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Eric Schliesser
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I would absolutely believe that some day, given the opportunity, they would set up their state again, and that God would choose them anew, so changeable are human affairs.—Spinoza, Theological Political Treatise, Chapter 3 (translated by E. Curley). I understand Zionism as a legitimate response to the reality that we... Continue reading
Posted 15 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
In the matter of passion, whether of love or war, excess is inevitable. Yet I have always been bewildered when, in the ease of peace, men raise the questions of praise or blame. It seems to me now that both judgments are inappropriate, and equally so. For those who thus... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
My philosophical colleague, Thomas Sturm, has been calling attention to the significance of the Budapest Memorandums. This 1994 treaty encouraged Ukraine to give up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in exchange for territorial and security guarantees by Russia, USA, and the UK. Whatever one's views are about the legitimacy of the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
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[This is a guest post by Bryce Huebner.--ES] Eric Schliesser is right to call attention to the connection between the tendency to “treat the LEMM as the CORE parts of philosophy”, the tendency to “mock SPEP-style Continental philosophy”, and the continued marginalization of the majority of Black philosophers. As Botts... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
There is a willful, not necessarily a conscious, preference among many members of the philosophy profession largely to maintain the status quo in terms of: the social group profiles of members; the dynamics of prestige and influence; and the areas and questions deemed properly or deeply "philosophical." None of this... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
No man may know himself, nor how he must appear even to his friends; but I imagine they must have thought me a but of a fool, that day, and even for some time afterward. I was a bit luxuriant then, and fancied that a poet must play the part.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Words have effects (therefore they exist). As anybody that has taught discovers, one's words also have many unexpected effects. (One can fail to notice this if students are only allowed to speak in multiple choice exams.) Words take on a life of their own and they are interpreted in frameworks... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[The post below is a response by Daniel C. Dennett to one of my recent posts; it is published with his permission.--ES] In my long lapsed career as a sculptor I once devoted considerable time and energy to conceiving of (but not executing) a series of conceptual art objects that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Late Friday afternoon (August 22), the University of Illinois broke its three-week long silence on the controversy regarding the Chancellor's revocation of a tenured offer to Steven Salaita, who had accepted a faculty position in the American Indian Studies Program at the flagship campus at Urbana-Champaign. Chancellor Phyllis Wise and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
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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 Aug 22, 2014 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 Aug 21, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Catarina, I remember one of these blogs well. (I think I may have prompted the one on the ABC conjecture: <http://www.newappsblog.com/2013/05/the-math-community-faces-a-conundrum-the-proof-to-a-very-important-conjecture-hangs-in-the-air-yet-n.html>. 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 Aug 20, 2014 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 Aug 19, 2014 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 Aug 18, 2014 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 Aug 18, 2014 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
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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