Friday, April 24, 2015

Werewolf Down Under

This July I'll visit my friends in the land of paraconsistent logic, kangaroos, and utilitarianism! Sydney with friend-colleague-roommate Ben Blumson for the AAP, and Canberra for ANU visitor season from July 12 to August 5. I just paid for an apartment so close to Coombs Hall that I could get lost in its hexagons on the way to the grocery store.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love

My first Valentine's Day surprise was that Dylan Matthews had written a delightful article in Vox about "Possible Girls". The second was that the American Philosophical Quarterly had accepted "Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love"!

The fine-tuning argument says that since the physical constants are set at values that allow for nice life-permitting things like planets and carbon, God probably set them to make sure there would be intelligent life. I respond that intelligent life is possible even if the physical constants are set at values that don't allow for planets or carbon, if the laws about which physical things have minds are set in a much more mind-friendly way. Then maybe protons and electrons can fall in love with each other! This obviously requires minds to be metaphysically possible without big complex brains. But if the advocates of the fine-tuning argument are going to claim that God has a mind without even having a physical body, the door is wide open for proton-electron romance.

After writing the paper, I discovered Magnus Hyden's "Electrons in Love". It's good music for getting the feel of a world full of happy fundamental particles:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

At least they got around to it

From Piers Steel's 2007 paper, "The Nature of Procrastination": "Readers interested in the history of procrastination might seek a book by Ringenbach (1971), cited by Knaus (1979), but this search is not recommended. Aitken’s (1982) investigation revealed that the work was never actually written."

Apparently she discovered that Ringenbach, Knaus, and the publisher were trolling their entire field with a "Oh my book about procrastination? I never got around to writing it" joke. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

The National University of Singapore has just awarded me tenure, and promoted me to Associate Professor.

Philosophy is the most exciting thing in my life. Now I get to do it for the rest of my life!

Monday, January 05, 2015

If there are actual ingredients that we can use to make this, it should be possible

Does anyone know if Ruth Barcan Marcus had a favorite drink? I've been thinking that there should be a cocktail called the Barcan Formula.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Heideggerianism about propositions

I've never figured out whether to be a Fregean or a Russellian about propositions, but Heidegger's view doesn't seem like a good alternative: "Let not propositions and ideas be the rules of your being. The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law." I have the standard empiricist worries about abstracta, but they're better than Hitler.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Amazing X(ϕ)-Men!

Thanks to Jessica Berry for setting up my talk at Georgia State on Friday. It was wonderful talking with everyone about the psychology of moral judgment!

While I was hanging out with the grad students, we came up with a nickname for Stephen Stich and all his co-authors in experimental philosophy (like Nichols, Machery, Weinberg, and Nado): the X-Men. While Stich has to be Professor X, discussions of who is Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto, etc., can now begin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Resemblance and Representation by Ben Blumson, available for free!

My colleague Ben Blumson's book on depiction, Resemblance and Representation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Pictures, has just come out. He published it with OpenBook Publishers, an open-access press, so anyone who wants to read it can do so for free on the internet here. You can also buy a pdf copy or a hard copy if you like.

I'm optimistic that this will become the standard way to publish things by the time I'm an old guy. The internet exists, and it's the best way to share information. People should use it instead of shipping chunky pieces of processed wood pulp from continent to continent. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aaiiieeeedentity theory

I see why many philosophers seek alternatives to mind-body dualism. But the behaviorist view that being in pain is nothing more than exhibiting pain-behavior is a terribly implausible form of moanism.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My NDPR review of "The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche": It's good!

It's up at NDPR now. First paragraph:

Containing 32 essays and weighing 3.5 pounds, this volume is in every sense a massive contribution to Nietzsche scholarship. Ken Gemes and John Richardson deserve congratulations for lining up many good essays, thanks for their clear and helpful introduction, and admiration for coming as close to complete coverage of Nietzsche-related topics as any book could. The essays offer original arguments while remaining accessible to readers who are unfamiliar with the facets of Nietzsche scholarship they address. They're generally of high quality, especially considering the challenges of contributing to a collection organized for breadth and accessibility, as well as originality. I'll devote one paragraph to each of the 32 essays.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

High Table for the Joint Session

The elevated "High Table" at Cambridge offends my egalitarian sensibilities, but I wish we could've eaten there during dinners for the big UK conference. And rolled and smoked some marijuana. It'd be nice to have High Table for the Joint Session. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My laptop tastes like aluminum

If people who lick a computer think it's human, it has passed the Turing Taste Test.