Zeynep Direk, Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Feminist philosophy, Contemporary French Philosophy, Ethics and Value Theory, Social and Political Philosophy, History of Turkish Thought

Research Summary:

I do research in more than one area:

I do feminist philosophy by exploring different philosophical perspectives on gender. I am interested in researching how the philosophical problems of freedom, body, subjectivity, art, Eros, nature, morality, politics, etc., are addressed and transformed in the field opened by feminist philosophy.

I write on phenomenology and existentialism with a focus on the issues such as perception as relation to the world; relation to alterity; the problem of the self; the connection between value theory and virtue ethics in phenomenology and existentialism, and the nature of ethical responsibility.

I am also interested in Turkish thought: I write on the Turkish reception of Western philosophers, and the important figures in women’s movement.

Finally, I am a supporter of public philosophy. I value sharing philosophy with ordinary people, appreciate very much the philosophical problematization of everyday life.

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Ilhan Inan, Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Philosophy of Language, Philosophy Curiosity, Epistemology, Metapyhsics, Philosophical Logic, Philosophy of Logic, Logic, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Free Will and Determinism, Cognitive Science, Evolution of Language

Research Summary:

Most of my research is within an area in which philosophy of language interacts with epistemology—and to some extent philosophy of mind and ontology—on issues concerning how a mind relates to reality through language. I published articles on numerous topics including Direct Reference, Rigid Designation, Thought Experiments, Leibniz’ Law, Existence, Contingent A Priori, The Referential and Attributive Distinction, Humor, Future Contingents etc. My particular interest is the question of how, by using language, we are able to conceptualize and represent in our minds something as being unknown to us. Using a linguistic expression whose meaning we grasp, but whose referent is partially or completely unknown to us enables what I call “inostensible reference”. Based on this I have developed a theory of curiosity which led to the publication of The Philosophy of Curiosity (Routledge, 2012), as well as various journal articles on how curiosity relates to questions and answers, reference, representation, belief, acquaintance, truth, knowledge, ignorance, and creativity. My interest in curiosity led me to interact with ethicists, mostly working within Virtue Epistemology, that brought about the publication of an edited volume The Moral Psychology of Curiosity (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). Currently I am working on an article on awareness of ignorance and a book manuscript on the subject of truth and falsity, both of which are motivated by my theory of inostensible reference.

 

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Erhan Demircioğlu, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Language

Research Summary:

My primary interest lies in philosophical theories of knowledge and epistemic justification. I want to understand whether knowledge requires “foundations” and whether epistemic justification is something “internal” to the subject having it. I am also interested in ontological questions regarding the relation between the mind and the body and I am puzzled about whether it is possible for us to understand what that relation comes to. I like teaching philosophy to children and playing and thinking about games.

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Robert Howton, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, Philosophy of Perception

Research Summary:

My research interests lie at the intersection of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and the philosophy of perception. In particular, I am interested in ancient attempts to explain perception in rational and non-rational animals and the ways in which perception’s epistemic value contributes to such explanations. I am currently writing on a cluster of topics related to Aristotle’s perceptual psychology, including sensory discrimination, perceptual knowledge, the metaphysics of color and other sensible qualities, and the status of soul as a final cause in the Aristotelian life sciences.

I am interested in similar topics in early modern philosophy and science. As of late, I have also been nurturing a growing interest in Byzantine philosophy.

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Eylem Özaltun, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Action, History of Early Analytic Philosophy

Research Summary:

I work on philosophy of mind, with a focus on action because (as O’Schaughnessy puts it) the phenomenon of bodily action set in a public and physical environment is a particularly appropriate place to focus to study mind in this materialistic age. My earlier research was on the possibility of acting, by itself, to be a way of acquiring knowledge of the objective world – so I worked on the object of the agent’s non-observational knowledge. My current research lies at the intersection of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, and investigates self-consciousness both in action and perception and the use of the first-person pronoun in expressing such consciousness. In this investigation I focus on Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein and Anscombe.

I am also working on a monograph, with the working title “Varieties of I think”, which is a critique of how we study self-consciousness in contemporary analytic philosophy under the influence of the Evans/Strawson approach: by studying the special way in which the subject knows about the object she is. At the core of the Evans/Strawson approach to self-consciousness is the thought that self-consciousness is a manner of thinking of an object which is the subject of this thinking. My aim in this project is to reject this widespread approach to self-consciousness. Instead I propose to study self-consciousness as the nature of a thinker who can make objective judgments in general, and hence to reflect on the possibility of objective judgment rather than self-knowledge in particular. I propose, in studying self- consciousness, that our theme is not the manner of thinking of an object which is the subject of that thought, not a form of reference among many. Rather it is the manner of thinking of objects in general, the very possibility of objective reference.

In addition to my theoretical work I am also interested in the empirical implications of my views on self-consciousness and the agent’s knowledge. I am exploring this interest in a joint project with Wayne Christensen titled “The Structure of Action Awareness” where we are providing a new model for action awareness which captures the way in which cognitive processes contribute to action production. We are working to show that the evidence from three different areas of empirical research on bodily action—namely, cognitive control, anatomy of motor control, and ontogeny of motor control—fits nicely with our model.

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Damien Storey, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Areas of focus: Ancient Philosophy, Virtue Ethics.

Research Summary:

My research is in ancient philosophy, and I have interests in contemporary ethics—especially virtue ethics—and areas of contemporary political philosophy.

I’ve worked on questions in Plato’s ethics, psychology, and epistemology, and in particular his views on the nature of belief and perception and how these relate to non-rational cognition and motivation. In the past few years I’ve been looking closely at the images of the Sun, Line, and Cave in Plato’s Republic. My main interest is the two kinds of belief that Plato introduces here, eikasia and pistis, though this leads me to explore some of the traditional puzzles raised by these images, like the putative parallelism between the Line and Cave and the equality of the Line’s middle sections.