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Bill Vallicella
A recovering academician, I taught philosophy at various universities in the USA and abroad before abandoning a tenured position to live the eremitic life of the independent philosopher in the Sonoran desert.
Interests: Everything. <em>Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.</em> from Terentius. "I am a man: I consider nothing human foreign to me." Nothing human, but also nothing nonhuman.
Recent Activity
Written 1 August 2012; edited and reviewed 19 March 2021. ................................ Consider a particular hole H in a piece of Swiss cheese. H is not nothing. It has properties. It has, for example, a shape: it is circular. The circular hole has a definite radius, diameter, and circumference. It has... Continue reading
(Written 21 November 2018. Edits added.) What's with all the contemporary noise about 'whataboutism'? Example 1. A lefty complains, "Trump is a liar!" A conservative responds, "What about Hillary and Bill and Obama? Are they not liars too?" Example 2. A pro-lifer argues that killing the prenatal is immoral and... Continue reading
(Written 11 September 2016) The following argument is sometimes heard. "Because values are relative, it is wrong to impose one's values on others." But if values are relative, and among my values is the value of instructing others in the right way to live, then surely I am justified in... Continue reading
Written 11 July 2011. Some time before 1884, Gottlob Frege had a discussion about existence with the Protestant theologian Bernard Pünjer (1850-1885). A record of the dialogue was found in Frege's Nachlass, and an English translation is available in Gottlob Frege: Posthumous Writings, eds. Hans Hermes et al., University of... Continue reading
(Written 20 July 2015) I suspect that Vlastimil V's (neo-scholastic) understanding of potentiality is similar to the one provided by Matthew Lu in Potentiality Rightly Understood: The substance view of persons holds that every human being either has the potential to manifest any and all properties essential to personhood or... Continue reading
(Written Christmas Eve, 2017) Our frenetic and hyperkinetic way of life these days makes it difficult to take seriously religion and what is essential to it, namely, the belief in what William James calls an Unseen Order. Our communications technology in particular is binding us ever tighter within the human... Continue reading
What I will call the Dictionary Fallacy is the fallacy of thinking that certain philosophical questions can be answered by consulting dictionaries. The philosophical questions I have in mind are those of the form What is X? or What is the nature of X? High on the list: What is... Continue reading