Metaphysics

PRIVACY

Several of the comments on this blog have made it clear that I really, really rub some people the wrong way.  I must say I am rather reassured by that.  As a young man, I was, shall we say, a trifle provocative at times, and though I know I have mellowed, I am pleased to discover that I still have the ability to drive some people nuts, even as I am smiling and seeming to be just a regular nice guy.Let me say a few words about an issue raised in the minds of several commentators by my naïve enthusiasm for zoom.  Some people have what strikes me as an odd ambivalence about the privacy of their communications.  On the one hand, they think nothing of communicating with one another by the use of their cellphones, which are essentially spiffy modern versions of the shortwave radios used by ham radio enthusiasts a century ago.  On the other hand, they are shocked, shocked [if I may steal a phrase from Casablanca] to learn that the world is listening in.  If you want privacy, or something pretty close to it, try snail mail, for heaven’s sake.   When you communicate with the functional equivalent of a megaphone, it is a bit odd to get upset that folks can hear you.For most of the two hundred thousand years or so of the human race, people had no more privacy than a pride of lions or a gaggle of geese.  For almost all of recorded... -

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Episode 21: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim

Like everyone else, my life has been upended by the global pandemic.  I have five kids in public schools here in South Carolina (plus one very rambunctious and ornery toddler), so I am now a homeschooling Mom in addition to being a professor, podcaster, and writer.  I am sleep deprived and each day I fall further and further behind were I’d like to be.  My priority right now is my family. ¶ However, I’m still trying to put up content on the podcast, because I believe that now, more than ever, we need time and space for reflection and contemplation.  We need art, friends, and I desperately need the sort of conversation I just had for this episode.  I am not as prepared for... -

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Luca Incurvati’s Conceptions of Set, 2

We are still on Chapter 1 of Luca’s book. Sorry about taking longer than I had intended to get back to this. But I’d promised myself to get the answers to the Exercises for Chs 32 and 33 of IFL2 (on natural deduction for quantifier arguments) done and dusted.... -

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Weird Retail: Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka

Yeah, things are weird and scary right now, but I'm still reading books. And I'm still reviewing them. Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka was just what I needed right now.I purchased the book from the author at Worldcon in 2016, and I wish I had read it sooner. Maybe in another dimension... -

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Luca Incurvati’s Conceptions of Set, 2 We are still on Chapter 1 of Luca’s book. Sorry about taking longer than I had intended to get back to this. But I’d promised myself to get the answers to the Exercises for Chs 32 and 33 of IFL2 (on natural deduction for quantifier arguments) done and dusted. Thirty eight pages(!) of work later, they are online! Let’s take it that the concept of set is (at least in part) characterized by Luca’s three... Logic Matters -


Episode 21: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim Like everyone else, my life has been upended by the global pandemic.  I have five kids in public schools here in South Carolina (plus one very rambunctious and ornery toddler), so I am now a homeschooling Mom in addition to being a professor, podcaster, and writer.  I am sleep deprived and each day I fall further and further behind were I’d like to be.  My priority right now is my family. However, I’m still trying... Virtue Blog -


Pandemocracy and the State of Exception These reflections are not only the product of our current global crisis but also respond to the theoretical challenge of thinking otherwise about the nature of biopolitical governance, the challenge of discovering some resources within the biopolitical to support an insurgent form of life. Recently, Roberto Esposito in Two (2013) has made the attempt to discover in the globalization of sovereign debt the possibility of overcoming the sovereign splitting of the biopolitical decision, between “making... An und für sich -


Michael McKenna Guest Post: Worries about on-line teaching and the new normal?? Hello out there, PEA Soupers. I hope all of you are healthy and taking good care of yourself and your families. I happened to be talking on the phone with David Shoemaker last night while we were sharing a few end-of-the-week cocktails, and he asked if I might post something on PEA Soup. It’s about a couple points that came up when we were discussing a conversion to online teaching. I was sharing with Dave... PEA Soup -


Weird Retail: Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka Yeah, things are weird and scary right now, but I'm still reading books. And I'm still reviewing them. Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka was just what I needed right now.I purchased the book from the author at Worldcon in 2016, and I wish I had read it sooner. Maybe in another dimension some other version of me did. Or maybe it's good that I waited until I needed a funny, weirdly-compelling book to read in this dimension.The... Examined Worlds -


PRIVACY Several of the comments on this blog have made it clear that I really, really rub some people the wrong way.  I must say I am rather reassured by that.  As a young man, I was, shall we say, a trifle provocative at times, and though I know I have mellowed, I am pleased to discover that I still have the ability to drive some people nuts, even as I am smiling and seeming to... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Ignatius’ Brain: Food and Sex in John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces Available at Amazon.com — Amazon.ca — Amazon.co.uk — Barnes  & Noble — Indigo.ca — Indi Bound — Kobo — and last but not least, if you want to take advantage of a 30% discount (code available here), go to Rowman & Littlefield. Extract from chapter 8 — Olga Colbert a confederacy of duncesaddictionBoethiusEmbodied cognitionJohn Kennedy Tooleneuroscienceolga… Man Without Qualities -


A conjecture on deferralist indexicalism Imagine we do take propositions to be formed by (essential) indexicals. That is, sentences could have indexicals and non-indexicals (substantive) but:i. only indexicals directly refer - ouch, hard thing to state, but I'm conjecturing that substantive refer only through indexical definitions (the translation of a de dicto expression into a de re one is a step towards providing indexical definitions but cannot be the whole translation for, as Perry wrote (in The problem of the... No Borders Metaphysics -


Events [Revised entry by Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi on April 3, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Smiles, walks, dances, weddings, explosions, hiccups, hand-waves, arrivals and departures, births and deaths, thunder and lightning: the variety of the world seems to lie not only in the assortment of its ordinary citizens - animals and physical objects, and perhaps minds, sets, abstract particulars - but also in the sort of things that happen to or are performed... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


AFB’S TERMS OF ART #10: IMAGINATION Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here. Terms of Art #10: imagination Pronunciation: ih-MA-(d)juh-NAY-shun Definition: Think about it like this. When we perceive, our mind tries to reflect... Aesthetics for Birds -


Humeans should be (Kenneth-)Pearceans I have long thought that Humeanism leads to strong inductive scepticism about the future—the thesis that typical inductive generalizations about the future aren’t even more likely than not—roughly because there are a lot more induction-unfriendly worlds with our world’s history than induction-friendly ones. But this argument assumes that there isn’t some extra-systemic explanation of why we have an induction-friendly physical reality. If there is, then the mere counting of worlds does nothing. Now, standard theism... Alexander Pruss -


Wisdom and Chaos I. The Puzzle: Why Aren't Academic Philosophers Wise? Etymologically, philosophy is the study of wisdom. In the popular imagination, philosophers sit cross-legged, uttering cryptic profundities through long white beards. Real philosophy professors spend considerable time reading texts from the "wisdom traditions", and on ethics, the meaning of life, and the fundamental nature of reality. So you might think that the average philosopher would be at least a little bit wiser than the average non-philosopher. Since... Splintered Mind -


Virtual Colloquium 3, featuring Dominik Perler I am pleased to announce that Dominik Perler (HU Berlin) will be the speaker at the next virtual colloquium. Title: “Olivi on Personhood.” Abstract: Following Boethius, most medieval philosophers defined a person as an individual substance of a rational nature. However, in the late thirteenth century Peter John Olivi presented a new definition, characterizing a person as an entity that “fully returns to itself and abides in itself or that perfectly reflects upon itself.” In... In medias PHIL -


Mini-Heap The latest additions to the Heap of Links… “The demand for the sort of work I do seems to be increasing, and newly minted philosophy PhDs would be a good fit for many comparable positions” — Jason Schukraft talks about his work at a think tank Zoomiathan — clever image or trenchant commentary on our willingness to accept Zoom’s privacy-intrusive practices and misleading claims? (see, for example, this summary of issues) Scientists think something called “ideal glass,”... Daily Nous -


Pandemic Effects on Conference & Event Planning for 2021 & Beyond The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many upcoming academic events to be cancelled and many to be moved online. How is it affecting the planning of events scheduled a bit farther out, say, for next year? [calendar design by Otavio Santiago]One reader asks: I’d be interested to know how people are planning conferences for 2021… I’m presuming any conference will have to develop contingency plans of some sort in case another “wave” hits.   Have any 2021... Daily Nous -


On giving up many small things Last year I attended the annual Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference hosted in Dallas and organized by Matt Brown.1 I got great feedback on my presentation, which ultimately grew into a paper. I hung out with old friends and made new ones. So I submitted an abstract again this year. Today, I received an e-mail indicating that my paper was accepted along with an e-mail saying that the conference was canceled. The cancelation... News For Wombats -


Here-Being in The Middlebury Campus German philosopher Martin Heidegger is famous for his theory of Dasein, or “There-Being.” For Heidegger, the temporary nature of things renders them meaningful. Thus, meaning in a person’s life comes from the acknowledgement that one cannot do everything before they die. One action or decision precludes others. Anyone who has walked into a bookshop and realized that they cannot read every book will understand this concept. Thus, we exist as... Enowning -


Pandemic Moral Failures: How Conventional Morality Kills If invited to consider moral errors people have made in relation to the current pandemic, some obvious candidates likely to spring to mind (in an American context) include:General failures of pandemic preparedness (in the CDC and federal government more broadly) before the crisis hit.The specific failure to immediately ramp up production of essential medical supplies, and especially coronavirus testing capacity, as soon as the threat became clear.Lies and misleading messaging from the President and certain... Philosophy, et cetera -


AFB’S TERMS OF ART #9: EXPRESSION Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here. Terms of Art #9: expression Paris street art [source]Pronunciation: ex-PRESH-un Definition: There are two ways that this word is used in... Aesthetics for Birds -


Fallacies [Revised entry by Hans Hansen on April 2, 2020. Changes to: Main text] Two competing conceptions of fallacies are that they are false but popular beliefs and that they are deceptively bad arguments. These we may distinguish as the belief and argument conceptions of fallacies. Academic writers who have given the most attention to the subject of fallacies insist on, or at least prefer, the argument conception of fallacies, but the belief conception is prevalent... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -