Here is a thought experiment of the a demon creeps into your loneliest loneliness variety. Imagine this:
At a moment in time, everyone in the world is given this solitary choice: They must choose one person in the world, and that person will die immediately. Everyone knows that everyone has this choice and this power. Each may reflect on their choice for a while, but nobody gets to confer or coordinate.
Continue reading “The middle ground between light and shadow”
Over the years, I’ve prepared a number of different texts to give to my own students. For example: cleaned up electronic versions of Peirce’s “Fixation of Belief” and Berkeley’s Principles. I’ve had occasional thoughts about sharing them, but didn’t have a sensible platform for doing so.
In making the most recent update to forall x, I starting using github. It’s primarily a platform for writing software and maintaining code, but it is also well suited for hosting LaTeX documents. Keeping track of which version I used in which semester is a mess that git cleans up, and it’s no extra effort to share the files.
So I created three github repositories today:
- pragmatism: In addition to Peirce and James, this includes some Emerson. I may add more in the course of this semester.
- early-modern: I prepared Hume’s first Enquiry and Berkeley’s Principles for student use years ago. Both are nicely formatted complete books.
- understanding-science: I also added a repository for the notes on inference that I posted last year. I still mean to add to those, so I might as well set it up now.
The material in 1 and 2 is mostly in the public domain. Where I’ve written something, I offer it under an open license.
This post is a week late to the party, but I haven’t seen this point made explicitly: Trump’s “shit-hole” comment egregiously conflates within-group and between-group differences.
Continue reading “A Trumpian fallacy”
It’s been exactly ten years since this cartoon appeared, one of the last Ninja Verses strips from its second incarnation.
Continue reading “Beatles, dads, dogs”
The new edition of forall x will be posted soon. Anybody who has used the book before will find the changes so small as to make almost no difference, but I wanted to discuss what I did beyond correcting typos. First, I’ve changed the formatting a bit. Second, I’ve changed the notation for substitution instances in proofs (again). Third, I’ve changed the license to be even more permissive.
Continue reading “forall x v1.4”
Today’s game: favorite practical superpower.
The rules: name a superpower that you would love to have and that make your life (or someone’s life) immensely easier, but which would be boring to read about or watch on TV.
This is a Facebook prompt from Carl Sachs. I gave several answers, most inspired by minor abilities of old GURPS characters.
Continue reading “Quotidian superpowers”
It’s been over a decade since I released the first edition of the open access logic textbook forall x. It’s been a few years since my last update, because it’s been a few years since I last taught logic.
A number of people have made their own editions of forall x over the years, but 2017 was a breakout year: Continue reading “A big year, forall x”
I was invited to participate in a book symposium about Anjan Chakravartty’s recent book Scientific Ontology. It is supposed to be a short, critical piece, so striking the right tone was difficult. I agree with Chakravartty on rather a lot, but there is little point in flagging where we concur. Also, because I focus on the issues that are of interest to me, there is the danger that it comes off as “so much about him, let’s talk about me”.
I’ve written it, though, and my final draft is up.
Since February 1999, I’ve had a web page about fallacies. Rather than regurgitating all of the usual ones that one can find elaborated in critical thinking textbooks, I collect fallacies which an author names for just one occasion. These one-offs don’t appear on the usual lists. Authors usually do this to condemn some specific target, one who has committed not some generic error in reasoning but the specific if newly-named fallacy of such-and-so.
Prompted by John Holbo at Crooked Timber, I’ve added three new specimens. One is coined tongue-in-cheek by Holbo himself to mock a book review by David Bentley Hart, and the other two are coined by Hart in his would-be hatchet job on Daniel Dennett’s book From Bacteria to Bach and Back.
Continue reading “Fallacies: Narcissan, pleonastic, and unnatural deceleration”
Net neutrality is under attack again, and my first defense of it is what I wrote back in July.
As a user of the internet, I want to be able to access the content which I decide matters. I want it to come at the same speed other content would come at, rather than having it be faster or slower based on whether someone who owns that content has decided to pay more for access to me. If they get control over accessability and relative speed, then I’m not a consumer anymore but instead I’m the product that the service provider sells to their customers. That’s why net neutrality matters.
I’ve read some contrarian arguments that net neutrality isn’t such a big deal, because platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter can still nudge traffic and content around according to their own private algorithms. Political agitations and manipulations via social media have shown the power of that. However, that only shows that net neutrality is not sufficient for a healthy internet.
It remains obvious to me that net neutrality is necessary for a healthy internet. Summoning more monsters won’t solve the monster problem.