Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Eastern APA

If anyone will be at the Eastern in DC this week, I'll be the grad student there neither wearing a suit nor looking nervous (one of the few benefits of only being a second year).


Sunday, December 17, 2006


Russell on asking the folk

I actually still don't really feel I have anything to post about, mostly because I'm trying to begin to put together all the pieces for an essay I want to write over the coming semester. I've also set myself a stupidly ambitious reading schedule for break:

Dummett - Thought and Reality
Coffa - The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap
Quine - Word and Object
Dummett - The Logical Basis of Metaphysics
Tennant - The Taming of the True

We'll see how much of that I actually manage to get through. So far I've finished the first Dummett, and I'm currently about a quarter of the way through re-reading Coffa's wonderful book. Anyway, Coffa cites a great passage from Russell's response in Mind 1906 to Joachim's The Nature of Truth, and I thought it was a lot of fun, especially given the current debates over experimental philosophy, and more generally the role of folk-judgments and the like:

'Mr. Joachim alleges that the plain man is on his side. I have been tempted to ask some plain man what he thought greenness was, but have been restrained by the fear of being thought insane. Mr. Joachim, however, appears to have been bolder. Considering the difficulty of finding a really plain man nowadays, I presume he asked his scout, who apparently replied: "Well, sir, greenness is to me the name of a complex fact, the factors of which essentially and reciprocally determine one another. And if you, sir, choose to select one factor out of the complex, and to call it greenness, I will not dispute about the term, for I know my place, sir; but as thus isolated, your greenness is an abstraction, which emphatically, in itself and as such, is not there or anywhere.'
(Coffa: 96)


Friday, December 15, 2006


The Philosophy of Philosophy

As if we didn't all have enough on our reading lists for this break, via Knowability I see that the manuscript for Tim Williamson's new book on metaphilosophy is online here. I'm not sure if there'll be much surprise in store for those of us who've kept up to date on his recent spate of papers on this cluster of issues, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Proper posts soon, I promise.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


One Year Old Today!

So today is the first birthday of this blog. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who's supported it; regular readers, occasional visitors, and most of all, those who've helped me out by leaving comments. There's been just over 10,000 hits to this blog since the counter started exactly 7 months ago today, which is a lot more than I ever expected. I've upgraded to Blogger Beta in celebration, though I don't quite know what that means yet (and many of my fellow philosophy bloggers have had some issues with the new version).

Some other bits of news. Regular philosophy blogging will resume soon - my last task of the semester will be completed as of tomorrow. At the moment, there's also a workshop organized by Josh Dever on Epistemic Modals happening here, so that's been swallowing a lot of my time the past couple of days too. It's been great fun though; among others, we've had Kent Bach, Thony Gillies, Michael Glanzberg, Jonathan Vogel, Kai von Fintel and Steve Yablo visiting.

My copy of Dummett's new book finally arrived this afternoon, so I'm hoping that'll give me some new stuff to write about. Here's a taster, from the preface:

'I must emphasize that, on a justificationist view, there may be gaps in reality, but we cannot know that there are. If there are, then I suppose that God must know that there are, and then, presumably, the divine logic is, as I suggested, a three-valued rather than an intuitionist one. If there are no such gaps, so that every intelligible question has an answer, then the divine logic is classical. That seems to me a satisfying conclusion: classical logicians reason as if they were God; they are therefore guilty of overweening presumption.' (ix)

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Thursday, December 07, 2006


Turn on the Bright Lights

Good to see that the pure beacons of truth (or at least warranted assertability) are still shining onto the Arche building.

(I hope someone asides from Doug Edwards gets the reference in the title of this post).

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Music of the Future

I've just noticed that one of the genres you can sort your music into in iTunes is 'music of the future'. Can you truly categorize one of your existing music files in this manner? And how would you know music of the future even if you heard it?

(Of course, one has to acknowledge that we have at least one clear paradigm to work with when so classifying, namely Tony Rudd's Machadaynu:

But perhaps this is a case where the exception proves the rule).


Monday, December 04, 2006


Pitt Grad Student Blogs

A couple of blogs by grad students in Pittsburgh have come to my attention recently, so I thought I'd point people in their direction.

First of all, Shawn Standefer has been blogging about philosophy of language, formal semantics, logic, and related matters over at Words and Other Things. (Shawn's actually been blogging since February - I've just been slow off the mark).

Secondly, there's a brand new blog by Jonathan Surovell, which will mix politics with a little philosophy. Check out Dusting the Attic, and see the introductory post here.

While I'm on this topic, Marc Moffett's blog Close Range is now a group blog. Among those now posting are UT's John Bengson and Dan Korman.


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