Dept. of Philosophy - Master's degree

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A fictionalist social ontology
    (2024-05) Bakkal, Erim
    In this thesis, I explore how a fictionalist approach can be applied to social ontology, especially for conferred kinds, in the context of action explanation and prediction by comparing this view with various realist views. Chapter 1 is concerned with clarifying constitution accounts and the criteria for comparison. Chapter 2 gives three different kinds of problems against this realist view, which makes this view less credible. Chapter 3 introduces conferralist accounts. Chapter 4 will deal with the question of whether conferralist accounts can solve these problems. I will argue that even if the second problem is solved, the first and third problems still arise in conferralism. In Chapter 5, I propose a fictionalist social ontology. Thus, in Chapter 6, I argue that social fictionalism solves the problems in question.
  • ItemOpen Access
    How can bundle cosmopsychism solve the subject-derivation problem
    (Bilkent University, 2024-05) Celayir, Berk
    Cosmopsychism is the view that the universe as a whole is conscious and metaphysi- cally grounds all conscious subjects. While this position has the important advantage of avoiding the fundamental problems of physicalism, dualism and micropsychism, it faces a challenge called the subject-derivation problem, that is, it must explain how all the different conscious subjects derive from a singular cosmic subject. In this thesis, I will argue that the subject-derivation problem cannot be solved as long as a singular cosmic subject is assumed, and I will propose a new model for solving this problem, which I call Bundle Cosmopsychism. The main idea of my thesis is that a bundle of cosmic subjects subsuming the entire phenomenal statespace can ground all subjects in an irreducibly collective way.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mary Wollstonecraft’s revolution in manners and the kickback of constructed femininity
    (Bilkent University, 2024-05) Çiftci, Sena
    In my thesis, by using Simone De Beauvoir's concept of ‘the other’ from her book Second Sex, I attempt to solve the issue of how some features of produced femininity, such as submission, caretaking, sentimentality, and so forth, increase women's oppression. I argue that discriminatory practices that are explicitly gendered and imposed on a single gender have been producing negative outcomes, regarding the problem explained. Also, it should be acknowledged that adhering to these practices should not be promoted as necessary to be identified as a woman. I propose to follow the revolution in female manners advocated by Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Women as a plausible and effective answer to ‘the otherness’ of women in society. Here I argue that the main reason for the plausibility is the said revolution’s inclusivity. Since Wollstonecraft argues that the revolution in female manners can be attained only by equal distribution of knowledge of the right kind of virtues and national education to all genders, inclusivity should be a given.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Phronesis and virtue in nicomachean ethics
    (Bilkent University, 2024-05) Özcan, Kerem
    Phronesis is the intellectual virtue of deliberating well regarding human goods. Aristotle introduces a biconditional requirement between phronesis and moral virtue; one cannot be present without the other. It seems puzzling, considering that they are different types of virtues with different tasks and acquisition processes. Therefore, a proper, detailed account of phronesis should be in accordance with what Aristotle directly says about phronesis and should shed light on the biconditional requirement. One attempt to understand phronesis is to form a parallelism between techne (art, skill, craft) and phronesis. This model attributes phronesis to power to an intellectual grasp of goodness, causal justifications, and ethical principles that underlie our actions. I argue that even though the technical conception of phronesis seems sufficient to explain why virtue requires phronesis, it fails to explain why phronesis requires virtue. Therefore, I suggest forming an analogy between empeiria (experience, knack) and phronesis that can explain both parts of the biconditional. In this empirical understanding, phronesis can be defined as an ethically significant intellectual virtue not based on cognitively high-powered reasoning but on everyday easoning equipped with experience, memory, and observation. Accordingly, I argue that the empirical conception of phronesis forms a unified dispositional state with the virtue of character for two reasons. Firstly, it weakens the strict division of labor between virtue and phronesis concerning ends and the things toward ends. Moreover, since the acquisition processes of virtue and the empirical conception of phronesis become intertwined, it seems more plausible to identify them as integrated parts of one dispositional state rather than two distinct cooperating states.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Extra-legal decision-making during supreme emergencies
    (Bilkent University, 2024-05) Uraz, Cansu
    A supreme emergency refers to an imminent threat to the security, freedom, and well-being of a significant number of people, presenting a serious challenge to democratic processes. In such situations, the absence of specified legal guidelines may prompt a government to resort to extralegal measures to address the imminent danger. This raises the critical question of whether democracy can justify the use of extralegal measures by political authorities during life-threatening situations. To examine that question I consider the instrumental and intrinsic accounts of the normative basis of democracy. I conclude that neither approach offers an adequate justification for extralegal actions during emergencies. Instead, I argue that such actions are excused but not justified.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Autonomy, authority and manipulation
    (Bilkent University, 2024-05) Bağcı, Aleyna Tutku
    As Weber argues, the main threat of the bureaucratic state is the excessive limitation of individual autonomy. The individual autonomy will always be restricted by state authorities, either for the individual’s benefit or to his detriment. This outcome is an economical and sociological necessity. What does “autonomy” mean? I argue that there are two types of autonomy: the objective and the subjective. Wolff stresses that the autonomous person is not subject to the will of another; he is self-legislating. So, objective autonomy can be understood as self-governance. However, objective autonomy has no prudential value; only subjective autonomy does. A person is autonomous if he thinks that he is autonomous. How is this going to be achieved, though? The main problem which creates the inconsistency between individual autonomy and state authority is the use of coercion. Sunstein proposes the use of “nudges” instead of coercion. As he emphasizes, the use of nudges leads people towards making better choices without restricting their freedom of choice. However, nudges can only be applied on a small scale. What I will propose is a revised bureaucratic state, the rule of selected and very well-trained experts purged from politicians, which does not penetrate into individual matters – except for the use of nudges to direct people to the best possible option for them from a paternalistic perspective – and consists of citizens who trust the expertise of the bureaucrats because of their unique education and their commitment to the legal system. Even though this model reminds of Plato’s Kallipolis, it will be explained in the thesis how the two states differ from one another. The revised bureaucratic system is one way to cut the Gordian knot of authority and autonomy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reference, necessity, and social terms
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Ozar, Berkay
    The aim of this thesis is to provide an application of Kripke’s views regarding reference and modality into social terms which pick out social entities. Specifically, I argue that a non-problematic application is not possible as proper names of social entities and social kind names provide counterexamples not only to Kripke’s thesis of rigid designation but also to his proposed metaphysical necessities. To circumvent such worries, I introduce the minimally conventionalist idea of criterion of identity regarding rigid designation. The idea is that speakers actually employ a convention, a criterion to track the sameness of an entity across possible worlds. I show this by arguing that cases of rigid designation from varying domains involve the employment of such conventions which come into play to ensure that the same entity is picked out across all possible worlds. Lastly, I argue that, instead of the classical Searlean intention and belief-based approach to social ontology, we must employ practices to track social entities across possible worlds. The benefit of this proposed paradigm shift is that it can both take into account epistemic opacity that is normal of social phenomena and solve modal problems which spring from the Searlean view on the constitution of social phenomena. The upshot of putting practices at the center is that one cannot evaluate counterfactuals that involve both social entities and shifts in social contexts in a straightforward and a priori fashion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Can philosophical practices serve as tools for well-being in education?
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Deniz, Simge Zeynep
    Philosophical practices have an important place in the tradition of philosophy as a way of life. In this thesis, I support the utility of philosophical practices in education. I begin with the idea that one of the objectives of education is to promote tools for individual well-being. In the first two chapters, I present an account of well-being which I discuss with the concepts of self-knowledge, authenticity, autonomy, resilience, and integrality. Next, I show that even if education aims primarily at communal gains, liberty, and cultural transmission, they do not contradict the well-being account that I present as the aim of education. In the last chapter, I introduce philosophical practices as tools of well-being and choose journaling practices as an example that can be applied to educational curricula. The thesis also aims to encourage pedagogues and psychologists to empirically work on these practices and choose the appropriate ones that can support well-being in education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Political obligations for structural injustice
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Şen, Yavuz Selim
    The answer to the question of what unorganized agents’ responsibilities can be regarding structural injustice has wide-ranging implications for almost anyone in the world. Global economic, social, and political connections relate agents to each other, and causal connections exist created by socio-structural processes that oppress and dominate some groups while benefiting others. Iris Young’s social connection model details how structural injustices are created by the inadvertent actions of people acting against the backdrop of their usual circumstances. This thesis analyzes her claim that structural injustice gives rise to political responsibilities. An essential part of her discussion is related to the notion of structure and the insight brought by its application to the socio structural processes that connect people. The thesis follows the framing of structural injustice and applies it to instances of structural injustice worsened by the pandemic and the measures taken to stop its spread. I argue that ordinary citizens’ moral and political phenomenology paints complex pictures that cannot be captured with purely interpersonal and moral models. The social connection model of Young illustrates such pictures but runs into a problem of source of normativity in prescribing political obligations for structural injustice. To alleviate this problem, I employ Margaret Gilbert’s theory of obligations and her argument for a nonmoral source of normativity. I conclude that her understanding of joint commitments is pervasive in social facts and social phenomena, and it gives normative force for a distinctively political normative source that grounds political obligations for structural injustice.
  • ItemOpen Access
    How to understand mental actions
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Oral, Kemal Tarık
    There are lots of goings-on in our mental lives: thinking of something, calculating the sum of two numbers, daydreaming, deciding what to do, or trying to remember a particular moment. Some of these are actions we do intentionally while others are things that just happen to us. Thus, philosophers of action take different stands about the scope of mental agency. In this thesis, I argue that there is an implicit metaphysical assumption in discussions about the scope of mental agency, which is somewhat due to Strawson’s (2003) influential account. Roughly put, the assumption is that for a mental act A, A-ing occurs only after certain processes, which might (not) be agential, that lead up to an event of A-ing. I argue that this conceptualization leads many philosophers to argue that most mental activities cannot be agential. However, I think that this is metaphysically inaccurate. The objective of this thesis is to show how and why this is the case by focusing on a particular mental action: deciding. Inspired by the Vendler-Kenny typology of verbs, I argue that deciding can be considered as an accomplishment and that the occurrence of the decision is not a distinct effect, but a result of deliberative processes: deciding is nothing over and above deliberative processes, but just these processes’ coming to an end. I believe that this approach will be effective in solving problems an account of mental agency can face.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Scientific realism VIS-À-VIS the evolutionary debunking argument
    (Bilkent University, 2022-05) Uyar, Damla
    Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDA) are widely used in moral philosophy literature, and have been used as a skeptical challenge to moral realism. Whether such an evolutionary debunking argument can also apply to scientific realism, on the other hand, is not a hotly debated topic. Such a challenge is posed by Christophe de Ray, in his article “An Evolutionary Sceptical Challenge to Scientific Realism” (2022). De Ray argues that scientific realism engages in abductive reasoning, which relies on the metaphysical intuition that facts generally have explanations for their obtaining. In light of the evolutionary theory, however, he claims that the reliance on this metaphysical intuition is unjustified—putting scientific realism in the position of undermining itself in the face of a Darwinian Dilemma. To assess whether such an EDA can target different versions of scientific realism, I am examining these three realist positions: Epistemic Structural Realism (ESR), Ontic Structural Realism (OSR), and Entity Realism. Against de Ray, I argue that although the two versions of structural realism (ESR and OSR) are the targets of EDA against scientific realism, there is at least one version of scientific realism, Entity Realism, that does not become such a target.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Do we need philosophical ethics? The case against unified ethical methodology
    (Bilkent University, 2022-05) Ateşsal, Mert
    Metaethics and normative ethics are often thought to be two independent enterprises. This view of ethics has been challenged in the recent past and the idea that normative ethics and metaethics should be unified is gaining traction. Against this trend, I argue that the most promising cases for methodological unification in ethics are not compelling. These cases are based on the epistemic implications of metaethical views, conceptual truths in metaethics, claims about the subject matter of morality, metaphysical identity claims in metaethics, and semantic claims about ethical terms. They either fail outright, fail to be of interest to the normative ethicists because they do not bring about methodological revision, or fail to establish unified methodology as an appropriate method for practicing normative ethicists because the costs of the method outweigh the benefits. When all is said and done, normative ethicists do not need to be too concerned with metaethics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Truth in theatrical works
    (Bilkent University, 2022-05) Çelik, Zeynep
    The question of how to define truth in fiction has caught the interest of many philosophers. The reason for this lies in the complexity of claiming whether fictional entities exist or not. Most philosophers have dealt with truth in relation to prose fiction. My interest, on the contrary, lies in how we can identify truth in theatrical works. The question is intriguing because theatre contains literary as well as performative elements. The latter element renders it difficult to identify truth in theatre. There are immeasurable plays based on one script alone, and this makes it difficult to form true statements about a particular play. In this thesis, I take into account three different theories on truth in theatre. The first one is that of David Lewis. The truth conditions he provides and the possible worlds account are applicable only to prose fiction. He disregards the performative aspect of theatre, and that is why I eliminate his account. I next examine Kendall Walton’s imagination and prop theory, but I don’t find his account satisfactory either. Although Walton acknowledges the performative aspect of theatre, he cannot give an account of avant-garde theatre. I finally look into a more recent account, which is Michael Morris’s real likenesses view. Morris comes closest in defining truth in theatre, yet his account fails due to his inability of defining what the medium is in theatre. Ultimately, I argue that the existing theories of truth in fiction do not give a tenable account of truth in theatrical works.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A critique of Davidsonian theories of Metaphor
    (Bilkent University, 2022-01) Gürsoy, Zeynep
    With their rich imagery and unique effects they generate, metaphors have been used in a variety of discourse. But what are their functions in language and communication? Which mechanisms govern the metaphorical interpretation? These fundamental questions fueled dissensus between different theories of metaphor in philosophical and linguistic frameworks. In the emergence of this ongoing debate, Davidson’s rejection of a special category of metaphorical meaning and his characterization of metaphor in terms of a special effect had an influential role. Lepore and Stone side with the Davidsonian tradition. By stressing the creativity of the user against the conventionality of content, they argue that metaphorical content is open-ended and semantically indeterminate. Moreover, Lepore and Stone ground these arguments in their distinction between imagination and convention, as well as in the notion of conversational record, which are fundamental to their inquiry-based model of language and communication. In this thesis, I present a critique of Davidsonian theories of metaphor, by particularly focusing on their argument from open-endedness. I argue that we must distinguish between two types of metaphors: poetic/creative and ordinary. I claim that ordinary metaphors are not open-ended in the way Lepore and Stone understand them to be. By offering a new interpretation of open-endedness, I illustrate how literal content can, in this regard, be similar to metaphorical. To solve potential challenges of my radical view, rather than providing a pragmatic or contextualist account, I turn to Fillmore’s notion of frames and illustrate the role of information, embedded in lexical items, on our understanding of literal and metaphorical content.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unreliable narratives and scepticism: what can we learn from fiction?
    (Bilkent University, 2021-05) Vural, Fatma Zehra
    This thesis investigates whether we can learn from fiction. First, I analyse accounts of how we understand fiction and of the concepts that need to be analysed. Then I look more specifically at accounts that suggest we can learn from works of fiction. I argue that these accounts are unsatisfying and focus instead on a literary device, unreliable narration, from which I argue we can derive a better account of how we learn from fiction. I offer an analysis of a literary device called unreliable narration. Afterwards I suggest that this literary technique can provide a different way of learning from fiction. Finally, I argue that what my analysis of unreliable narration suggests is that through this device, fiction can help us learn and practice scepticism as an epistemic virtue.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Plant mind through amalgamated functionalism and its impact on the definition of mind
    (Bilkent University, 2021-05) Meriç, Cansu İrem
    The definition of the mind seems to be a vague and unstable one in the philosophy of mind. This thesis aims to find some solid features through which we could define the mind or chose to remove from its definition with the aid of the analyses of plants, a species quite unlike human beings, and the cognitive capabilities they seemed to possess. After evading the recent objections against multiple realization theory, which is a theory placed at the core of functionalism, and reconciling the embodied and extended mind theses with it, functionalism (or as it is indicated in the thesis; amalgamated functionalism) has taken as the leading theory of mind. The plant mind is investigated in the light of this amalgamated functionalism. The thesis presents the familiar cognitive capabilities plants have and makes a suggestion on which features we definitely should or should not include in the general definition of the mind. In the end, a decision has been made on whether plants are beings endowed with the faculty of the mind.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pathologically chronic pain and pain avoidance behavior within predictive processing framework
    (Bilkent University, 2021-06) Demirkaya, Eyşan
    Pain as the most enquired philosophical theme is a complex experience, which includes sensation, emotion, motivation, cognition, and social interaction. However, there is not a single overarching philosophical theory that accounts for all the dimensions of pain. The most overlooked discussion of pain is on its motivational aspect; yet, it is indispensable for an integrated understanding of pain. Also, its least debated area is the substantial relation between pathologically chronic pain and action. In this thesis, I attempt to investigate why physiologically acute pain outlasts its purposes to transform into pathologically chronic pain and why pathologically chronic pain is accompanied by pain avoidance behavior by drawing inferences from the explore-exploit dilemma. I also examine the related pain theories addressing their failures in answering these questions. I conclude that analyzing pathologically chronic pain and pain avoidance behavior within predictive processing framework (1) provides an active learning account for pathologically chronic pain, (2) ensures an active inference account for pain avoidance behavior, (3) allows an active learning account for pain avoidance behavior only if certain conditions are met, and (4) points out the disparate action strategies are accountable for pathologically acute pain, pain avoidance behavior, and physiologically acute pain.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is relativized BSA anti-realist?
    (Bilkent University, 2021-01) Sonsayar, Utku
    This thesis investigates one version of Best System Accounts (BSA) of laws of nature: relativized BSA. I argue that relativized BSA, unlike its proponents claim, is an anti-realist account. In the second chapter, I argue that relativized BSA cannot give a plausible metaphysical story for Humean Laws. In the third chapter, I show how acceptance of explosive realism brings irreducible pragmatic elements that render relativized BSA anti-realist. I suggest that there is a general tension between BSA’s naturalist-friendliness and scientific realism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The normative force of certainty: a defense of realism
    (Bilkent University, 2021-01) Bölek, Sena
    Crispin Wright, in Truth and Objectivity, introduces his anti-realist paradigm, arguing that discourse about morality can be truth-apt without holding a realist stance. There, he formulates the criterion of Cognitive Command against realism by claiming that moral realism is defensible if and only if it is a priori that any moral disagreement between realists and anti-realists involves a cognitive shortcoming. In this thesis, the methodology I adopt to defend realism is to uphold Wittgenstein’s claims about certainty against Wright’s criterion of Cognitive Command. In so doing, I argue that the disagreement between realists and anti-realists is a kind of deep disagreement over basic moral certainties, which cannot be rationally resolvable. I then investigate the possibility of basic certainties in metadiscourse by referring to the claims about the existence of moral facts in contemporary metaethics. Taken together, I show that the criterion of Cognitive Command works neither in first-order normative discourse nor in second-order discourse about normativity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    What stream exactly? The better nature of the early stream of consciousness fiction
    (Bilkent University, 2021-01) Sağbaş, Kemal Doğukan
    The term “the stream of consciousness” refers to two different notions: a philosophical psychology theory purported by William James (“the Stream”), and a genre in 20th-century fiction that deals with the conscious unfolding of its characters (“the Novel”). The received narrative, after philosopher and novelist May Sinclair introduced the term to the literary scene in 1918, is that the Novel is best read as a representation of the Stream. However, if the Novelists did in fact intend to represent the Stream, then it is unlikely that they would succeed for the three following issues: the Incommensurability Problem, the Overarching Problem, and the Anatomical Problem. The Incommensurability Problem is about the impossibility of transcribing some crucial aspects of the Stream into the Novel because of the respective natures of the Stream and transcription. The Overarching Problem is about how the chief techniques used in the Novels represent the views of other schools of thought. The Anatomical Problem is about why it is impossible to capture the form of the Stream. I argue that these problems ultimately present strong objections to the idea that the Novel is best read as a representation of the Stream. But, in light of these concerns, I also argue that we should not use the Novel’s successful representation of the Stream as a criterion to judge the success of the Novel as an artwork.