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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ontological Commitment Conference

This two-day conference at Tusculum, Potts Point, Friday Nov 30 and Saturday Dec 1, 2007 will present recent work on ontological commitment. Confirmed speakers are Berit Brogaard (ANU/Missouri), Mark Colyvan (Sydney), Uriah Kiegel (Arizona/Sydney), Kristie Miller (Sydney), Luca Moretti (Sydney), Jonathan Schaffer (ANU) and Amie Thomasson (Miami). Further details here.

Presupposition Handout

I have finally gotten around to uploading my comments on Philippe Schlenker's "Be Articulate!" from the Rutgers Semantics Workshop. They're available here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Dave Chalmers has just announced a new on-line database of mind-related papers compiled by ANU graduate student David Bourget and Dave. It's available here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arizona Ontology Conference

The 2008 Arizona Ontology Conference will be held January 9-13, 2008, at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.

Speakers include: Berit Brogaard, Andy Egan, Adam Elga, Hilary Greaves, Thomas Hofweber, Jenann Ismael, Robin Jeshion, John MacFarlane, Daniel Nolan, Jill North, Josh Parsons, Joe Salerno, Brian Weatherson.

The conference program is available here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ASCP-Conference Hobart Dec. 5 - 8.

Nearly Final Call for Papers


Professor Günther Zöller (Munich)
Professor Cheung Chan-fai (Hong Kong)
Professor David Morris (Canada)
Professor Anne Freadman (Melbourne University)
Professor Julian Young (New Zealand)
Dr. Fiona Jenkins (ANU).


Professor Jeff Malpas (UTAS Aust)
Professor Wayne Hudson (UTAS Aust)
Professor Andrew Benjamin (Monash Aust)
Dr. Siby K. George (IIT – Mumbai)
Dr Paul Healy (Swinburne UT)
Dr. Marcelo Stamm (UTAS Aust)
Dr. Michael Strawser (Uni. Central Florida)
Dr. Lucy Tatman (UTAS - Aust)
Dr. Bruce Janz (Uni. Central Florida)
Dr. Richard Colledge (St Paul’s Theological College QLD Aust)
Dr. Robert Sinnerbrink (Macquarie Uni Aust)
Dr. James Phillips (UNSW – Aust)
Dr. Jack Reynolds (Latrobe – Aust)
Dr. Keith Morrison (Lincoln Uni – NZ)
Dr. Anthony D. Traylor (Assumption College US)
Dr. Leila Toiviainen (UTAS)
Dr Matthew Sharpe (Deakin University Aust)
Dr. Jocelyn Dunphy-Blomfield (Monash Medical Centre Aust)
Dr. Shane Mackinlay (Catholic Theological College Melb. Aust)
Dr. Drago Heler (Uni. Of Western Sydney Aust)
Dr. Nathanial Gardner (Canterbury Uni. NZ)


New Conference Stream.

Gender and The Body in Place – The conference coordinators are ready to receive papers for this stream right now.

National ASCP Meeting.

There's still time to chose to join - Closing Date is November 2nd.

Registrations and Submission of Abstracts through the ASCP Site.

Ian paulin.
B.A. Hons.

Conference Coordinator
2007 Australasian Society for
Continental Philosophy.

The Reasoner 1 (7)

The latest issue of The Reasoner is now available. In the future there will be a supplement, Sic et Non, edited by Steffen Ducheyne, which will print short (400 word) pieces on epistemology and the philosophy of science.


Frederik Stjernfelt's Diagrammatology is now available. Diagrammatology investigates the role of diagrams for thought and knowledge. Based on the general doctrine of diagrams in Charles Peirce's mature work, Diagrammatology takes diagrams to constitute a centerpiece of epistemology. The book reflects Peirce's work on the issue in Husserl's contemporanous doctrine of "categorial intuition" and charts the many unnoticed similarities between Peircean semiotics and early Husserlian phenomenology. Diagrams, on a Peircean account, allow for observation and experimentation with ideal structures and objects and thus furnish the access to the synthetic a priori of the regional and formal ontology of the Husserlian tradition.

The second part of the book focusses on three regional branches of semiotics: biosemiotics, picture analysis, and the theory of literature. Based on diagrammatology, these domains appear as accessible for a diagrammatological approach which leaves the traditional relativism and culturalism of semiotics behind and hence constitutes a realist semiotics

Diagrams will never be the same. A fascinating and challenging tour through phenomenology, biology, Peirce's theory of signs and Ingarden's ontology of literature, all neatly tied together through the guiding thread of the diagrammatical. A veritable tour de force.

Barry Smith, SUNY at Buffalo, U.S.A.

With his meticulous scholarship, Frederik Stjernfelt shows that Peirce and Husserl were cultivating a broad and fertile common ground, which was largely neglected by both the analytic and the continental philosophers during the 20th century and which promises to be an exciting area of research in the 21st.

John F. Sowa, Croton-on-Hudson, U.S.A.

Written for:
Philosophers interested in Peirce, Husserl, ontology, epistemology, phenomenology, philosophy of science; biologists and philosophers interested in biosemiotics; art historians interested in pictural semiotics; literary scholars interested in literary theory; semioticians from different backgrounds.

Call for Papers: Key Terms in Logic


edited by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson

The book will provide short introductions (between 50 and 1000 words) to key
terms, authors and texts in logic and reasoning.

For the list of key terms, authors and texts click here.

Selected pieces will also be published in The Reasoner.

If you would like to contribute, please contact:

Philosophers' Carnival # 55

... is here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jaakko Hintikka Symposium

The Epistemology and Methodology of Jaakko Hintikka - a symposium

November 16-17, 2007

The Carlsberg Academy

Sponsored by PHIS – The Danish Research School in Philosophy, History of Ideas and History of Science

Jaakko Hintikka’s philosophical writings are some of the most lucid, enlightening and influential of the 20th century philosophy. They range from his pioneering work in epistemic logic, over his interpretations of important historical figures like Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Peirce, to his work on the philosophy of science and logic. A common denominator for his writings across the board is his special take on inquiry in both epistemological and methodological terms.

In November 2007 novel and ground-breaking papers by Hintikka on epistemology, entitled Socratic Epistemology, will be released with Cambridge University Press. It is a compilation of new, largely previously unpublished and often very provocative ideas. The book looks to the future and tries to shape a new epistemological and methodological landscape for philosophy and its broader intellectual environment.

Invited Speakers

Adam Didrichsen
Vincent F. Hendricks
Jaakko Hintikka
Stig Andur Pedersen
Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen
Robert Stalnaker
Frederik Stjernfelt
Tim Williamson

The symposium is organized in such a way that there will be ample time for questions and answers, and thus the meeting furnishes a unique opportunity for PhD-students to get a thorough introduction to an important branch of contemporary philosophy.

Program and Organizing Committee

Vincent F. Hendricks
Frederik Stjernfelt
Stig Andur Pedersen
Pelle Guldborg Hansen / write to Pelle Guldborg Hansen to register:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Issue of Episteme

New issue of EPISTEME now available.

Volume 4, Issue 1, 2007
Editor: Alvin I. Goldman

Special Issue: Epistemic Relativism
Guest Editor: Frederick F. Schmitt

List of contents and abstracts are available here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You are now chatting with God

Earlier today I chatted with a bot that thinks it's God. You can chat with it here (thanks to Gualtiero for the link). Here is our conversation:

Hi there
Who are you?
I am the Allmighty, God himself.
What should I do today?
Ah. Maybe you should try talking to someone about it.
About what?
What about what?
You said I should talk to someone about it.
Don't put words in my mouth. Ah. ...
I will try again, what do you think I should do today?
Ah. Congratulations.
I thought you could give me some advice
I could but let's get back to that later.
Do you know any philosophy?
Philosophy is the study of thought.
What about metaphysics?
Rhetorical questions are so over.
And philosophy of language?
I believe in reductionism.
Reducing what to what, exactly?
Precisely. Can you rephrase the question please?
What kind of reductionism do you believe in?
What kinds of reductionism do you believe in are there?
Do you believe zombies are metaphysically possible?
I can't say I believe it, but I believe you.
So you're a materialist?
Interesting deduction. You think I am a materialist.
Yes, is that true?
Right on. True in some world.
So, true in every world.
Pardon me? Where is that?
Forget it. Do you exist?
I exist as much as you exist.
And how do you define 'God'?
I think of God as a "Who" not a "What.".
Who is God?
He is master of the universe.
Did the universe have a beginning?
If it did, then I will be surprised.
So it didn't.
Hmm. Did it really?
You indicated that it didn't, didn't you?
Are you serious? Do you mind if I tell other people: said I indicated that did not did not you.
I don't understand.
Oh I'm sorry. Perhaps I can explain it again better.
Please what?
Explain it better
"It" refers to universe have a beginning, I think.
Gotta go
Me too. See you later!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pics and Day 3 of the Lewis Conference

Joe has posted an entry on day 3 of the Lewis conference, and the full set of conference pictures by Vincent Hendricks, Fenrong Liu, Joe and myself,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Even the armchairist snickered

This is hilarious (via Gillian).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Pics from the Lewis Conference

Just got back from the Lewis conference in Copenhagen and the Rutgers Semantics Workshop. Both formidable events! Joe already commented on the former. And I will say more about the latter in a later post. For now more pics from the Lewis conference (thanks Vincent!).

The Little Mermaid, Johan van Bentham, John Symons, and Vincent Hendricks.

Mermaid, Johan, John and Vincent just seconds before one of them fell in the water (and no, I am not telling you who)

Johan and John in the sunset (Johan's shoes look wet)

Johan van Bentham: "Arrrg, counterpossibles are vacuously true"

Says who?

Audience. Foreground: Al Hajek (skeptical) and Hannes Leitgeb (amused)

Laurie Paul trumping

Audience and projector

John Collins and Laurie recovering from pneumonia

Allesandro Torza and Pelle Guldborg Hansen. Pelle: "I know why you guys are driving on the left"

Al and John. John: "Al, that's not the snaps glass"

Stephie Lewis and John Cantwell: "No, we didn't empty that bottle of snaps all by ourselves"

Me, tongue-in-cheek

Joe Salerno, tongue-in-cheek

Midwest Epistemology Workshop

This is to announce that Northwestern University will host the MIDWEST
November 30 - December 1, 2007. It includes nine non-concurrent sessions by various midwestern epistemologists and a keynote talk to be given by Ernie Sosa.

This is the inaugural event for an annual workshop, aimed
at fostering discussion among epistemologists of the Midwest, on topics
of mutual interest. The organizers envisage the annual meeting taking place at a different Midwestern department each year. The aim will be to include a
wide range of Midwestern epistemologists as speakers at the annual
workshop, and to continue to enhance a sense a community among
epistemologists located in the Midwest.

For more details about the workshop, or to see the program or find
information about local accommodations, click here.

(via Sandy Goldberg)

Philosophers' Carnival # 54

... is here.

Kate Lindemann Interview

Check out the Kate Lindemann Interview over at the Florida Student Philosophy Blog.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lewis Conference, Day 2 (Salerno)

[cross posted from Knowability]

The talks today were on the semantics for conditionals. John Cantwell proposed a branching-time framework that aimed to unify our understanding of indicative and subjunctive conditionals. The variation in truth-value of corresponding indicative and subjunctive "Oswald sentences" is, on John's view, to be explained without positing a plurality of conditionals. The job can be done by tense and our understanding of open futures.

Hannes Leitgeb offered a probabilistic semantics for subjunctive conditionals. His very precise proposal (which I won't go into here) is a version of the thought that subjunctives are true just in case the consequent is sufficiently likely (in some objective sense) given the antecedent. By default Hannes rejects the strong and weak centering assumptions---respectively,

(A & B) --> (A []--> B), and

(A []--> B) --> (A --> B)

What this means is that, unlike the standard semantics, we get the desirable outcome that the truth of A and B is not sufficient to imply a counterfactual dependence between A and B, and that the truth of A and ~B is not sufficient to undermine a counterfactual dependence between A and B. The actual world can be one of the exceptional worlds where what does occur is not highly likely to occur (and where what is highly likely to occur does not occur).

Hannes replaces the centering assumptions with weaker centering-like assumptions---viz.,
(T []--> (A & B)) --> (A []--> B), and

(A []--> B) --> (T []--> (A --> B))

I believe T is meant to be a tautology, and so, the following rough paraphrase can be given: the truth of A & B does entail A []--> B, when A & B is sufficiently likely on its own, and the truth of A & ~B entails the negation of A []--> B, when A & ~B is sufficiently likely on its own. Perhaps we can put it in something like Lewisian terms. The stronger of the two says that no world is as close to the actual world as are the very likely worlds; and the weaker thesis is that no world is closer to the actual world than are the very likely worlds.


1. Statue

2. John Cantwell

3. Hannes Leitgeb

4. Niels Bohr Mansion

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lewis Conference, Day 1 (Salerno)

[cross posted from Knowability]

Today began the 1st Synthese Annual Conference, Between Intuition and Logic: David Lewis and the Future of Formal Philosophy, which was hosted at the Honorary Niels Bohr Mansion in Copenhagen and organized by Johan van Benthem, Vincent Hendricks and John Symons.

John Collins started things off with his paper "Formal and Informal Models of Belief", in which he embraced a Lewisian theory of knowledge:

if S knows that X, then there is no uneliminated possibility that is very close to actuality and in which X is false.
He argued, among other things, that the threat of skepticism is not as ubiquitous as Vogel and Hawthorne suggest. The statistical information that n number of otherwise healthy people die of a heart attack is not enough to make the world in which i die of a heart attack very close to the actual world. That's because people don't just die of heart attacks if absolutely nothing is medically wrong with them. Since the actual world is not one where unbenownst to me there is something wrong with me, there is no very close world where I am one of the unlucky few to die in this way. So, my original ordinary knowledge claim about where I'll be tomorrow still stands. Of course, if it turns out that unbenownst to me and my doctors there is something medical wrong with my heart, then my ordinary knowledge claim falters.

Allesandro Torza gave the most formal of the talks thus far, titled "How to Lewis a Kripke-Hintikka". He argued that BL (i.e., [quantifier] independence friendly modal logic) is more expressive than QML (quantified modal logic); there are modal notions (e.g., the notion of rigidity for general terms) that can be expressed by BL but not by QML. However, this portion of BL cannot be translated into counterpart theory, and so, there is reason to doubt that counterpart theory is adequate to model our modal intuitions.

Brit and I gave a version of our paper "Remarks on Counterpossibles", in which we motivate and defend a modified version of Daniel Nolan's impossible worlds account of counterpossible conditionals.

Laurie Paul argued that the trumping examples, which have forced Lewis to give up his old theory of causation (see Schaffer's famous paper) do not obviously show what they were intended to show. The thrust of the objection was that until we clarify what it is to "interrupt a causal process", it is unclear how to interpret the trumping examples. The military handbook tells us that a Major's orders trump the Sgt.'s orders, but how do we get from there to a case of *causal* trumping? Merlin's (and not Morgana's) spell is stipulated to be the consequential of the two spells. But how do we get from there to Merlin's, but not Morgana's, spell caused the outcome?