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26 July, 2009

September Conferences

This post is to inform/remind people about three exciting events running back to back this September. I shall be attending all three!

(1) Metaphysics of Science Conference, Nottingham, 12-14 September
(2) Fictionalism Conference, Manchester, 15-17 September
(3) Naturalism Workshop, Leeds, 18-19 September

Posted by Carrie Jenkins at 12:00 pm

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25 July, 2009

David Lewis in the SEP

My entry on David Lewis is online at the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

I owe thanks to many people for getting this article to the state it is currently in. The biggest debt of gratitude is to Ed Zalta and the staff at the SEP. They were (a) incredibly patient with the time it took me to write the article, and (b) incredibly helpful with all the mistakes I made along the way. I think I made more HTML errors than I knew existed at various points!

Thanks also to many people who read and suggested revisions to the content. At risk of forgetting someone, these include Steffi Lewis, Ishani Maitra, Daniel Nolan, Laurie Paul, Wolfgang Schwarz and Ted Sider. And, as I mention in the article, the whole article would have been impossible if not for the assistance I got from Wo’s blog and Daniel’s book.

That said, there are still many things that could be improved about the article. Hopefully many of these changes will get made in later revisions. The most pressing include:

Despite that, I’m pretty happy with how the article turned out. I suspect it will be, by far, the most widely read thing I ever write. Thanks again to everyone who helped out along the way!

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 6:24 pm

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An actual painted mule case

Well, actually, it’s a hair-dyed donkey, but surprisingly close.

Yet Marah, with its broken-down bumper cars and a pit filled with sadly deflated balls, had its own not-quite-right feel—particularly the zebra. Standing near the back of its cage, facing away from the spectators, the animal kept its head tucked down. “It’s really a painted donkey,” admitted Mahmud Berghat, the director of Marah, when asked about the creature. Making a fake zebra isn’t easy—henna didn’t work and wood paint was deemed inhumane, so they finally settled on human hair dye. “We cut its hair short and then painted the stripes,” Berghat explained behind the closed door of his office.

Thanks to Sherri Roush for the link.

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 5:23 pm

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18 July, 2009

Two Bootstrapping Problems

I mentioned in passing in the Kornblith post that there were two distinct puzzles about bootstrapping, but I let the point slide fairly quickly. This post is a short clarification of the two puzzles, and then a request for further info. I meant to post this before the Kornblith post, but I seem to have got muddled about when I hit ‘Draft’ and when I hit ‘Publish’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 7:00 am


17 July, 2009

Does Judgment Screen Evidence?

Suppose a rational agent S has some evidence E that bears on p, and makes a judgment J about how E bears on p. The agent is aware of this judgment, so she could in principle use its existence in her reasoning. Here’s an informal version of the question I’ll discuss in this paper: How many pieces of evidence does the agent have that bear on p? Three options present themselves.

  1. Two – Both J and E.
  2. One – E subsumes whatever evidential force J has.
  3. One – J subsumes whatever evidential force E has.

This post is about option 3. I’ll call this option JSE, short for Judgments Screen Evidence. I’m first going to say what I mean by screening here, and then say why JSE is interesting. Ultimately I want to defend three claims about JSE.

  1. JSE is sufficient to derive a number of claims that are distinctive of internalist epistemology of recent years (meaning approximately 2004 to the present day).
  2. JSE is necessary to motivate at least some of these claims.
  3. JSE is false.

This post will largely be about saying what JSE is, then some arguments for 1 and 2. I’ll leave 3 for a later post!

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Posted by Brian Weatherson at 7:00 am


16 July, 2009

Kornblith Against Reliabilism

In the April edition of Analysis, Hilary Kornblith proposes a reliabilist solution to the bootstrapping problem. I’m going to argue that Kornblith’s proposal, far from solving the bootstrapping problem, in fact makes the problem much harder for the reliabilist to solve. Indeed, I’m going to argue that Kornblith’s considerations give us a way to develop a quick reductio of a certain kind of reliabilism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 7:00 am


6 July, 2009

Arché – Rutgers Collaboration

A new announcement on the Arché website.

Arché/St Andrews has just signed a wide-ranging collaboration agreement with the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

The agreement provides fee-wavers for at least six students per year (three at St Andrews and three at Rutgers) and guarantees funding for the successful candidates.

There will be two Arché-Rutgers Conferences each year. These conferences will take place in St Andrews and be jointly organized by St-Andrews and Rutgers faculty, post-docs, and students.

Long-term, we foresee a great deal of collaboration between the two philosophy departments – with a steady flow of students, post-docs, and faculty moving between the two institutions.

This is a great development. I just spent 7 weeks at Arché, and it really is a fantastic place to do philosophy. So I’m very excited about the prospect of (yet more) Rutgers people being able to head over there on a regular basis. And I think having some Archéans around Rutgers will be educational for people from both St Andrews and Rutgers.

I’d like to take some credit for this deal, but in fact I had very little to do with it. Congratulations are due primarily, I gather, to Jason Stanley for doing most of the legwork to make a deal possible. But it looks like a deal that makes both universities considerably better off, and congratulations are really due to everyone on both sides who worked out the arrangement.

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 9:50 am

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2 July, 2009

Thursday Links

I’m in St Andrews for two more days, until the end of the summer school. It’s been absurdly beautiful here the last couple of days, reminding me why I come here rather than rainy old New York. At least there is some good food and wine to make up for it.

Posted by Brian Weatherson at 9:53 am