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TU Berlin

Inhalt des Dokuments

Philosophie der Kognition

Prof. Dr. Beate Krickel



Raum: H 7153


Sprechstunde: Do 15-16 via Zoom LINK
Bitte melden Sie sich vorab per Email an.

Persönliche Website: beatekrickel.com

Forschung & Publikationen

Lehre im WiSe 2020/21

Lehre im SoSe 2020

Dr. des. Matej Kohár


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


persönliche Website

Lehre im WiSe 2020/21



Diana Michel

studentische Hilfskraft






Veranstaltungen des Fachgebiets

Dienstag, 23.02.2021

Dr. Pascale Willemsen (Zurich): "Experimentally Investigating Thick Concepts and Reasons for Action"

Art der Veranstaltung:

Suppose a good friend says the following to you: “What you did yesterday was very rude”. From this statement, you probably understand that your friend considered your behaviour offensive, hurtful, or disrespectful. You might further understand that your friend disapproves of your behaviour. In contrast, suppose that you friend had instead uttered the following sentence: “What you did was bad”. While you can infer her disapproval towards your behaviour, you might have problems to see why exactly your behaviour was disapproved of. Terms and concepts which are a unity of evaluation and description are called thick ethical terms and concepts, such as “rude”, “friendly”, “honest”, “manipulative”, “cruel”, or “compassionate”. In this talk, I present two sets of experiments investigating the use of thick concepts in ordinary language and on how they relate to reasons for actions.

In the first part of the talk, I present evidence on how exactly the evaluation of a thick concept is communicated and whether it is possible to use thick concepts non-evaluatively. Against philosophers’ assumptions, thick concept do not form a homogenous group. Instead, it seems that positive thick concepts can be used non-evaluatively, whereas this is much less acceptable for negative thick concepts. In the second part of this talk, , I investigate whether statements containing thick terms provide reasons for action and recommend that a speaker adapt their behaviour. The idea that thick concepts are action-guiding goes back to Bernard Williams, and many philosophers have followed his reasoning. While this is a quite plausible and seldomly disputed assumption, no empirical evidence has been offered in its support. I demonstrate that thick concepts are easily and readily understood as communicating a reason for action. However, it is considered perfectly acceptable to use a thick concept without intending to communicate a reason for action.

Prof. Dr. Beate Krickel
  • kontakt@kognitionsphil.tu-berlin.de,
10:15 - 11:45

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