February 28, 2007

Quote of the Day: Augustine on Reading the Bible in Translation

An important antidote to the ignorance of literal signs is the knowledge of languages. Users o the Latin language - and it is these that I have now undertaken to instruct - need two others, Hebrew and Greek, for an understanding of the divine scriptures, so that recourse may be had to the original versions if any uncertainty arises from the infinite variety of Latin translators ... There are certain words in particular languages which just cannot be translated into the idioms of another language. This is especially true of interjections, which signify emotion rather than an element of clearly...
Continue reading "Quote of the Day: Augustine on Reading the Bible in Translation"

February 24, 2007

Foreknowledge, Free Will, and the Grandfather Paradox

Compatibilism is belief in actions that are both free and determined. Usually, one hears such phrases as "what I will to do, I must do" (I think Hume phrases it something like this) or "I am free to act according to my nature." The idea is that human beings have determinate natures and they act as their natures determine. They are free because nothing outside determines their actions. Theories that posit a more robust freedom of the will are called "libertarian" (no relation to the political theory referred to in my tagline). Usually one hears phrases like "I am free...
Continue reading "Foreknowledge, Free Will, and the Grandfather Paradox"

February 23, 2007

Prepare for the Coming Ape War!

The Washington Post is reporting that researchers in Senegal have, for the first time, observed chimpanzees engaging in systematic production of arms (specifically wooden spears) for use against other primates (specifically "bush babies" - a sort of small monkey-like thing, also known as a "galago"). The weapons seem to be in a very early stage of development: of 22 trials observed by human researchers, only one resulted in the death of the target. Still, the researchers say that this is a major innovation in chimp weapons technology...
Continue reading "Prepare for the Coming Ape War!"
Topic(s): Science
Posted by Kenny at 3:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 21, 2007

New Philosophers' Carnival Up!

The latest Philosophers' Carnival is now up at This is the Name of This Blog (don't you just love analytic philosophy humor?) with a link to my two posts on the nature of love.
Continue reading "New Philosophers' Carnival Up!"

February 17, 2007

blog.kennypearce.net: Now With Boring Colors!

As of right now, users of this blog have access to a new feature: boring colors! Seriously, though, I was trying to print something off this blog so that it was readable on a white background and realized this was a non-trivial task. This combined with the fact that people have often complained about my site being difficult to read has motivated me to finally create a feature to view the site with a more normal stylesheet. Clicking "View With Boring Colors" on the top right of any page should cause the page to appear in black on white. Reloading...
Continue reading "blog.kennypearce.net: Now With Boring Colors!"

February 15, 2007

February 14, 2007

What Is Love? Part 2: Types of Love

In part 1 of this series, I outlined a theory of love according to which love is defined as "a deeply internalized belief in the intrinsic value of the beloved." I indicated in that post that it was possible to differentiate between types of love along two dimensions: the reason for the belief, and the sorts of actions the lover takes or desires to take as a result. This post will discuss the traditional divisions of love and how the theory accounts for them along these two dimensions. The philosophical literature on love...
Continue reading "What Is Love? Part 2: Types of Love"
Topic(s): Philosophy
Posted by Kenny at 12:57 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2007

What Is Love? Part 1: The Theory

In honor of Valentine's Day, I would like to present today a philosophical theory of love ... This first post will give my theory of love in outline, and a second post will discuss the different types of love in light of this theory. The theory that I hold to is this: Love is a deeply internalized belief in the intrinsic value of the beloved. I believe that this brief definition is able to take account of essentially all of the important facts about love (though I don't have any pretensions about actually listing all of the important facts about love in a single blog post, or even about knowing them all!). Let's take it apart ...
Continue reading "What Is Love? Part 1: The Theory"
Topic(s): Ethics , Philosophy
Posted by Kenny at 12:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 11, 2007

Degrees of Literalness in Bible Translation

Jeremy Pierce's review of Leland Ryken's book Choosing a Bible, has me thinking about degrees of literalness in Bible translation, and I want to offer a few comments on that subject. The first thing I want to say about degrees of literalness is that this is a spectrum. It is not a modal; that is, it is emphatically not the case the every Bible translation is either "essentially literal" or "dynamic equivalence" and all the translations within a category are the same. Let me illustrate ...
Continue reading "Degrees of Literalness in Bible Translation"
Topic(s): Bible , Theology
Posted by Kenny at 6:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 7, 2007

Quote of the Day: A Puzzle About Infinity

The following is from William Lane Craig's "The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe". It is part of the defense of premise 2.11 of his version of the kalam cosmological argument, which says that "an actual infinite cannot exist:" Perhaps the best way to bring home the truth of (2.11) is by means of an illustration. Let me use one of my favorites, Hilbert's Hotel, a product of the mind of the great German mathematician, David Hilbert. Let us imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms. Suppose, furthermore, that all the rooms are full. When a new guest arrives asking for a room, the proprietor apologizes, "Sorry, all the rooms are full." But now let us imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms and suppose once more that all the rooms are full...
Continue reading "Quote of the Day: A Puzzle About Infinity"

Windows Vista EULA Prohibits Users From "work[ing] around any technical limitations in the software"

Michael Geist reports on Windows Vista's End-User License Agreement. Apparently it is now a violation of the agreement to "work around any technical limitations in the software." In previous versions of Microsoft software, "technical limitations" have frequently included not working, so it looks like we'd all better obey the Vista license agreement and leave the CD in its shrinkwrap on the shelf where it belongs...
Continue reading "Windows Vista EULA Prohibits Users From "work[ing] around any technical limitations in the software""

February 3, 2007

No Such Thing as an Ontological Free Lunch

In D.M. Armstrong's book Universals: an Opinionated Introduction, he discusses the pros and cons of a number of theories of the metaphysics of properties. Chapter three deals with "resemblance nominalism." According to resemblance nominalism, properties can be accounted for in terms of degrees of resemblance between the various objects having the property. So, for instance, on object is red if and only if it resembles some paradigmatic red objects. This theory is plagued by the "Resemblance Regress." Armstrong quotes Bertrand Russells' version as the "classical exposition" of the difficulty (p. 53): If we wish to avoid the universals...
Continue reading "No Such Thing as an Ontological Free Lunch"