Call for papers: Agency and Causation: Formal and Conceptual Issues

English: The belfry of Ghent (Belgium) Nederla...

English: The belfry of Ghent (Belgium) Nederlands: Het belfort van Gent (België) Français : Le beffroi de Gand (Belgique) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location: Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL), Koningstraat 18, Ghent, Belgium
Date: Thursday 27th October 2016 & Friday 28th October 2016
Website: http://www.lrr.ugent.be/ac
Keynote speakers: Jan Broersen (University of Utrecht, Netherlands), Agnes Moors (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), Elisabeth Pacherie (Institut Jean Nicod, France)
Abstract submission deadline: Friday 17th June 2016

 

According to what is sometimes called “the standard philosophical concept of agency”, agency equals  intentional agency. This means that agency is caused (directly or indirectly) by an intention of the agent in question, which is in turn the result of the interplay between desires, other intentions, and beliefs. But how should we understand this type of causation? How can an intention, as a mental representation, cause the agent to behave, act, or choose in a certain way? How are such intentions shaped by (causal) presuppositions of the world in which we act, and the other agents with which we interact?

 

Recent work on agency and causality is starting to address these and other questions. The aim of this workshop is to further stimulate the synergy between, on the one hand, ongoing work that concerns the logic and philosophy of human (intentional) agency, and on the other,  conceptual and formal work on causation and causal reasoning. Although this means the workshop covers a very broad range of possible topics, we particularly welcome talks in which both (intentional) agency and causation, and their logical and conceptual interrelations, get a fair share.

 

Questions that can be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Is the link between intentions (plans, choices, …) and agency really causal, or rather logical? If this link is causal, is it deterministic?
  • How do different theories of causation relate to the standard concept of intentional agency? Are some better suited to accommodate that concept than others?
  • How can we formally model the interaction between causation and agency? In particular, how does the popular STIT-approach to agency deal with causation? Can we make room for intentions that cause a given choice within this framework?
  • Is there any psychological evidence supporting, or contradicting, the viewpoint that intentions (as mental phenomena) cause actions? How should we evaluate such evidence?
  • Is there an absolute distinction between the intended effects of an action – that for which an agent can be held responsible – and “mere side-effects” of it? Or should we rather speak of a continuum in this context?
  • How do judgments of actual causation relate to judgments of liability?

In addition, we welcome submissions that are more application-driven but have a clear link to the above issues.

Submission:
Authors are invited to submit an original, previously unpublished abstract of 300 to 500 words, on any of the topics listed above. Send your abstract by Friday 17th June to frederik.vandeputte@ugent.be. Please mention “abstract AC workshop” in the subject of your email.

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