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Mind & Reality

English title Mind & Reality
Applicant Soldati Gianfranco
Number 132849
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.10.2010 - 30.09.2015
Approved amount 249'621.00
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Keywords (9)

reality; reason; mental action; properties; causality; normativity; agency; phenomenology; free will

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The main motivation for the present Doctoral Program, where different research projects are united in one collaborative scheme, is the integration of the topics presented in the different Research Modules. Those topics present a variety of common lines of interest and inquiry. Here are some.
One of the aims of the project Causal properties and laws of nature (M2) is to inquire into the difference between Humean and causal theory of properties and on the consequences of these views with respect to our conception of laws of nature. Where on the Humean view laws of nature are at best representations of regularities in the distribution of properties, on the causal conception those laws express powers properties endow their bearers with. The project looks at the consequences of these two views with respect to both, deterministic and probabilistic laws. Now, this issue is obviously relevant for the question about the veridicality of our alledged experience of free agency. This is one of the main questions the project First person access, phenomenological reflection and phenomenal concepts (M1) aims to deal with. We need to know what a deterministic conception involves in order to establish the conditions under which the experience of agency would be veridical (or illusiory, as some maintain). But on the other side it is also relevant to establish whether our notion of free action is indeed compelled to stand against considerations that emerge from our study of the laws of nature. This point impinges on methodological considerations that are at issue in the two projects. What is the relevance, for instance, of empirical findings in the study of the phenomenology of the experience of agency? Results on this issue that are expected to emerge from M1 should be relevant for an evalution of the consequences a theory concerning the laws of nature can have on our understanding of the mind.
The research module on Epistemic Evidentialism (M5) addresses the recent debate about the role of evidence in the justification of our beliefs. One of the issue raised in that project is related to epistemic normativity. Epistemic norms are norms of belief and so they concern the reasons we use in the process of forming beliefs. This yields an obvious relation to the question concerning the nature of practical reasons addressed in M3. But the debate concerning the nature of mental action, as it is described under M1, could also help to shed new light on the difference between practical and theoretical rationality, as it emerges i.a. in M3.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



This is a teaching module and therefore does not present publications.
Soldati Gianfranco, This is a teaching module and therefore does not present publications., in Wha do I have to fill this out?, 4(6), 7-7.

Scientific events


Title Date Place
Workshop, "Experience and Reality" 17.06.2014 Ovronnaz, Switzerland
Séminaire, "Experience and reality" 10.02.2014 Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
Candoc Colloquium 2014 27.01.2014 Ovronnaz, Switzerland
Séminaire, "The metaphysical structure of the world" 16.09.2013 Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Candoc Colloquium 2013 28.01.2013 Ovronnaz, Switzerland
Séminaire "Doings, minimal action and self-awareness" + workshops 27.09.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland
Workshop : The Metaphysics of Contemporary Physics 24.05.2012 University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Séminaire "La métaphysique de la physique" [Séminaire semestriel.] 22.02.2012 Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Candoc Colloquium 2011 24.09.2011 Ovronnaz, Switzerland
Séminaire "Time, temporal experience, and representation of time" [Séminaire semestriel hebdomadaire.] 23.09.2011 Université de Fribourg, Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
118623 Mind, Normativity, Self and Properties 01.10.2007 ProDoc
118623 Mind, Normativity, Self and Properties 01.10.2007 ProDoc


The present project is conceived as a follow up project of the ProDoc "Mind, Normativity, Self and Properties". That project has now been running since Fall 2007. The training module for that project ends in Fall 2010. Most research modules end by Spring 2011, one module was added later and continues until August 2012. The original idea of the prodoc is still in place. In the project we submitted in spring 2007 we wrote: For the first time in Switzerland and especially in 'Suisse Romande' there is an important critical mass of senior and junior researchers sharing their basic philosophical methodology (in spite of their disagreements on specific philosophical issues). As a consequence, fruitful philosophical debate can take place and serious exchange and collaboration can be achieved on a regular basis. We think that this is still true. As a matter of fact we have observed that the activities of our prodoc have attracted researchers both from Switzerland and from abroad. By the end of 2010 the prodoc school will have organised 6 common seminars (5 have already been held), 6 international workshops related to the topics of the research modules, and 3 common colloquia. This means that the prodoc has offered to its PhD students not only good working conditions, but also excellent opportunities for them to make their work known the experts in their field and thus to start building their own scientific network. It should be noted that for all involved professors most of the activities mentioned had to be added to their normal teaching duties. We think that this format (for details see below), although demanding, has proven to be successfull and we thus propose to continue with it. We should insist on the fact that with the addition of the module "The Mind and the Self", directed by Profs Schniewind and De Libera and dealing with issues related to ancient and medieval philosophy, the prodoc has deepened its historical profile. This has also involved a substantial widening of the methodological approaches offered by the prodoc. The new project we are now submitting confirms this intention by including a project on modern philosophy, directed by Prof. Glauser. The ProDoc still maintains its methodological emphasis on clear and precise argumentation which we consider to be a presupposition of rational understanding.All universities of the «Suisse Romande» (Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg and Neuchâtel) are now inlcuded in the ProDoc. The ProDoc could offer a basis for a serious PhD school in philosophy in the Suisse Romande.