Monday, September 25, 2006

Fame At Last?

I had my first philosophy-related media interview last week, with a journalist from The Australian. (This is an Australian national newspaper - in fact, as I was surprised to learn, the only Australian national newspaper.) Thanks to my post on TAR, the guy had taken an interest in my work on flirting. If anything is printed, it will be in the Higher Education supplement, which appears on Wednesdays. There may even be a compromising photo ... :)

Addendum: Here is the article.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flirting Again

My paper on the philosophy of flirting will be coming out in The Philosophers' Magazine, so this is to say thanks to all the people who sent me comments after I posted a draft here. Unfortunately TPM won't let me include any acknowledgements in the actual article, but be assured that I am grateful for all the comments it received! Here is the probably-final version.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Is A Necessary Condition?

Necessary conditionhood is a notion I employ all over the place, and I've only just noticed that I'm not really sure what it amounts to.

Suppose P is a necessary condition for Q. Here are some of the things I've probably taken that to mean on various occasions:

1. Q materially implies P
2. Q strictly implies P
3. ~P materially implies ~Q
4. ~P strictly implies ~Q
5. If Q then P
6. If ~P then ~Q
7. Necessarily, if Q then P
8. Necessarily, if ~P then ~Q
9. If Q were the case then P would be the case
10. If ~P were the case then ~Q would be the case

On other occasions I've taken necessary conditionhood to involve some more substantial kind of dependence, so that if P is a necessary condition for Q, then Q's obtaining depends causally, explanatorily, or in some other interesting way, on P's obtaining. So for instance another thing I've taken it to mean is:

11. If ~P were the case then ~Q would be the case *because* of ~P

All this goes for sufficient conditions too, mutatis mutandis.

Some questions this raises: is one of these understandings right and the others wrong? Or do we in fact have a wide range of notions of necessary conditionhood? If the latter, is that a good state of affairs? Should we take more care to spell out what we mean each time we use the phrase 'necessary condition'?