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The Forum is open to everyone, including students, visitors, and faculty members from all departments and institutes!

The 60 minute lecture is followed by a 10 minute break and a 30-60 minute discussion. The language of presentation is English or Hungarian.

The scope of the Forum includes all aspects of theoretical philosophy, including:

  • logic and philosophy of formal sciences
  • philosophy of science
  • modern metaphysics
  • epistemology
  • philosophy of language
  • problems in history of philosophy and history of science, relevant to the above topics
  • particular issues in natural and social sciences, important for the discourses in the main scope of the Forum.


5 December (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Tomislav Bracanović
Department of Philosophy, Center for Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb
Respect for Cultural Diversity or Bioethics?
Many authors claim that bioethics should stop its search for universal moral principles and put much stronger emphasis on particular cultural traditions that inform various bioethically relevant beliefs and attitudes. The reasoning behind this demand is the following: since universalist approaches (like deontology or utilitarianism) are too simple and do not reflect the complexity of bioethical issues arising in culturally diverse societies (Irvine et al. 2002, Koenig and Marshal 2003), a kind of “cultural humility” becomes “critically relevant to bioethics” (Carese and Sugarman 2006) whereas respect for cultural diversity becomes an “ethical imperative” (Chattopadhyay and De Vries 2012). In this paper I will try to show that this “cultural turn” of bioethics is theoretically flawed and detrimental to both bioethics and respect for cultural diversity. In the first part I argue that the concept of “respect for cultural diversity” is incompatible with the concept of “bioethics” as a normative discipline that seeks to provide rationally grounded methods for dealing with specific moral dilemmas. In the second part I focus on some concrete bioethical issues (like the patient autonomy and the physician’s right to conscientious objection) in order to illustrate how bioethical respect for cultural diversity may cause injustice and serious individual and societal harm. In the third part I suggest – contrary to a widespread view – that universalist approaches do not imply disrespect for cultural diversity: it has its role in bioethical decision making, but only as a secondary principle with no prescriptive power of its own.

[1] Carese, J. A. and Sugarman, J. 2006. “The inescapable relevance of bioethics for the practicing clinician”, Chest 130: 1864-1872.
[2] Chattopadhyay, S. and De Vries, R. 2012. “Respect for cultural diversity is an ethical imperative”,
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (forthcoming).
[3] Irvine, R., McPhee J. and Kerridge, I. H. 2002. “The challenge of cultural and ethical pluralism to medical practice”,
Medical Journal of Australia 176: 174-175.
[4] Koenig, B. A. and Marshall, P. A. 2003. “Anthropology and bioethics”, in
Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd ed., ed. S. G. Post, New York: Thomson Gale, Macmillan Reference, pp. 215-225.

12 December (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Márton Gömöri
Department of Logic, Institute of Philosophy
Eötvös University, Budapest
Only one kind of convention
Poincaré's geometric conventionalism is the thesis that we are free in choosing the geometry we use to describe the world. Grünbaum's trivial semantic conventionalism is the thesis that we are free in choosing the meanings of the terms in which we describe the world. Analyzing Poincaré's disc parable, we argue that the first reduces to the second; there is only one kind of convention.

19 December (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Zalán Gyenis* and Miklós Rédei**
* Department of Mathematics, Central European University, Budapest
** Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, LSE, London
Why `Bertrand's paradox' is not paradoxical
The classical interpretation of probability together with the Principle of Indifference are formulated in terms of probability measure spaces in which the probability is given by the Haar measure. A notion called Labeling Invariance is defined in the category of Haar probability spaces, it is shown that Labeling Invariance is violated and Bertrand's Paradox is interpreted as the very proof of violation of Labeling Invariance. It is argued that, under the interpretation of Bertrand's Paradox suggested, the paradox does not undermine either the Principle of Indifference or the classical interpretation and is in complete harmony with how mathematical probability theory is used in the sciences to model phenomena; it is shown in particular that violation of Labeling Invariance does not entail that labeling of random events affects the probabilities of random events. It also is argued however that the content of the Principle of Indifference cannot be specified in such a way that it can establish the classical interpretation of probability as descriptively accurate or predictively successful.

Related paper: Z. Gyenis and M. Rédei, Defusing Bertrand's Paradox