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Planning underway for Spring 2014 IOS Seminar in Philosophy


I’m happy to report that plans are under way for an IOS Spring Seminar in Philosophy—date, time, and location TBA, but tentatively planned for spring or early summer of 2014.

kaspar.intuitionismIn keeping with our recent seminar focus on epistemology, the topic will be “Perception and Intuition,” as understood both within Objectivism and within the Anglo-American ‘analytic’ tradition, and focusing on recent and forthcoming work by David Kaspar (St. John’s University), David Kelley (Atlas Society), and myself. Among the questions to be addressed:

–What, exactly, is “perception,” whether as Objectivists understand that term, or as analytic philosophers do?

–What is the difference, as Objectivists put it, between “perception” and “perceptual judgment”? What, exactly, is the object of perception, and how does perceptual content provide the basis for conceptual knowledge?

–What is an “intuition”? What epistemic work do intuitions do, and how (if at all) do they do it?

–It’s often asserted that intuitionism is either false or useless because people’s intuitions differ, and further appeal to intuitions can’t resolve the differences we have. How good an objection is this? How do intuitionists handle it?

–Do recent findings in cognitive science undermine the reliability of perception, perceptual judgment, or intuitions?

–Are intuitions an ineliminable feature of thought and argumentation? If we do away with them, what’s left?

–What role, if any, does perceptual judgment play in the formation of moral judgment? Is an empiricist moral epistemology ultimately committed to making moral judgments on the basis of physical appearance? If so, what role do such moral judgments play? What role shouldn’t they play?

Like our fall event, the spring seminar will be a day-long event, but divided three ways. The first part of the event will be an author-meets-critics session with David Kaspar, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, and author of the recently-published book, Intuitionism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012). Here’s a recent review by Kaspar in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews  on “the new intuitionism.”

The second part of the event will focus on recent work by David Kelley (Atlas Society), on the perception of causality, based on Kelley’s 1986 book, The Evidence of the Senses, and related work on concept-formation.

The third part of the event will focus on a (currently) nascent project of mine on the relation between moral judgment and perceptual judgments of physical appearance. Here’s a version of that project I presented at the 2012 Felician Ethics Conference. Here’s coverage by blogger Ari Schulman of The New Atlantis of a version I presented in 2011 at the International Society for MacIntyrean Enquiry, along with my response, and a rejoinder by Schulman.

Things are still in the planning stages for this event, so stay tuned for more information….




  1. irfankhawaja says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I remember reading that blog post back in 2002, wanting to read the book, then losing track of the reference, and eventually forgetting where I saw it. Eleven years later….


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