Seminar: Gabriella Pigozzi, April 16th, 2015, IHPST (Paris, France)

On April 16th, Gabriella Pigozzi (LAMSADE, Université Paris-Dauphine) is invited in the seminar of the team Décision, Rationalité, Interaction (IHPST) (from 5.00 to 7.00 pm, seminar room of the department of cognitive studies of École Normale Supérieure, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris). The title of her presentation will be “A Framework for Norm Change” (joint work with Leon van der Torre, Université du Luxembourg)

Abstract: The focus of this talk is the social/organizational structure of a multiagent system, and in particular norms and normative behavior. Normative systems must be able to evolve over time, for example due to actions creating or removing norms in the system. The only formal framework to evaluate and classify normative system change methods is the so-called AGM framework of theory change, which has originally been developed as a framework to describe and classify both belief and normative system change. However, it has been used for belief change only, since the beliefs or norms are represented as propositional formulas. We take AGM theory change as a framework to evaluate the dynamics of rule based systems, to replace propositional formulas in the AGM framework of theory change by pairs of propositional formulas, representing the rule based character of norms, and to add several principles from the input/output logic framework. In this new framework, we show that results from belief base dynamics can be transferred to rule base dynamics, but that a similar transfer of AGM theory change to rule change is much more problematic.

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Seminar: Alexander Bird & Stephen Downes, April 13th, 2015, TINT (Helsinki, Finland)

On April 13th the topic of the next session of the Agora for Interdisciplinary Debate organised by TINT‘s research seminar will be “Human nature concepts and explaining human behavior” (from 4.15 to 6.00 pm, U40, 3rd floor, room 6). Discutants will be  Alexander Bird (University of Bristol) and Stephen Downes (University of Utah).

Description of topic: Philosophers of biology and evolutionary biologists have expressed skepticism about human nature concepts. David Hull summarized some of these concerns and elaborated on them in his 1986 paper “On Human Nature”. Hull argues here that human nature is an essentialist notion and has no explanatory use. Human nature is still appealed to by anthropologists and psychologists and several philosophers have recently re-examined the notions of human nature appealed to in these fields. Philosophers such as Edouard Machery and Richard Samuels defend the notions of human nature that they find appealed to by social scientists. Both philosophers maintain that the notions of human nature that they delineate avoid the charge of essentialism presented by Hull and others. Some, such as Timothy Lewens and Grant Ramsey, still maintain that these recently delineated notions of human nature are flawed. They point out that these new human nature concepts do not do well in the face of human variation. Ramsey, along with Paul Griffiths and Elizabeth Cashdan, proposes a concept of human nature that is supposed to encompass human variation. Ramsey proposes and defends a highly encompassing notion of human nature, which is that human nature consists of all the possible life histories of all humans. There is still room for much discussion on the viability of human nature concepts. In this session we will introduce some of the challenges the various human nature concepts confront and guide discussion on these topics.

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Seminar: André Orléan, April 13th, 2015, EconomiX (Paris, France)

On April 13th, André Orléan (CNRS, EHESS, Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques) will present one of his works in the seminar Economie et Philosophie de l’Exploitation organised by Economix and Sophiapol (from 3.00 pm to 5.00, Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre – La Défense, 200, Avenue de la République, G Building, room A 304). The title of his presentation will be “Valeur, monnaie et exploitation : être fidèle à Marx en le critiquant ?” .

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Seminar: Elliot Sober, April 8th, 2015, CPNSS-LSE (London, United Kingdom)

On April 8th, Elliot Sober (University of Wisconsin–Madison) is invited in the research seminar of the Choice Group of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS) (London School of Economics) (from 5.30 to 7.00 pm, LAK.2.06, 2nd floor of the Lakatos Building, Portugal Street). The title of his presentation will be “The Philosophical Significance of Stein’s Paradox“.

Abstract: Charles Stein discovered a paradox in 1955 that many statisticians think is of fundamental importance.  Here we explore its philosophical implications.  We outline the nature of Stein’s result and of subsequent work on shrinkage estimators; then we describe how these results are related to Bayesianism and to model selection criteria like AIC.  We also discuss their bearing on scientific realism and instrumentalism.  We argue that results concerning shrinkage estimators underwrite a surprising form of holistic pragmatism.

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Seminar: Philippe Van Parijs, April 8th, 2015, GREQAM (Marseille, France)

On Arpil 8th, Philippe Van Parijs (Université catholique de Louvain) is invited in the Economic philosophy seminar organised by GREQAM (from 1.30 to 3.30 pm, Cinéma le Miroir, Vieille Charité, Centre de la Vieille Charité, 2 rue de la Charité, Marseille). The title of his presenation will be “L’allocation universelle après trente ans : principales objections économiques et philosophiques“.

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Workshop: on Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen’s ‘Luck Egalitarianism’, May 26th-27th, 2015, Hoover Chair (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

The Hoover Chair for economic and social ethics is happy to announce a book workshop on Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen’s forthcoming book on Luck Egalitarianism.  The claims made in the book, as well as the general theoretical approach, will be critically discussed over the course of these two days, followed by replies from the author.

Speakers include:

  • Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Aarhus),
  • Zofia Stemplowska (Oxford),
  • Juliana Bidadanure (EUI),
  • David Axelsen (Aarhus/LSE),
  • Danielle Zwarthoed (Louvain),
  • Robert van der Veen (Uva),
  • Axel Gosseries (Louvain),
  • Nicholas Vrousalis (Leiden),
  • Gianfranco Pellegrino (LUISS)
  • and many others.

What: Book Workshop on Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen’s ‘Luck Egalitarianism’
When: 26/27 May 2015
Where: University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve), Belgium
Programme of the workshop:

All are welcome to attend (there is no attendance fee), but please register via, (preferably) before the 10th of May.

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Conference (Call for Papers): Causality and Modelling in the Sciences, June 29th- July 1st, 2015, UNED (Madrid, Spain)

The tenth conference in the Causality in the Sciences series of conferences will be hosted by the National University of Distance Education in Madrid from June 29th to July 1st, 2015.

Organiser: María Jimenez-Buedo (UNED, Madrid)


Both causality and modelling play a central role in the sciences. Causal inference (finding out what causes what) and causal explanation (explaining how a cause produces its effect) are major scientific tasks in fields as diverse as astrophysics, biochemistry, biomedical or social and behavioural sciences, and questions of causality are typically investigated by building models. Many models have become famous in their own right, such as Bohr’s model of the atom, still used long after the background theory was abandoned; the Lotka-Volterra model of the dynamic interactions between predator and prey; the Ising model in physics (and now econophysics) showing by simulation how phase change can be caused by a small number of parameters; the Schelling model in social sciences, demonstrating again by simulation that only a mild preference for living closer to those of similar racial origin to yourself can lead to the formation of ghettos; and the Phillips Machine built to model the macro-economy. Styles of models range from complex computational simulations to equations or groups of equations, to conceptualisations of a problem, often made more concrete in diagrams or animations. There has been recent work on many aspects of modelling, including issues that impact on the public domain, such as the appropriateness of economic models in light of the global financial crash, or the challenges of climate modelling.

Previous conferences in the Causality in the Sciences series have investigated the relationship between causality and challenging concepts such as probability, mechanisms, evidence, experimentation and complexity. This one will focus on the relationship between causality and modelling. This raises many important questions deeply embedded in the practices of the sciences:

  • What are models and how can we use them to establish or investigate causal relations?
  • Is the nature of models the same or different across scientific domains? What are the relevant distinctions between different modelling practices?
  • How should we regard formal techniques for quantitative representation of causal relations, and for data mining?
  • Can purely predictive models be useful in investigating causal systems?
  • What good are models for pedagogical purposes?
  • How should we trade off close relationship to the target system with increasing idealization and sophistication of the model?


  • Caterina Marchionni (University of Helsinki)
  • Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Charlotte Werndl (Salzburg University)


  • 15th March 2015: deadline for submission of titles and abstracts of papers for presentation at the conference

Please submit your anonymized abstract (500 words max) in doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format. Preference will be given to papers that discuss both modelling and causality, and also to papers that develop examples or case studies within the sciences.

To be emailed to Maria Jimenez-Buedo (

  • 15th April 2015: notification of acceptance.
  • 20th May 2015: deadline for receipt of early registration

Registration fee: 90 euros (early registration: 60 euros)

  • 29th June-1st July 2015: conference

Abstracts will be refereed by the CitS steering committee and the local organiser:
Isabelle Drouet, Phyllis Illari, Bert Leuridan, Julian Reiss, Federica Russo, Erik Weber, Jon Williamson together with Maria Jimenez-Buedo.

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Workshop: Social Egalitarianism and the Economy, May 21st-22nd, 2015, University of Manchester (Manchester, United-Kingdom)

The University of Manchester organizes on May 21st and 22nd, 2015, a two days workshop on Social Egalitarianism and the Economy (University of Manchester, Boardroom, Arthur Lewis Building). This workshop is the third of four workshops on Social Equality and is sponsored by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.


Growing inequality threatens social cohesion, increases social risks, and undermines people’s self-respect. While it is clear that we live in deeply inegalitarian societies, there exists wide disagreement over how best to understand the ideal of equality, and over which norms and policies should be pursued in efforts to improve the status quo. One promising answer, distinct from more familiar ‘distributive’ views, is the idea of relational or social egalitarianism, which postulates that all citizens should relate to one another as equals. But what exactly does this idea entail, and how can it inform public policy and practical politics?

This third workshop will link the often separate debates on social equality and on the political economy of a just society. It will focus on the question of what kind of political economy is most conducive to social equality, and investigate the norms and principles that should govern an economy of socially equal citizens.

Convened by Christian Schemmel (Manchester), Fabian Schuppert (QUB), Emily McTernan (UCL), and Martin O’Neill (York)

Speakers (provisional paper titles):

  • Kate Pickett (York): “Economic democracy: A convenient truth?
  • Ingrid Robeyns (Utrecht): TBA
  • Albert Weale (UCL): “What if social equality increases the inequality of wealth?”
  • Daniel Attas (Hebrew University, Jerusalem): “Expressive justice at work”
  • Steve Hood (Manchester): “Two accounts of market economies”
  • Martin O’Neill (York): “Social inequality, predistribution and the role of labour unions”
  • Christian Schemmel (Manchester): “Political, social, and market equality”


The workshop is free, but prior registration is required. Places are limited, and registration is on a first come, first served-basis.

To register, please e-mail Noemie Rouault (, with your name, institution, and any dietary requirements.

For any other question, please contact Christian Schemmel (

Event website:

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Job position: Assistant Director, George Mason University (Fairfax, United States)

The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, seeks to hire an Assistant Director.

The Assistant Director will assist the Institute Director in planning, organizing, and directing the day-to-day operations of the Institute, with a focus on development and execution of sponsored research proposals.  In this capacity the Assistant Director will work with members of the Institute to develop and prepare research proposals, help Institute members to find appropriate venues for submission of proposals, and seek collaborative research opportunities across campus, and with other partner universities and other institutions.  It is expected that the Assistant Director will participate in sponsored research with other members of the Institute, including leading his or her own research projects as appropriate.  The Assistant Director will also work with the Director to design, develop, and coordinate, Institute programs and events (e.g., topic specific workshops and conferences).  The Assistant Director will direct the work of other institute staff providing editorial assistance on Institute journals, creating and updating Institute materials, and maintaining its web page.

A Ph.D. or equivalent degree in philosophy, political theory, or policy studies is strongly preferred.  Writing and editing skills are crucial to the position.  The selected candidate should have organizational and budget management skills, and be able to effectively develop and implement programs.  The selected candidate must demonstrate initiative, as well as project management skills.  Salary is competitive.  No teaching is required for this position, but additional teaching opportunities may be available after the first year.  The position will start as soon as possible after June 1.

Applications should include (1) a letter describing the applicant’s, interests, and experience in sponsored research activities; (2) a CV; (3) samples of written work; and (4) letters of recommendation.  Applications should be sent by May 15, 2015, to

Roger Paden, Interim Director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, Mail Stop 3F1, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030.  Questions may be sent to  The Fairfax campus of George Mason University is located in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area within commuting distance by public transportation.  George Mason is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Employer.  The College of Humanities and Social Sciences particularly encourages and welcomes applications from women, minority candidates, and persons with disabilities.

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Conference (Call for Papers): 3rd International Scientific Conference on Economics, culture, values: Metaeconomics, June 18th-19th, 2015, FME (Gdańsk, Poland)

The 3rd International Scientific Conference on Economics, culture, values will be hosted by the Faculty of Management and Economics (FME) of Gdańsk University of Technology in Gdańsk, Poland from June 18th-19th, 2015. This year the conference is entitled “Metaeconomics”.

Call for Papers

What is metaeconomics? Metaeconomics is, from one hand, a philosophical analysis, problematization and (sometimes) deconstruction of the concepts, methods, cognitive patterns and scientific programs applied within the field of economics (this is the reflection in the immanent sense); on the other hand, metaeconomics implies investigating the ways how economical processes, phenomena and institutions are embedded within social structures, cultural practices, political systems and axiological frameworks, which are the traditional objects of interest of the social sciences and humanities (transcendent reflection).

The conference will focus on the several fields of the metaeconomic reflection:

I. Philosophy of economics

Contemporary philosophy of economics focuses on several pivotal topics we would like to address: how (philosophically) justified is the division between the normative and positive economics? What does “rationality” mean in economics? Should economics explain away the behavior of the subjects in terms of causes (explanation, laws of nature) or in terms of Verstehen (understanding, act of recreating of the horizons of meaning for the social agents)? What are the consequences of choosing one of the these options? To what extent ceteris paribus clause, idealizations or unrealistic assumptions which reduce the complexity of the investigate phenomena (such a rational agent) are admissible in economics? What is the economic or econometric model: a convenient tool for organizing our knowledge or simply an approximation of some real existing entities and relations? (problem of representation); In what sense economic theory is based on empirical evidence?

II. Anthropology of economics

Contemporary anthropology of economics encompasses many detailed subfields and deals with the whole gamut of problems, such as: ethnocentrism and ratiocentrism of the classical economics; mainstream economics and feministic and ecological challenges; anthropology of development; economics and the problem of human nature; culture and its influence on economics; value, gift, exchange and consumption in the anthropological perspective, etc.

III. Economic sociology

Economic sociology consists of investigating variables and economic models from the sociological perspective, thus implying that systematic investigation of the economic phenomena has at the same time take into consideration group as a basic level of analysis and accept the embeddedness of the economic relations in the social structure (Granovetter). Submitted papers may gravitate towards such subjects as: sociological models of

the market-driven behavior; institutional conditioning of the functioning of the economy; historical and comparative method in economic sociology; social structures, networks and economic sociology; social legitimization of certain macroeconomic solutions; economics in the  perspective of actor-network theory and social studies of science.

IV. Political economy

Political economy links economic questions with the problem of the socio-political organization. At the conference several issues will be particularly welcome, such as: global inequalities and the question of the (re)distributive justice; intersections of the civil society, state and the market; applications of the theories of the social and public choice to particular phenomena; ideology and economic theory; economic thought and its ties with political and social philosophy etc.

All questions and problems listed above are to be read as merely suggestions. Any interesting proposition from conference participants are welcome.

Abstracts submission deadline expires on 17th May 2015

Titled abstract should consist of 800 signs (with spaces) and key words and should be sent as an attached file to our conference e-mail address

Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Grzegorz Kołodko (Leon Koźmiński Academy, former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Finance),
  • Prof. Uskali Mäki (Helsinki University),
  • Prof. Julian Reiss (Durham University) and
  • Prof. Andrzej Rychard (Polish Academy of Sciences).

Visit conference homepage:

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