Friday, December 22, 2006

Any Polish Speakers Out There?

Polish magazine Charaktery reports on my Philosophy of Flirting paper in Polish.

Although I don't speak a word of Polish, thanks to online translation site Poltran, I can reveal that what it says is:

Carrie Jenkins, On department of australian philosophy of national university in canberra doktorantka, there is author of publication titled „ philosophy flirt ”, soon it has appear in london which (who) „ ” The Philosophers Magazine. Idea of writing of article has emerged for (after) it, as it has met on way of other student of philosophy Jenkins, daniel name Nolan and it has fallen in love in it.

If anyone out there speaks Polish and can offer a more, erm, natural-sounding translation, and more generally tell us what kind of magazine this is, please write in!

In other news, the Brisbane studio where we recorded our ABC interview yesterday is today closing down!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

ABC Radio National Debate

Daniel and I are confirmed to appear on ABC radio's 'Life Matters' programme on Thursday (21st December). Our interview will be aired shortly after 9.00am in Australia, and will also be available for download from the 'Life Matters' website for a couple of weeks.

Update: You can now hear the interview here. (Our piece starts about 12 minutes into the programme. At the moment you can only listen online but for the truly dedicated it will be available for download soon!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Two Links

Ralph Wedgwood has a fun case - an 'Epistemic Newcomb Problem' - over at Certain Doubts.

Also well worth checking out: the online manuscript of Tim Williamson's new book 'The Philosophy of Philosophy'. (Hat tip: Dave Chalmers.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Commitment and Degrees of Belief

I've recently got interested in degrees of belief. (Hang around Canberra long enough and it's bound to happen.) I've been particularly enjoying a paper by Lina Eriksson and Al Hajek called 'What Are Degrees of Belief' (forthcoming in a Studia Logica special issue on formal epistemology, edited by Branden Fitelson, to appear 2007). I won't go into the details of their paper here since it is not publicly available yet. But here's something a bit different that I started thinking about after reading their paper and chatting to Al about it.

(Caveat: I don't know much about the literature on this topic, so I'm making no claims to originality.)

It would be nice to have a unified way of explicating the notions of belief and degree of belief. My hunch is that the notion of commitment - which clearly has both on/off and gradable aspects - can help. Belief could be explicated as commitment in the on/off sense, degrees of belief as degrees of commitment in the gradable sense.

The tricky bit is going to be specifying the right notion of commitment. Here are some of the things it's not:
- the kind of commitment you take on by making a promise
- the kind of commitment you have to a proposition p in virtue of believing something which entails p (thanks to Al for this one)
- the kind of commitment you can have to a cause or a person.

Here are some things that might help pin down the right notion:
- it's a propositional attitude
- we aim to have this kind of commitment in the on/off way to a proposition p only if p is true.

Incidentally, some readers of this blog may be interested to know (if they don't already) that Studia Logica is currently calling for papers on vagueness. (I just spotted this while finding the link for the above reference.)

Life Matters

Daniel and I might be appearing on ABC National Radio on 21st December on a programme called 'Life Matters'. Discussing what, I hear you ask? The semantics of conditionals? The a priori and the Canberra Plan? Methodology and epistemology?

Amazingly, it's none of these they're interested in; it's the philosophy of flirting. Watch this space for confirmation ...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Book News

Some good news: my book Grounding Concepts will be appearing with Oxford University Press. The central aim of the book is to develop the idea of concept grounding as the basis of a new kind of epistemology for arithmetic (see my paper Knowledge of Arithmetic for a sketch). It also tries to show how some of my ideas about realism and knowledge are supposed to fit into a coherent whole together with the concept grounding story.

Now I just have to get down to writing up the final version. Any volunteers to read and criticize draft chapters would be welcome ...

(PS: Sorry about the delay with the BK workshop photos. I'm having some technical difficulties with my camera.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Pictures from the Basic Knowledge workshop will be appearing here soon ... I am currently away at the New Zealand AAP.

Ed Mares gave the opening presidential address on Sunday, arguing that validity was to be identified with information-preservation and not with truth-preservation. Since information-preservation was so defined as to yield the rules of a relevant logic, this allowed Ed to maintain that the connectives have meanings given by their classical truth-conditions without thereby committing himself to classical logic.
Amongst other interesting stuff, Ed argued (by way of arguing that we do not need Looney Tune, or 'that's all', facts) that whether a model is complete or partial is not a matter of whether the model contains a 'that's all' fact but a matter of our attitude to that model (i.e. whether we regard it as complete or partial). I think it would be preferable, to avoid raising realist eyebrows, to say simply that it is a fact about the model rather than a fact within the model, and leave us out of it.