October 25, 2009
Philosophers often use such phrases as 'strictly speaking' or 'in metaphysical rigor' before saying things that might sound outrageous. For instance, many philosophers have denied the existence of entities which everyone 'knows' to exist, such as chairs, or minds, or numbers. The philosopher will almost always prefix such a denial with this sort of modifier. The opposite of speaking strictly is speaking loosely. In early modern philosophy, the 'strict and philosophical' mode of speech was often contrasted with the 'loose and popular' mode. Other philosophers might use the modifier 'strictly and literally.' What is the point of making these qualifications?...
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October 19, 2009
Philosopher's Carnival 98
Welcome to the 98th Philosopher's Carnival! The Philosopher's Carnival is a roundup of the best philosophy blog posts of the last three weeks or so. As host, I have selected the submissions (and a couple of non-submissions) which, in my opinion, will be of most interest to academic philosophers. There is necessarily some subjectivity here, so I apologize to anyone who feels he or she was unfairly excluded. Metaphysics Steve Esser presents Notes on C.B.Martin's The Mind in Nature posted at Guide to Reality. This post summarizes Martin's work across a wide variety of metaphysical and especially ontological topics. Aaron...
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October 13, 2009
Leibniz's Theistic Case Against Humean Miracles
Most of the recent philosophical literature on miracles focuses on Hume's argument against belief in miracles in EHU 10. There, Hume asserts that all miracles are "violation[s] of the laws of nature" (10.12) and argues that we could never be justified in believing in such events. Call these Law-Breaking Events (LBEs). As Hume recognizes, being an LBE cannot be sufficient for being a miracle; miracles must have the right kind of theological/religious significance. Hume thus gives in a footnote a more precise definition: "A miracle may be accurately defined, a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition...
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October 7, 2009
Quote of the Day: Robert Adams on Contextualist History of Philosophy as Philosophy
I believe that historical accuracy and careful attention to the historical context are important to the philosophical as well as the historical value of work in the history of philosophy and, conversely, that philosophical argument and critique are important for historical understanding of philosophy. One reason for the philosophical importance of patient and careful attention to the actual meaning of Leibniz's writings in their historical context is that he was indeed a great philosopher, great enough that an arbitrary interpretation of his work, more relevant to our historical context than to his, is unlikely to be as interesting philosophically in...
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October 6, 2009
Quote of the Day: Australians Against Bullshit
"Analytic philosophy is all about bullshit detection, and we [Australians] are very good at that." - Fiona Cowie
, as quoted in The Australian
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October 2, 2009
Quote of the Day: Leibniz Against Hyper-Calvinism
If there are people who believe that election and reprobation are accomplished on God's part by a despotic and absolute power, not only without any apparent reason but actually without any reason, even a concealed one, they maintain an opinion that destroys alike the nature of things and the divine perfections. Such an absolutely absolute decree (so to speak) would be without doubt insupportable. But Luther and Calvin were far from such a belief: the former hopes that the life to come will make us comprehend the just reasons of God's choice; and the latter protests explicitly that these reasons...
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