2–4 December 2015
Organizer: Lena Kästner
“Memory, time and agency”
2 December 2015, 18.30–20.00
Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Luisenstraße 56, Festsaal, 2nd floor, 10117 Berlin
Individuals with episodic amnesia and deficits in episodic future projection are frequently described as trapped in an eternal present or bound to stimuli in the here and now. I argue that individuals with medial temporal lobe damage and deficits in these capacities nonetheless retain much of their orientation in time and much of their ability to make adaptive prudential choices. These findings suggest that episodic memory might play very little role in our understanding of time and suggest alternative ways of thinking about the personal significance of episodic memory.
Workshop with Professor Carl Craver on “Patterns in science: levels, perspectives and explanations”
3–4 December 2015
Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Luisenstraße 56, Room 220 (1st floor)
Thursday, 3 December
13.30 Philipp Haueis and Lena Kästner: Welcome & Introduction
14.00 Achim Meyer: An introduction to pattern recognition
15.30 Coffee break
16.00 Joseph Rouse: Mechanisms as modal patterns
Commentary: Jan Slaby
Friday, 4 December
9.30 Philipp Haueis and Lena Kästner: Mechanisms, patterns & the ontic/epistemic distinction
Commentary: Carl Craver
11.00 Coffee break
11.30 Carl Craver: The ontic basis of network explanation
Commentary: Jens Harbecke
14.30 Markus Eronen: Real patterns without levels
Commentary: Uljana Feest and Sheldon Chow
16.00 Coffee break
16.30 Final discussion
The perhaps best-known piece on patterns in philosophy is Dennett’s “Real Patterns” (1991). Perhaps less well-known is John Haugeland’s “Pattern and Being” (1998). In his discussion of Dennett’s work, Haugeland relates the notion of pattern to topics such as understanding, explanation, and the relation of different levels.
These themes are especially interesting with regard to contemporary debates about (mechanistic) explanation, where the relation between different levels remains notoriously unclear. The question of how to relate different levels becomes ever more pressing—for both philosophers and practicing scientists—as researchers try to account for higher-level phenomena in terms of their underlying lower-level processes.
The central element of Dennett’s and Haugeland’s notion of patterns is that a pattern is always a candidate for pattern recognition, given the requisite (explanatory) perspective. This points to a central role for scientists and their methods in devising multi-level explanations in experimental practice. Especially in the context of mechanistic explanations, this issue has remained relatively unexplored.
Throughout this workshop, we aim to investigate whether the notion of patterns can be fruitfully applied to address the issues sketched above. Can we conceive of different levels of explanations as different patterns scientists see depending on the methods they use when investigating a given phenomenon? If so, what makes for a pattern and how do we recognize and relate different patterns? How does the philosophical discourse on patterns relate to pattern recognition approaches used in present-day empirical research?
Dennett, D. (1991). Real Patterns. Journal of Philosophy 88(1), 27–51.
Haugeland, J. (1998). “Pattern and Being”, in idem, Having Thought. Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (pp. 267–290).