September 23, 2011

Philosophers' Carnival 131

I'm a little late posting the link, but Philosophers' Carnival 131 is now up at Minds and Brains with a link to my post on Berkeley, Commonsense, and Surprising Discoveries.
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September 14, 2011

Reid on Character in HPQ!

I have just officially received word that my paper, "Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom," will appear in the April 2012 issue of History of Philosophy Quarterly! Unfortunately, the journal has a moderately restrictive archival policy, so I have had to take down the online copy of the paper for now. (If I understand correctly, I can upload it to archives like philpapers and academia.edu after one year, and post it to my own web-site after three.) I'll post a link to the official version when it comes out, so that if you are subscribed, or your university is, you can get to it.
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September 12, 2011

A Hack to Run Beamer Presentations With Notes on Linux

Beamer is a class for making PDF presentations in LaTeX. It is supposed to have the ability to display notes for the presenter on a second monitor, but its strategy for doing this is just to create a double-width PDF, and hope that the PDF display program can fullscreen it to span the two displays. In modern linux desktop environments, this won't work, because the window manager will only allow the PDF reader to fullscreen to one monitor. Here's a minimally hacky solution: First, create a file called pres-xinit.sh in your home directory, containing the following two lines: xrandr --output...
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Topic(s): Technology
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September 10, 2011

Berkeley, Commonsense, and Surprising Discoveries

Suppose (as happens often) that scientists, or philosophers, or explorers, or whoever, make some sort of surprising discovery, one that appears to be at odds with our commonsense view of the world. How should we react? It seems that there are three possible courses: either one rejects commonsense, or one rejects the alleged discovery, or one attempts to revise and/or reinterpret things to synthesize the two perspectives. An example: periodically results come out in neuroscience which purport to show that some brain event, of which the subject is unconscious, occurs significantly before a subject makes a supposedly free conscious choice,...
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September 1, 2011

Lawless Events and the Existence of God

Christine Overall famously argued that miracles, conceived as violations of the laws of nature, would be evidence against the existence of the traditional God. A lengthy debate with Robert Larmer ensued, in which Larmer argued that only slight modifications to the law-breaking account of miracles are necessary in order for miracles to serve as evidence for, rather than against, the existence of God. Larmer tries to argue that miracles do not violate the laws of nature, but nevertheless holds that they are different from ordinary events in that they don't follow from the laws of nature. (I don't have Larmer's...
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