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Keith DeRose
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I think of not having all PhD-granting programs surveyed as being underwritten largely by a pretty deep structural feature of the PGR: that it seeks to report which programs (overall in various areas) are good and how good they are (at least acc. to the PGR evaluations), but not which are bad and how bad they are. I see there is also the concern about survey length. I guess it's the two combined. As for that structural feature: I guess there's a lot that can said both for and against reporting the bad (as evaluated by the PGR machine) as well as the good, but I think just the added fervent enemies the PGR would gain by doing that makes the idea completely infeasible.
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I know I'm late: I found this now b/c a facebook friend linked to it. Thanks, a couple of years late, for a thoughtful & helpful post. One worry: I wonder why it's specified that on Annihilationism (#3) one's fate (heaven or annhil.) is set by what happens before one's death? Don't a lot of annihiliationists allow for post-mortem salvation, with those who continue to resist eventually being annihilated? That would be the position of Jon Kvanvig (THE PROBLEM OF HELL), but I think lots of further-chancers-after-death tend to think that annihilation is the fate of those who decisively and finally choose against God. (Not to venture any interpretation of C.S. Lewis on these matters, but some elements of his writings are likely to push some influenced by him in such directions.) On your taxonomy, these folks seem to be a mash-up of your positions #3 and #5, perhaps best viewed as a version of 5 with a 3-like annihilationist account of what happens to those who are not eventually reconciled. Your question "Do I so need to see this rapist-murderer fry in hell that I would hold to a theology of justice that puts Sally Jean there with him?," is a powerful one. As a universalist, I've noticed that infernalists of various stripes *love* to talk about the likes of Hitler (and I'm happy to talk about that, too, as here: ). And when they do so, they often sound like it's concern for the victims that's largely driving them. But they tend to have views that put many of Hitler's victims in hell with him, and you can get interesting responses when you point that out.
Benj: I don't know your explanation of "'Sam knows that P' is intended to establish Sam as a trusted source on whether P": I'm just going by how I'm inclined to hear that. But, at least based on such an initial understanding of it, such an account seems most at home in situations where we're trying to figure out whether P, or what the case is wrt some other matters in the vicinity of P, and the speaker is promoting Sam as a good source on such matters. But we also speak of people as knowing or not knowing various things for other very different purposes, where establishing them as trusted sources would seem incidental at best to the purpose of our assertions. For example, we can use such claims in the course of explaining or predicting Sam's behavior ("Sam [knows/doesn't know] the party starts at 8", in the right setting), or in the course of criticizing his behavior ("Sam knew I wanted that last popsicle!", "But Sam didn't know the gun was safe"). I don't agree that "in ordinary use 'Sam does not know that P' entails P", though I realize that in many circumstances the assertion will convey that P. Of course, we'll want an explanation for why the claim conveys that P (where it does) if it doesn't entail that P. I think a good one is not far to seek. One reason for seeking such an explanation rather than accepting the entailment is the many situations in which P doesn't seem in any way presupposed by such a claim. Admittedly, "doesn't know *whether*" seems more at home in many of the relevant cases, but "doesn't know that" often also sounds fine (at least to me): e.g., "Sam doesn't know that his class hasn't been cancelled, but he's walking over there anyway in case it's being held" said by someone who, like Sam, is herself in the dark as to the status of the class, and so doesn't seem to be presupposing that the class hasn't been cancelled.
Benj: By "expressive" do you mean *merely* expressive: not at all fact-stating? One can agree that "Sam knows that P" is often intended to establish Sam as a trusted source on the matter (that's it's *always* so intended is beyond belief, at least for me), but think that it also states a fact--indeed that when it is intended to so establish Sam, that's done (when it succeeds) by stating a very nice fact about Sam's relation to P.
I'm very much in-line with Ludlow's response (link in his Sept. 22, 7:20 PM comment above). I'd add (Peter was probably thinking of these cases, but it's worth making explicit) that one kind of very helpful writing some philosophers have done for non-philosophical audiences is explaining in accessible ways some of the things going on in the writing we philosophers do for each other and that might be helpful for others. And we should be alert to possibilities where we can be writing for each other and for non-philosophical audiences at the same time. But in many cases the philosophical progress we're able to make would be very much impeded if we were always trying to keep things accessible for non-philosophers. Indeed, in other cases (though I've never thought *I* was in such a situation), the way to go is even to leave other philosophers behind, and for philosophers in a particular area to write for each other. Romano shows in several places that he doesn't understand the philosophy he's critiquing well enough for his opinion on its value to be worth much. How seriously can you take his evaluations when, to take just one of the particularly jarring cases, he accuses John Hawthorne of arrogance because John *criticizes* a view for needing to posit "semantic blindness" (for needing to hold that in some ways ordinary speakers don't understand the meanings of their own words) and Romano finds its arrogant to suppose speakers are in that way blind? C'mon, man, *I'm* the arrogant one here! ("That there is a good deal of ‘semantic blindness’ going on here is simply a fact that any credible analysis of the situation must face. Whether or not the contextualist solution to skepticism is correct, we simply are stuck with the result that on the matter of whether skeptical denials of knowledge are incompatible with what ordinary knowledge attributions affirm, you can fool a lot of the speakers a lot of the time.")
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Dec 23, 2009