The Burman Lectures in philosophy have been given annually by internationally leading philosophers since 1996. The lectures are arranged by the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Umeå University.
The Burman Lectures in Philosophy 2022
Perspectives, Frames, and the Coercion of Intimacy
Professor Elisabeth Camp, Rutgers University Time: 15-17 June 2022, at 13.15-15.00 PM Place: Umeå University, Hörsal F (Lecture hall F)
Abstract: In both ordinary speech and theoretical discourse, we often talk about ‘points of view’ and ‘perspectives’ to gesture toward ways in which agents differ in their interpretations of a common informational content. While such perceptual language is ubiquitous and compelling, its application to abstract domains like politics, art, and science must be metaphorical. I introduce three analogies with perception; sketch my own view of a perspective as an open-ended disposition to notice, structure, and respond to information in an intuitive, holistic way; and identify some payoffs of this analysis.
Lecture 2: Perspectival Framing With Pictures and Words
Thursday June 16, 13.15-15.00, Hörsal F
Abstract: We communicate through various media, and for various purposes. Pictures and words make meaning in different ways, which offer different imaginative and expressive profiles for communication. I explore three differences between imagistic and linguistic systems, in terms of what contents they can represent, how they express perspectives, and the force with which they present the perspectival contents they communicate, and I explore the ensuing aesthetic tradeoffs they present.
Lecture 3: Frames, Nicknames, and the Coercion of Intimacy
Friday June 17, 13.15-15.00, Hörsal F
Abstract: Perspectival frames offer powerful tools for cultivating deep intimacy, by coordinating intuitive thoughts and entraining emotions. However, as Ted Cohen says, while “intimacy sounds like a good thing,” “sometimes one draws near another in order to deal a penetrating thrust.” I survey some of the linguistic tools that speakers deploy to coerce intimacy, focusing especially on nicknames. Like honorifics, nicknames mark social relations; and like given names, they are often bestowed in the hope – or imputation – that they ‘fit’ their referents. I suggest that these sociosemantic roles make them especially pernicious when deployed as weapons, and also especially challenging to model within an orthodox theory of meaning.
All interested are welcome to these lectures!
Previous Burman Lectures
Jeff McMahan, Sekyra and White’s Professor i moralfilosofi vid Oxford University The Ethics of Creating, Saving, and Ending Lives Lecture 1: Abortion, Prenatal Injury, and What Matters in Alternative Possible Lives Lecture 2: The Population Ethics Asymmetry and the Permissibility of Procreation Lecture 3: Moral Reasons to Cause People to Exist
Professor Ingrid Robeyns, Utrecht University Why worry about wealth? Lecture 1: What is limitarianism? Lecture 2: Arguments for economic limitarianism Lecture 3. Objections to economic limitarianism
Prof. Jennifer Saul, University of Sheffield. Race, Manipulative Language, and Politics Lecture I: Dogwhistles, Political Manipulation and the Philosophy of Language Lecture II: Racial Figleaves, The Shifting Boundaries of the Permissible, and the Rise of Donald Trump Lecture III: 'Immigration' in the Brexit Campaign: Dogwhistle Terms in Complex Contexts
Jenann Ismael, University of Arizona Determinism, Time, and Totality Lecture I: Determinism and the Causal Order Lecture II: Time and Transcendence Lecture III: Totality
Karen Bennett, Cornell University. Making things Up Lecture 1: Building Lecture 2: Causing Lecture 3: Relative Fundamentality
Elizabeth Anderson, Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan. Pragmatism in Ethics: Why and How Lecture 1: Why Pragmatism? Lecture 2: How to Be a Pragmatist 1: Correcting Moral Biases Lecture 3: How to Be a Pragmatist 2: Experiments in Living
Michael Smith, McCosh Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University What We Should Do and Why We Should Do It Lecture 1: "The Standard Story of Action" Lecture 2: "A Constitutivist Theory of Reasons" Lecture 3: "A Case Study: The Reasons of Love"
David Chalmers, Australian National University and New York University Structuralism, space, and skepticism Lecture 1: Constructing the world Lecture 2: Three puzzles about spatial experience Lecture 3: The structuralist response to skepticism
Stephen Finlay, University of Southern California Metaethics as a Confusion of Tongues Lecture 1: Metaethics: Why and How? Lecture 2: The Semantics of "Ought" Lecture 3: The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement
Dag Prawitz, Stockholm University Bevis, mening och sanning
Tim Crane, University of Cambridge Problems of Being and Existence Lecture 1: Existence, Being and Being-so Lecture 2: Existence and Quantification Reconsidered Lecture 3: The Singularity of Singular Thought
2009 Jerry Fodor, Rutgers University What Darwin Got Wrong Lecture 1: What kind of theory is the Theory of Natural Selection? Lecture 2: The problem about 'selection-for'
2008 Susanna Siegel, Harvard The Nature of Visual Experience Lecture 1: The varieties of perceptual intentionality Lecture 2: The contents of visual experience
2007 Alex Byrne, MIT How do we know our own minds? Lecture 1: Transparency and Self-Knowledge Lecture 2: Knowing that I am thinking
2006 Jonathan Dancy, University of Reading and University of Texas, Austin Lecture 1: Reasons and Rationality Lecture 2: Practical Reasoning and Inference
2005 Ned Block, New York University Consciousness and Neuroscience Lecture 1: The Epistemological Problem of the Neuroscience of Consciousness Lecture 2: How Empirical Evidence can be Relevant to the Mind-Body Problem
2004 John Broome, Oxford Reasoning
2003 Wlodek Rabinowicz, Lund Värde och passande attityder
2002 Kevin Mulligan, Genève Lecture 1: Essence, Logic and Ontology Lecture 2: Foolishness and Cognitive Values
2001 Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Lecture 1: What is moral maturity? A Phenomenological Account Of The Development Of Ethical Expertise Lecture 2: The primacy of the phenomenological over logical analysis: A Merleau-Pontian Critique of Searle's Account of Action and Social Reality
2000 Herbert Hochberg, University of Texas, Austin Lecture 1: A Simple Refutation of Mindless Materialism Lecture 2: Universals, Particulars and the Logic of Predication
1999 Susan Haack, University of Miami The Science of Sociology and the Sociology of Science Lecture 1: Social Science as Semiotic. Lecture 2: Sociology of Science: The Sensible Program.
1998 Howard Sobel, University of Toronto Lecture 1: First causes: St. Thomas Aquinas's 'Second way'. Lecture 2: Ultimate reasons if not first causes: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz on 'the Ultimate Origination of Things'.
1997 Ian Jarvie, York University Science and the Open Society
1996 David Kaplan, UCLA What is Meaning: Notes toward a theory of Meaning as Use
About the Burman Lectures
The Burman Lectures started in 1996 on the initiative of Inge-Bert Täljedal, then mayor of Umeå and later vice chancellor of Umeå University. The lectures commemorate Erik Olof Burman (1845-1929), Umeå's "first professor of philosophy".
Burman was born in Yttertavle outside of Umeå, went to high school in Umeå, and became professor of practical philosophy 1896-1910 at Uppsala University. Nowadays Burman is best known as the teacher of Axel Hägerström, who is known for his expressivist theory of moral judgments, among other things.