Philosophy Dreaming

I had a dream about one of my co-bloggers last night. I dreamt that Andy Egan (whom I haven’t seen since Canberra in July) came to stay in my apartment in St Louis. Shortly after he arrived, a woman claiming to be Adam Elga’s ex-wife knocked on the back door, along with two small boys, demanding to see their father. (To the best of my knowledge, Adam’s never been married and doesn’t have any small children, although what do I know? Anyway, I just mean: don’t take my dreamt up family for Adam to have any bearings on his real life situation.) I told her that Adam wasn’t there, (although the other AE was) and then one of the children tore up the place looking for him.

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With Pictures

If you click here you’ll get taken to an Amazon page that claims to be for the ILLUSTRATED version (their caps) of Michael Smith’s The Moral Problem. I’m thinking of buying it just to see what the pictures are like. I’m hoping they have a picture of a besire so I can recognise one if I see it in the wild.

The Ashes

If you Google for greatest rivalry in sports today you’ll get a lot of references to the Ohio State-Michigan series (largely because of last week’s game) several references to Red Sox-Yankees, and a few other college pairings. From a global perspective, these all look faintly ridiculous. Does any of these rivalries really compare to Real Madrid-Barcelona for history, or Celtic-Rangers for intensity?

It’s probably futile to say which of these is the greatest. But I think on the list should be the series that starts in a few hours.
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Character Engineering

I was reading this light article on chess (thanks to Arts and Letters Daily) and it occurred to me that even though chess is loosely based on the idea of going to war (sacrificing pawns, protecting the king etc.), people hardly ever complain that chess is bad for people or bad for society. In fact, unlike with many violent video and computer games, parents celebrate when they get their kids to go to chess club.

I expect that part of the reason chess is so inoffensive is that what representation of violence it contains is very stylised and abstract. You don\‘t – unless you\‘re playing wizard chess – get to hear the squelch as a pawn dies, (or is captured), the explosions as a castle goes down, or the screams of the queen.

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Modal Logic Textbooks

I’m teaching an advanced philosophy of language course next semester, and I’ve decided to focus on issues in the philosophy of language where it helps to have some technical background. The idea of the course will be to alternate between time spent doing techie stuff – which will be assessed by way of problem sets – and time spent doing philosophy that relates to the techie stuff, which will be assessed by way of papers.

We’re going to start out with some modal logic, and I’m wondering about textbooks. I’ve actually already put my request in to the bookstore to get some copies of the latest Hughes and Cresswell, but since then my collegue José has suggested that I switch to this book by Fitting and Mendelsohn instead. And at a first glance, it does look pretty promising, and it contains exercises and – this is important, I think – among the proof systems it employs are axiomatic systems. I remark on this because in the last couple of years there have been several logic textbooks – by authors who I otherwise love and respect – which use tableaux as the main proof method. And that isn’t what I want.

But it’s hard to know whether a logic textbook is good from a cursory glance. (They’re kind of like universal statements; you can know that one is bad from a single data point, but knowing that one is good is very difficult.) So I was wondering, have any of you used the Fitting and Mendelsohn book? Do you have any thoughts about it, or other similar books?

Brickhouse and Smith on Socrates

Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, Socrates and the Laws of Athens for Philosophy Compass.

The claim that the citizen’s duty is to “persuade or obey” the laws, expressed by the personified Laws of Athens in Plato’s Crito, continues to receive intense scholarly attention. In this article, we provide a general review of the debates over this doctrine, and how the various positions taken may or may not fit with the rest of what we know about Socratic philosophy. We ultimately argue that the problems scholars have found in attributing the doctrine to Socrates derive from an anachronistic and erroneous understanding of Socrates as a kind of libertarian.

Philip Robbins on Introspection

Philip Robbins, The Ins and Outs of Introspection for Philosophy Compass.

Introspection admits of several varieties, depending on which types of mental events are introspected. I distinguish three kinds of introspection (primary, secondary, and tertiary) and three explanations of the general capacity: the inside access view, the outside access view, and the hybrid view. Drawing on recent evidence from clinical and developmental psychology, I argue that the inside view offers the most promising account of primary and secondary introspection.