I’m going to be on the road for the next 4-5 weeks, so posting will be light.

The papers blog will be in the capable hands of Jonathan Ichikawa (of There is Some Truth in That and Fake Barn Country fame) so that will keep running smoothly. And if I can figure out how to post here from the phone on international networks, I’ll probably post here. Don’t bet on my technical competence being that high though.

Happy summer/winter break everyone!

Vague Adverbs

We have lots of heuristics to tell whether a predicate is vague. If it admits of borderline cases, or if it is Sorites susceptible, it’s probably vague. But predicates aren’t the only vague terms. Predicate modifiers, like adverbs, can be vague. How should we test adverbs for vagueness?For concreteness, let’s focus on a particular (intuitively) vague adverb, ‘quickly’. How could we test/argue for the vagueness of ‘quickly’.One idea is that ‘quickly’ is vague iff for some verb V, V quickly is vague. But that won’t do, because V quickly might be vague in virtue of V being vague.Here’s a Saturday night live guess at what we might do. If we can find a verb V such that there’s a sorites sequence for V quickly such that each term is a clear instance of V, then quickly is vague. That condition seems necessary and sufficient at first pass. Or so it seems to me. Counterexamples and counterproposals welcome!


I don’t quite know how we originally ended up with a double post here. I’m still trying to figure out how posting from my phone works …


I’ve mentioned this before, but any email you want to send to me should be sent to the following address.

username: brian
domain: weatherson.org

The adddress is username@domain. (Sorry for the circumlocution, but if it beats the spambots.) As of Monday I will be checking my Brown email account infrequently, if at all.

A Priori KK?

Does the KK thesis hold for a priori knowledge? That is, if p is a priori knowable, is it a priori knowable that p is a priori knowable? It isn’t obvious to me how to translate Williamson’s arguments against KK into an argument against this thesis, but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the thesis.

Blogging Etiquette

When I was starting this little soapbox up, I would kinda use terms like ‘on-the-record’ in a self-consciously jokey manner. The joke was that it would be at all relevant to apply journalistic standards to a little thing like this. But now I just use that language habitually. And with reason. This site is, er, rather widely read within the profession. When I moved to private hosting three weeks ago I got a whole new suite of hit counting resources. So I know that since then this site has been visited by people coming from more than 5000 different IP addresses, with over 500 of them visiting more than 10 times (or roughly daily if you exclude weekends and days I was away). So what’s said here is really not private.

One of the things I’ve heard about the blog is that I must feel very confident if I can give away ideas as frequently as I do here. Now that isn’t a real problem for me. After all, I’m not giving away ideas as much as trading them for enhanced reputation, much like everyone does. (That’s a fairly cold way to conceptualise what we do, and I certainly don’t consciously think about that trade when I’m working. But it seems to describe what we do from some perspective.) And while the reputation effect of a good journal article may be longer lasting, the short term effects of a decent blog post are more dramatic. For someone with a discount rate as steep as mine, that’s a reasonable swap.

So there’s no problem when I’m talking about my ideas. But what about when I use this site to talk about other people’s ideas? Then it isn’t so clear that everything is fair. Maybe the person whose idea I am discussing will get some benefit from being associated with a good idea, if I credit them properly and express their idea correctly. But those are big ifs. And there’s a cost involved. Once the idea is out, it might be harder to get a journal publication out of it for all sorts of reasons. (E.g. someone else might be inspired to write up a ‘similar’ idea, or just incorporate that point into a separate paper. Or the idea might just seem to be old news by the time it gets to a referee.) And journal publications are pretty important to philosophers without tenured jobs, and perhaps even more so to philosophers without tenure-track jobs. So this is a potentially serious issue.
Continue reading “Blogging Etiquette”

Good News for Syracuse

And, by extension, for upstate New York. Brian Leiter reports that Mark Heller has accepted a job offer at Syracuse. The report doesn’t say when he’ll be starting, but whenever he arrives he will be another good addition to the philosophical community in, what will be, my next of the woods.

UPDATE: Orange Philosophy has more, including the news that Mark will indeed be starting this Fall.

Papers Blog – May 28

The papers blog is up with several new sites for you to peruse. In most cases when I get new sites I don’t link all the papers I find there, because some might not be that new and it would be an enormous amount of work to process all of them, but you should click through to the sites if you are interested to see more.

Papers Blog – May 27

The papers blog is posted, though I managed to forget to add four new pages I was supposed to add. Maybe I’ll do a supplementary post tonight, or more likely they’ll go in tomorrow’s post.

Two new philosophy blogs worth noting. Soon there will be too many for anyone to keep track of!

Richard Zach
Joe Shieber