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Joshua Spencer [17]John R. Spencer [12]J. Spencer [8]John P. Spencer [7]
Joel Spencer [6]Jack Spencer [5]Joseph M. Spencer [5]J. Brookes Spencer [3]

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Joshua Spencer
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Joseph M. Spencer
University of New Mexico
Jack Spencer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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  1.  88
    Conceivability and Possibility.Joshua Spencer - 2018 - In Graham Oppy (ed.), Ontological Arguments. pp. 214-237.
    Some people might be tempted by modal ontological arguments from the possibility that God exists to the conclusion that God in fact exists. They might also be tempted to support the claim that possibly God exists by appealing to the conceivability of God’s existence. In this chapter, I introduce three constraints on an adequate theory of philosophical conceivability. I then consider and develop both imagination-based accounts of conceivability and conceptual coherence-based accounts of conceivability. Finally, I return to the modal ontological (...)
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  2.  64
    On the Explanatory Demands of the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    The Special Composition Question may be formulated as follows: for any xs whatsoever, what are the metaphysically necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in virtue of which there is a y such that those xs compose y? But what is the scope of the sought after explanation? Should an answer merely explain compositional facts, or should it explain certain ontological facts as well? On one natural reading, the question seeks an explanation of both the compositional facts and the ontological; the question (...)
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  3. Able to Do the Impossible.Jack Spencer - 2017 - Mind 126 (502):466-497.
    According to a widely held principle—the poss-ability principle—an agent, S, is able to only if it is metaphysically possible for S to. I argue against the poss-ability principle by developing a novel class of counterexamples. I then argue that the consequences of rejecting the poss-ability principle are interesting and far-reaching.
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  4. Ways of Being.Joshua Spencer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):910-918.
    Ontological pluralism is the view that there are ways of being. Ontological pluralism is enjoying a revival in contemporary metaphysics. We want to say that there are numbers, fictional characters, impossible things, and holes. But, we don’t think these things all exist in the same sense as cars and human beings. If they exist or have being at all, then they have different ways of being. Fictional characters exist as objects of make‐believe and holes exist as absences in objects. But, (...)
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  5. All Things Must Pass Away.Joshua Spencer - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7:67.
    Are there any things that are such that any things whatsoever are among them. I argue that there are not. My thesis follows from these three premises: (1) There are two or more things; (2) for any things, there is a unique thing that corresponds to those things; (3) for any two or more things, there are fewer of them than there are pluralities of them.
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  6. What Time Travelers Cannot Not Do (but Are Responsible for Anyway).Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):149-162.
    The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At (...)
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  7. A Tale of Two Simples.Joshua Spencer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):167 - 181.
    A material simple is a material object that has no proper parts. Some philosophers have argued for the possibility of extended simples. Some have even argued for the possibility of heterogeneous simples or simples that have intrinsic variations across their surfaces. There is a puzzle, though, that is meant to show that extended, heterogeneous simples are impossible. Although several plausible responses have been given to this puzzle, I wish to reopen the case against extended, heterogeneous simples. In this paper, I (...)
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  8.  57
    Why Take Both Boxes?Jack Spencer & Ian Wells - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The crucial premise of the standard argument for two-boxing in Newcomb's problem, a causal dominance principle, is false. We present some counterexamples. We then offer a metaethical explanation for why the counterexamples arise. Our explanation reveals a new and superior argument for two-boxing, one that eschews the causal dominance principle in favor of a principle linking rational choice to guidance and actual value maximization.
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  9. Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem.C. Tillman & J. Spencer - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):252-259.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’.
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  10.  16
    Non‐Bayesian Noun Generalization in 3‐ to 5‐Year‐Old Children: Probing the Role of Prior Knowledge in the Suspicious Coincidence Effect. [REVIEW]Gavin W. Jenkins, Larissa K. Samuelson, Jodi R. Smith & John P. Spencer - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (2):268-306.
    It is unclear how children learn labels for multiple overlapping categories such as “Labrador,” “dog,” and “animal.” Xu and Tenenbaum suggested that learners infer correct meanings with the help of Bayesian inference. They instantiated these claims in a Bayesian model, which they tested with preschoolers and adults. Here, we report data testing a developmental prediction of the Bayesian model—that more knowledge should lead to narrower category inferences when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars. Two experiments did not support this prediction. Children (...)
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  11. Strong Composition as Identity and Simplicity.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (5):1177-1184.
    The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it is true, (...)
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  12.  69
    Counting on Strong Composition as Identity to Settle the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):857-872.
    Strong Composition as Identity is the thesis that necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are non-distributively identical to y. Some have argued against this view as follows: if some many things are non-distributively identical to one thing, then what’s true of the many must be true of the one. But since the many are many in number whereas the one is not, the many cannot be identical to the one. Hence is mistaken. (...)
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  13. An Anarchy of Man : Cartesian and Post-Cartesian Representations of the Self in Selected Western Literature.Joel Spencer - unknown
    This Master of Arts thesis is in two parts: a novel, An Anarchy of Man, and an exegesis which places the novel in relation to philosophical concerns about the self and the way those concerns are portrayed in selected works of Western literature. The novel is set in Canberra and Sydney and tells the story of the relationship between two characters: Joe and Gin. It explores the way we in the modern Western world think about ourselves and those around us. (...)
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  14. Holes as Regions of Spacetime.Andrew Wake, Joshua Spencer & Gregory Fowler - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):372-378.
    We discuss the view that a hole is identical to the region of spacetime at which it is located. This view is more parsimonious than the view that holes are sui generus entities located at those regions surrounded by their hosts and it is more plausible than the view that there are no holes. We defend the spacetime view from several objections.
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  15.  53
    Necessity of Origins and Multi-Origin Art.Joshua Spencer & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7):741-754.
    ABSTRACTThe Necessity of Origins is the thesis that, necessarily, if a material object wholly originates from some particular material, then it could not have wholly originated from any significantly non-overlapping material. Several philosophers have argued for this thesis using as a premise a principle that we call ‘Single Origin Necessity’. However, we argue that Single Origin Necessity is false. So any arguments for The Necessity of Origins that rely on Single Origin Necessity are unsound. We also argue that the Necessity (...)
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  16.  61
    No Crystal Balls.Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The world is said to contain crystal balls whenever the present carries news of the as-yet-undetermined parts of the future. Many philosophers believe that crystal balls are metaphysically possible. In this essay, I argue that they are not. Whether crystal balls are possible matters, for at least two reasons. The first is epistemological. According to a simple, user-friendly chance norm for credence, which I call the Present Principle, agents are rationally required to conform their credences to their expectations of the (...)
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  17.  6
    Prototypes and Particulars: Geometric and Experience-Dependent Spatial Categories.John P. Spencer & Alycia M. Hund - 2002 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 131 (1):16-37.
  18.  91
    Unnecessary Existents.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):766-775.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been gappy. This gappy propositions (...)
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  19.  79
    Relativity and Degrees of Relationality.Jack Spencer - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):432-459.
    Some well-known metaphysical arguments against relativism rest on the claim that relativity somehow must be accompanied by relationality. I argue otherwise, and trace the consequences for some prominent disputes between relativists and absolutists.
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  20.  43
    Could There Have Been Nothing? Against Metaphysical Nihilism, by Geraldine Coggins. [REVIEW]Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1255-1259.
    Could There Have Been Nothing? Against Metaphysical Nihilism, by CogginsGeraldine. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Pp. xii + 171.
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  21.  19
    On Painting.Leon Battista Alberti, John R. Spencer, Creighton Gilbert, E. W. Dickes & Brian Battershaw - 1956 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 26 (1):148-148.
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  22.  32
    Disagreement and Attitudinal Relativism.Jack Spencer - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):511-539.
    Jacob Ross and Mark Schroeder argue that invariantist accounts of disagreement are incompatible with the phenomenon of reversibility. In this essay I develop a non-standard theory of propositional attitudes, which I call attitudinal relativism. Using the resources of attitudinal relativism, I articulate an invariantist account of disagreement that is compatible with reversibility.
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  23.  15
    Economy Suspended: The Possibilities of a Badiouian Business Ethics.Robert B. Couch & Joseph M. Spencer - 2013 - Business Ethics: A European Review 22 (4):404-416.
    In the philosophy of Alain Badiou, ethics can only arise in relation to an evental truth procedure that breaks from the economic logic of a situation. Further, because for Badiou there cannot be economic truths per se – rather, economic matters must be understood in their relation to one or more truths in the domain of love, art, science or politics – a Badiouian business ethics would look entirely distinct from any ethics that simply places limits on certain kinds of (...)
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  24. The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  25.  5
    Saharon Shelah. Primitive Recursive Bounds for van der Waerden Numbers. Journal of the American Mathematical Society, Vol. 1 , Pp. 683–697. [REVIEW]Joel Spencer - 1990 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 55 (2):887-888.
  26.  83
    Two Mereological Arguments Against the Possibility of an Omniscient Being.Joshua T. Spencer - 2006 - Philo 9 (1):62-72.
    In this paper I present two new arguments against the possibility of an omniscient being. My new arguments invoke considerations of cardinality and resemble several arguments originally presented by Patrick Grim. Like Grim, I give reasons to believe that there must be more objects in the universe than there are beliefs. However, my arguments will rely on certain mereological claims, namely that Classical Extensional Mereology is necessarily true of the part-whole relation. My first argument is an instance of a problem (...)
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  27.  39
    Autonomy in Action: Linking the Act of Looking to Memory Formation in Infancy Via Dynamic Neural Fields.Sammy Perone & John P. Spencer - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (1):1-60.
    Looking is a fundamental exploratory behavior by which infants acquire knowledge about the world. In theories of infant habituation, however, looking as an exploratory behavior has been deemphasized relative to the reliable nature with which looking indexes active cognitive processing. We present a new theory that connects looking to the dynamics of memory formation and formally implement this theory in a Dynamic Neural Field model that learns autonomously as it actively looks and looks away from a stimulus. We situate this (...)
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  28.  19
    A Dynamical Theory for the Contrast of Perfect and Imperfect Crystals in the Scanning Electron Microscope Using Backscattered Electrons.J. P. Spencer, C. J. Humphreys & P. B. Hirsch - 1972 - Philosophical Magazine 26 (1):193-213.
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  29.  7
    Come Down From the Clouds: Grounding Bayesian Insights in Developmental and Behavioral Processes.Gavin W. Jenkins, Larissa K. Samuelson & John P. Spencer - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (4):204-206.
    According to Jones & Love (J&L), Bayesian theories are too often isolated from other theories and behavioral processes. Here, we highlight examples of two types of isolation from the field of word learning. Specifically, Bayesian theories ignore emergence, critical to development theory, and have not probed the behavioral details of several key phenomena, such as the effect.
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  30. Short Review: Heather Widdows, The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005). Vii + 182 Pp. 45 (Hb), ISBN 0 7546 3625. [REVIEW]J. Spencer - 2007 - Studies in Christian Ethics 20 (2):316-317.
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  31.  6
    The Role of Experience in Location Estimation: Target Distributions Shift Location Memory Biases.John Lipinski, Vanessa R. Simmering, Jeffrey S. Johnson & John P. Spencer - 2010 - Cognition 115 (1):147-153.
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  32.  33
    A Point of Contention: The Scriptural Basis for the Jehovah's Witnesses' Refusal of Blood Transfusions.J. R. Spencer - 2002 - Christian Bioethics 8 (1):63-90.
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  33.  15
    The Laruellean Clinamen: François Laruelle and French Atomism.Joseph M. Spencer - 2018 - Continental Philosophy Review 51 (4):527-547.
    According to François Laruelle, French thought has been unduly influenced by corpuscular or atomist thinking, yet Laruelle has himself employed key atomist terms—in particular, that of the clinamen or swerve—in framing his own style of thought. This essay looks at this tension between atomism and anti-atomism in Laruelle’s thought, taking the measure of his contribution to a larger stream of postwar French thinking about the relevance and stakes of ancient atomism. Its contention is that Laruelle subtly but really outlines a (...)
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  34. Finite Model Theory and its Applications. Texts in Theoretical Computer Science.E. Grädel, P. G. Kolaitis, L. Libkin, M. Marx, J. Spencer & M. Y. Vardi - 2010 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 16 (3):406-407.
  35.  12
    On Painting.Gabriel Laderman, Leon Battista Alberti & John R. Spencer - 1956 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 3 (1):140.
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  36.  7
    Succinct Definitions in the First Order Theory of Graphs.Oleg Pikhurko, Joel Spencer & Oleg Verbitsky - 2006 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 139 (1):74-109.
    We say that a first order sentence A defines a graph G if A is true on G but false on any graph non-isomorphic to G. Let L ) denote the minimum length of such a sentence. We define the succinctness function s ) to be the minimum L ) over all graphs on n vertices.We prove that s and q may be so small that for no general recursive function f we can have f)≥n for all n. However, for (...))
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  37.  40
    Grounding Cognitive‐Level Processes in Behavior: The View From Dynamic Systems Theory.Larissa K. Samuelson, Gavin W. Jenkins & John P. Spencer - 2015 - Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (2):191-205.
    Marr's seminal work laid out a program of research by specifying key questions for cognitive science at different levels of analysis. Because dynamic systems theory focuses on time and interdependence of components, DST research programs come to very different conclusions regarding the nature of cognitive change. We review a specific DST approach to cognitive-level processes: dynamic field theory. We review research applying DFT to several cognitive-level processes: object permanence, naming hierarchical categories, and inferring intent, that demonstrate the difference in understanding (...)
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  38.  31
    Rancièrean Atomism: Clarifying the Debate Between Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou.Joseph M. Spencer - 2015 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 23 (2):98-121.
    In the late 1970s and the 1980s, a number of radical left political theorists focused their philosophical attention on the relevance of ancient atomism, revitalizing a tradition that went back to Karl Marx's work on his dissertation. This essay looks at the uses of atomism by two thinkers in particular, Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou, in order to see how their discussions of and references to ancient materialism help to shed light on their fundamental disagreements about the nature of community (...)
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  39.  6
    On the Varieties of Nineteenth-Century Magneto-Optical Discovery.J. Spencer - 1970 - Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 61:34-51.
  40. Approaches to Strict and Constructive Liability in Continental Criminal Law.John R. Spencer & Antje Pedain - 2005 - In Andrew Simester (ed.), Appraising Strict Liability. Oxford University Press.
     
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  41.  3
    On the Varieties of Nineteenth-Century Magneto-Optical Discovery.J. Brookes Spencer - 1970 - Isis 61 (1):34-51.
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  42.  59
    Sorensen's Disappearing Act: A Response.Gregory Fowler & Joshua Spencer - manuscript
    Roy Sorensen has discussed a scenario he calls 'the Disappearing Act', introduced a puzzle based on this scenario, and offered a solution to this puzzle. We argue against Sorensen's solution and offer our own.
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  43.  5
    On PaintingThe Sociology of Literary TasteThe Mathematical Basis of the ArtsThe Schillinger System of Musical Composition.Leon Battista Alberti, John R. Spencer, Creighton Gilbert, Levin Schucking, E. W. Dickes, Brian Battershaw, Thomas Munro & Joseph Schillinger - 1967 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 26 (1):148.
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  44.  22
    Naming, Necessity and More: Explorations in the Philosophical Work of Saul Kripke By Jonathan Berg. [REVIEW]Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):253-256.
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  45.  26
    Two Thoughts on "A Tale of Two Parts".Joshua Spencer - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):485-490.
    In “A Tale of Two Simples,” I presented an argument against the possibility of extended heterogeneous simples that relied on the possibility of extended atomic regions of space. Andrew Jaeger has presented a parody of one part of my argument for a clearly absurd conclusion. In this short paper, I defend my argument by showing that there is a significant disanalogy between my support for a key premise in my argument and Jaeger’s support for the corresponding premise in his parody (...)
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  46.  25
    "Introduction to Ontology," by Nikk Effingham. [REVIEW]Joshua Spencer - 2014 - Teaching Philosophy 37 (2):287-290.
  47.  40
    Ut Rhetorica Pictura: A Study in Quattrocento Theory of Painting.John R. Spencer - 1957 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 20 (1/2):26-44.
  48.  30
    Humanism and Anti-Humanism in the Philosophy of Alain Badiou.Joseph M. Spencer - 2012 - Appraisal 9 (1).
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  49.  17
    On Painting.Leon Battista Alberti, John R. Spencer, Leonardo da Vinci & A. Philip Mcmahon - 1956 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 15 (4):488-489.
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  50.  2
    Badiou and Frege: A Continental Critique of Logical Form.Joseph M. Spencer - 2018 - Open Philosophy 1 (1):94-114.
    Various critiques of important analytic thinkers made by Alain Badiou in the late 1960s have been largely overlooked by continental philosophers and entirely overlooked by analytic philosophers. This paper looks in detail at Badiou’s 1969 essay ‟Mark and Lack,” providing an exposition and clarification of his direct and sustained critique of Gottlob Frege’s supposed ideological philosophical commitments. Badiou’s intellectual context is analyzed in some detail, not only explaining his theoretical debt to his then-master Louis Althusser, but also clarifying his understandings (...)
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