103rd Annual Meeting of The Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology
New Orleans, Louisiana
March 10-12, 2011

The Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology invites submission of papers for its annual meeting March 10-12, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The submission deadline is November 1, 2010. Founded in 1904, SSPP promotes philosophy and psychology by facilitating the exchange of ideas among those engaged in these fields of inquiry. Papers on any philosophical topic are welcome. Topics that have
cross-discipline appeal are especially suitable. For more information on the 2011 meeting see: http://southernsociety.org/annualmeeting.htm

Recent PhDs and ABD graduate students in philosophy, theology, psychology, or cognitive science are invited to apply for the 2011 Purdue Summer Seminar on Perceptual, Moral, and Religious Skepticism to be held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN from June 8th to June 24th, 2011. The seminar will be directed by Michael Bergmann (Purdue) and the guest speakers will be Justin Barrett (Oxford) and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke).

The topics of the seminar are:
EPISTEMOLOGY: The epistemology of perceptual, moral, and religious belief
SKEPTICISM: Responses to skepticism about perceptual, moral, and religious belief
DISAGREEMENT: Moral and religious disagreement as grounds for unbelief
EVOLUTION: Evolutionary accounts of moral and religious belief as reasons for skepticism

CFP: Reasons of Love
By S. Matthew Liao

International Conference, Institute of Philosophy,
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium),
30 May-1 June 2011

This conference’s title is ambiguous on purpose. The relationship between love and reasons for action is highly interesting and complicated. It is not clear how love is related to reasons. Love might be a response to certain normative reasons, since it seems fitting to love certain objects. However, love also seems to create reasons and not to be a response to certain appropriate reasons. Love’s relationship to morality is also complex. It is not clear how the normative reasons for acting morally are related to the reasons of love. It is sometimes argued that love is not a virtue because the reasons for acting morally are not the same as the reasons for acting lovingly. But the notion of ‘unprincipled virtue’ seems to make room for love as a motive of morally praiseworthy actions.

Do moral judgments form a psychological natural kind? Lately, Stephen Stich and his colleagues have been arguing on the basis of empirical evidence that the features psychologists have identified as key to moral judgment do not, as a matter of fact, cluster together in a lawlike fashion. In particular, they argue that harm attributions do not always evoke the signature moral response pattern of authority-independence and generality, and conclude that since the purported nomological cluster breaks down, moral judgments do not form a natural kind. Their argument, of course, leaves open the possibility that there is some other cluster to be found. I am not a big believer in nomological clusters, but I will propose an alternative content feature that does seem to pair with the signature moral pattern in a lawlike fashion. Namely, it seems that whenever people take a piece of behaviour to express, in context, any of a set of attitudes that ranges from disrespect to debasement, the signature moral pattern is evoked. (As usual, I’ll just focus on wrongness judgments.) In short, people are intuitive deontologists, and for all that Stich says, there may be a psychological natural kind of moral judgment. My alternative model involves commitment to a commonsense cultural relativism, but one of an entirely innocuous kind that poses no threat to moral objectivism. To distinguish it from standard or deference relativism, I’ll call it significance relativism.

Hi all, I just wanted to call your attention to the following:

Call For Papers
Spindel Prize for Emerging Scholar in Philosophy
2010 Spindel Conference Topic: Empathy and Ethics
Conference Director: Remy Debes

The University of Memphis Department of Philosophy is proud to announce that the topic for the 29th annual Spindel Conference will be “Empathy and Ethics.”

Krebs on Dialogical Love
By S. Matthew Liao

Professor Angelika Krebs (University of Basel) will be giving a talk on Monday, Feb. 22, at the Oxford Moral Philosophy Seminar entitled “Dialogical Love.” A copy of Professor Kreb’s talk can be found here. Professor Krebs would welcome any comments/suggestions. Here’s an abstract of her talk:

I just finished a draft of a paper called “Bias and Reasoning: Haidt’s Theory of Moral Judgment.” Eventually, the final version of the paper will go into an edited collection called New Waves in Ethics, edited by Thom Brooks. In the meantime, I’d be really interested to learn what some of you think of this paper. An abstract of the paper is as follows:

Continuum Ethics
A series of books exploring key topics in contemporary ethics and moral philosophy.

Continuum Ethics presents a series of books that will bridge the gap between new research work and undergraduate textbooks. They will provide close examination of key concepts in contemporary moral philosophy. Aimed largely at upper-level undergraduates and research students, they will also appeal to researchers in the field. Authors will be expected to combine philosophical sophistication with an accessible style that can engage the educated reader.

In this post, all too long and speculative, I will examine how a sentimentalist theory of moral thinking could exploit and improve recently popular theories of universal moral grammar, developed by John Mikhail, Susan Dwyer, Marc Hauser’s group, Gilbert Harman and Erica Roedder, and others. I’ll be drawing mostly on Mikhail’s 2009 ‘Moral Grammar and Intuitive Jurisprudence’, in Psychology of Learning and Motivation 50, 27–100 for moral grammar. The sentimentalist theory I sketch is my own, though heavily inspired by Adam Smith. It is independently motivated, but I believe it does a better job of explaining our intuitions than other views that highlight the role of emotions.

Thinking About Reasons
By Antti Kauppinen

Expressivist accounts of normative judgment typically (always?) begin with all-things-considered verdicts: Hurrah (helping old ladies cross the road)! Boo (getting your little brother to murder)! But of course, many normative thoughts are not all-things-considered. I think there is some reason for me to go to bed early, and some reason for me not to do so. When I deliberate, I try to figure out which of these is stronger, and so arrive at an all-things-considered judgment.

Here is a partial list of things that an account of thoughts about reasons should explain:

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