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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 April (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
 Gábor Tasnádi
  Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest
  Historical and Externalist Compatibilism
Manipulation cases are often used to show that the compatibilist control conditions are insufficient. These cases involve an agent who, despite satisfying the compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, is not morally responsible as a result of external manipulation. Furthermore, incompatibilists claim that there is no relevant difference between a manipulated and a simply deterministic causal history.

There are two main directions compatibilists can take to reply: they can accept that manipulated agents can be free and responsible, or they can attempt to show that there is a crucial difference between manipulated and simply deterministic causal histories. Proponents of the former direction are called hard compatibilists, in contrast to soft compatibilists, proponents of the latter. Here, I focus on soft compatibilism. The most straightforward way in which soft compatibilists can show the difference between manipulation and determinism is to introduce an historical condition for moral responsibility, a condition that is not satisfied by manipulated agents.

The first half of my presentation is concerned with a specific critique of historical compatibilism claiming that historicism is not compatible with compatibilism. As an attempt to explicate this critique, I construct and consider two possible arguments against historical compatibilism. I claim that these arguments are unsuccessful in showing that historicism leads to incompatibilism, and so a compatibilist soft-line response is possible to the manipulation argument.

In the second part, I focus on the concept of externalism in the free will debate. Building upon the results of the first half of the presentation, I aim to show that historicism cannot be identified with externalism, and it is the latter that could answer the challenge raised by manipulation cases. However, design cases (or zygote cases) seem to undermine externalist compatibilism as well. After proposing a principled difference between design and “classical” manipulation cases (in order to better understand the challenge of externalist compatibilism), I argue that a specific kind of externalist compatibilism is impossible, and compatibilists have to give a hard-line response to the so-called zygote argument. However, I claim that this result should not worry compatibilists.

19 April (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Fred Muller
Philosophy of the Natural Sciences
Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam
How to Discern Spacetime Points
The 17th-Century debate about the nature of space between Newton and Leibniz carries over to a debate about the nature of spacetime. Spacetime Substantivalism won the day in Relativity Theory until Earman & Norton in 1987 transformed Einstein’s *Lochbetrachtung* into an argument against Substantivalism: the notorious Hole Argument. Ever since, the debate went into stalemate. Earman hoped for a view on spacetime different from both Substantivalism and Relationism.

In the beginning of our century, several philosophers of physics propounded Ontic Structural Realism about spacetime, aka spacetime Structuralism, as this new view. In 2011, C. Wüthrich mounted a full frontal attack against Structuralism, allegedly demonstrating that it has ‘’an abysmal consequence’’, which not a single soul could and should swallow. In the same year, the speaker defended spacetime Structuralism, albeit a variety not as strong as one would hope for. No swallowing proves necessary.

At stake in this battle is Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PIdIn), which grounded Leibniz's Relationism. We shall propound an appropriate version of PIdIn adapted to spacetime points and show that both Special Relativity (SR) as well as General Relativity (GR) obey this version. This involves demonstrating that spacetime points are not indiscernibles but relationals rather than individuals. We show a number of ways of how spacetime points can be discerned by means SR and GR provide: metrically, conformly and topologically.

26 April (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Márton Gömöri
Institute of Philosophy, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest
Monty Hall on the Humean Mosaic
The Monty Hall problem will be analyzed without uttering the words “probability”, “chance” and “credence”. We will precisely formulate the objective, non-probabilistic conditions under which the switching strategy fares better than the sticking one in the long-run and single case Monty Hall games. These results will be contrasted with the standard probabilistic reasoning and some flaws in the latter will be highlighted. The philosophical upshot of this case study will be some doubts about the celebrated bon mot according to which “probability is the very guide of life”.