Thursday, May 29, 2008


NDPR Reviews - Stanley and Hossack

As Shawn points out, there have been a crop of interesting reviews put up on NDPR recently. Here's my pick.

Of most interest to readers of this blog will probably be Gary Ostertag's excellent review of Jason Stanley's collected papers, Language in Context. Ostertag does a much better job of setting out the motivations for Jason's project than I did in my earlier post on the matter, and the review offers a mini-summary of some of the criticisms that have been made since the papers were first published, along with some insights of its own. Overall, the review ends on a very complimentary note:

'The forgoing indicates certain challenges facing the Indexicalist. But there is no question that Language in Context is an outstanding achievement. Not since Stephen Neale's Descriptions has a book brought the apparatus of formal semantics and linguistic theory to bear on issues in the philosophy of language in such a constructive and illuminating way.'

Stephen Hetherington has a review of Keith Hossack's dense and ambitious The Metaphysics of Knowledge. I wasn't able to work my way through the whole book last semester, but some of Hetherington's criticisms seem right on the money. Hetherington's right, for instance, that Keith seems frustratingly unwilling to consider the range of options available to us in the debates he enters into, and this sometimes led to the feeling that he hasn't really motivated his particular positions in those debates. That made it a little hard to appreciate the detailed and careful developments Keith offers of these positions. And like Hetherington, I also found the knowledge-one approach a little unsatisfying and underdeveloped (though I'm sure Hetherington has overstated the extent to which Keith's approach was inspired by Williamson. That said, the book seemed very well written, very thoughtful, and to contain characteristically interesting and imaginative contributions to a wide range of central philosophical debates. Some of these merits also come out a little in the review. So despite my gripes with what I've read so far, I'm definitely looking forward to coming back to the book and taking some time to finish it off.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?