[SydPhil] Dr Talia Morag, Agora Online Speaker Series, Thursday September 17th, 3.30 to 5.30 PM AEST

Glenda Satne glendasatne at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 13:45:52 AEST 2020

Dr Talia Morag (University of Wollongong) will deliver two talks in the Agora Speaker Series on Thursday 17 September, 3.30 to 5.30 PM AEST
Undergraduate Talk: Changing our behaviour in response to reason <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/ngr8CP7LAXfnY4Yxsz4Ioe?domain=uow.edu.au>
Sometimes we judge our behaviours as inappropriate, for example when we are yelling in anger at someone who did not wrong us, or when we treat someone as stupid because of their gender or race. Many of us, who cherish our rationality, expect those behaviours to be eliminated as a result of our arguing against them. Sometimes reasoning seems to have that desired effect, but often it does not. How can we explain this partial responsiveness to reason? In this talk I present the two main rival views in philosophy and social psychology and their capacity to make sense or to explain this peculiar feature: one assumes the processes that cause such behaviours are associative and the second assumes they are rational. I will discuss the strengths of each approach and show that ultimately this debate cannot be settled empirically but is rather a matter of the vision one has on human psychology.
Research Talk: Freud, Hume, and the New Associationism <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/ngr8CP7LAXfnY4Yxsz4Ioe?domain=uow.edu.au>
This paper examines contemporary associationism as a response to the explanatory challenge posed by reason recalcitrant behaviours, that do not subside despite the agent’s disavowal (e.g. recalcitrant emotions, recalcitrant biases). Social psychologists and philosophers characterize these behaviours as “implicit”: automatic and not intentional actions, which can be experimentally observed without people being aware that these are the behaviours that are being observed. Contemporary associationists [e.g. Payne and Gawronski 2010, Gendler2008a, b] posit processes involving similarities and contiguities that are meant to reliably cause certain behaviours in certain circumstances, instilled in us through conditioning, and that are insensitive to reason or evidence.
However, a growing body of evidence shows that implicit behaviours sometimes respond to reasoning or evidence. Other empirical considerations undermine the presupposed reliability of associative processes and the conditioning that supposedly governs their manner of operation.
This paper addresses these empirical challenges by appropriating insights and oversights of two figures from the history of associationism, one familiar, Hume, and one surprising, Freud.
I propose a new psychological associationism that 1) is not a global theory of mind like Hume’s, nor a theory of all “implicit” behaviours, but, inspired by Freud, limits its domain to affective behaviours (emotions, moods, sexuality, laughter); 2) embraces the “reproducibility crisis” and its conclusion that (affective) implicit behaviours, are relatively unreliable. Hume’s and Freud’s critics were right – associationist psychology is not scientific, even if empirical, an apparent oxymoron this paper aims to dissipate; 3) emphasizes, like Hume, the imaginative nature of associations, playing down the importance of contiguity in favour of similarity and other imaginative associations that one can find in Freud’s writings; and 4) adopts and re-constructs Freud’s “primary processes” of “condensation” and “displacement.”
I argue that this new associationism can account for both the reason recalcitrance and reason responsiveness of affective implicit behaviours.
All are welcome to participate. Please find below instructions on how to register for anyone interested to attend.
·         In their on-line format, the research seminar will follow directly on from the undergraduate talk, with a 5 minutes break in between, when everyone will remain connected to the Zoom session. We have allocated the full 2-hour block for both talks and the Q&A sessions.
          In order to participate in Agora Speaker Series events, you will be required to register via the button link found on the page here <https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/AoLFCQnMBZfLG6GWtPdVaw?domain=uow.edu.au> and you will receive an email confirming your registration.
·         Prior to the event, registered participants will be contacted with further information, including the Access Code for the Webinar.
·         Please note that our team will be using Zoom to host this webinar and – if you do not already have Zoom installed it is advised, though not necessary, that you download the software to you device.
·         This webinar is scheduled to be recorded and will be uploaded to UOW owned websites and/or platforms, noting that the Q&A session may be edited for privacy reasons. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please contact us at sola-enquiries at uow.edu.au <mailto:sola-enquiries at uow.edu.au>
·         The session chair will explain any additional rules and expected norms of engagement to participants at the outset of sessions.

The Agora Speaker Series is proudly hosted by
The School of Liberal Arts
Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities  
University of Wollongong 
NSW 2522 Australia
SOLA Enquiries sola-enquiries at uow.edu.au <mailto:sola-enquiries at uow.edu.au>
T +61 2 4221 4160
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