Fragmentation in Mind and in Reality

Wednesday 27 March (evening) – Sunday 31 March 2019 (noon), Ligerz, Switzerland

Sometimes, I believe that p, and also that q, without believing their conjunction p & q. How might this happen? According to David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker, this will be a case of me being fragmented or compartmentalised, with one fragment or compartment believing p but not q, and another one q but not p. The hypothesis that we are fragmented has enjoyed increasing popularity in philosophy of psychology in the last ten years, and has been used to explain a range of phenomena, such as belief acquisition under conditions of cognitive overload, delusions, and implicit bias.

A fragmented agent may believe each one of two incompatible propositions, while disbelieving any contradictions. How would reality have to be like to conform to such an agent’s beliefs? The orthodox answer is that it couldn’t possibly conform to them. But according to fragmentalism, reality is itself divided in different and sometimes incompatible fragments. That radical view, first suggested by Kit Fine and recently developed by a number of authors, has been motivated by considerations in the philosophy of time, the philosophy of subjectivity, and the philosophy of mathematics.

In this workshop, we welcome contributions to our understanding of fragmentalism about thought as well as fragmentalism about reality, and especially but not exclusively on the neglected question of the relationship between the views.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • applications of fragmentalism
  • belief updating and decision theory for fragmented agents
  • doxastic logic for fragmented agents
  • logical tools for representing fragmented reality (e.g. Fine’s "reality" operator)
  • demarcating fragmentalism from relativism
  • fragmentalism and its cousins in the history of philosophy (e.g. doctrine of double truth)

This workshop is a part of the Swiss Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, organised by ου̉σία, the Centre for the Philosophy and Theology of Being at the University of Lucerne.

Participants: Stephan Leuenberger, Philipp Blum, Cristina Borgoni, Andy Egan, Insa Lawler, Jon Simon, James Pryor, Kim Johnston, Martin Lipman, Giovanni Merlo, Catharine Diehl, Martin Glazier.

The conference takes place in the beautifully located bilingual village of Ligerz / Gléresse, on the shores of the lake of Biel/Bienne (also bilingual):

Ligerz is mid-way between Biel/Bienne and Neuchâtel and reachable by train in 1h43 from Zurich Airport, in 1h50 from Geneva Airport and in 1h55 from Basel EuroAirport. Check the Swiss railways website for timetables.