[SydPhil] Invitation: USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk: Lok-Chi Chan @ Tue 18 Jun 2013 15:00 - 16:30 (sydphil at arts.usyd.edu.au)

Simon Varey simonvarey at gmail.com
Tue Jun 11 21:59:55 AEST 2013

You have been invited to the following event.

Title: USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk: Lok-Chi Chan
USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk: Johann Harriman

Title: Causal Role Changing and the Unknowability of Fundamental  
Properties: Assessing Lewis and Langton

Rae Langton and David Lewis have proposed an epistemic humility thesis that  
we can only know about the causal roles of things but not their  
intrinsic/fundamental properties. Langton’s framework is a controversial  
interpretation of Kant. It argues that we can only know things though being  
causally affected, but the causal properties are irreducible to the  
intrinsic properties, and therefore the intrinsic properties are  
unknowable. Lewis’s framework is an exploration of the Ramsey-Carnap-Lewis  
account of theoretical terms. It argues that the fundamental theoretical  
terms in the perfect science are multiply realizable, and therefore their  
realizers are unknowable. Despite their difference in background, they both  
use arguments whose premises involve the possibility of role changing – the  
possibility that the same intrinsic/fundamental property can realize  
different causal roles in other possible worlds. I present a new model of  
laws of nature which is different from the classical ones, i.e. the strong  
law model and the reductionist model. It might show that Langton’s argument  
might be unsound, and Lewis’s argument might be weakened. I will then  
suggest a new way to modify Lewis’s argument to retain its argumentative  
power in the face of the model.
When: Tue 18 Jun 2013 15:00 – 16:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Philosophy Common Room, Main Quad, University of Sydney
Calendar: sydphil at arts.usyd.edu.au
     * Simon Varey- creator
     * sydphil at arts.usyd.edu.au

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