Locating value

Do things have intrinsic value? If there are things out there that have intrinsic value, doesn’t that mean that we are lucky to be living in a world that contains such things? Could those same things also exist without the value built into them? How do we detect the value in things? All of these… Continue reading Locating value

The books (2021)

In 2019, I read 27 books. In 2020, I decided to challenge myself and read at least 50 books; which I managed to do, in fact reading as many as 63. But one thing I noticed was a perverse desire to read short books, since short books would get me to my goal faster. To… Continue reading The books (2021)

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On knowledge and belief

We are finite knowers. This is a platitude. But it easy to lose sight of what the platitude means. Part of what it means is that we do not know everything; that the amount of things we know is finite — perhaps in the mathematical sense of the term, but certainly, and more importantly, in… Continue reading On knowledge and belief

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Kantian and Cartesian scepticism

I recently wrote about the unity of Kant’s cognitive powers. Just now I was reading an article by Arata Hamawaki, “Cartesian Skepticism, Kantian Skepticism, and Two Conceptions of Self-consciousness”, published in The Logical Alien: Conant and his Critics, edited by Sofia Miguens. Hamawaki writes something that may seem to contradict the claims that I made… Continue reading Kantian and Cartesian scepticism

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On the Unity of Kant’s Many Cognitive Powers

Recently somebody on Twitter (using the handle @robotsneedpoems) complained to me about the Critique of Pure Reason: It’s crazy to me how confident K[ant] is in his ability to discern discrete cognitive faculties just by reasoning them out. He keeps plowing ahead, constructing a mind-numbingly complex account out of more or less thin air. I… Continue reading On the Unity of Kant’s Many Cognitive Powers

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The 50 book challenge

In 2019, I read 27 books. But I wanted to read more. I wanted to find a way to motivate myself to pick up a book in the evening, rather than spend time on my phone, or the internet, or playing a computer game, or doing who knows what. I love reading books. But it’s… Continue reading The 50 book challenge

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Mathematical proof: a primer

High school mathematics education focuses on calculation. It’s all about getting the right answer to some problem, like finding the x such that x² + 3x = 18. This almost entirely excludes the notion of a mathematical proof, to the point that there are highly educated people who have never even heard of the concept.… Continue reading Mathematical proof: a primer

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Peano and the natural numbers

Do Peano’s axioms define the natural numbers? Would it be possible for any system of axioms to do so? Some musings after Mathieu Marion’s article ‘Wittgenstein on Surveyability of Proofs’. (I don’t think there’s anything original in here; it’s just me thinking through the topic.) What are the natural numbers? Of course, they’re 0, 1,… Continue reading Peano and the natural numbers

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