[Report] 11th Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable

30 March, 2009 YOSHIDA Kei, Brain Sciences and Ethics

 From March 20th till 22nd, I participated in the 11th Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable held at Emory University, Atlanta. Below is its report.

 Spring has come in Atlanta, although the mornings and evenings were a little cold. We could enjoy full-blown cherry blossoms. Emory is in a suburb of the city of Atlanta, and has a huge campus that I have never seen before--although it has only 10,000 students. The Roundtable was held at Emory Conference Center Hotel which was also impressive to me.


 Participants were about 20. So the Roundtable was like a collection of small workshops. But the program was really hard, because we endlessly gave talks and had discussions from noon of 20th till noon of 22nd (for the program, see below). Half of the participants were well-known or budding philosophers of the social sciences. This was very good for me, because my aim of this trip was to create a research network, one of the aims that UTCP works for. I could meet many scholars including Gerard Delanty (University of Sussex), David Henderson (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), Daniel Little (University of Michigan, Dearborn), and Stephen Turner (University of South Florida). Among the organizers, I could meet Alison Wylie (University of Washington, Seattle) and Mark Risjord (Emory University), although Paul Roth (University of California, Santa Cruz) and James Bohman (St. Louis University) did not show up. Furthermore, it was my great pleasure to meet Isaac Reed (University of Colorado, Denver). He is the first person who said that he/she has read my paper published in the September 2007 issue of Philosophy of the Social Sciences. He even referred to me in his talk, which was an embarrassing experience to me.


 I cannot explain all of the talks here. They were really diverse, for instance, talks on Charles Taylor, Donald Davidson, critical theory, and social ontology. I think that if there were more talks examining actual social scientific research, the Roundtable might have been better. But it must be very difficult to keep the balance between talks.

 As to my talk, I gave a talk on the neuroeconomics of cooperative behavior that I have been working on since my coming to UTCP. First, I gave an historical and theoretical overview of why neuroeconomics emerges. Second, I explained representative neuroeconomic studies of altruistic behavior (Rilling et al., Sanfey et al., and de Quervain et al.). Third, I scrutinized neuroeconomics studies of the relation between oxytocin and our trusting behavior. Finally, I examined Ernst Fehr’s idea of strong reciprocity. It seems to me that I tried to say too many things. Because of that, I had to skip some part that I prepared for. But generally speaking, it went well because my talk could drew people’s attention. Although I have a few things to reflect on, it was successful.

 In closing my report, I would like to thank Profs. Kobayashi and Nobuhara who kindly supported my trip to Emory.

Reported by Kei Yoshida

11th Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable Program

Friday, March 20

Michael Brownstein (Pennsylvania State University): Conceptuality and Practical Action: A Critique of Charles Taylor’s Verstehen Social Theory
Naomi Choi (University of California, Berkeley): Is Moral Ontology Necessary for Moral Philosophy?: Evaluating ‘Strong Evaluation’
Brian Epstein (Virginia Tech): History and the Critique of Social Concepts

3:00-4:00 Break and transportation to main Campus

Ken Schaffner (Pittsburgh University): Behavioral and Psychiatric Genomics: How Blank is the Slate?

6:00–7:30 Reception

7:30 Dinner at Conference Center

Saturday, March 21

Gerard Delanty (University of Sussex) and Piet Strydom (University College, Cork): The Challenge of Methodology for Critical Social Theory
Brandon Morgan-Olsen (University of Washington): Epistemic Injustice and Public Reason
Dan Steel (Michigan State University): Objectivity without Value Neutrality: The Precautionary Principle and Anthropology

12:00–1:30 Lunch

Elizabeth R. Blum and Rajesh K. Kana (University of Alabama, Birmingham): Conceptual Issues in Psychiatric Disorders: The Curious Case of Autism
David Henderson (University of Nebraska, Lincoln): Rationalizing Explanation and Rationality Naturalized
Carole J. Lee (University of Washington): Methodological Rationalism as Galilean Idealization in Psychology

3:30–4:00 Break

Daniel Little (University of Michigan-Dearborn): Thinking Social Ontology
Isaac Reed (University of Colorado, Boulder): Ontology and Anti-ontology in Social Explanations
Malcolm Williams (University of Plymouth): Realism, Causal Analysis and Dispositions

7:00 Dinner at Conference Center

Sunday, March 22

Bill Rehg (St. Louis University): Inquiry and Solidarity: Implications of Tuomela’s Philosophy of Sociality for Scientific Collaboration
Emma Tieffenbach (University of Geneva): What Money Is: Neither Menger nor Searle, but Somewhere in Between
Kei Yoshida (University of Tokyo): Altruism, Trust, Strong Reciprocity: Lessons from Neuroeconomics to Philosophy of the Social Sciences

-Mark Risjord (Emory University) – Roundtable Host
-James Bohman (St. Louis University)
-Paul Roth (University of California, Santa Cruz)
-Alison Wylie (University of Washington)

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