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

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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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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Ted Sider on Vagueness, Logic and Reality

For my Philosophy of Time course, my students and I read the second chapter of Ted Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism (2001). It’s called “Against Presentism” and serves very well as an introduction to attacks on that particular position. Perhaps I’ll blog about this chapter later on: as a defender of presentism, I certainly have some critical thoughts.… Continue reading Ted Sider on Vagueness, Logic and Reality

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