Perspectives on the First Person:
The Philosophical Significance of the First Person Point of View
Keynote Speakers: David Chalmers and Carol Rovane
April 30- May 1st
Many areas of philosophy struggle to reconcile the impartial, third personal point of view on the universe with the individual first person perspective. Philosophers of mind struggle to fit phenomenal consciousness into the scientific picture of the world. Ethicists disagree about the legitimacy of partiality, the practice of giving greater weight to the interests of those close to oneself. Feminist philosophers raise doubts about the possibility of constructing a truly objective third person point of view, unaffected by one’s social situation. Epistemologists debate whether individuals with access to the same evidence might nonetheless be rational in disagreeing with one another.
The graduate students of philosophy of the University of Toronto invite papers exploring these and other questions relating to the philosophical significance of the first person perspective, broadly construed, for our 15th annual graduate conference. We are committed to having an accessible conference, and to that end we will arrange for teleconferencing for those with accessibility issues that prevent them from attending in person; we will also reimburse childcare expenses. We welcome submissions in all areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Are we obligated to direct our efforts towards what will produce the most good, or can we privilege the lesser good of those close to us?
- Are moral duties relative to cultural context or individual psychology?
- How does the nature of the first person point of view places limits on metaphysical knowledge in Kant’s philosophy?
- How can political institutions do justice to the perspectives of minority groups?
- Can phenomenal properties be fully explained by scientific inquiry?
- Should we change our confidence in our own views in response to peer disagreement?
- What does the distorting influence of embodiment in Plato’s philosophy tell us about his view of the forms?
- Can the content of statements involving indexicals be captured in non-indexical terms?
- What explains the fact that certain first personal thoughts are immune to error through misidentification?
Deadline for Submission: January 5th
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must be in PDF format and prepared for blind review. Papers should not exceed 3500 words, and should include an abstract not exceeding 300 words. In your email, please include your name, paper title, and institutional affiliation. Only one submission per author. Limited travel stipends are available.