The first meeting of the ERC research seminar took place on Wednesday, 9 January. The topic of the meeting was practical reasoning, the activity which is the exercise of that capacity the possession of which is plausibly a candidate for being a condition of being responsible, that is, of being subject to the obligation to explain one's conduct.
After the project’s PI, John Hyman, introduced the seminar, we focused on the first two chapters from Jonathan Dancy’s latest book, Practical Shape (Oxford UP, 2018). We had a very interesting discussion on, inter alia, the nature of inference and of reasoning, the importance of validity, the distinction between acting in the light of reasons and acting in the light of reasoning, and the connection between Dancy's particularism in ethics and more generally his ‘anti-universal-rules’ stance and his account of practical reasoning.
There remain nine more meetings this term, and in May and June we will have two special lectures by invited speakers. We would like to continue to encourage colleagues and students from UCL and elsewhere, and in legal theory as well as philosophy, to attend; the topics of the individual sessions are connected, but one can selectively attend some and not all of them. After the seminar, we take the guest to lunch at a nearby restaurant, to which all participants are welcome (and post-graduate students eat for free).