Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies

Philosophy and Philosophy of Science Philosophy and Philosophy of Science


Re (assessing) Goal Directed Activity
29 Apr 2022 - 30 Apr 2022
Conference directors :
Anita Avramides , University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Riccardo Viale , Herbert Simon Society, Italy
Snježana Prijić Samaržija , University of Rijeka, Croatia
Conference description:


The Kathy Wilkes Memorial Conference on Mind, Philosophy, and Society is an annual conference to honour Dr. Kathleen Vaughn Wilkes, an important Oxford philosopher of mind and a great supporter of Croatian freedom, who died in 2003. The conference is supported by the IUC Dubrovnik, St Hilda's College Oxford, and the Herbert Simon Society of Turin, and will be held alternately in each of these locations.

The IUC, Dubrovnik:    Re (assessing) Goal Directed Activity

In the 1980s, Kathy Wilkes, along with Denis Noble and Alan Montefiore held a series of seminars in Balliol College Oxford, the papers of which were eventually published as the book Goals, No Goals and Own Goals. Forty years on, Professor Denis Noble will join us to discuss these ideas and to explore the latest thinking on this topic.

Speakers to include: Professor Denis Noble (Oxford), Dr. Patrick Butlin (Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford), Dr. Chiara Brozzo (Post Doctoral Researcher in the ERC project Rethinking Consciousness at the University of Barcelona), Professor Cristiano Castelfranchi (Associate Researcher at the Institute of Psychology of the Italian National Research Council), Dunja Jutronić (University of Split in Croatia), and Professor Nenad Miščević (University of Maribor in Slovenia).


Friday, 29 April 2022 

14.00 – 14.15 - Nada Bruer Ljubišić, Paul Flather, Anita Avramides, Riccardo Viale - welcome

14.15 – 15.30 – Denis Noble - Kathy Wilkes’ work on goal-directed behaviour

Moderator Paul Flather

15.30 – 15.45  short break

15.45 – 17.00 – Dunja Jutronić - Intentions and their role in (the explanation of) language change

Moderator Zvonimir Šikić

17.00 – 17.30  coffee break

17.30 – 18.45 – Patrick Butlin - Machine learning, functions and goals

                          Moderator Anita Avramides

19.00 Dinner 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

9.00 – 10.15 – Chiara Brozzo Transformative experiences: Many more than you'd think

Moderator Anita Avramides

10.15 – 10.45 – coffee break

10.45 – 12.00 – Nenad Miščević - Imagining the ring of Gyges – ZOOM

Moderator Zvonimir Šikić

12.00 – 13.15 –  Cristiano Castelfranchi – Ontology of ‘Goals’: Teleology in Human Behaviour Regulation

Moderator Riccardo Viale

13.30 Lunch


Dr Kathy Wilkes was a Fellow of St Hilda's from 1973 until her death in 2003. She was one of the College's most distinguished female academics, who worked in an interdisciplinary way before this became fashionable. In particular, Dr Wilkes was a philosopher who was informed by experimental work in psychology.

At the IUC, she played a key role in many of the centres’ academic programmes and especially in one of the most prominent IUC courses: Philosophy of Science, held every year since its initiation. She also served as a very active and innovative Chair of the IUC Executive Committee in the period 1988-96. Dr Wilkes was present in Dubrovnik at the time when the brutal attack upon the city began in 1991. She stayed on and dispatched to the world a number of reports from Dubrovnik as well as sought help and assistance, medical resources and even mine removal equipment. In 1993, in recognition of her work, Kathy Wilkes was made an honorary citizen of the city of Dubrovnik (and a plaque in her honour can be found just outside the city walls), and in 2001 the University of Zagreb awarded her the honorary doctoral degree.

Besides her engagement in Croatia, she was a well-known supporter of academics struggling under communism in Eastern Europe. She played an important part in the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. President Vaclav Havel awarded her the Commemorative Medal of the President of the Czech Republic in October 1998.

For all her achievements - philosophical and political - St Hilda's College and Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik have much to be proud of in Kathy Wilkes. This conference is to honour her achievements. 

Video Lectures 2022:

Denis Noble - Teleology & the Explanation of Behavior

Cristiano Castelfranchi – Ontology of ‘Goals’ Teleology in Human Behaviour Regulation

Patrick Butlin - Machine Learning, Functions, and Goals


Chiara Brozzo - Transformative Experiences: Many More Than You'd Think

Dunja Jutronić - Intentions and Their Role in the Explanation of Language 

Nenad Miščević - Imagining The Ring of Gyges

Conference lecturers:
Chiara Brozzo , University of Barcelona, Spain
Patrick Butlin , University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Cristiano Castelfranchi , Italian National Research Council, Italy
Dunja Jutronić , University of Split, Croatia
Nenad Miščević , University of Maribor, Slovenia
Denis Noble , University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Attached documents
Kathy Wilkes conference programme.pdf