Four Six Links

Peter Lasersohn’s paper Context Dependence, Disagreement, and Predicates of Personal Taste is now out in Linguistics and Philosophy (subscription required). This is potentially going to have a big impact on the debates about relativism. Laserhohn used to be a contextualist about taste, but changed to being a relativist, much like my trajectory on conditionals.

My Lewis seminar has been (and will be) discussing whether the role that qualities play in Lewis’s metaphysics, and whether that role could be best played by quantities instead. (Short answer: Yes. The longer answer is being written.) The biggest influence on my thinking on this has been discussions I’ve had with John Hawthorne, but I should also mention a paper by David Denby called Determinable Nominalism (subscription required) that discusses many of the motivations for moving away from a pure object/property view towards an object/quantity view. (UPDATE: Denby’s paper is now available via Tufts.)

Metaphysical Mayhem is being transformed this year from a faculty-based conference to something largely directed at grad students. See here. Something more like the traditional Mayhem is the Mereology, Topology and Location conference taking place in October. By Nozick’s ‘closest continuant’ principle, I think I’m tempted to say that the conference called ‘Mereology etc’ is this year’s Mayhem, and the conference called ‘Mayhem’ is a new conference type. Perhaps we should have a conference on conferential identity to work this out.

Finally, frequent TAR commentor Robert Allen has a paper on The Mereology of Events in the latest Sorites. I don’t think I kept track of Sorites when I ran OPP, which was a mistake on my part, but one that I see that Jonathan has corrected.

UPDATE: Two more links.

The latest Philosophical Studies is on bridges between formal and traditional epistemology. From browsing the abstracts some of the bridges seem more elaborately designed on the side of the formal shore, but hopefully there is interesting stuff here. There is obviously a lot of potential for this kind of project (see, for instance, Williamson’s anti-luminosity argument) as long as we take both sides of the river seriously.

At the Symposium on Gender, Race and Philosophy, Elizabeth Anderson’s reply to the comments on her paper “Uses of Value Judgments in Feminist Social Science: A Case Study of Research on Divorce” has now been posted.

3 Replies to “Four Six Links”

  1. Brian-
    Thank you for linking to the conference websites! A quick note about the Mereology, Topology and Location conference: one crucial difference between it and previous Mayhem conferences is that attendence to MTL is open to anyone who wants to come: they just need to email me at to let me know that they’ll be coming.

  2. Although I think there’s a good alternative to relativism about sentences containing predicates of personal taste, I think everyone should have free access to Peter Lasersohn’s superb paper. There’s a link to it on his on-line papers page:

    I’d argue that sentences like “Roller coasters are fun” and “This chili is tasty” are semantically incomplete. They don’t have truth values — even relative to individuals. Only their counterparts containing explicit relativization to individuals have truth values. This view needs an error theory to explain why people think they contradict each other when one accepts and the other rejects “Roller coasters are fun.” They differ (in an obvious way) but they don’t disagree.

  3. Thanks very much for the plug for my paper! Let me mention, though, that my last name is spelled “Lasersohn”.

    [Sorry! Should be corrected now – BW]

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