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Blog Profile / Guide to Reality

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:171
Posts / Week:0.5
Archived Since:March 17, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Wesley Salmon's Early Interest in Whitehead

I was reading Probabilityand Causality: Essays in Honor of Wesley C. Salmon, and was interested to see it included an annotated bibliography, where Salmon provides contextual commentary regarding all of his publications up to that time (1988). Show More Summary

Metaphysical Intuitions; Blog Anniversary

First a housekeeping comment. It turns out that this blog went mostly dormant when I began full time graduate work in philosophy two years ago. It was a wonderful outlet for my thoughts when I had a different sort of day job, but now I have trouble making time for it. Show More Summary

Philadelphia-Area High School Ethics Bowl

Also, the second Philadelphia area High School Ethics Bowl will be held on December 7th, again hosted by Villanova University. Contact me if you would like information on volunteering to help with the event (I was a judge last year and it was a great experience).

GPPC 2013-2014 Program of Events

The Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium 2013-2014 program is up on the website: Please check it out. Looking at the fall schedule, I’d ask you to please make special note of November 16 th which is the date for our Public Issues event (see below). Show More Summary

Russellian Monism and the Identity Theory of Properties

Here is a draft paper on a topic discussed a fair amount on this blog in the past.Comments or suggestions are welcome. Russellian Monism and the Identity Theory of Properties Here's the introduction: Russellian Monism is an attractive approach to the mind/body problem. Show More Summary

Spinoza: Notes on Body and Mind

[These are notes written as part of an abandoned paper project] Beyond Parallelism: Body, Mind, and Individuation in Part II of Spinoza’s Ethics (Page references to Curley, 1994) Summary: the body is a pattern of unified activity; the mind is shaped by the interaction of this pattern with its environment. Show More Summary

Upcoming Public Philosophy Events

For those of us in the Philadelphia area, the GPPC is sponsoring several events in the coming months which should be enjoyable and enlightening. Everyone is welcome. First up is our Community Lecture next month in Cherry Hill. This is the third year we’ve held this event, and this year’s talk and discussion should be very special. Show More Summary

Newman: What Russell’s Structural Argument Needs

As mentioned earlier here, Bertrand Russell’s work in his book The Analysis of Matter was dealt a blow by mathematician M.H.A. Newman. Russell had built an argument supporting partial realism about the physical world. He said that while...Show More Summary

Reduction as Idealization

I cannot remember who tipped me to this 1972 article in Science by physicist Philip W. Anderson called " More is Different ". It is an exploration of the notions of reduction and emergence. The main thrust of Anderson's argument is familiar:...Show More Summary

Causal Knowledge is Primitive for Russell

I was rereading portions of Russell’s Human Knowledge (and making comparisons to The Analysis of Matter) with the goal of understanding his arguments regarding the role of structure in linking experience to the physical world. But I was struck by something else. Show More Summary

Russell and Structural Realism

My interest in Russell’s The Analysis of Matter came originally from the perspective it offers in sorting through the problem of mind. Recently, thanks to a couple of papers linked to on twitter by @LogicalAnalysis, I learned about its connection with recent work on Structural Realism in the context of philosophy of science. Show More Summary

Upcoming GPPC events

The Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium is sponsoring a film series at the Bryn Mawr FilmInstitute again this year featuring commentaries by GPPC philosophers. There are 3 films on consecutive Thursday evenings beginning March 29 th. Show More Summary

Causal Constraint

The notion of dispositional modality, discussed by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum in Getting Causes from Powers, put me in mind of another analysis of the interplay between causation and modality: that of Gregg Rosenberg in A Place For Consciousness (2004). Show More Summary

Short Review of Getting Causes from Powers

In this book, Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum present their theory of causal dispositionalism, that is, causation based on dispositional properties, or powers. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the philosophy of causation.Powers...Show More Summary

More on Causation and Reduction to Physics

I finished reading GettingCauses from Powers by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum. I recommend the book highly to anyoneinterested in causation, and I’ll be thinking about many of its arguments andthemes for a long time to come. As...Show More Summary

Determinism Doesn’t Imply Causal Necessity

A key part of the argument for causal dispositionalism inMumford and Anjum’s Getting Causes FromPowers is the case against causal necessitarianism (chapter 3 in thebook). Causality is commonly thought toimply a necessary connection between cause and effect: the authors say this is a mistake, and thatthe proper modality of causation is dispositional. Show More Summary

A Note on Events and Causation

Presently I’m reading GettingCauses From Powers by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum (and havefinished six chapters out of ten). Iexpect to blog more about this book, of which I think very highly. I just wanted to very briefly comment onevents, inspired by the treatment they are getting so far in the book. Show More Summary

Do We Need Essences?

I’ve just been starting to read and think more aboutessences, in particular the debate which has followed Kit Fine’s argument in“Essence and Modality” (1993) that essences cannot be understood in modalterms. The modal understanding is...Show More Summary

Philosophy for Children Forum: 29 October

Coming up very soon is the next event on this year’s GPPC program: our Public Issues Forum. The topic this year is Philosophy for Children. The date is Saturday October 29th, 1pm, at the University of Pennsylvania. The event is freeShow More Summary

Dispositional Modality as Restricted Possibility

I’ve been interested in the metaphysics of dispositional properties (or powers), and I’ve ordered Getting Causes from Powers, a new book from Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum. I look forward to reading this later in the fall, butShow More Summary

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