Ekin Erkan

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Ekin Erkan is a Turkish philosopher specializing in the philosophy of mind, perception, science, language, and technology, living in New York City. Erkan's work is currently situated on the connection between Kant's transcendental unity of apperception/original synthetic unity of apperception and the 'association of ideas' per Kant's general and formal logic, parsing how Kant's Critique of Pure Reason proffers a novel program for the philosophy of mind—particularly insofar as the binding of percepts is concerned. Insofar as the study of Kant and the philosophy of mind is concerned, Erkan is interest in expressivist approaches to the first person "I think", and parsing between the apperceptive "I think"/transcendental "I think" and empirical "I think", while exploring the conditions for higher-order thought vis-a-vis empirical content. Erkan thus draws from Béatrice Longuenesse, Katharina Kraus, Tim Henning, Tobias Rosefeldt, Anja Jauernig, and other working on the transcendental unity of apperception. Erkan is currently working on a research project that demonstrates how Kant theorized a nascent version of the higher-order thought (HOT) later formalized by David Rosenthal. Insofar as the philosophy of mind is concerned, Erkan is, broadly speaking, interested in indirect realism and phenomenal overflow, thus bridging Ned Block's work with that of Kant. Erkan also works in empirical philosophy, particularly the philosophy of memory and perception, with a focus on olfaction and olfactory processing (following the work of those like Stuart Firestein and Ann-Sophie Barwich). Erkan has also recently been working on Hegel's 'das Logische', drawing from Angelica Nuzzo, Elena Ficara, and Karen Ng to work through the presuppositionless opening through the Actuality chapter, thus prodding different renderings of Hegel's logic (including non-classical logics, modal logic, and formal logic) in the service of modal metaphysics. Erkan is also inspired, albeit somewhat critical of, Brandomian incompatibility semantics and inferentialism as a Fregelian program that helps bring light to that which formal logic evades (normativity), yet Erkan also hopes to supplement Brandom, whom Erkan charges (alongside Houlgate, Nuzzo, Di Giovanni, and other textualist readers of Hegel) as eluding the a priori categories of thinking and being inherent to the Logic. Recently, Erkan has been researching Catarina Dutilh Novaes' work on de-semantification and its compatibility, or incompatability, with theories of extended mind (although Erkan is widely critical of vehicle externalism). Erkan considers themselves to be a Sellarsian and considers Wilfrid Sellars to be one of the most important historical influences on his work on Kant (albeit Erkan has published articles that problematize Sellars' flattening Kant's conception of imagination with the understanding in Sellars' review of the Schematism section of the Transcendental Analytic). Although Erkan deeply admires the work of Brandom and McDowell, Erkan's heart is with the so-called "right-wing Sellarsians" Johanna Seibt, Jay Rosenberg, and David Rosenthal (albeit Erkan considers the label "right-wing Sellarsian" odd, as there is little "right-wing" about staking science as the measure of all things). Insofar as the philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience is concerned, Erkan is inspired by the Right-Sellarsian naturalist project, and takes the Churchlands' program of neurophilosophy seriously. Having been raised by two physicians, one of whom was a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist, Erkan's writing on the philosophy of perception and philosophy of mind/cognitive science keeps empirical philosophy, particularly neuroscience and perceptual psychology, close at hand. Erkan hopes to continue their work on empirical philosophy by further engaging the philosophical study of olfaction, prodding the philosophy of perception away from visuo-centric models.

Background

Erkan's work examines the collective closure between neural networks, predictive processing, and perceptual faculties as they relate to machine intelligence, perception, memory, and consciousness. Erkan has a background in German Idealism, the philosophy of mind and aesthetics, supplemented by graduate research in perception and memory. Despite originally publishing primarily within aesthetics and the philosophy of art/film, Erkan's more recent work has squarely been in philosophy of cognitive science, mind, perception and Kant/post-Kantian German Idealism. Erkan pursued post-graduate study in Critical Philosophy at The New Centre for Research & Practice, researching under the tutelage of Iranian theory fiction pioneer Reza Negarestani while working on Bayesian neuro-inference and AGI. Erkan also is a columnist and critic at the art and literature journal AEQAI, publishing monthly contributions on contemporary art and cinema. Amongst Erkan's published articles, Erkan has written extensively vehicle externalism, Andy Clark and David Chalmers' extended mind, Ned Block's non-iconic memory and phenomenology of perception and mental paint, Robert Brandom's strong inferentialism vs. Paul Redding's weak inferentialism, and, more broadly, the Right-wing Sellarsian vs. Left-wing Sellarsian philosophical debates. Erkan's writing, drawing from an eliminative materialist tendency and the neurophilosophy of the Churchlands and Ann-Sophia Barwich, comports with Right-wing Sellarsian naturalism; however, Erkan is deeply interested in Hegel (specifically's Hegel mature philosophy), and in this regard, also engages with left-Sellarsian thought. Erkan's articles have been published in peer-reviewed publications including Axiomathes, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Perception, Philosophy in Review, pli: Warwick Journal of Philosophy, New Formations,Theory, Culture & Society, The Journal of Value Inquiry, The Review of Metaphysics, Radical Philosophy, Theory & Event, Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture,Cosmos & History, Alphaville, Cultural Studies, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Chiasma, Rhizomes, Labyrinth, Cultural Logic: A Journal of Marxist Theory & Practice, Media Theory, Philosophy East and West, and The Cincinnati Romance Review.

Global Research

Erkan worked with Giacomo Gilmozzi on Bernard Stiegler’s United Nations 2020 World Summit initiative “Internation.World.” With the support of the New Centre of Research & Practice, Erkan contributed to research on Bayesian cognitive architecture in the Summer of 2020.

Activism

Erkan has published extensively on Oktay Ince, a video activist/filmmaker whose work, spanning the last twenty years, was recently confiscated by Turkish authorities after being taken into police custody on May 30, 2019. Ince had raised suspicions after attempting to organize a protest in front of a courthouse in the capital of Ankara concerning the arrest and imprisoning of leftist activists, teachers, and artists in Turkey; Ince was quickly arrested. A month prior to his arrest, Ince had organized a protest in Izmir with a local feminist collective and was arrested once again, labelled a “terrorist” and charged with “insulting the president.” Following his most recent arrest, Ince has had his entire video archive confiscated by the Turkish state. Erkan’s writing on the unwarranted arrest, activism, and video art of Incay can be found here.

Works

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