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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.



1 March (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
 Bence Marosán
Department of Economics,  College of International Management and Business, Budapest Business School
Phenomenology of Animality: A Phenomenological Approach of the Origins of Animal Consciousness
This presentation is about the problem how and when consciousness emerges in the realm of Nature. When we can say that a living being is having a consciously lived, subjective experience? In my opinion consciousness could be defined as a higher level of information procession performed by living organisms. By consciousness in this context I mean the lowest possible degree of conscious activity: sensation, as a consciously lived experience, as sensory experience or consciousness.

My idea is that we can separate conscious and non-conscious beings from each other, and also unfold the very nature of consciousness, by a closer analysis of how organisms handle and process information. The notion of information I use here is a causal and structural one, and not a semantic concept. That is to say: it refers to the peculiar way how a homeostatic material system (in this context: a living being) reacts to effects of environment.

In my interpretation in order to unfold the origins of consciousness (of lived, subjective, conscious experience) one has to compare the peculiar way of information procession and integration on the lower levels of biological complexity – first of all: on the level of lower level animals (invertebrata) and microbes. We shall see that a more refined mode of information procession and integration makes possible a flexible and highly differentiated behavioural set in animals – and on higher levels of biological complexity we can understand this behavioural set as an external manifestation, as a self-evident expression of mental activity. On the lower levels the case becomes more and more ambiguous, but there are some fix points of orientation. In my view one has to analyse the functional isomorphism between different levels and degrees of biological complexity. This functional isomorphism could serve as an external criterion for conscious activity in different types of living beings. When two types of living beings are functionally isomorphic in regard of information procession and integration, and one of them is demonstrably conscious, the other must be conscious as well.

I think that between vertebrata and invertebrates (first of all: insects) there is a remarkable functional isomorphism, such a high level isomorphism, which enables us to suppose that insects have a sort of minimal consciousness, of subjective, sensory experience. The big question in this context: some higher level microbes behave complex enough, and they also process and integrate information in a relatively high degree of complexity, which shows an astonishing similarity with lower level animals (such as insects) – so: are they conscious too?

My answer is: higher level microbes do not behave and integrate information in a sufficiently high level of complexity, their behaviour and information procession and integration methods are not sophisticated enough. But they are complex enough in order to suppose a sort of proto-consciousness in them, that is to say: a very rudimentary, very primitive proto-form of conscious activity.

As for phenomenology: in this project I use both first person and third person descriptions, I try to combine them. By phenomenology in this context I simply mean these first person and third person descriptions of biological phenomena.

8 March (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Szilárd Koczka
Institute of Philosophy, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest
Ontological minimalism and the problem of laws of nature
Ontological minimalism about the laws of nature is the view that some of our metaphysical assumptions about the nature of laws are redundant. According to the minimalist position, a coherent account of laws can be provided without reference to extra entities such universals or – metaphysically motivated – restrictions about the fundamental physical properties. The minimalist approach has the obvious advantage over ontologically loaded alternatives that it does not refer to metaphysical assumptions that may be refuted by future empirical evidence. On the other hand, one may argue that this metaphysically “stripped down” account of laws may fail to capture characteristic features of laws of nature. In this talk I will argue that this objection relies heavily on the metaphysical notion of laws and those supposedly important features are only relevant when we commit ourselves to assumptions that cannot be supported by scientific practice. A coherent account of the laws used in explaining natural occurrences can be obtained without such commitments.

22 March (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Andrea Komlósi
Institute of Philosophy, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest
Implikatúra és metanyelvi tagadás
(Implicature and metalinguistic negation)
Az úgynevezett metanyelvi, más néven rendhagyó negáció esetei közé az olyan megnyilatkozások tartoznak, mint „Mi nem vacsizunk, mi vacsorázunk”, „Nem néhányan látták, mindenki látta”, vagy „Ez a leves nem meleg, ez forró”. Úgy tűnik, hogy ha a fenti példák első tagmondatában szereplő negációt egyszerű, hétköznapi negációként értjük, akkor arra jutunk, hogy a beszélő ellentmond önmagának. Világos azonban, hogy amikor hallunk egy olyan megnyilatkozást, miszerint „Ez a leves nem meleg, ez forró”, rögtön valószínűsítjük, hogy nem az a helyzet, hogy a beszélő egyszerűen tagadja, hogy a leves meleg, és egyúttal azt állítja, hogy forró, amiből következik, hogy meleg is, hanem inkább azt szeretné kommunikálni, hogy a leves nem pusztán meleg, hanem forró. Vagyis nem egyszerűen azt tagadja ilyen esetben a beszélő, hogy a leves meleg, hanem azt, hogy a leves pusztán meleg.

Az ilyen és ehhez hasonló példák alapján természetesen adódik a következtetés, hogy többnyire azért nem észlelünk feloldhatatlan feszültséget a rendhagyó negációt tartalmazó megnyilatkozások tagmondatai között, mivel a mondat egészét hallva az első tagmondatban automatikusan egy implikatúra/explikatúra – példánkban: „A leves pusztán meleg” – tagadását feltételezzük.

Előadásomban egy olyan elmélet részleteit vizsgálom, amely a fenti következtetést elfogadó elképzelésekkel szemben azt állítja, hogy a metanyelvi negációt tartalmazó kifejezések döntő többsége valójában az idiómák közé sorolandó, mivel kiüresedett implikatúrákat tartalmaz, amelyek, elveszítve eredeti közvetettségüket, már nem tekinthetők valódi implikatúráknak.

29 March (Wednesday) 5:00 PM  Room 226
Zalán Gyenis* and  Miklós Rédei**
* Department of Logic, Jagiellonian University, Kraków           
Department of Logic, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest
** Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, LSE, London
Categorial subsystem independence as morphism

In the talk we formulate a notion of independence of subobjects of an object in a general (i.e. not necessarily concrete) category and discuss its properties. Subobject independence is the categorial generalization of what is known as subsystem independence in the context of algebraic relativistic quantum field theory. The content of subobject independence is morphism co-possibility: two subobjects of an object will be defined to be independent if any two morphisms on the two subobjects of an object are jointly implementable by a single morphism on the larger object. Examples of subobject independence will be given in different categories and subobject independence in the category of C* algebras with respect to operations (completely positive unit preserving linear maps on C*-algebras) as morphisms is suggested as a natural subsystem independence axiom to express relativistic locality of the covariant functor in the categorial approach to quantum field theory.

Preprint of paper the talk is based on: