H.İlhan İNAN

(Professor of Philosophy)



Boğaziçi University, Department of Philosophy,

Bebek, 34342 Istanbul, Turkey


Office:  (+90) 212 3596558

                               Home:   (+90) 212  2319589 






                                                              Academic Positions  






                                                             Educational Record



Ph.D. 1997  

University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Philosophy



C.Phil 1994

University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Philosophy



M.S. 1990

Middle East Technical University, Department of Philosophy



B.S. 1986

Middle East Technical University, Department of Civil Engineering








Philosophy of Curiosity



Philosophical Logic
Philosophy of Logic

Logic                                                                                                   Philosophy of Mind          

                                                            Philosophy of Science

                                                            Free Will and Determinism

                                                            Cognitive Science





      Boğaziçi University Press

      Editor (2001-2005)

      Co-editor (with Murat Bac) (2006-2010.)


Co-editor (with Gürol Irzık), Boğaziçi University Press (2005).


Editorial Board







Publications in English


(To read or download some of the publications go to http://boun.academia.edu/ilhaninan)



The Philosophy of Curiosity, New York, London: Routledge, 2012





This book deals with certain philosophical issues concerning the notion of curiosity in an area in which philosophy of language and epistemology overlap. Its main goal is to establish a link between our ability to become aware of our ignorance that motivates us to be curious, with our linguistic aptitude to construct terms that refer to things unknown to us. Little work has been done on curiosity in epistemology, which has concentrated primarily on the issue of whether curiosity is an epistemic virtue. To motivate the discussion the book starts off with a discussion of the famous riddle in Plato’s Meno concerning the impossibility of inquiry. This chapter contains a discussion of how this riddle indirectly highlights the issue of what makes curiosity possible, why the standards solutions offered in the literature fail, and introduces the notion of inostensible reference (or reference to the unknown). Though there is a significant amount of contemporary literature in the field of logic of questions and answers, the issue of how curiosity relates to the asking of a question has not been addressed. This is what the following chapter does. The main thesis here is that curiosity that is expressed in terms of a question always corresponds to a term which attempts to refer to something unknown for the curious being. A lot has been said about the notion of reference in the philosophy of language literature, but there is no exclusive discussion of the issue of whether inostensible reference is possible, and if so how.  There are certain distinctions that have widely been utilized by philosophers of language that indirectly relate to this issue. The most important one of all is Russell’s famous distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description, which constitutes the basic motivation for his Theory of Denotation. The philosophy of language literature on Donnellan’s classical distinction between the referential and the attributive uses of definite descriptions, on the time honored de re/de dicto distinction, and on Kripke’s more recent distinction between rigid and accidental designators all contain useful ideas that relate to the notion of inostensible reference in different ways. Each one of these is discussed in a separate chapter. These discussions reveal different aspects of inostensible reference and how it relates to our aptitude for curiosity. With this background, the classical definition of curiosity as a desire to know is then questioned. The book then concentrates on certain issues concerning the satisfaction of curiosity arguing that learning process that starts off with curiosity and ends in knowledge is always an effort to transform our inostensible terms into ostensible ones. The main claim here is that there are no universal standards to do this, and a certain kind of a subjective/contextual account is adopted. After a brief discussion of how the literature on presuppositions of assertions and questions relate to certain issues concerning curiosity, the final part of the book contains a discussion of the limits of curiosity and its satisfaction, addressing the questions of whether there are things of which we cannot be curious, and whether there are instances of curiosity that cannot be satisfied. The main conclusion here is that the limits of curiosity are set by the limits of inostensible reference.








Publications in Turkish

(To read or download some of the publications go to http://boun.academia.edu/ilhaninan)








Felsefe Tartısmaları, 29-34, Vol. 23 Panorama, 1998.



Conferences in English






       Language and Information, Utrecht, 1999.






Conferences in Turkish








Awards and Scholarships



University of California


American Philosophical Association


European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information


Boğaziçi University

Courses and Seminars



University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Philosophy (1992-1997).


Teaching Associate


Teaching Assistant


Boğaziçi University, Department of Philosophy (1997-cont.)


Undergraduate Courses



Graduate Seminars


Istanbul Technical University

Science, Technology, and Society Master’s Program (2001-2004).

Virginia University, Department of Philosophy 




Graduate Student Theses


Boğaziçi University, Department of Philosophy


M.A. Thesis Advisor:

                               That Knowledge Does Not Require Certainty”, 2009.



Ph.D. Dissertation Advisor:



M.A. Thesis Committee Member:

                                A Comparison of Wittgenstein and Quine”, 2003


Ph.D. Dissertation Committee Member:

·       Itır Beyazyurek, “On Personal Identity”, 2006.


Academic and Administrative Duties


University of California, Santa Barbara


Boğaziçi University, Department of Philosophy


Boğaziçi University, Cognitive Science Master's Program


Boğaziçi University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Boğaziçi University


European Congress for Analytic Philosophy