Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Post, Another Paper

This time it's all about explanation. This is the paper I'm planning to give to the Aristotelian Society in November, so quite a different sort of intended audience from the Compass paper, but I'm still aiming for accessibility to philosophers in general. The paper's called Romeo, René and the Reasons Why, though you'll have to read it to find out why.

The paper suggests (tentatively) a kind of functionalism about explanation. The idea is that our concept of explanation is a role concept closely connected to the answering of why-questions, i.e. the provision of information about what is a (non-inferential) consequence of what. The various realizers of the explanation role include causal realizers, nomic realizers and more. So the pragmatic account folks, the causal theorists, the covering-law theorists and so on each got part of the story right. Everybody has won and all must have prizes.

Comments, as always, encouraged.

Update: I have revamped this paper and the link now takes you to the latest draft.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Priori Knowledge: Debates and Developments

As promised, here is a draft of my Geneva paper. Comments are very welcome.

The paper is supposed to 'be accessible to non-specialists but still have fresh material that would be of interest to people in [the] field', so if it fails in one of these aims I would be glad to hear about that whilst I still have time to make changes!

(I've found it tough to accommodate both aims, which are in some tension with each other. As a result the paper is already longer that its intended limit of 5000 words, and even so lots of interesting and/or important stuff has been left out or skated over. I comfort myself with the hope that this may have improved its readability ...)

PS: Sadly I forgot my camera on the Geneva trip so no pictures will be forthcoming. :(

Monday, September 10, 2007


Apologies for the long break while I was moving from Oz back to the UK. I'm now installed in my fantastic new office, just below the clock tower in the lovely Trent Building.

I'm heading off to a conference in Geneva on Wednesday to present the new paper on the a priori that I'm working on (a survey paper comissioned by Philosophy Compass). When I've had a chance to round off a few of the corners I'll post a draft here.

In the meantime, Colin Caret from UConn has a new blog replacing the now-retired What Is It Like To Be a Blog, and it is now possible to download the Flirting episode of Philosophy Talk for the bargain price of $4.95.