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Eric Schliesser
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He who studies with a philosopher should take away with him some one good thing every day: he should daily return home a sounder man, or in the way to become sounder.--Seneca Letter 108 In the bowels of cyberspace, philosopher Eric Schliesser (Ghent) has earned the amusing nickname "the Ghent... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
The Journal of the APA will be launching this coming spring. It is crucial to the success of the journal that it represent research done by the many different intellectual constituencies of the APA. The editorial board is highly sensitive to this fact.--Sally Haslanger That seems to me the primary... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Catarina, I remember one of these blogs well. (I think I may have prompted the one on the ABC conjecture: <>. But, my point is that once proof-checking by computers becomes a secure and routine process they can be incorporated into mathematical norms. It's only if the machine-accepted proofs turn out to cause down-stream problems/inconsistencies that human-checking would be necessary (as in other areas of science where machines are used). We may not be there yet, of course, but it could evolve in that direction. (This is not to suggest that humans become dispensable.)
If the reader is shocked or offended by the two last-mentioned procedures, I hasten to assure him that they, occur, of course, only in the more barbarous regions, like America, where the sacrilege of tampering with the holy tradition of language is sometimes connived at.--Carnap "P.F. Strawson on Linguistic Naturalism"... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Catarina, leaving aside some of the very interesting larger claims you make, I am a bit skeptical about the claim that "proof-checking is a major aspect of mathematical practice," (it feels too much as a philosopher's wish). So this made me curious; is there any evidence about to what degree mathematicians referee more than is common in other disciplines or comment more widely on proof aspects. (I hate the idea that we could quantify time spent of academics [as the bureaucrats want us to do], but I also like philosophy of scientific practice.) Now, obviously 'major' leaves you plenty of room, but still. (The mathematicians I know personally are either primarily busy working on quite hard proofs or are helping other scientists improve their software and mathematical tools by way of a grant or something.)
It is also fair to say, I think, that the conception of free will I defend in Elbow Room is less an evenhanded analysis, and more a reform, of our everyday conception than I was willing to admit at the time. In the 1980s, Ordinary Language Philosophy had already plummeted... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
DailyNous has posted three stories (here, here, here) about how Colin McGinn was voted a position by the philosophy department at Eastern Carolina University (ECU). According to the Chronicle, it involves The Whichard distinguished professorship, which pays $110,000 in order "to teach two undergraduate courses, offer a weekly faculty seminar,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Thomas Kuhn opens The Structure 0f Scientific Revolutions with the following statement: 'History, if viewed as a repository for more than anecdote or chronology, could produce a decisive transformation in the image of science by which we are now possessed.' I hope that it isn't too pretentious to end my... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
There is much that could be said in criticism of this paper, but the primary reason for rejection is that the whole argument turns upon a misquotation. The author's main claim is that the two arguments which appear on p.135 of the Penguin Classics (ed. Woolhouse) edition of the Three... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions. Of these the only law is, "Speak the best word that is in thee."--Margaret Fuller (1840) "A Short Essay on Critics" The Dial, I, July. The only true criticism... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Samuelson's exposition is consistently mathematical, and presupposes a knowledge of advanced calculus, higher algebra, and differential equations...I consider this failure to provide translations for the "literary" economist a serious shortcoming of his work. He dismisses translations into words as "mental gymnastics of a peculiarly depraved type." I disagree. There is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
The superior gods laugh--'David Hume' [Suppressed by Adam Smith] Look who thinks he is nothing?--From an old joke. 1. Lewis, David (214) 2. Quine, W.V.O. (164) 3. Putnam, Hilary (131) 4. Davidson, Donald (120) 4. Rawls, John (120) 6. Kripke, Saul (117) 7. Williams, Bernard (104) 8. Nozick, Robert (96)... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Anything is possible. (333) I believe I've still never mistaken fiction for reality, though have mixed them together more than once, as everyone does, not only novelists or writers but everyone who has recounted anything since the time we know began, and no one in that known time has done... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
When I was a PhD student my first interactions with the Dutch philosopher of science, Ton Derksen, were unpleasant; I thought he was dismissive of my research, aloof in that annoying, European professorial way, and -- undoubtedly this colored my later memory -- slow in reimbursing my (considerable) travel expenses.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Some justly famous works [of philosophy] offer no argument at all.--M. Bolton [T]here is no single method of philosophical inquiry. Descartes and Spinoza, among others, purport to demonstrate metaphysical truths by deductive arguments with necessary a priori premises. Locke, on the other hand, rests his theory of human understanding on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Even after a once innovative theory has become entrenched, there is need to keep superseded theories in view to sharpen awareness of the principles and merits of the accepted account. But this is true only in the case of successive theories which address an issue which remains stable at a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[A]s meaningless as asking which points in Ohio are starting points.--Quine "Two Dogmas" (1961). I’m what you get when you cross Quine with Ryle and add some cognitive science.--Daniel C. Dennett. I am writing in order to disrupt any possibility that the horrible conflation of Zionism and Judaism become further... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
There is almost universal recognition, reflected in hiring patterns, that historians of philosophy play a vital teaching role in philosophy departments. We are experts on the core texts that majors and graduate students are supposed to have read, and we are committed to bringing those works alive in a way... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[T]he wildness and freedom that his instinct sought...He felt that wherever he lived, and wherever he would live hereafter, he was leaving the city more and more, withdrawing into the wilderness. He felt that was the central meaning he could find in all his life, and it, and it seemed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
After more than 170 consecutive posts , I am taking a short break in order to enjoy a family holiday. Out of the twenty most widely read Digressions, nineteen pertain to 'professional' issues and norms in academic philosophy (and university life more generally)). I am grateful for your trust, interest,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
"You are doing sociology not philosophy." That was not intended as a compliment "I am from Brazil, and I never understand continental philosophy, but I found your paper clear." That was intended as a compliment. "What's your relationship to Feyerabend? You seem very influenced by him." That was also intended... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
"It is quite another thing to conclude that therefore ends of good policy are beyond the realm of scientific discussion. For surely the primary requisite of a working social system is a consensus on ends. The individual members of society must agree upon the major ends which that society is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Having considered the proceedings of a painter that serves me, I had a mind to imitate his way. He chooses the fairest place and middle of any wall, or panel, wherein to draw a picture, which he finishes with his utmost care and art, and the vacuity about it he... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
The Circumstance which gives Authors an Advantage above all these great Masters, is this, that they can multiply their Originals; or rather can make Copies of their Works, to what Number they please, which shall be as valuable as the Originals themselves. This gives a great Author something like a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[This post is dedicated to Naif-Al-Mutawa.--ES] Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.--Quran 3.67 Bowersock's The Throne of Adulis, which I read during the last few days, gives a glimpse... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions