Reading Groups

Fall 2020

This semester a reading group will be organized by Drew Johnson on Christine Korsgaard’s book, Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals (2018), Oxford University Press.
The book gives a Kant-inspired defense of the claim that humans have direct obligations to other animals. The first section discusses morally salient similarities/dissimilarities between humans and non-human animals. The second section discusses Kant’s own view, and provides a Kantian case for our obligations to animals. And the third section examines a number of moral issues, including predation, habitat loss, eating animals, companion animals, and the use of animals in scientific experiments. [Drew] expect[s] the book to be relevant to those working on the origins of human morality/language or other related ECOM themes, as well as to those with interests in ethics, metaethics, and Kantianism.

Summer 2020

ECOM Mind & Language Reading Group, Summer 2020 will be reading various paper in philosophy of language/mind. First meeting: Friday, June 12, 1pm. If you’d like to join, please contact Dorit Bar-On.

Fall 2019

We’ll be reading a recent book, Transparent Self-Knowledge (OUP, 2018) by Alex Byrne (MIT), We’ll be meeting on the following Thursdays 12:15-1:30 at the Philosophy seminar room, Manchester 227: Sept 5, 19; Oct 10, 24; Nov 7, 14.
If you’d like to participate, please let Aliyar know. Once we have a list of participants, Dorit will send participants summary notes on the book (prepared by ECOM research specialist Teresa Allen). 

Fall 2018

This semester there will be a small ‘special interest’ Reading Group of ECOM members meeting Wednesdays to discuss expression, meaning, and knowledge. The meetings will be held at the UConn Humanities Institute (where Bar-On is a Fellow this year). For additional details, please contact Dorit Bar-On.

Spring 2018

The ECOM Reading Group will have four meetings this semester in preparation for the speaker series and workshop “Expressions and Emotions”. Meetings will be held in Manchester Hall 227 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the following dates:
  1. February 16 (Friday)
  2. March 1 (Thursday)
  3. April 13 (Friday)

Fall 2017

The ECOM Reading Group will be starting up again, with the first meeting this semester on Friday September 29 11AM-12:15PM in Manchester Hall 227. We will be reading two papers on mindreading for the first session: “The Cultural Evolution of Mindreading” and “Morality Without Mindreading.”

Spring 2017

ECOM hosted a reading group on the topic of the Spring Conference: “Human and Nonhuman Animals: Minds and Morals.” We read Michael Tomasello’s new book A Natural history of Human Morality, followed by selections from some of the invited speakers from the spring conference.

Fall 2016

ECOM hosted a reading group on Berwick and Chomsky’s Why Only Us: Language and Evolution.

Fall 2015

ECOM hosted a reading group this fall on José Luis Bermúdez’s Thinking Without Words.

Spring 2015

ECOM continued its co-hosted reading group with the Language Evolution Reading Group (LERG) on pointing, gesturing, and grammaticalization. Listed below are the readings from the semester:

  1. Martin, Santos – The Origins of Belief Representation: Monkeys Fail to Represent Others’ Beliefs Automatically
  2. Russell, Lyn, Schaeffer, Hopkins — The Role of Socio-Communicative Rearing Environments in the Development of Social and Physical Cognition in Apes and Pack, Herman — Dolphin Social Cognition and Joint Attention: Our Current Understanding
  3. Bard, Leavens – The Importance of Development for Comparative Primatology and Leavens – The Plight of the Sense-Making Ape
  4. Hopper, Closs Traugott – Grammaticalization
  5. Ackermann, Hage, Ziegler – Brain Mechanisms in Humans and Nonhuman Primates: An Evolutionary Perspective

Fall 2014

ECOM co-hosted a reading group with the Language Evolution Reading Group (LERG) on pointing, gesturing and grammaticalization. Listed below are the readings from the semester:

  1. Camaioni — The Emergence of Intentional Communication in Ontogeny, Phylogeny, and Pathology
    and Tomasello, Camaioni — A Comparison of the Gestural Communication of Apes and Human Infants
  2. Schlenker, et. al — Monkey Semantics: Two ‘Dialects’ of Campbell’s Monkey Alarm Calls
  3. Olney — Symbolic, Indexical, and Iconic Communication with Domestic Dogs
  4. Sparaci — Beyond The Point: A Basic Guide To Literature On Pointing Abilities In Children With Autism
  5. Meier, Lillo-Martin — The Points of Language
  6. Lurz, Kanet, Krachun — Animal Mindreading: A Defense of Optimistic Agnosticism and Krachun, Call, Tomasello — Can Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Discriminate Appearance from Reality? and Heyes — Animal Mindreading: What’s the Problem? and Whiten — Humans are Not Alone in Computing How Others See the World

Summer 2014

ECOM members read Huw Price’s Expressivism, Pragmatism and Representationalism.

Some Past Reading Groups (at UNC-CH):

Fall 2013

ECOM hosted a reading group which focused on a number of papers having to do with the origins of meaning. Listed below are some of the readings from the semester:

  1. Gibbard’s — Meaning & Normativity and Thoughts & Norms
  2. Blackburn — Norms & Functions
  3. Millikan — Pusmi-Pullu Representations and Blackburn — Disentangling Disentangling

Summer 2013

This group read through Transparent Minds: A Study of Self-Knowledge, by Jordi Fernandez (and some related articles).