Friday, June 27, 2008
Horacio and I are editing a special issue of Synthese commemorating the work of Henry Kyburg. We have a distinguished list of invited contributions for the volume, but we are also soliciting an open call for papers. Submissions on any area of Kyburg's work are welcome. They should be formatted for blind review and e-mailed to me, grw at fct.unl.pt, or Horacio, hcosta at andrew.cmu.edu, before July 30, 2008.
Friday, June 20, 2008
In "Philosophy" (1929) Ramsey states that "Logic issues in tautologies, mathematics in identities, philosophy in definitions; all trivial but all part of the vital work of clarifying and organizing our thought. " I'm assuming that Ramsey means to identify the central product in each of these fields, otherwise the statement reads like a platitude -- sure, Ramsey was just twenty-five when he made the comment, but we're talking about someone who D.H. Mellor, in his introduction to Philosophical Papers, seems to place above the likes of Moore, Russell, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein. In any case, if Ramsey intended something along the lines of the former, then his statement strikes me as wrong, at least from a modern view. Sometimes an important mathematical contribution comes in the form of a definition, as the successful isolation of a powerful idea. For example, consider some of the basic definitions from computability theory or, perhaps closer to mathematics proper, some of the fundamental ideas from category theory (e.g. natural transformation, adjoint functor).
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
First, congratulations to Wilfried Sieg on being named the Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon. Suppes, a student of Ernest Nagel and one of the editors of the volume that inspired this blog, is among the most distinguished scientific philosophers of his generation. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to look at the Collected Works of Patrick Suppes, an excellent resource that is available online. It is great to see Wilfried, who studied with Suppes at Stanford, receive this wonderful recognition of his own distinguished body of work.
Second, there is a very interesting interview with Isaac Levi in the July 2007 newsletter from the Society for Imprecise Probability: Theories and Applications. I know that Greg mentioned this a few months ago over on Certain Doubts, but I've taken the opportunity to mention it again since the interview gives nice insight into the work of another one of Nagel's outstanding students.