Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Philosophy, et cetera on Effective Giving

Philosophy, et cetera: Effective Giving:
I encourage  everyone who wants to make the world a better place to join Giving What We Can and pledge to give 10% of their pre-tax income to effective charities.  You can expect to save several lives each year (averaging over your lifetime earnings, if you're currently a student), which is pretty amazing when you think about it, and it's surprisingly easy too.  (A 10% change in income generally doesn't impose any drastic lifestyle changes!)  Some people give even more, and that's even cooler.  Some start with less, and every bit helps. ...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Some Strong Conditionals for Sentential Logics (Circulation Draft)

Here is my latest draft of a paper attempting to give an account of a stronger-than-material conditional which can be adapted to various sentential logics. An abstract is provided below. To see the draft, go here:

Some Strong Conditionals for Sentential Logics (Circulation Draft)

Please keep in mind that the paper is a work in progress, and is still in a fairly rough state. That being said, I appreciate any comments and / or criticism that those who are interested in the subject have to offer.


In this article I define a strong conditional for classical sentential logic, and then extend it to three non-classical sentential logics. It is stronger than the material conditional and is not subject to the standard paradoxes of material implication, nor is it subject to some of the standard paradoxes of C. I. Lewis’s strict implication. My conditional has some counterintuitive consequences of its own, but I think its pros outweigh its cons. In any case, one can always augment one’s language with more than one conditional, and it may be that no single conditional will satisfy all of our intuitions about how a conditional should behave. Finally, I will make no claim that the strong conditional is a good model for any particular use of the indicative conditional in English or other natural languages, though it would certainly be a nice bonus if some modified version of it could serve as one.

The basic idea is this: In general, one starts out with with the logic that one  wants to define the conditional for, and describes a meta-language for it. The metalanguage contains ┌(q|p)┐, a “conditional designator” which designates the truth value that q takes given that p is true, i.e., given that p has the value 1. It is to be read as ┌ the value of q given p┐ or ┌the value of q conditional on p┐. The stroke, |, is not a connective; it merely serves to separate the letter q from the letter p. The designator works like this: If p never takes the value 1, then ┌(q|p)┐ designates nothing—for q cannot take a value given that p is true if p can never be true—and is said to be empty. It is also empty if the value of q varies when the value of p is 1, for in that case q doesn’t take a unique value given that p is true. If q always takes the value 1 when p takes the value 1, then ┌(q|p)┐ designates 1, and in our meta-language we can say that ┌(q|p)┐ = 1, which is another way of saying that ┌(q|p)┐ designates 1. Similarly, if q always takes the value 0 when p takes the value 1, then ┌(q|p)┐ designates 0, and in our meta-language we can say that ┌(q|p)┐ = 0. 

With our meta-linguistic conditional designator ready to hand, one can now define what I call the strong conditional, or strong implication, for which I will use the symbol ‘→’. Its definition is (where ‘v( )’ is the valuation function, which gives the semantic value of an expression):
If ┌(q|p)┐= 1, then v(p → q) = 1
If ┌(q|p)┐= 0, then v(p → q) = 0
If ┌(q|p)┐ is empty, then v(p → q) = 0

I shall begin by exploring some of the disadvantages of the material conditional, the strict conditional, and some relevant conditionals. I proceed to define a strong conditional for classical sentential logic. I go on to adapt this account to Graham Priest’s Logic of Paradox, to S. C. Kleene’s logic K3, and then to J. Łukasiewicz’s logic Ł, a standard version of fuzzy logic.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Format of Scholardarity's Submissions Page Has Been Updated has updated the format of its submissions page. Now you can sign in using your Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, or HeyPublisher account. Also, you no longer have to send in submissions via email; you can upload them directly through the submissions form.

You can submit your contributions here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Philosophers' Carnival # 145

Welcome one and all to the 145th edition of the Philosophers' Carnival! You may notice that this edition is a bit shorter than most previous ones. This is because, in deference to the new carnival policies, I've decided to include only what I believe to be the best of the best submissions.

And so, without further ado, I present to you the Philosophers' Carnival's main attractions:

Chad McIntosh of Appeared-To-Blogly examines the link between theism and the multiverse hypothesis, and concludes that the multiverse hypothesis is 'metaphysically laden'.

Richard Brown of Philosophy Sucks! shares some notes and thoughts on Giulio Tononi's inaugural lecture at NYU's Center for Mind and Brain.

Over at M-Phi, Catarina reviews Stephen Read's exposition of Thomas Bradwardine's solution to the Liar Paradox.

In his blog post "A Response to an Anti-Naturalist" at Larval Subjects, Levi Bryant replies to a critique of his defense of naturalism and materialism.

At Philosophy, et cetera, Richard Chappell critiques M. Oreste Fiocco's paper "Consequentialism and the World in Time", in which Fiocco gives arguments against consequentialism based on the philosophy of time.

Do you have infinitely many beliefs about the number of planets? Apparently not. Eric Schwitzgebel argues that if that's true it shows that " seems problematic to think of belief either in terms of discretely stored language-like style representations (perhaps plus swift derivability allowing implicit beliefs), or in terms of map-like representations."

In a post at the hanged man Matthew J. Brown argues, in opposition to some recent papers by Heather Douglas, that "...value judgments do have legitimate direct roles to play in the internal processes of scientific inquiry"--three roles, to be precise.

Finally, Mark Lance presents an interesting problem for the semantics and epistemology of mathematics in the first part of his post on domains of quantification over at New APPS. To be specific,

" knows what one is saying with such a sentence only if one knows what domain one is quantifying over. If we are discussing anything as complex as the reals - equivalently second order arithmetic - and mean to quantify over the "intended model" - that is, do not specify some constructable model as our domain - then we do not know what we are quantifying over. Thus, we do not know what we are saying when we make claims with second order arithmetic quantifiers."

That's all for this edition. The next Carnival will open at Talking Philosophy on December 10th.

Notes on Timothy Williamson’s Lecture “Logics as Scientific Theories”

Over at Scholardarity I've posted my notes on Timothy Williamson’s lecture “Logics as Scientific Theories” which was given at U.C. Berkeley on November 1st.

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Summary of Mackie’s “The Subjectivity of Values”

I've posted a summary of J.L. Mackie's article "The Subjectivity of Values" in Philosophy Notes at Scholardarity.

Here's an excerpt:

In his essay “The Subjectivity of Values”, J.L. Mackie aims to show that values are not built into the structure of the universe. He begins by clarifying his position, addressing possible reactions and trying to prevent misunderstandings. Some would reject Mackie’s thesis as being morally subversive, others would accept it as a platitude, and still others would say that the question of whether there are objective values is itself illegitimate. Mackie’s thesis applies to all purportedly objective values, not just moral ones. Also, his thesis is a second-order rather than a first-order claim: It states that our values have nothing objective corresponding to them, but one who accepts this claim is not thereby committed to adopt any particular attitude towards private conduct or public policy. One can think that values are ultimately subjective while still valuing things, practices, or states of affairs—or perhaps not valuing much of anything at all—because valuing something does not presuppose that valuing it has an ontological ground.