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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Off to the Northern Hemisphere

I am off to the Lewis conference in Copenhagen and then to the Rutgers Semantics Workshop. I will be back in 11 days. See you then.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Reasoner 1 (6)

The Reasoner vol. 1, issue 6 is now available.

1. Editorial - Jon Williamson
2. Interview with Colin Howson - Jon Williamson
3. Why we shouldn't fault Lucas and Penrose for continuing to believe in the Godelian argument against computationalism I - Bhupinder Singh Anand
4. There is no question about it! - Barry Hartley Slater
5. 'Can', the Principle of Relevant Alternatives, and Moral Responsibility - John K. Alexander
6. Referential Usage and Godelian Completions - Francesco Pupa
7. Report on the Programme: Bayesian Nonparametric Regression, Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, 30 July – 24 August 2007 - Stephen Walker
8. Progic 2007: the Third Workshop on Combining Probability and Logic, University of Kent, Canterbury, 5–7 September 2007 - Jan-Willem Romeijn

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Relevant Consequence

Since my talk here at ANU last Thursday I have been thinking a lot about how to define 'relevant consequence'. There are various reasons why one might want a notion of relevant consequence (in addition to the standand notion of necessary consequence). For example, various attitudes are closed under some consequence relation. But they are not closed under necessary consequence. For example, 'I believe that snow is white' does not entail 'I believe that Goldbach's conjecture is true'. There is a lot of literature on how to define 'relevance'. One notion which I believe is due to (or at least inspired by) Graham Priest goes like this. q is a relevant consequence p iff q is a consequence of p, and q does not introduce any new non-logical constants (of course, it may be that new non-logical constants are introduced in the derivation of q from p, e.g. if existential elimination is applied). I like this way of defining 'relevant consequence'. But it is too strict for my purposes. I want 'I own a car' to be a relevant consequence of 'I own a Porsche', but 'car' is a new non-logical constant. So, I was thinking the following might do as a definition of 'relevant consequence'. q is a relevant consequence of p iff q is a consequence of p, and if q introduces a new non-logical constant P2, then P2 is a minimal predicate, and for some minimal predicate P1 in P, necessarily, all P1 are P2. Given this notion, 'I own a car' is a relevant consequence of 'I own a Porsche', because it is true that necessarily, all Porsches are cars. I can't think of any obvious counterexamples to this way of defining 'relevant consequence', though I am sure there are some.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Synthese Annual Conference

Synthese hosts its first annual conference at the Carlsberg Academy in Copenhagen, October 3- 5 , 2007. The conference is sponsored by PHIS - The Danish Research School in Philosophy, History of Ideas and History of Science and Springer.

Between Logic and Intuition: David Lewis and the Future of Formal Methods in Philosophy

David Lewis is one of the most important figures in contemporary philosophy. His approach balances elegantly between the use of rigorous formal methods and sound philosophical intuitions. The benefit of such an approach is reflected in the substantial impact his philosophical insights have had not only in many core areas of philosophy, but also in neighboring disciplines ranging from computer science to game theory and linguistics. The interplay between logic and intuition to obtain results of both philosophical and interdisciplinary importance makes Lewis’ work a prime example of formal philosophy. Lewis’ work exemplifies the fruitful interplay between logic and intuition that is central to contemporary philosophy. This conference serves as a tribute to Lewis and as a venue for adressing questions concerning the relationship between logic and philosophical intuition.

This first Synthese Annual Conference is the venue for discussing the future of formal methods in philosophy.

Please write conference manager Pelle Guldborg Hansen to register:

Department of Philosophy and Science Studies
Roskilde University, P6
P.O. Box 260
DK4000 Roskilde, Denmark
Phone: (+45) 4674 2540
Cell: (+45) 2334 2175
Fax: (+45) 4674 3012

A conference fee is to be paid cash upon final registration (Wednesday, October 3, 2007). The conference fee is 150,00 Danish kroner a day, thus participation for the entire duration of the conference (Thursday, October 3 – Saturday 5, 2004) is 450,00 Danish kroner. The conference fee covers the lunches with free beverages, conference booklet, tea and co¤ee during the breaks. NOTICE: Please remember exact amount. Deadline for registration Monday, October 1, 2007. If email is used include ‘SAC 2007’ in the subject entry. All questions pertaining to registration and accommodations should be directed to Pelle Guldborg Hansen.

For more information click here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pics and Pubs

Some pics from Declan Smithies' party last Friday

And some forthcoming pubs by ANU grads:

Ben Blumson: "Images, Intentionality and Inexistence", forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Jacek Brzozowski: "On Locating Composite Objects", forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.

Yuri Cath: "The Ability Hypothesis and the New Knowledge-how", forthcoming in Noûs.

Ole Koksvik: "Conservation of Energy is Relevant to Physicalism", forthcoming in Dialectica.

Dan Marshall: "Can 'Intrinsic' Be Defined Using Only Broadly Logical Notions?", forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Refereeing Practices

There is an interesting discussion of one of the issues addressed in Sally Haslanger's piece Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone) over at Feminist Philosophers. The issue is that of why so few female philsophers publish in mainstream journals. Following Haslanger, Jender suggests that part of the reason may be that there is an implicit bias against women, and that blind refereeing and editing, therefore, are mandatory. Blind refereeing and editing do seem preferable to non-blind refereeing and editing. But it's not going to overcome all biases. Very many philosophers put their work online. And it's hard to see what would become of the field if no one did that. But I bet very few referees can resist googling the title or first line of a manuscript before making their final recommendation to the editors (or maybe even before reading the manuscript). Even so, blind refeering is a good thing. At least it is then up to the author to decide how blind he or she wants the refereeing to be. As for blind editing, I think there is much to be said for that too. However, I also think editors are likely to be less biased than referees. My feeling is that editors give a lot of weight to the referees' reports. Editors can, of course, give a lot of weight to the referees' reports and still affect the final decision dramatically. Some referees are notoriously hard to satisfy, others exceedingly easy. An editor could decide to send manuscripts by unknown authors or on "exotic" topics such as feminism to referees which are hard to satisfy. If anything like that ever happens, then blind editing of course won't be the miracle cure for biases against women. It could perhaps help the young and unknowns, but it wouldn't help those writing on less mainstream topics.

Philosophers' Carnival # 53

... is here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some Links

Some links -- old and new

Going on the job market? Check out Jon Cogburn's post devoted to this issue. You can read more here and here (via Aidan and John).

Kate Lindeman has created a new website on women philosophers. Check it out.

This wiki journal site is not new but there now seems to be a bunch of interesting data available. Add your info if you didn't do so already.

Via Brains I just learned about this blog which is devoted to announcing philosophy conferences and calls for papers.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

PHIBOOK - The Yearbook for Philosophical Logic

The web-site for PHIBOOK is now up and running.

PHIBOOK is an annual volume devoted to philosophical logic and its relation to philosophy and science with particular emphasis on multi- agent and modal systems, active agency and social software. The yearbook is intended to inform the community of current and future directions of research and activity in philosophical logic, major events, books and important papers of the past year but also leaves extensive room for discussion in terms of columns, opinion pieces, and critical reports.
Alexandru Baltag (Oxford)
Johan van Benthem (Amsterdam / Stanford)
Branden Fitelson (Berkeley)
Vincent F. Hendricks (Roskilde)
Hannes Leitgeb (Bristol)
Fenrong Liu (Beijing / Amsterdam)
Eric Pacuit (Stanford)
Bryan Renne (CUNY)
John Symons (El Paso)

PHIBOOK/2007 will be available in May 2008


PHIBOOK invites authors to submit extensive survey (expositional) papers (30-50 pages) on philosophical logic (including inductive logic, modal, alethic logic, temporal logic, epistemic logic, deontic logic, conditional logic ... with special focus on multi-modal logics and active agency) and its relations to notably epistemology, methodology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and its applications and philosophical significance in computer science, information theory, cognitive science, mathematics, linguistics, economics and game theory ...

For more information click here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thousands of New Cases of Zombification

Check this out:

In Haiti, up to a thousand new cases of zombification are reported
every year. However, exactly how sorcerers zombify their victims
remains open to debate. So, fascinating as it is, zombification is an
ultimately confusing phenomenon....
The article discusses the use of tetrodotoxin, found in pufferfish, to
make zombies.

(Via Colleen Keating)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Powers, Dispositions, and Singular Causation

Graduate Conference in Metaphysics

University at Buffalo, State University Of New York
Philosophy Department

April 5, 2008

Keynote Address
Stephen Mumford (University of Nottingham UK): "Passing Powers Around"

Email submissions should be sent by January 10, 2008 to:

For further information and paper guidelines click here.


Here's an article on the death of the most linguistically advanced parrot there ever was. Alex learned more than 100 English words, several phrases, and was able to recognize shapes and colors. His last words to Dr. Pepperberg, who worked with Alex, were: "You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tal en Tanke in Atheneum Bookstore

Atheneum Bookstore will host a meeting with Vincent F. Hendricks and Frederik Stjernfelt on Wednesday September 19 at 4:30 P.M. Hendricks and Stjernfelt will talk about themes from their new book Tal en Tanke -- the bestseller about clarity and nonsense in thought and speech. Everyone is invited.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Iowa Philosophical Society Final Call for Papers

Final Call for Papers!

The Iowa Philosophical Society Meeting

When: Saturday, Oct.20, 2007
Where: Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA

Keynote Address by Paul Boghossian of NYU

Papers should be prepared for approximately a
20 minute presentation. Submission deadline Sept. 15, 2007.

Send abstracts of approximately 300 words to:

John Lemos at or you may send them in the regular post to:

John Lemos
Dept. of Philosophy
Coe College
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Thursday, September 06, 2007

PPR Returns

As Robbie notes, PPR appears to be back up and running.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Zombies

Good to see that more or more Northerns are giving in to the facebook craze (aka the zombie war).

Saturday, September 01, 2007


At least I wasn't driving. Joe, Bill and Dave seemed more comfortable on the left. I probably should have stood up for the world's female drivers but that didn't happen. Oh, well. Sydney was fun. My first time there (except for the airport, but that doesn't count). Went to one and a quarter conferences. First the expressivism conference, then the moral cognition conference. Many excellent papers and fun times. Some of them:

Rae Langton and Simon Blackburn. Simon: "Excellent point, Rae!"

Lunch (David Chalmers, Rae, Simon and Peter Lewis (far right))

Allan Gibbard: "Here is how to express expressivism".

Alexis Burgess: "It is not the case that Santa and Rudolph do not exist"

Uriah Kriegel and Luca Moretti. Uriah: "I am looking for something that does not exist, dammit"

Jamie Dreier: "You see, creeping minimalism likes to hit and then it tries to hide"

Dave: "I think I know how to teletransport this glass of wine into Facebook ... Where is my Palm Pilot?"

Becky and I. Me: "Oh man, this article is hard". Becky: "Yeah, I read it during naptime"

Amie Thomasson: "Worlds: who needs 'em?"

Indian food and philosophy: a happy mix

Rachael Briggs and Dave. Rachael: "Help, the curry bowl keeps toppling over".

Adina Roskies and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Walter: "I didn't do it"

Joe Salerno: "Curry bowls are fun!"

Amie and Rachael in the wee hours

For more conference photos click here (Joe Salerno) or here (Dave Chalmers).

The Reasoner 1 (5)

The latest issue of The Reasoner is now available.

In this month's issue:

Editorial - Eric Pacuit
Interview with Rohit Parikh - Eric Pacuit
Kripke, Pierre and Constantinescu - Laurence Goldstein
The Mechanist’s Challenge - Bhupinder Singh Anand
Does conceivability entail possibility? - Clayton Littlejohn
A note on conceivability - Roger Harris
On the Paradox of Rationality’s Rationality - Nader N. Chokr
Abstraction vs. Idealization - Steffen Ducheyne
Is the Answer to this Question No? - Martin Mose Bentzen
The Divine Liar Resurfaces - Daniel J. Hill
New Centre for Reasoning at Kent - Jon Williamson