Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Basic Knowledge Workshop: Call For Graduate Papers

I'm organizing an Arché workshop on Basic Knowledge, which will take place on 24-25 November 2006. Speakers will include Jason Stanley, Duncan Pritchard, Jessica Brown and Timothy Williamson. There will be a slot for a graduate student paper. Graduate students, and those who obtained their PhDs within the last twelve months, are invited to submit papers of not more than 5000 words. Please send me submissions as email attachments in Word or similar format (no pdf files please). Suitable topics include: Sceptical Paradox, Transmission and/or Closure, Non-Evidential Warrant, Internalism and Externalism, and A Priori Knowledge. Particularly welcome are papers which open up new areas of enquiry within these fields, and/or highlight directions in which further research is needed. Travel and subsistence will be covered by Arche for the author of the selected paper. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2006.

ADDENDUM: Submissions should be prepared for blind review.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Counterfactuals and Ontic Vagueness

Following on from the idea I floated in this post, I'm posting a draft of a note on why you shouldn't use counterfactuals to characterize commitment to ontic vagueness (which won't surprise those who know that I tend to think you probably shouldn't use counterfactuals to characterize anything metaphysically interesting ...). Comments very welcome, as always.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lewis/Blackburn Again

A slightly improved draft of the Lewis/Blackburn note is here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Weighing Implausibilities

Here's something I was wondering about during Tim Williamson's talk at the Arché Vagueness Workshop yesterday.

Suppose you want to keep bivalence, and you also think that the only way for something to be an aspect of a predicate's meaning is for our use of the predicate to determine that it is (both Williamsonian thoughts, I gather). But you also think it is at least prima facie implausible that usage determines an exact cut-off point for all the vague predicates (a thought pressed against Williamson by McGee and McLaughlin).

We seem to have at least two options.
1: Accept the implausible-sounding claim (with Williamson), or
2: Argue that many of the things we think are vague predicates ('red', 'bald' etc.) are in fact not predicates at all. By bivalence, in order for them to be predicates we would need there to be cut-off points for their application. But it is implausible that our use of these terms determines such cut-off points. And there is nothing else which can do this sort of meaning-constituting work.

It's initially implausible, sure, that words like 'red', 'bald' and so on are not predicates. But my question is: by what sorts of methodological considerations do we weigh this implausibility against that of the claim that usage determines cut-off points for all such terms?

(Incidentally, Williamson mentioned that he talks about Option 2 in his book on vagueness, which I haven't had a chance to look at yet. He obviously has reasons for preferring Option 1, which I will be interested to read.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Lewis/Blackburn Note

I wrote up some thoughts relating to my previous post as a short note. Comments welcome!