[SydPhil] From Metaphysics to Aesthetics conference. @ The University of Sydney, December 14

Kristie Miller kristie.miller at sydney.edu.au
Thu Dec 7 08:33:01 AEDT 2023

All are welcome! 

From Metaphysics to Aesthetics Workshop
N 494, Dec 14, The University of Sydney
Mark Colyvan, Sydney 

“Why mathematical explanation is not all in the head”
Abstract: A natural enough thought when it comes to intra-mathematical explanations (i.e. explanations of one mathematical fact in terms of more mathematics) is that these are in some sense pseudo-explanations. After all, explanation within mathematics operates rather differently from explanations in science and every-day life. For a start, mathematical explanations are not causal nor do they support the counterfactuals usually associated with explanation. When mathematicians offer an explanation of some mathematical fact, are they speaking figuratively? Or perhaps they have a more psychological notion of explanation in mind: one which has more to do with the expertise and knowledge base of a particular agent than anything objective in the mathematics. In this paper I will argue against this psychological reading of intra-mathematical explanation, thus clearing the way for a more objective account of mathematical explanation.
Sam Baron, ACU
10.45 – 11.55 
Causal Set Theory and Temporal Passage
Causal set theory is a promising approach to quantum gravity. According to some physicists and philosophers, causal set theory also provides a physical basis for temporal passage. We argue against this passage-friendly interpretation of causal set theory and in favour of a ‘block’ interpretation of the view.
12.00-1.00 LUNCH
Brad Skow, MIT 
Title: Internal vs external: value, interpretation, humor, and style.
Abstract: Why-questions about stories, like “Why did Elizabeth and Mr Darcy fall in love?” have both internal readings, where answers must cite things that are true in the world of the story, and external readings, where answers may cite facts about the actual world: the desires of the author or the needs of the audience. When an internal question lacks a good answer, leaving the answer to the corresponding external question to pick up the slack, that’s a flaw in story. This principle is defended, and applications are made to interpretation, humor, and style.
Kristie Miller
Episodic Imagining, Temporal Experience, and Beliefs about Time
People differentially report both (a) believing that time robustly passes and (b) experiencing time as robustly passing. Some explanation of these differential reports is required whether one thinks that time does in fact robustly pass or (as I do) that it does not. In this paper we consider the connection (if any) between the ability to mentally time travel, and the extent to which people report that it seems to them in experience as though time robustly passes, and the extent to which they believe that time does robustly pass. We will present two new studies that probe this connection. According to the episodic vividness hypothesis, a greater capacity for vivid episodic imagining will be associated with a greater tendency to report both these aforementioned seemings and beliefs because greater episodic vividness will tend to produce greater emotional salience and this will tend to make it more likely that people report future events as approaching and past ones as receding. According to the mental time travel hypothesis, the more that people are able to vividly episodically imagine events the better their capacity for mental time travel, and the more people are able to mentally time travel the less they will tend to report either of the aforementioned seemings or beliefs, because that capacity will tend to diminish people’s sense of being stuck in time and unable to take alternative temporal perspectives. Our studies found evidence in favour of the episodic vividness hypothesis, and against the mental time travel hypothesis. 
Sam Shpall, Sydney
Professor Kristie Miller
Chair of Discipline,
Joint Director, the Centre for Time
School of Humanities,
The Centre for Time
The University of Sydney
Sydney Australia
Room S213, A 14 Main Quad

kristie.miller at sydney.edu.au
kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Ph: +612 9036 9663

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