Saturday, July 14, 2007

Photo Time

I'm trialling a new way of putting my philosophy-related photos online (via Facebook). Photos from the recent Norms and Analysis conference (Sydney), from the subsequent AAP conference (Armidale), and from Susanna Schellenberg and Jonathan Schaffer's party (Canberra) should be viewable here. (Let me know if it doesn't work!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

AAP 2007

Daniel and I gave our Backwards Explanation paper at the AAP. It survived well, even convinced a few people, so now it's full steam ahead for its outing at the BSPC next month, where it will receive the critical attention of Alyssa Ney and Trenton Merricks. Unfortunately our presentation was scheduled up against a bunch of papers that we would have really liked to see. In fact, a downside of the AAP in general was the number of sessions which either had nothing I was particularly interested in or several very interesting papers.

My highlights from the AAP included Josh Parsons's talk on Assessment-Contextual Indexicality (draft available from his papers page), which sets out to see what the communicative point of assessment-context indexicals would be and why we might want a language to contain them, and Nic Southwood's paper which conjectured that the normativity of rationality is a matter of what we owe to ourselves. In question time I tried to persuade Nic that this view need not engender the rejection of naturalistic reductionism. Daniel Star also raised the question of what distinguises rationality from prudence, which also looks like a matter of what we owe to ourselves.

Some photos should be on their way soon. Dave Chalmers has already posted some here, including one of Daniel apparently undergoing demonic possession.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Publishing Blues

An odd thing just happened to me, and I wonder how common it is. I submitted a paper to a journal, did one round of major revisions at their request, then after the new version had been refereed I received the message: "This paper can be accepted for publication after you have made the changes suggested by the referees." I duly made said changes and returned the paper to the journal. Deal done, or so I thought.

However, after a couple of months they wrote again asking for another set of major revisions, no longer saying they would accept the paper if I made these new changes, but only that it "might be reconsidered".

Nothing like this has happened to me before. Has anyone else experienced it?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Conference Madness

Blimey - three conferences in a row is a bit of a strain. Last week, it was Norms and Analysis then Probability, now it's the AAP. Here are a few of my highlights so far.

Roy Sorensen gave a talk on whether you should open an envelope that you know to contain misleading evidence which will dislodge a piece of knowledge that you now possess. This is a very interesting question - or rather, there is a swathe of interesting questions in the vicinity, and I'm not quite sure I managed to pin Roy on which one he intended to ask. One is about the epistemic rationality of opening the envelope, but it is controversial to suppose that norms of epistemic rationality apply to actions like opening envelopes (as opposed to beliefs and degrees of belief). Another batch concerns various instrumental norms: what you should do if you want to maximize your knowledge, what you should do if you want to make sure you're taking account of all the evidence, etc. But the answers to these are kind of obvious. Another one conerns practical rationality, but Sorensen told us he intended a different question to this (at least initially).

Al Hajek gave a fun (and very informative, for me anyway) paper on relationships between the debates about, on the one hand, the claim that the probability of a conditional is the corresponding conditional probability and, on the other, the claim that the expected value of A is the probability of 'A is good'.

David Braddon-Mitchell and Caroline West discussed their - courageous! - view that personal identity over time is a matter of caring about one's future stages. So drastically failing to care about your future stages means you do not continue to exist. Total imprudence is impossible - conceptually impossible by their lights, in fact. One thing I didn't get clear on (I should remember to ask them about this) is whether merely caring that one have some future stages is supposed to count, or whether I must have desires about them in some more robust sense.

Reports from the AAP soon ... and hopefully some photos!