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Tuomas Tahko
Helsinki, Finland
University Lecturer at University of Helsinki
Recent Activity
There was a recent poll at Leiter's blog on the best book publishers in philosophy. Here is the top 7: 1. Oxford University Press (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices) 2. Cambridge University Press loses to Oxford University Press by 384–81 3. Harvard University Press loses to Oxford... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2013 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
What to give as a present for a philosopher? That must be one of the more difficult questions in life. Since it's the season for presents, I thought I'd give some tips to those of you who have a philosopher for a parent, child, sibling, significant other, or a friend.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about Open Access (OA) and the ridiculous profits that publishers make from our slave labour, not just in philosophy but more generally. This has had an actual impact -- a positive one -- on University and Research Council policies, at least in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
If you'll allow, something a bit more lighthearted in the midst of all this job market doom. This has probably done the rounds before, but I just came across it. Since I'm currently working on a second revision of a paper that was sent out to a *different* referee after... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
My first reaction was that Phil Imprint should start publishing more papers if they're going pay-to-submit. Phil Imprint has published very few articles during its life span anyway, and since they're not committed to bringing a certain number of papers out each year, or something like that, it seems that pay-to-submit is somewhat unreasonable. So, if we have to pay-to-submit, then I expect to see the same level of service that we get from journals like Phil Studies, which publishes a 10-fold number of papers.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2012 on A class conflict? at The Philosophers' Cocoon
More on the subject of job recommendation letters for the US market, now that that the season is upon us. In particular, I'd like to ask your help on recommendation letters addressing teaching. I'm under the impression that it doesn't matter very much whether the teaching letter comes from someone... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I’ve been a big fan of the PhilPapers project since its inception, and I got involved with it some time ago by becoming the editor of the Modality category. I’ve been too busy to devote much time to it, but now that I’ve finally got some spare time, I got... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
I should say that despite my comments, I'm also in general agreement with Moti. But one more thing: the early moderns which Moti mentioned. The way I was thought about Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, and others was by learning to identify their mistakes. There are some notorious examples regarding Descartes in particular. I dare say that the early moderns were made to look like fools, *regarding certain arguments*, when I first learned about them. That's not necessarily to say that they were bad philosophers, just that they made some obvious mistakes (as all of us do, no doubt).
My point about looking like a fool was not so much about changing one's mind as such, but about defending something that was wrong in the first place! That is, if you make a case that, say, you know a priori that something is metaphysically necessary, perhaps even 'self-evident', and it turns out that you must change your mind in the face of some devastating criticism, then it might be rather embarrassing to have made that case in the first place. There are mistakes, of course, but claiming to know something 'clearly and distinctly', for instance, does not seem to leave room for typical argumentative errors.
There are certain aspects in which changing ones mind can seem strange (and stranger in philosophy than in other disciplines): you might have argued that something is metaphysically, or even logically necessary. You may even think that this can be known a priori. If you then go on to change your mind about it, you might look like a fool. Kant about Euclidean geometry comes to mind, although that's a rather more complicated story. Putnam himself has made some dubious moves regarding water and H20, when he asserted in 1990 that the possible variation of the laws of physics with regard to water ‘makes no sense’. Of course, he said that he never meant, in 1975, that this could happen, but it certainly looked like he did...
Thanks for the input guys! I agree with all that. As Clayton notes, a book review is a good way to get to know new material too. The book I'm reviewing is on tropes, which, while familiar to me, is an area of metaphysics that I could certainly know better. Now I do! But it does take time, and sometimes I think I'm branching out a bit too much... Anyway, sounds like people are generally in agreement about the potential benefits and disadvantages.
Book reviews can be a tempting way to get a quick publication as well as a free book, and they can be a good way to keep up to date about literature relevant for your research. But they can also take a lot of time, and it's not clear that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Wise words there Marcus. Sorry to hear about your fly-out experience, but: you must be doing something right, as you at least got a fly-out! As it happens, my own approach to failure is very similar to yours -- or at least that's what I strive for. I know those rude and unhelpful comments that you mention, the same goes for funding applications. I tend to wait until my initial disappointment, or anger, is gone. That's mainly because I don't want to be blinded by it when I, say, revise a paper. But the next day is probably good. As you say, this is something that one has to learn to live with anyway, so we might as well develop a good method for dealing with failure. What you suggest and do is exactly on the right lines.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2012 on On Keeping One's Chin Up at The Philosophers' Cocoon
Just to say that I still like the "mission". I haven't been very active recently due to travelling, but I'll try to get something up soon!
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2012 on Mission Re-Statement at The Philosophers' Cocoon
There are at least two aspects to a rejection on these types of ground. Firstly, it comes in degrees: if a paper develops a new argument for the existence of God then perhaps it is indeed publishable regardless of previous papers to that effect. But if it happens to be a 'new' argument very similar to a previously published one, then the story is different. So, there the similarity to previously published papers surely comes in degrees. Secondly, journals generally reserve the right to reject papers based on the interests of their readers and the overall spread of topics of the journal. For these reasons it might be perfectly justifiable to reject even an excellent paper if it's on the same topic as a recently published paper. In the interest of appealing to as many readers as possible, journals often try to publish papers on diverse topics. So, I can see at least a couple of scenarios where it's not unreasonable to reject a paper on these grounds.
Thanks a lot for the comments Marcus! Let me briefly reply to your comments, although I'll have to discuss these with Donnchadh as well. Vagueness: This issue came up in some previous comments as well, but we don't feel that it's so serious. We don't attempt to claim that electrons *necessarily* carve at the joints, this is simply stipulated in the paper. But we do believe that there are very good reasons to think that at least some propositions must carve at the joints. I defend this in another forthcoming paper (here: In general, we are fallibilist about which propositions carve at the joints, but if nothing does, then I think that a Dummettian 'amorphous lump' view of reality threatens. So, this is perhaps a more general problem, although one that I think can be addressed. In the paper we also hint towards a supervaluationist treatment of vagueness, which might be one way to address the problem even if vagueness is all around. Well, we may try to say a little bit more about this. Hyperintensionality: We are happy to acknowledge that the same truthmaker can (and will) act as a minimal truthmaker for several propositions. This shouldn't cause any problems for our view. It should be no more problematic than the same truthmaker making true several propositions in general. Substance: Your general worry about the substance of our claim might require some more work on our part. We do of course think that we have a reasonable case for the existence of at least some minimal truthmakers (this is what the argument from joint-carving is for). But I do think that a lot of papers out there give an account of some issue which may not turn out to be quite so relevant, or even true -- that's what philosophy is most of the time. At least we can say that, because several philosophers think that minimal truthmakers *are* important, we should have a rigorous definition of them, even if it did turn out that nothing satisfies that definition (so much worse for those who thought they were important). Once again, thanks for taking the time to read the paper, we appreciate your input!
Toggle Commented May 26, 2012 on Minimal Truthmakers at The Philosophers' Cocoon
A draft on a paper attempting to clarify the notion of minimal truthmakers Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
A behind the scenes look into editing a collection of papers. Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2012 at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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May 13, 2012