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Workshop: The Theory-Ladenness of Experience (March 10th - 11th, 2011)

Workshop Title

The aim of the conference is to bring together philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists whose work contributes to our understanding of the scope and limits of theory-ladenness phenomena, where these are broadly construed to include the domains of perception, scientific evidence and language. We hope that the resulting synergy will help provide novel and fruitful answers to questions like the following: Is perception cognitively penetrable and, if so, how? Does the choice of scientific theory affect how we select, interpret and assess the evidential worth of data from experiments? Under what circumstances can we doubt the veridicality of scientific instruments? Can we draw a sharp distinction between terms that are theoretical and those that are observational? We thus expect that the talks will deal with one or more of the following topics: the modularity of mind, nonconceptual content, the epistemology of evidence and the semantics of observational terms.

Date: March 10-11, 2011

Place: Faculty of Philosophy, Building: 23.21, Room: 00.46a

Organizer/s: Gerhard Schurz, Michela Tacca and Ioannis Votsis

Funding: This conference is financed by the DFG (German Research Association).





March 10, 2011

Allan Franklin (Colorado) Theory Ladenness and the Epistemology of Experiment (abstract)


coffee break


Ioannis Votsis (Duesseldorf) How Similarity Unveils the World


coffee break

11:50–12:20 F.A. Muller (Rotterdam) A Logical Analysis of Theory-Ladenness

lunch break

14:00–15:00 Michela Tacca (Duesseldorf) Cognitive Penetrability and the Content of Perception (abstract)
15:00–15:10 coffee break
15:10–15:40 Eva Schmidt (Saarlande) Does Conceptual Content Have to be Objective? A Defence of Nonconceptualism (abstract)
15:40–15:50 coffee break
15:50–16:50 Athanassios Raftopoulos (Cyprus) Theory Ladenness of Perception, Concepts, and Cognitive Impenetraility of Perception (abstract)
16:50–17:00 coffee break
17:00–18:00 William Brewer (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) Naturalized Approaches to Theory Ladenness: Evidence from Cognitive Psychology History, and the Ecological Validity Argument (abstract)
March 11, 2011

Martin Kusch (Vienna) Hallucinations and Microscopes: Comments on Bas van Fraassen's Recent Work on Observability  (abstract)


coffee break


Gerhard Schurz (Duesseldorf) Ostensive Learnability as Criterion for Theory-Neutral “Observation” Concepts  (abstract)

11:40–11:50 coffee break

Vincent Israel-Jost (IHPST) Epistemological Consequences of the Problem of Theory-Ladenness of Experience (abstract)

12:20–14:00 lunch break
14:00–14:30 Guillaume Maranda (Bristol) Begging the Question: A Reason to Worry about Theory-Dependence’ (abstract)
14:30–14:40 coffee break
14:40–15:40 Markus Werning (Bochum) How alien are concepts to perception? Contrasting the symbolic with the emulative view of concepts. (abstract)
15:40–15:50 coffee break
15:50–16:20 Ellen Fridland (Humboldt)Perception, Skill and Cognitive Penetrability (abstract)

coffee break

16:30–17:30 Robert McCauley (Emory) Maturationally Natural Cognition and Radically Counter-Intuitive Science (abstract)