Follow BritHereNow on Twitter

Recent Posts

The Bertrand Russell Show

Feminist Philosophers

fragments of consciousness

Gender, Race and Philosophy: The Blog


Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog

Long Words Bother Me

semantics etc. highlights

Thoughts Arguments and Rants



Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The History of the APA

Over the last week or so I have been reading mostly old stuff (old for me anyway), mostly articles/book chapters by, and responses to, Rudolf Carnap and C. I. Lewis. But I've also read a couple of lightweight articles. One was Gardiner's "The First Twenty-Five Years of the American Philosophical Association", which was published in The Philosophical Review in 1926. As the article describes, the APA was an 'offshoot' from the American Psychological Association, from which it separated in 1901. The reason for the split was that the APA meetings prior to 1901 had become invaded by philosophers, which contradicted the mission statement of the APA, the mission being to advance 'psychology as a science'. At the APA meeting in 1899 one-third of the papers read were of a clearly philosophical nature. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to establish a philosophical division of the APA, Professor Creighton from Cornell met privately with Seth, Irons, Hibben, and Thilly to talk about the possibility of an independent American Philosophical Association. The American Philosophical Association was formed at a meeting in New York on November 2, 1901, Creighton was elected president and the first meeting of the American Philosophical Association was held in Earl Hall, Columbia University, March 31 - April 1 during the Easter break the following year. 40 philosophers attended. The first APA smoker was hosted by Mrs. Butler -- president Butler's wife -- in the Avery Library. The first paper, "Poetry and Philosophy", on the rather full program was read by Ralph Barton Perry, and Creighton spoke to "the Purposes of a Philosophical Association" in his presidential address. He emphasized the importance of 'cooperation through discussion in the solution of philosophical problems', the philosopher being 'dependent on social stimulus' (Gardiner 1926: 149). The Proceedings of the APA were subsequently published in The Philosophical Review.

In 1901, after the foundation, invitations were sent out to universities and colleges. 67 philosophers joined the association, and 30 were elected. But not every one was thrilled by the thought of regular APA meetings. Thus, William James replied:

I am still pretty poorly and can't 'jine' anything -- but apart from that I don't foresee much good from a philosophical society. Philosophical discussion proper only succeeds between intimates who have learned how to converse by months of weary trial and failure. The philosopher is a lone beast dwelling in his individual burrow. -- Count me out! (Gardiner 1926: 148).
James must have changed his mind, for he joined the APA 3 years later and became its 6th president. The American Philosophical Society, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1734, also objected to the foundation of the APA. They complained that 'the APA' was 'an infringement of title and liable to cause confusion with their own Society' (Gardiner 1926: 150). But the protest was ignored.

At the December meeting of the APA 1902 it was decided that the Western Philosophical Association, which had been founded in 1900, should become a division of the American Philosophical Association. But the APA continued to hold its meetings on the East Coast until 1914, where the APA met, for the first time, with the Western Division, in Chicago. But very few members from the East showed up. It was not until 1919 that the 'amalgamation' of the Eastern and Western divisions was successful. It was proposed that there should be one super-organization, the APA, and three Divisions: the Eastern, the Western and the Southern each of which would host separate meetings. It was also proposed that the super-organization should host a joint meeting. However, only one was ever held, in 1923. Moreover, Gardiner reports that 'there is no record that anything has come of the proposed inclusion of the Southern Association [which had been formed in the meantime] as a third Division' (1926: 153). Around the same time a society for Philosophy had formed on the West Coast, and it was suggested that this society should form the third Division of the APA.

By 1926 all the meetings of the APA, except for the first, had been held in December, and 250 papers had been read at these meetings. As for the quality of the papers, Gardiner makes the following remarks:
the papers have not always added greatly to our insight and ... discussion has at times seemed footless and fruitless. We have frequently been more bewildered than illuminated and sometimes, I have no doubt, we have felt frankly bored or irritated. But this may at least be said, we have reflected in our meetings the best thinking of American philosophers in our time. The future historian, inspecting our records, would be able to derive from them a not inaccurate conspectus of the state of philosophy in America in the first quarter of the century (1926: 157).
Gardiner adds that much has been gained as well 'by the cultivation of friendly personal relations among workers in the same or allied fields'.

Since 1926 the Western Division has familiarly become the Central Division, the Pacific Division has been formed, and the membership has gone up. The current membership of the APA is 10,400 (ASLS website).

Monday, January 29, 2007

More Pics from Arizona

David Chalmers has put up some great pics from the Arizona Ontology Conference. Brian Fiala, Andy Egan, Benj Hellie and Jessica Wilson, and Joe Salerno also took some pics. Small sample:

David Chalmers (background: Thomas Kelly and Jonathan Schaffer)

Delia Graff Fara with daughter Clarissa and Karen Bennett

Audience (foreground: Joe, Kris, Brad, Cian, Andy, Benj, Jessica)

Steffi Lewis, me and Helen Beebee

Philosophers' Carnival # 42

... is here.

Video Conferencing Instead of Interviewing

Pea Soup and American Philosophy both suggest doing APA interviewing through video conferencing instead of regular interviewing.

American Philosophy also has a post discussing Leiter's response to the article in New York Times about Rutgers.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Should I Become a Professional Philosopher?

'No', is the short answer offered at our yearly 'scare-away'- meeting whose intended audience is M.A. students eager to enter a Ph.D. program and become professional philosophers. The truth is that most philosophers who complete their doctorate and who are fortunate enough to land a permanent teaching job teach up to 3 or 4 courses per semester, they produce work of little importance which never gets cited or responded to, they earn less than 6 figures by the time they retire, and they spend most of their active years in the work force paying off the student loans they acquired at the mediocre Ph.D. program that ended up accepting them without funding. As my colleague Eric Wiland would put it, 'if you can imagine doing anything other than philosophy, do it'. I am not quite as pessimistic. But if you are an aspiring philosopher, you should know what you are getting yourself into. Philosophy is no paradise -- not always anyway. For the most part it is hard work disrupted by a noisy APA meeting full of flaky folks with no real life and then a very long summer break trying to meet deadlines which were postponed during the academic year. But there are also those rare occasions where you think (usually mistakenly) that you are onto something, or where the students are really getting what you have been trying to tell them for years. I tend to think those precious moments make it all worth it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Acceptance Lecture By Vincent Hendricks

Vincent F. Hendricks was promoted to full professor on Januar 1, 2007 and will be giving an acceptance lecture on Friday March 9, 14:00 at Roskilde University, the Lecture Hall, Institute for Culture and Identity, Building 45, House 03.2.2. Hendricks was born in 1970 and attended, among other places, University of Copenhagen and Carnegie Mellon University. He received his doctoral degree in 1997 from University of Copenhagen and received the degree of dr. phil. from Aalborg University in 2004. His research has focused on the relationship among knowledge, logic and method, and he has published several books with Cambridge University Press, Springer and Oxford University Press.

Florida Students on Possible World Semantics

The Florida Student Blog has started an interesting discussion of possible world semantics.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pictures from Arizona

Joe Salerno took some pictures at the Arizona Ontology Conference. They are available here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Arizona 2007

Just returned from the Arizona Ontology Conference (see the announcement here). L.A. Paul did a fantastic job organizing it, and there was plenty of time for horseback riding and beautiful hikes. My horse Scooter had a lot of fun trying to get me off his back, and I had a lot of fun trying to stay on him. The papers were all excellent. There were virtually no talks, except for replies by commentators and Terry Horgan's magic tricks after dinner speech, but that left us with 75 minutes for discussion for each session. I am too tired to summarize all of the papers but let me mention a few.

Delia Graff Fara offered a new solution to the puzzle of contingent identity. The puzzle is to explain why

(1) Goliath is identical to Lumpl
(2) But Goliath might not have been identical to Lumpl

both seem true. Fara suggested that we should treat names as disguised predicates. At the level of logical form 'Delia Graff' functions as the "incomplete" definite description 'the Delia Graff'. As she treats definite descriptions as uniqueness-involving predicate nominals, 'the Delia Graff' naturally functions as a predicate nominal on her view. Treating names as predicates does not by itself solve the puzzle of contingent identity, as predicate names may be rigid. However, Fara assumes that predicate names may be non-rigid.

The logical forms of (1) and (2) may then be represented (informally) as follows.

(1*) [The] Goliath is identical to [the] Lumpl
(2*) It is possible that ([the] Goliath is not [the] Lumpl)


(2**) [The] Goliath is such that it is possible that (it is not [the] Lumpl)

But not:

(2***) [The] Goliath and [the] Lumpl are such that it is possible that (they are not identical).

Since predicate names are non-rigid, contingency puzzles do not arise. Nor do substitution puzzles, as Leibniz’s Law does not apply when the designators involved are non-rigid.

My comments on Fara's paper can be found here.

David Chalmers argued that we should be anti-realists about ontological disputes. On Chalmers' view, there are worlds with micro-physical facts. But worlds do not come equipped with domains of quantification. Instead when we utter a sentence such as 'this is a chair' or 'this is a cup-cup' the context of utterance supplies a funishing function -- a function from worlds to domains. In ordinary contexts the furnishing functions may yield domains with chairs and cups but no cup-cups, and in the ontology room the furnishing functions may yield domains with cup-cups, or alternatively no cups and no chairs. There are various admissibility constraints on the furnishing functions. 'There are unicorns' is inconsistent with a semantically neutral description of the micro-physical level of reality. So, it is not correct in any (actual) context to say that there are unicorns. Jonathan Schaffer replied with various sharp observations. Among other things, he argued that Chalmers' version of quantifier domain restriction could be assimilated to ordinary quantifier domain restriction. My pre-conference questions (and Chalmers' replies) can be found here.

Ted Sider discussed presentism, a Williamsonian passage view and two versions of the growing block view in light of the notion of saturation. Roughly, a proposition is saturated iff its truth (or falsehood) does not depend on any parameters or perspectives. So, for the presentist, the passager, and other A-theorists, the proposition expressed by my current utterance of the sentence 'Brit is sitting' is saturated. Agustin Rayo offered sharp and colorful comments. Among other things, he was wondering whether we should take a reference-first approach (Sider) or a truth-conditions-first approach to language. I tried to argue that the Williamsonian passage-view might require us to index to times. Roughly, on the passage view, 'it was the case that there is a time t which will never be present, and dinosaurs exist at t' entails 'there is an x such that it was the case that x is a time which will never be present and dinosaurs exist at x'. So, if x is a time now, then we have two times: the present time and x. So, how do we avoid indexing?

Kathrin Koslicki rejected moderate composition as identity. Objects, on her view, are not composed of their parts, as part-indiscernible objects can differ in virtue of their structure. Kris McDaniel asked a number of challenging questions, for instance, what are we to say about chair-shaped extended simples? Such unbreakable chairs have no internal structure.

Cian Dorr offered the beginning of a new interpretation of quantum mechanics. It was a difficult paper, and in spite of the fact that Jill North explained the most difficult parts of the paper in her excellent commentary, I do not have the courage to offer a summary here.

There were lots of other very interesting papers and commentaries, including papers by Helen Beebee (comments: Terry Horgan), Carolina Sartorio (comments: Michael Fara), Ned Hall (comments: Antony Eagle), and Sarah McGrath (comments: Mark Heller).

More discussions of papers and pictures from the conference will follow soon, I am sure (UPDATE: Joe Salerno took some pics. They are available here. For more info see the original post).

Vincent Hendricks Meets Johannes Møllehave

On February 4, 2007 at 20:35 the Danish DK4 channel features an interview with Vincent Hendricks by Johannes Møllehave -- Denmark’s most celebrated priest, critic and literary figure. Hendricks is Professor of Formal Philosophy at Roskilde University in Copenhagen and editor-in-chief of the journal Synthese.

UPDATE: Hendricks was promoted to full professor on Januar 1, 2007. He will be giving an acceptance lecture on Friday March 9, 14:00 at Roskilde University, the Lecture Hall, Institute for Culture and Identity, Building 45, House 03.2.2.

Florida Student Philosophy Blog

Graduate and undergraduate students in the state of Florida have started a new blog, Florida Student Philosophy Blog, which is well worth checking out.

Hillary for President?

From Truthout.

Cindy Sheehan writes:

This occupation of Iraq can't be won by being smarter - it was lost before we went in. The US, again, was a big loser in a capricious military expedition, with the support of Senator Clinton. She is an amazingly brilliant person, and she cannot say that she was fooled by George. We, the American public, can be brilliant too, and we can't buy that baloney.


Here's a blog that you should know about.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I am off to Arizona. Lemmings will be fairly quiet until I am back.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sex, Singer and Ali G (Salerno)

[Cross-posted from KNowAbiliTy]

Peter Singer reminds us here that sex with humans is a lot more fun. And Ali G has something to say about animal rights as well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Reasons for Non-Selection of Job Candidates

If you are on the job market, you might wonder why you didn't get an initial interview or a follow-up interview with a particular school. At my school official non-selection criteria are used. Here are the most important ones (slightly reformulated so as not to step on any administrator's toes).

(1) Degree-granting institution not as strong in the field as those of the candidates selected.
(2) Candidate accepatable but candidates selected have more/better publications.
(3) Insufficient publication record considering the length of time.
(4) Reseach/Publications not appropriate to position as advertized.
(5) Area of specialization overlaps significantly with those of current members of the department and/or does not fit with the needs of the department as advertized.
(6) History of difficult interpersonal relationships.
(7) Dissertation not completed and insufficient evidence that it will be by the end of the year.
(8) Degree in a field not compatible with the needs of the department as advertized.

A note is added to the effect that (1) should be applied cautiously for females whose choice of school was dependent on her spouse's career, because - as they say - in such cases the candidate may not have had the 'luxury of choosing a top-ranked school for her work'.

I couldn't resist quoting the last part. I find the suggestion as such rather crude in its formulation. As for the selection criteria: they would have made it possible to reject Wittgenstein. But of course that is consistent with the views of both parties in the current debate.

Stanley vs. McGlynn

Jason Stanley and Aidan McGlynn have started a very interesting debate over whether Wittgenstein could have passed the tenure requirements at a current elite university. The main posts by Stanley can be found here and here. McGlynn replies to Stanley here and here. Carrie Jenkins expresses a third point of view here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

From the APA

Since I am obviously failing to make good on my promise to report from the APA, I am glad others are making up for it. Aidan McGlynn has a new report here, which (among other things) includes a brief summary of the Cappelen/Stanley session.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Some Papers

I have posted new drafts of the following papers to my website.

The first are my comments on Delia Graff Fara's paper at the Arizona Ontology Conference. It includes a quick reply to an objection Chalmers raised.

The second is my paper on Sharvy's theory of descriptions.

The third is my paper from the recent APA meeting. I still haven't fully replied to one of Zoltan Szabo's objections. So revisions will be made.

UPDATE: When I posted the APA paper I didn't reinsert the acknowledgement. That has now been corrected.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Comments on Graff Fara's Paper

I have uploaded a rough draft of my comments on Graff Fara's super-interesting paper for the Arizona Ontology Conference to my website. In the comments I briefly outline an epistemic solution to the problem of contingent identity. But, as Chalmers has just pointed out to me, it is not obvious that sentences involving subjunctive conditionals such as 'Goliath is identical to Lumpl but if I broke off his finger he wouldn't be' can be handled in this way. The puzzle of contingent identity: (1) and (2) seem true.

(1) Goliath is identical to Lumpl.

(2) But Goliath might not have been identical to Lumpl.

But they can't be if identity is absolute, and names are rigid. I suggest that the modality in (2) is (deeply) epistemic.

UPDATE: Formula (4) didn't go through. It should be: (x)(y)(x = y --> <>(x is not identical to y) iff <>(y is not identical to y)).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Philosophers' Carnival # 41

... is here.

Wiki Journal Info

Douglas Portmore has started a new wiki site which evaluates philosophy journals (HT: Weatherson).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions

Just a quick note relating to Chalmers' Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions (PA), which can be found here. In (PA) Chalmers defends a new approach to attitude ascriptions. Roughly: an utterance of 'S believes that p' is true iff S endorses a proposition q that is relevantly connected to p. q is relevantly connected to p iff p and q determine the same 2-intension, and q determines a p-relevant 1-intension. The 2-intension part is introduced in order to deal with cases of the following sort:

(1) Twin-Oscar believes water tastes good.

Suppose I utter (1). There is a feeling that (1) is false even if Twin-Oscar truly enjoys the clear non-alcoholic liquid in his glass. After all, Twin-Oscar is surrounded by XYZ and not H20. But if belief operators operated only on 1-intensions, then (1) would be true.

The account seems right to me. But I am wondering about:

(2) It is a priori for Twin-Oscar that water (if it exists) is the clear liquid in rivers and lakes.

Intuitively, (2) is false if uttered by me. Twin-Oscar is surrounded by XYZ not H20. But if deeply epistemic operators operate on 1-intension, as suggested by Chalmers, then (2) should be true (since the 1-intension of the operand sentence is necessary for Twin-Oscar). Now, I am aware that Chalmers has recently introduced some entertainability clause into his account of the a priori. But the operand sentence in (2) is entertainable (recall that I am the utterer, not Twin-Oscar). So it would seem that we need deeply epistemic operators to operate on something other than just 1-intension. Perhaps the following simple amendment might work: A's utterance of 'It is a priori for S that p' is true iff the 2-intension of 'p' (in the mouth of A) is true at the world of S, and the 1-intension of 'p' is necessary for S.

Chalmers on Ontological Anti-Realism

Today I read Carrie Jenkin's interesting post and David Chalmers' equally interesting paper -- very quickly on a very bumpy flight. But let me try to summarize Chalmers' paper (leaving out a whole bunch of important details). The paper begins with a discussion of ontological disputes. Here is one: there is a table with two cups. Is there in addition to the two cups also a cup-cup -- the fusion of the two cups? Here is another: there are some atoms arranged chair-wise. Is there in addition to the atoms also a chair? Realists in the relevant disputes would tend to say 'yes'. Chalmers is an anti-realist. His new position -- as I understand it on a quick read -- is this. There are worlds with micro-physical facts. But worlds do not come equipped with domains of quantification. Instead when we utter a sentence such as 'this is a chair' or 'this is a cup-cup' the context of utterance supplies a funishing function -- a function from worlds to domains. In ordinary contexts the furnishing functions may yield domains with chairs and cups but no cup-cups, and in the ontology room the furnishing functions may yield domains with cup-cups or alternatively no cups and no chairs. There are various admissibility constraints on the furnishing functions. 'There are unicorns' is inconsistent with a semantically neutral description of the micro-physical level of reality. So, it is not correct in any (actual) context to say that there are unicorns.

Some questions:
(1) Chalmers assimilates his quantifier domain restriction approach to other more well-known forms of quantifier domain restriction. But it is well-known that different occurrences of quantified noun phrases in one and the same sentence can be restricted in different ways. Stanley and Williamson offer this example: "every sailor waived to every sailor', which may be used to make a true assertion if the sailors on one ship waived to the sailors on another ship. I wonder whether there could also be different furnishing functions relative to different elements of a sentence or discourse fragment. Suppose I say "There are just two objects on the table unless we include the fusion of the cups". What I said may well be correct. But 'there are just two objects on the table' must then be associated with one furnishing function and 'the fusion of the cups' with another. Furnishing functions would then be specific to the occurrences of quantified noun phrases and not to the conversational context as such.

(2) This takes us to my second question. Are the furnishing functions values of function variables which are represented syntactically? Or do they enter into the analysis at a different level? On Stanley and Szabo's quantifier domain restriction strategy, the domain and function variables are represented syntactically. Since Chalmers assimilates his approach to other more well-known forms of quantifier domain restriction, one might suspect that the function variables are represented syntactically.

(3) If the function variables are represented syntactically, how do we deal with cases of the following sort? 'Each journal editor told each referee to reject each paper' (See Schlenker 2005, Mind & Language for similar examples)

(4) On a different note: are there in fact two kinds of quantifiers? Those ranging over the micro-physical domain (that is, those occurring in a semantically neutral description of a world) and those ranging over domains yielded by the furnishing functions? If so, then why isn't this a form of ontological realism?

I have a number of additional questions. But I will save them for later. I still need to read the paper more carefully.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

APA 2006

A note on my own talk at the APA, which Paul Pietroski chaired. It was a fun session (even though most of us had slept very little the night before because of the fire). Stanley, Graff Fara, Sayball and others in the audience offered constructive criticism, and Zoltan Szabo, my commentator, provided neat comments. I basically defended a new partitive account of plural definite descriptions. Sentences such as 'the students asked questions' cause trouble for a "standard" Russellian account of plural definite descriptions. This is because on a Russellian account of plural definite descriptions, a sentence such as 'the students asked questions' ought to come out as equivalent to 'all the students asked questions'. But it seems that the sentence could be true even if only a handful of students asked questions. I argued that a Russellian analysis is correct at a primary level of analysis but that plural definites function as partitives at a subsequent level. So, at a subsequent level of analysis, 'the students asked questions' might come out as 'some of the students asked questions'. Zoltan was happy with an amended version of the partitive account but argued that plural definite descriptions do not involve a maximality implication (at the primary level of analysis). His main counterexample to the Russellian account:

(1) Two men entered the room with five others. The two men took off their hats and handed them to one of the others.

It seems that (1) may be true. But on the Russellian account it would appear to be contradictory. I am still thinking about a proper response. But, as Zoltan pointed out, there is also the possibility of accepting his (and Ludlow and Segal and others') unitary account in conjunction with my partitive account. That way we can both have what we need (as he put it) -- and perhaps we can both have what we want as well.

My paper (which is forthcoming in Mind and Language) is available here. A revised version will be uploaded soon.

Call for Papers: David Lewis

Between Logic and Intuition: David Lewis and the Future of Formal Methods in Philosophy: Conference at the Carlsberg Academy in Copenhagen, October 3- 5 , 2007.

Invited Speakers / John Collins, Hannes Leitgeb, Rohit Parikh, L.A. Paul, Brian Weatherson

Program Committee and Conference Chairs / Johan van Benthem, Vincent F. Hendricks, John Symons (SYNTHESE) , Stig Andur Pedersen (PHIS)

Conference Manager / Pelle Guldborg Hansen

Call for papers / Synthese invites papers on the work of David Lewis and formal philosophy in accordance with the conference abstract. The final papers should be sent electronically to Editor-in-Chief, Vincent F. Hendricks at, using "SAC"-submission in the subject entry. The deadline for submitting a paper for consideration is April 1, 2007. Notification of acceptance for presentation at the conference is August 1, 2007.

Publication / A selection of the best papers will be published as an anthology in the Synthese Library book series.

(via Joe Salerno)

Call for Papers: Applied Stochastic Models

This a call for abstract submission (deadline Jan. 25, 2007) for the 12th International Conference on Applied Stochastic Models and Data Analysis (ASMDA 2007), which will take place in Chania, Crete, Greece (May 29 - June 1, 2007).

The ASMDA Conferences are organized every two years starting 25 years ago with the first ASMDA Symposium organized in Brussels, Belgium (1981). The papers presented are included in special volumes. The best papers appear in special issues of the leading journals of the ASMDA field.

Further information at the Conference Website. You can also download a conference poster at the same web site. (Deadline for Abstract Submission and Special Session proposal January 25, 2007).

(via Christos H. Skiadas)

Images of Hanging Make Hussein a Martyr

From Truthout:

In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe. At the heart of the sudden reversal of opinion was the symbolism of the hasty execution, now framed as an act of sectarian vengeance shrouded in political theater and overseen by the American occupation.

Read more here.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dancing Queen

Just went to see the Broadway musical Mamma Mia! The performances and the music were fantastic. The plot: 20-year old Sophie (Carey Anderson) is getting married. Having never known the identity of her father, Sophie invites to her wedding three men mentioned in her mother's diary. The 23 hit songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from the Swedish pop-group ABBA rocked the house. If you are in the City and need a break before classes start, I can definitely recommend going.

UPDATE (some pics): subway; with lead actress Carey Anderson; on Broadway stage with bodyguard and Joe's sister Holly.

Call for Papers: Applying Peirce

An International Conference on Peirce's Thought and Its Applications, 11-13 June 2007.
University of Helsinki, Finland
Organized in conjunction with the 9th World Congress of the International
Association of Semiotic Studies.


The Program Committee cordially invites papers on any topic in accordance with
the theme of the conference. The Committee is especially interested in
proposals that explore the applicability of Peirce's thought to current
questions and problems in various disciplines.

The conference will include special sessions on Peirce and
* logic
* abductive reasoning (invited speakers in this session: Lorenzo Magnani and
Ilkka Niiniluoto)
* communication and rhetoric

Other suitable topics include the use and applicability of Peirce's thought in
* contemporary philosophical debates
* mathematics
* artificial intelligence
* cognitive science
* linguistics
* literary studies
* the study of fine arts and design
* physics
* biology
* psychology
* sociology
* anthropology

Keynote and plenary speakers include Nathan Houser (Peirce Edition Project,
IUPUI) and Jaakko Hintikka (Boston University). In addition to contributed
papers, the Conference will include invited talks, special sessions and a
workshop on the editing of Peirce's writings.


Deadline for abstracts of 300-500 words is 15 February 2007. Submissions
made electronically by email attachment to, and
must include two files:

* A file titled Abstract, including the title and abstract of the paper,
set up for anonymous review.
* A separate file titled Author including the title and author
information, including email address. Please include a note on any AV needs
you may have in this file.
The file formats .pdf, .rtf and .doc are preferable. You will be sent a
confirmation note after your submission has been received. If you have not
received a confirmation in seven days after your submission, please resend,
if possible, using an alternative email address.

All persons making a submission will be notified of the acceptance to the
Conference program by 31 March 2007.


Vincent Colapietro (Chair)
André De Tienne
Leila Haaparanta
Risto Hilpinen
Robert Innis
Jørgen Dines Johansen
Lorenzo Magnani
Cheryl Misak
Ilkka Niiniluoto
Jaime Nubiola
María Lucia Santaella
John Sowa


Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen (Chair)
Henrik Rydenfelt (Secretary)
Merja Bauters
Mats Bergman
Erkki Kilpinen
Tarja Knuuttila
Pentti Määttänen
Sami Paavola
Sami Pihlström

The conference is arranged by the Helsinki Peirce Research Centre and
sponsored by the Charles S. Peirce Society and the Philosophical Society of
Finland. For more information, please email to
Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen (Department of Philosophy; P.O. Box 9, FIN-00014;
University of Helsinki; Finland).

(via Sami Paavola)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Eastern APA

Just returned from a very strange Eastern APA. A fire in the main conference hotel kept the smoker going until 8 am in the morning. Most of us had talks and other business going on the next morning but at least we managed to shower, put on some wet clothes and air-dry the handouts. Anyway, there were very many very good talks on the program. I don't have the time or inclination to offer summaries presently, as I am still traveling but when I return I will try to catch up. In the meantime there are several interesting summaries of talks over at Knowability and The Boundaries of Language. Personally I really enjoyed Herman Cappelen and Jason Stanley's session on context-sensitivity, which I accidentally chaired (as a substitute for Peter Ludlow, who missed out on all the fun).

UPDATE: As Gil Harman points out over at TAR. 3 fires have now occurred in the hotel where the recent APA meeting was held. Click here to read more.

Arizona Ontology Conference 2007

The conference website for the Arizona Ontology Conference, Jan 17-21 2007, is now up, here. The papers are password protected but you may be able to find versions of the papers on people's websites. Speakers include: Ted Sider, Helen Beebee, Carolina Sartorio, Delia Graff Fara, Ned Hall, Caroline West, David Chalmers, John Hawthorne, Cian Dorr, Sarah McGrath and Kathrin Koslicki. Commentators: Agustin Rayo, Terry Horgan, Michael Fara, Brit Brogaard, Antony Eagle, Krista Lawlor, John Divers, Jill North, Mark Heller, and Kris McDaniel. A full list of participants can be found here.

John Searle: Freedom & Neurobiology

John Searle's very interesting-looking Freedom & Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power is out. Here is a brief description from the press (CUP):

The essays that comprise this volume return to some of the crucial issues that have defined Searle's work: language, consciousness, free will, and social ontology and political power. Searle proposes new ways of thinking about these issues and addresses how recent scientific discoveries have shaped philosophical understandings of the mind and consciousness. In the first essay, "Free Will as Problem in Neurobiology," Searle examines key philosophical issues in the context of recent discoveries in neurobiology. Searle then applies his theory of social reality to the problem of political power, explaining the role of language in the formation of our political reality.
There is also an excerpt available here.

Philosophers' Carnival # 40

... is here.