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Burman Lectures

The annual 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 Eric Olof Burman (1845-1929), Umeå's "first professor of philosophy". These lectures are arranged by the Department of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, Umeå University.

Previous Burman Lectures

2018

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

2017

Jenann Ismael, University of Arizona
Determinism, Time, and Totality
Lecture I: Determinism and the Causal Order
Lecture II: Time and Transcendence
Lecture III: Totality

2016

Karen Bennett, Cornell University.
Making things Up
Lecture 1: Building
Lecture 2: Causing
Lecture 3: Relative Fundamentality

2015

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

2014

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"

2013

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

2012

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

2011

Dag Prawitz, Stockholm University
Bevis, mening och sanning

2010

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

Older lectures

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 Eric 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 well-known for his realist anti-metaphysical stand and his expressivist theory of moral judgments). Some of Hägerström's criticism of idealistic views were foreshadowed in the teachings of Burman.

It should perhaps be pointed out that our Burman is not the only Burman in the annals of philosophy. In addition to Eric Olov Burman from Yttertavle, there was the Dutch Cartesian philosopher Frans Burman (1628-78).

A presentation of Erik Olof Burman (in Swedish), written by Inge-Bert Täljedal, is available online:

Presentation of Erik Olof Burman (in Swedish)