Psychological concepts

International conference

21-22 September 2012
Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies
Free University Brussels (V.U.B.), Belgium

VUB Campus Etterbeek, Building E
Room E.0.06
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels, Belgium

How to get thereCampus map

Contact: Valérie Aucouturier

Francisco de Goya - El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (1799)

We daily talk about what we or other people see or hear, what we intend to do, what we think, what we feel, what we believe, what we want, what we hope for, what we fear, etc., and the broad range of concepts and phrases that we use to do so at least partly characterises us and some other animals as thinking beings, as being endowed with a mind.

This feature makes thinking beings different from other kinds of beings, like material or vegetal beings. But what is it that makes us different from those other kinds of beings? How do psychological concepts manage to grasp this specificity?

What is this mind that psychological concepts talk about? How does it relate to the world and environment we live in?

What makes these concepts specific, if anything? In which sense are they different from other kinds of concepts?

What are the epistemological consequences of this specificity? For instance, what do psychology and psychiatry study? What is the relation between ordinary concepts of emotions, intentions, will, feelings, perception, etc. and the technical concepts used by psychologists and scientists?

What is the role of psychological concepts in the discourses about human practices and activities? In which sense do they reveal our human nature?

This conference aims at clarifying our uses of psychological concepts. If we take “psychological concepts” as some kind of species of concept, then we need to clarify what makes it different from other species of concept. But we may also consider the use of some sub-category of psychological concepts, like verbs of perception, emotions, intentions, etc. to understand how they work and relate to what we may call the “mental”.

Conference program

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Friday, 21 September 2012
9:00 Welcome
9:30-10:30 Julia Tanney (University of Kent, U.K.)
The function of psychological concepts: retracing the steps of 'our Rylean ancestors'
10:30-11:30 Rémi Clot-Goudard (UPMF, Grenoble, France)
Intention and mental causation

11:45-12:45 Tim Thornton (University of Central Lancashire, U.K.)
Bootstrapping normativity?

Lunch break
14:00-15:00 Valérie Aucouturier (F.W.O., CLEA, V.U.B., Brussels, Belgium)
Human and non-human agency
15:00-16:00 Vincent Boyer (Université de Nantes, France)
The social use of a psychological concept: the case of intention in promising

16:15-17:15 Layla Raïd (UPJV, Amiens, France)
17:15-18:00 General discussion
Saturday, 22 September 2012
10:00-11:00 Jocelyn Benoist (Université Paris 1/Archives Husserl, France)

11:15-12:15 Charles Travis (King’s College London & Instituto de Filosofia Universidade do Porto)
Thread by thread
12:15-12:45 Final discussion

Lunch break


Valérie Aucouturier, Jan Broekaert, and Alexander Riegler