economics. The main goal of this course is to introduce students to recent discussions in emergence and reduction in different sciences. Since technicalities will be kept to a minimum, scientific background is not required.

  • News
    Ebensee ist bekannt, sowohl als historischer Ort der Salzverarbeitung, als auch des Konzentrationslagers im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Weit weniger bekannt ist die über 100-jährge Geschichte der Textilindustrie im Ort. Hunderte von Frauen waren über mehrere Generationen in der zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts gegründeten Spinnerei und Weberei tätig.
    Vergangenen Samstag, den 17. November 2018 wurde an den Arbeits- und Sozialrechtler Elias Felten und den Philosophen Michael Zichy, beide Universität Salzburg, der Kardinal-Innitzer-Förderpreis verliehen.
    Bühne frei für Ideen und Projekte, die euch am Herzen liegen! Eine Vernetzungsangelegenheit der besonderen Art bietet euch das Career Center am 20.11.2018 beim Fair & Creative Matching Event.
    Das Wissen für morgen schon heute erleben – mit diesem Ziel erarbeiten universitäre und außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtungen in der Science City Itzling neue Vermittlungsformate.
    Im Rahmen von Wissenschaft-Praxis-Kooperationen für Unterrichtskonzepte mit digitalen Medien wird das Projekt EXBOX-Digital - Entwicklung und Evaluation von digitalen Experimentierboxen für den Chemie- und Physikunterricht der Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften an der PLUS School of Education durch die Robert Bosch Stiftung gefördert.
    Herr Dr. Sven Th. Schipporeit (Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Universität Wien) hält zu diesem Thema am Mi, 21. November 2018, 18.30 Uhr, in der Abgusssammlungs SR E.33, Residenzplatz 1, einen Vortrag
    Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Samuel Mössner, WWU Münster, am Mittwoch, 21.11.2018 um 18h im HS 436, Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
    Sebastian Meyer hält am 23. November 2018 um 14:00 Uhr im HS 436 der NW-Fakultät einen Gastvortrag zum Thema "Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships and their drivers in natural and anthropogenic systems with an emphasis on species interactions". Der Fachbereich Biowissenschaften lödt herzlich dazu ein!
    Christian Seiser hält am 26. November 2018 um 16:00 Uhr im HS 403 der NW-Fakultät einen Gastvortrag zum Thema "Histone deacetylases HDAC1 and HDAC2 as regulators of cell fate decisions". Der Fachbereich Biowissenschaften und das ICA laden herzlich dazu ein!
    Am 26.11. um 18 Uhr findet im Europasaal der Edmundsburg ein DSP Get-together statt. Dazu wollen wir alle DissertantInnen der Universität Salzburg herzlich einladen.
    The workshop aims to examine the musicality of the body and vice versa the corporeality of music from a choreographic perspective. This approach corresponds with the extension of the concept of music as well as the questioning of performance traditions in the context of New Music, which also puts a stronger emphasis on the body.
    The relatively young democracy Poland, whose political climate has intensified considerably since the last elections, is also moving increasingly to the fore. Politically critical leaders of representative cultural organisations have been and continue to be replaced by the new administration, while independent creative artists appear to be able to find niches so far or already live outside the country.
    Vortrag von Felix Silomon-Pflug am Mittwoch, 28.11.2018 um 18:00 Uhr im HS 436, 3. Stock der Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät, Hellbrunnerstraße 34
    Der Verein H.A.U.S. schenkt an zwei Tagen Punsch und Glühwein beim Advent am Alten Markt aus: Mittwoch, 28.11. und Donnerstag 29.11. Wir bieten sowohl Antialkoholisches als auch Hochprozentiges an, kulinarische Köstlichkeiten aus biologischer Landwirtschaft und Weihnachtsgebäck von lokalen Bäckern.
    Vom 29.11. bis 01.12.2018 im Unipark Nonntal
    Das Symposion der Katholische-Theologischen Fakultät findet am 29. und 30. November anlässlich der Aufhebung im Jahre 1938 statt. Veranstaltungsort ist der Hörsaal 101 der Theologischen Fakultät, Universitätsplatz 1.
    Salzburger Innovationstagung 2018 am 29.11.2018 ab 15 Uhr in der Großen Universitätsaula – ITG, Land Salzburg, Wirtschaftskammer und Salzburger Hochschulkonferenz
    Das Schlagwort "Open Access" ist nicht neu. Seit Jahren schon ist es in aller Munde und wird allerorts kontrovers diskutiert. Oft bleibt es jedoch lediglich beim philosophischen Theoretisieren, man ist es inzwischen fast schon müde. Was nun wirklich erforderlich ist, ist konkretes Handeln! Dr. Fund zeigt deshalb praxisnahe Wege und Möglichkeiten auf, die sich jetzt für Forscherinnen und Forscher ergeben.
    Am 30. November im Rahmen der Tagung Digital Humanities Austria 2018
    Ingrid Kohl hält am 30. November 2018 um 14:00 Uhr im HS 411 der NW-Fakultät einen Gastvortrag zum Thema "Forschung im Wildnisgebiet Dürrenstein". Der Fachbereich Biowissenschaften lödt herzlich dazu ein!
    Das DSP-Kolleg Popular Culture Studies veranstaltet im WS 2018/19 eine Ringvorlesung mit dem Titel "Approaches in Popular Culture Studies".
    Am 6. Dezember 2018 finden an der Universität Salzburg die WTZ Training Days zum Thema Kommunikation, Dissemination und Verbreitung in H2020-Projekten statt.
  • Veranstaltungen
  • 21.11.18 Zeit und Kult in der Gründungsphase der neuen Polis Rhodos
    22.11.18 Affine vs. Euclidean isoperimetric inequalities
    27.11.18 CHOREOGRAPHING SOUND The Body as an Instrument and Visceral Soundtrack
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