Upcoming Presentations

Fall 2016 

Monday, November 7th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
CUNY, Graduate Center, Room 5409

Claudia Passos (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
“Do newborns have sense of agency?”

I will argue that newborn babies have experiences of agency.  I present evidence from developmental psychology involving three types of behaviors (neonatal imitation, actions oriented to goals, actions toward objects, and actions toward people) and argue that this evidence supports a prima facie case that babies have experiences of agency.  I then address objections.  An important objection is that experiences of agency involve a higher-order attribution of agency generated by a high-level cognitive mechanism, which requires self-consciousness and a self-concept, and that babies lack the capacity for self-consciousness and a self-concept.  In the absence of these capacities, babies can be at best aware of certain actions they perform and not of their own agency in those actions.  I will argue for an intermediate view on which the experience of agency requires nonconceptual self-representation but not a self-concept.  If this view is correct, the lack of conceptual self-consciousness is no obstacle to the claim that babies have agency experience.  I also argue that some actions by newborns involve only action-awareness while others involve agency-awareness, and that consequently some but not all actions in babies involve the experience of agency.


Monday, November 7th, 1:00 – 2:00pm
CUNY, Graduate Center, Room 5409

Laura Pérez (Harvard University)
“Visual Properties and Social Groups”

In the middle of the 1990s’, social psychologists started to examine social perception –i.e., individuals’ perceptions of other individuals– in terms of ‘entitativity’. Entitativity is referred to the degree in which a collection of human individuals is perceived as being bonded together in a cohesive unit. Some social psychologists have been interested in the linkage of social perception with (i) our judgments about the entitativity of groups; (ii) mechanisms of learning and attending to groups; and (iii) the attribution of shared goals and shared traits to groups. Based, partly, on our perceptions of groups, we may predict their behavior well, decide to join or leave a group, and, in general, form perceptual beliefs about their goals and traits. The problem I tackle here is: what does this literature suggest regarding the nature of our visual experiences about social groups? I focus on the visual properties we see instantiated in groups of individuals to predict their behavior, to join or leave them, and to form perceptual beliefs about their goals and traits. I will make the case that visual properties related to perceived cohesiveness or unity are seen as being instantiated in social groups.

Everyone (men & women, philosophers & non-philosophers) is welcome at our public events.


SWIP-Analytic is a branch of the New York Society for Women in Philosophy dedicated to providing a forum for women in the New York area working on language, mind, metaphysics, logic, ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. It strives to continue NYSWIP’s commitment to being resource for all women in philosophy in the New York area.


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