The Practical Ontologist
»The Practical Ontologist« is a compendium of online philosophical production. Every few hours it automatically aggregates, analyzes, and updates.

Featured Article · Logic Matters

IFL2: Quotation conventions

A small matter. But an intro logic book needs to have a policy on whether mentioned formulae get enclosed in quotation marks. IFL1 took a sternly conservative line on this, leading to somewhat unsightly rashes of quotation marks. I originally was going to carry this over to IFL2; but I have belatedly decided on a much more relaxed policy, which will be followed in future draft chapters (a policy more in keeping, indeed, with usual mathematical practice, which is a major plus). I was uncomfortable about the amount of quotational clutter in IFL1, and I was spurred on in part by some blunt remarks about not fussing over quotation in §9.1.2 of David Makinson’s Sets, Logic and Maths for Computing. ¶ Having made the decision, I was interested to check back to see what other intro textbooks said about quotation, use and mention. There were some real surprises. For example: My namesake Nick Smith, in his (in many ways excellent)...

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Recent Media · Podcasts & Lectures

Smith on Smith : Here is the opening paragraph to Vernon’s Foreward to Propriety and Prosperity. I would urge anyone interested in situated cognition to read his superb Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms, amaz ...
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Is It Irrational To Be Rational?
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How Would Freud Explain Populism?
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The postmodern conservatism of Peter Lawler : Matt McManus’ latest on this topic with a special shout-out to Peter. Stay tuned for Matt’s forthcoming book which goes into this topic in great detail. Liberalismmatt McManuspeter law ...
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Jesse Norman on Weber’s ‘Politics as a Vocation’ : In History Today. capitalismJesse Normanmax weberSociology ...
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The Deed is Everything: Nietzsche on Will and Action: 2019.06.13 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Aaron Ridley, The Deed is Everything: Nietzsche on Will and Action, Oxford University Press, 2018, 207pp., $60.00 (hbk) ...
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Enowning: On the claim of science. For Heidegger, “each supposition is always already grounded in a certain kind of acceptio. Only when the presence of something is accepted, can one have suppositions about it.” It is in this sense that Heidegger int ...
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The Limit of Responsibility: The Ethical Paradox of the Anthropocene: by Agostino Cera In this post I will try to describe the ethical paradox emerging within the framework of the so-called Anthropocene: the ‘new aspirant ... Read more... ...
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Is eternalism compatible with the actualization of potentiality?: Every so often, someone claims to me that there is a difficulty in reconciling the Aristotelian idea of the actualization of potential with eternalism, the view that past, pres ...
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The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception: 2019.06.12 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews John Collins and Tamara Dobler (eds.), The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Percepti ...
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IFL2: Quotation conventions: A small matter. But an intro logic book needs to have a policy on whether mentioned formulae get enclosed in quotation marks. IFL1 took a sternly conservative line on this, leading to somewhat unsightly rashes of ...
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Catherine Prueitt hired by the University of British Columbia: Continuing the good news about Canada: Catherine Prueitt has accepted a position in at The University of British Columbia. Congratulations to her and to UBC! ...
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Congratulations to Elisa Freschi and Jonardon Ganeri!: Elisa Freschi and Jonardon Ganeri have both accepted full-time positions at the University of Toronto, with Jonardon becoming the Bimal Matilal Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.  Thi ...
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Assertions, Denials, Questions, Answers, and the Common Ground: Abstract: In this talk, I examine some of the interconnections between norms governing assertion, denial, questions and answers, and the common ground of a discourse. When we pay ...
meta sci Consequently.org -


Assertions, Denials, Questions, Answers, and the Common Ground: Abstract: In this talk, I examine some of the interconnections between norms governing assertion, denial, questions and answers, and the common ground of a discourse. When we pay ...
meta sci Consequently.org -


Is eternalism compatible with the actualization of potentiality?

Every so often, someone claims to me that there is a difficulty in reconciling the Aristotelian idea of the actualization of potential with eternalism, the view that past, present and future are equally real. I am puzzled by this question, because I can’t see the difficulty. On the contrary, there is a tension between presentism, the view that only present things exist, and this Aristotelian thesis: Some present events are the actualization of a no-longer present potentiality. A non-existent thing is not actualized. Therefore, some no-longer present potentialities exist. Therefore, something that is no longer present exists. Therefore, presentism is false. One might say: Yes, the potentiality doesn’t exist, but it did exist, and it was actualized. But then: Some present potentialities are actualized in not yet present events. A non-existent thing does not actualize anything. So, there exist some not yet present things. So, presentism is false. Of course, this is the old problem ... Read More ›

Alexander Pruss · Featured Blog

Final and efficient causation
It is sometimes said that: One can have p explain q and q explain p when the types of explanation are different. I think (1) is mistaken, but in this post I want to focus not on arguing against (1), but simply on arguing against one pa...Read More ›

Truly going beyond the binary in marriage?
There is an interesting sense in which standard polygamy (i.e., polygyny or polyandry) presupposes the binarity of marriage. In standard polygamy, there is one individual, A, who stands in a marriage relationship to each of a plurality o...Read More ›

God and analogy
According to Aquinas, whenever we correctly say something non-negative of God, we speak analogically. It is correct to say that Socrates is wise and God is wise. But being humanly wise and divinely wise are different—the most fundamental...Read More ›

Gunk, etc.
If we think parts are explanatorily prior to wholes, then gunky objects—objects which have parts but no smallest parts—involve a vicious explanatory regress. But if one takes the Aristotelian view that wholes are prior to parts, then the...Read More ›

Leibniz on infinite downward complexity
Leibniz famously thinks that ordinary material objects like trees and cats have parts, and these parts have parts, and so on ad infinitum. But he also thinks this is all made up of monads. Here is a tempting mental picture to have of thi...Read More ›

Fundamental mereology
It is plausible that genuine relations have to bottom out in fundamental relations. E.g., being a blood relative bottoms out in immediate blood relations, which are parenthood and childhood. It would be very odd indeed to say that a is b...Read More ›


Why Humans Are The Most Irrational Animals
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Perception As Controlled Hallucination: Predictive Processing and the Nature of Conscious Experience : A Conversation with Andy Clark (video, audio and transcript). AIAndy ClarkCognitive scienceConsciousness StudiesDaniel DennettExtended Mind ...
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Deepfakes Are Coming. We Can No Longer Believe What We See.: It will soon be as easy to produce convincing fake video as it is to lie. We need to be prepared. ...
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Labour of Lust : Part two of Nick Lowe’s power pop phase dropped 40 years ago. musicnick lowepower poprock ’n rollrockpile ...
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Group Minds and Natural Kinds : A close-grained discussion of this vexed issue by the very excellent Rob Rupert. distributed cognitionEmbodied cognitiongroup mindsnatural kindsRob Rupertsocial epistemologysocial ontology ...
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Marguerite Yourcenar : Born on June 8th. Becoming the Emperor: How Marguerite Yourcenar reinvented the past. Then she came upon the drafts of a novel about Hadrian that she had begun when she was twenty-one and had later put aside. …. S ...
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Three Ideas of the University : The very excellent James Alexander in The European Legacy. Oakeshott’s The Voice of Liberal Learning freely available here. Noel Annan commented that Michael Oakeshott’s “was the finest evocation of the ‘ ...
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Toronto Hires Two in Indian Philosophy
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Convention: [Revised entry by Michael Rescorla on June 12, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The central philosophical task posed by conventions is to analyze what they are and how they differ from mere regularities of action and c...
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Knowledge by Acquaintance vs. Description: [Revised entry by Ali Hasan and Richard Fumerton on June 12, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The terminology is most clearly associated with Bertrand Russell, but the distinction between...
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Flourishing with Controversy: How Philosophy of Race Does It
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Representation at the APA
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Winners of the 2019 Canadian Philosophical Association’s Book and Essay Prizes
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Enowning: Nimses, the blockchain with an understanding of being. Human existence (Dasein) is possible as a constant reference to the past, in the present, in order to detect patterns for building the future. “Temporality temporalizes as a future whic...
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Assertions, Denials, Questions, Answers, and the Common Ground: Abstract: In this talk, I examine some of the interconnections between norms governing assertion, denial, questions and answers, and the common ground of a discourse. When we pay ...
meta sci Consequently.org -


14th Annual Mad Meta Program is Out!: Linked here. Conference is September 13-15, 2019, in Madison. ...
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4. Common Knowledge and Experience in Social Space: We act in an environment in which much is in public view, and you might very well think that perceptual facts that cannot be known in common cannot be known at all. For any account that aims ...
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The Medical Model in Mental Health
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Taittiriya Upanishad II.i.1 (no.2 in series): The knower of Brahman attains the highest. Here is a verse uttering that very fact: Brahman is truth, knowledge and infinite. He who knows that Brahman existing in the intellect, lodged in the sup ...
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What’s an Analogy Analogous To?: Supposing somebody didn’t know what an analogy was?  How could he find out? Could somebody explain it to him by an analogy?  Could somebody say “Look –an analogy bears the same relationship t ...
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Houses of philosophers
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