Basic Knowledge Workshop
Monday, November 13, 2006
On 24-25 November, 2005, Arché will hold a Pilot Basic Knowledge Workshop. Speakers and respondents are:
Corine Besson, Jessica Brown, Martin Davies, Philip Ebert, Patrick Greenough, Lars Gundersen, John Hawthorne, Carrie Jenkins, Duncan Pritchard, Jason Stanley, Timothy Williamson and Elia Zardini.
More information can be found here
Arché Graduate Conference
The 3rd Arché Graduate Conference is taking place 17-19 November, 2006.
There will be eight talks by graduate students with staff responses. The keynote speakers are Graham Priest, Diana Raffman, and Jason Stanley.
More details and registration here
Words for RelativismS
Friday, November 10, 2006
I have just come back from participating in the ArchĂ©'s final Vagueness Workshop. It has been a great funâjetlag and loads of killing objections to my paper notwithstanding ;-)!
In two or three occasions there, the issue as to which might be the appropriate taxonomy of contexutalist/relativist positions in recent debates arose, including the issue as to which might be appropriate descriptive labels for the taxons. Iâd like to post specifically on the latter here. In some papers I have suggested the following taxonomy, taking as basic the datum of apparent faultless disagreement from Crispin, and (some of) the jargon from Lewis-MacFarlane.
Are appearances to be endorsed?
No â (1) Non-Relativism
Yes â Is the content of the relevant sentence in the different contexts the same?
No â (2) Indexical Contextualism
Yes â Is the index determined by the different contexts the same?
No â (3) Non-Indexical Contextualism
Yes â (4) Radical Relativism
(Couple of quick remarks: Admittedly, an âhermeneuticâ view on which the content of sentence depends on the perspective from which it is assessed is set aside. How to locate âsubject-sensitive invariantismâ is a delicate issue: in my view here might be some versions of the view falling under (2) and some falling under (3)âand perhaps some falling under (1) or (4).)
Regardless of the details, some people might more or less agree with the taxons, and still dispute the labels. Some concerns I have sympathy with:
Â· Re (1): it is purely negative. In some debates, ârealistâ might do, and in some debates, â(insensitive) invariantismâ might, but they seem to lack the desirable âtrans-debateâ generality.
Â· Re (2)-(3): In some debates, particularly concerning knowledge attributions and epistemic modals, âcontexualismâ is reserved specifically for (2), which also has in its favor that the relevant expressions need not be, according to (2), strictly speaking indexicals. But this leaves (3) without appropriate label, which I think should ideally convey the shared moderate character of (2) and (3) vis-Ă -vis (4).
Â· Re (4): âRadicalâ is overused in taxonomies, and the view is commonly referred to as âTruth Relativismâ or âRelativism about Truth.â True enough, butâunless one keeps in mind a suitable explicit stipulationâthese latter labels could be fairly used for any of the relativistic (2), (3) and (4) options: after all, all of them endorse the appearances that none of the judgers are thereby judging something that is not true!
(Cross-posted at bleb.)
Thursday, August 31, 2006
One of the issues we have sometimes discussed at the Relativism Seminar
is faultless disagreement
. The notion comes, I take it, from Crispin
âs discourse failing to exert cognitive command, but I donât remember if the phrase occurs already in Truth & Objectivity
In any case, I was thinking it would be appropriate to characterize it terms along the lines of: there are possible contrasting variation in judgements about issues in the domain that does not involve fault in any of the participants. If something like this is adopted, then the appearance
of faultless disagreement seems to be a (neutral) datum
for relativists and non-relativists alike: different relativisms (moderate and radical, indexical and non-indexical) offer different accounts of how to endorse
such appearances, whereas realist, insensitive invariantist alternatives try to explain such appearances away.
(Of course, as Elia
has observed, crucial work should be done by 'contrasting' in the suggested characterizationâotherwise judgements expressible by âI am tiredâ and âI am not tiredâ would qualify. For my own elaboration, see this paper
Some other people (see for instance Max
â âFaultless Disagreementâ
) require further that there be a single content or proposition which is contrastingly judged. According to this more restricted sense, it seems to me, it can no longer be just taken for granted that there seems to be faultless disagreement, nor all versions of relativism would endorse the appearances â notably, indexical versions would not. These I take to favor the more liberal usage I suggested.
Worlds and Times Enough or Locations?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Last year we discussed Andy Eganâs âSecond-Order Predication and the Metaphysics of Propertiesâ (AJP 82 (2004), 48â67), at the Metaphysics Reading Group in a couple of sessions.
In the paper, it is argued that properties should be identified with functions from worlds to extensions, as a way of solving the following problem: If properties are sets of (possible) instances, things that exist in more than one world canât have any of their properties contingently. Properties like being green exists in more than one world, but have some properties contingently: being somebodyâs favourite property.
Then, although more tentatively, it is argued that properties should be identified with functions from worlds and times to extensions, as a way of solving the following problem: If properties are functions from worlds to extensions, then things without temporal parts canât have any of their properties at some but not other times. Properties like being bent donât have temporal parts, but have some properties at some but not other times: being coinstantiated with being hungry.
I think I am generally sympathetic, but I was concerned that the same kind of reasoning would also motivate that properties should be identified with functions from worlds and times and places (or locations, for short) to extensions. After all, (i) âSecond-order predicationâ of properties such as having many instances around seem to pose similar problems to the world-time proposal, by being possibly true at some places but not others; (ii) there seem to be parallel cases of spatially self-locating attitudes; and (iii) the response to Lewis' concern seems similarly effective as to defend the world-time-place proposal from the charge that these are relations rather than properties.
Names can be connotative!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I hereby propose Arche move from its current home in St Andrews to the more fittingly titled City of Truth and Consequences
, in New Mexico.
Alternatively, we could rename St Andrews to make it more Arche-friendly. Suggestions welcome.
A plea for information about "actually".
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I believe that "Actually(p)" is often taken to be a logical consequence of "p". A number of questions:
(a) is this a standard view? Who disagrees? Who agrees?
(b) what are the central papers I should be looking at if I want to think about this claim?
(c) is the claim that this is a logical consequence *argued for* anywhere (as opposed, e.g. to just deriving it in a system where we've laid down a syncategoramic axiom for an actually operator).
(d) does anything philosophically interesting turn on whether or not this is validity?
(The reason I'm interested is that I've recently been thinking about anologies between "determinately" for the supervaluationist and "actually" for the modal logician, and the result above is the analogue of "p|=Def(p)".)