20 June 2017 from 09:00 to 18:00

Workshops: Perspectives on Realism & The Use and Abuse of Psychology

© iStockphoto.com/jeffbergen
© iStockphoto.com/jeffbergen

Accompanying the defences of the PhD theses by drs. Tom Giesbers (Philosophy) and Peter Sperber MA (Philosophy), two workshops will be held on 20 June entitled Perspectives on Realism and The Use and Abuse of Psychology: Historical (and contemporary) perspectives. Giesbers will defend his PhD thesis on 19 June, Sperber's defence will take place on 21 June, all are welcome to both the workshops and the defences.

Perspectives on Realism

The period around 1800, normally viewed as the high time of philosophical idealism, is also a period of intense debate between idealists and realists – the latter reacting upon the idealists' ideas, but also developing and forcefully promoting their own position. This form of realism is highly interesting because in many respects it does not coincide with contemporary associations with the term "realism", and because it allows for a particularly lively insight into the philosophical (and also some theological and aesthetic) debates in the period around 1800. This workshop will present perspectives on realism from both historical and contemporary perspectives.


9:00 Coffee and tea

9:15 Paul Ziche (Utrecht): Opening

9:20-9:50 Tom Giesbers (Utrecht): Key Passages in German Realism

9:50-10:35 Jan-Willem Romeijn (Groningen): Realism about Mental Disorders (with links to van Fraassen, Poincaré's conventionalism, and "structural empiricism"

Coffee break

10:50-11:30 Frederick Beiser (Syracuse): tba

11:30-12:15 John van Houdt (Tilburg): Negative realism or realism about negativity? The Hegel-Jacobi polemic

12:15-13:00 Peter Jonkers (Tilburg): The (im)possibility of Philosophical Critique. Confronting Kant, Hegel, and Jacobi

Lunch break

The Use and Abuse of Psychology: Historical (and contemporary) perspectives

As a result of the psychologism-debates at the beginning of the twentieth century, philosophers in this century for the most part took it for granted that there was little to be learned from empirical psychologists for the sake of answering philosophical questions. In comparison to earlier centuries, this was a rather dramatic change, for during the entire Enlightenment and the nineteenth century, many philosophers (including figures as influential as Locke, Hume, Condillac, James and J.S. Mill, and Brentano) had believed that significant progress could be made in philosophy by means of an empirical study of the human mind.

Revival of empirical psychology

Interestingly, in recent decades there seems to have been somewhat of a revival of this idea: under categories such as Naturalized Epistemology and Moral Psychology, developments in empirical psychology are discussed extensively, and influential authors such as Tyler Burge, Tim Crane, and John Doris have in recent years argued for the necessity of taking research from empirical psychology more seriously in philosophical discussions on many topics.

Empirical psychology in philosophy

The use of psychological research in philosophy, however, raises difficult questions about the relationships between philosophical and psychological research, and about what methodological role (if any) results from empirical psychology can and should play in philosophical debates. In this workshop we will discuss such questions predominantly from both historical perspectives. The format of the workshop is intended to stimulate, initiated by short statements, active discussions in which we tend to relate these questions to more contemporary debates.


14:30-14:45 Peter Sperber: Introduction

14:45-15:15 Statements: Frederick Beiser (Syracuse), Chris Meyns (Utrecht)

15:15-15:45: Discussion

15:45-16:00: Coffee break

16:00-16:30 Statements II: Thomas Sturm (Barcelona), Paul Ziche (Utrecht)

16:30-17:00 Discussion

17:30 Reception

Start date and time
20 June 2017 09:00
End date and time
20 June 2017 18:00
Entrance fee
Free of charge