Philosophical Psychology Group

This is a meeting for presentations and discussion on the intersection of philosophy and psychology organized by John Schwenkler, Zina Ward, and Paul Conway.  Throughout the semester we will meet on MOST Fridays at 2:30.  Each meeting will consist of an organized talk followed by a brief question and answer session.  

Please note that while this group meeting is listed as a recurring event, we do not meet every Friday.  Please check back for details concerning specific upcoming events which will be posted here once they are scheduled.  

The Philosophical Psychology Group will meet Friday, October 16, at 2:30pm for a talk by Marcela Herdova (FSU) on "A Challenge to Self-Making". Her full title and abstract are below.

We'll all be gathering via Zoom:

Please contact John Schwenkler ( if you have any questions.

“A Challenge to Self-Making: On Transformative Experiences and Shaping One’s Character”

Can we make ourselves? That is, can we intentionally and rationally shape our own values in significant ways? In this talk, I shall present an argument that we cannot. I base my answer on the nature of transformative experiences, which, following Laurie Paul, I take to have personal and epistemic elements. In essence, I shall argue that two things must be true for us to make ourselves: (a) we significantly change our values in such a way that this change constitutes a transformative experience, and (b) we must be suitably motivated by our reasons to undergo this change. These two elements are incompatible. If we are motivated by such reasons (that is, if (b) is true), we already possess the values, at least in nascent form, that those reasons recommend we obtain. If this is so, any changes based on such values do not constitute transformative experiences (i.e. (a) is false). Thus we cannot make ourselves. I also explore some consequences of my argument, especially those related to control and responsibility.

Friday, October 30 at 2:30pm to 4:00pm

More dates through December 4, 2020


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