Friday, August 26, 2005

Assorted Comments

My second raven paradox post has now slipped off the main page. But I'd very much welcome any further comments or suggestions regarding how to deal with the "ruling out rival hypotheses" argument (follow link for full details). Same goes for Does Truth Govern Belief? On the one hand, it seems obvious that if I offer you a million dollars to believe the earth is flat, then that provides you with a reason to believe it. On the other hand, it's impossible for you to have the belief whilst recognizing that you have no evidence for it -- practical incentives don't seem, within the context of first-person doxastic deliberation, to count as justifying reasons for belief. So any suggestions on how to sort that out would be most welcome. (I think I want to defend practical reasons here. I'm just not quite sure how, yet.)

Also, you might want to check out the ongoing discussion in the comments to Vera's guest post on the immorality of moral justification. I need to write a followup to that at some point. (Also: if anyone else would like to publish a guest post here, email it to me, and I will consider posting it. No guarantees, of course.)

I've had some interesting discussions on various other blogs. You can find them all via my links, if you're interested. Some recent favourites would be No Right Turn on democracy vs. liberalism; Siris on "the burden of proof" as an obligation of discourse; and Ian Olasov on the Geach sentence.

The latter problem concerns whether one can translate the sentence "Some critics admire only one another" into first-order logic. It's supposed to be impossible. But if Ian's "Link" relation were legitimate, then I suggested we could translate it as follows:

Ex(Critic(x) & Ay(Link(x,y) => Critic(y)))

In English: there is some critic for whom anyone he is linked to in admiration is also a critic. To be "linked to in admiration" is for either Admires(x,y) to be true, or else for there to be some chain Admires(x,i1) & Admires(i1, i2) & ... & Admires(iN, y), for any number N of intermediate i's. But I'm suspicious as to whether this is a well-defined relation (at least in first-order logic). I'd be curious to hear what others think.

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