Nicholas J. J. Smith argues that an adequate account of vagueness must involve degrees of truth. The basic idea of degrees of truth is that while some sentences are true and some are false, others possess intermediate truth values: they are truer than the false sentences, but not as true as the true ones. This idea is immediately appealing in the context of vagueness—yet it has fallen on hard times in the philosophical literature, with existing degree-theoretic treatments of vagueness facing (...) apparently insuperable objections. Smith seeks to turn the tide in favour of a degree-theoretic treatment of vagueness, by motivating and defending the basic idea that truth can come in degrees. He argues that no theory of vagueness that does not countenance degrees of truth can be correct, and develops a new degree-theoretic treatment of vagueness—fuzzy plurivaluationism—that solves the problems plaguing earlier degree theories. (shrink)
This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...) to be normal times or hypertimes. If they are normal times then the A-theory is inconsistent, or else collapses to the B-theory—and appealing to primitive tense operators will not help A-theorists avoid this conclusion. If the times are hypertimes then the A-theory is consistent, but deeply problematic none the less. (shrink)
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases show (...) that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
I argue in favour of the central claim of virtue-ethical accounts of right action: that right action is virtuous action. First, I disambiguate this claim and argue for a specific interpretation of it. Second, I provide reasons to prefer target-centred over both agent-centred and motive-centred accounts of virtuous action. Third, I argue that an action is right if, only if, and because it is overall virtuous. Finally, I respond to important arguments to the contrary.
This paper argues that the most famous objection to backward time travel can carry no weight. In its classic form, the objection is that backward time travel entails the occurrence of impossible things, such as auto-infanticide—and hence is itself impossible. David Lewis has rebutted the classic version of the objection: auto-infanticide is prevented by coincidences, such as time travellers slipping on banana peels as they attempt to murder their younger selves. I focus on Paul Horwich‘s more recent version of the (...) objection, according to which backward time travel entails not impossible things, but improbable ones—such as the string of slips on banana peels that would be required to stop a determined auto-infanticidal maniac from murdering her younger self—and hence is itself highly improbable. I argue that backward time travel does not entail unusual numbers of coincidences; and that, even if it did, that would not render its occurrence unlikely. (shrink)
The still dominant virtue-ethical account of right action claims that an action is right just in case a virtuous agent would perform it. Because this account arguably fails to capture what makes actions right, virtue ethicists are well-advised to consider alternatives. I argue that a target-centered account, if suitably developed, succeeds in capturing what makes actions right. First, I explain why a target-centered account shows initial promise in capturing what makes actions right and present an interpretation of the account as (...) developed by its creator, Christine Swanton. Second, I argue that Swanton's and other prominent virtue ethicists’ views of virtuous action are defective, partly in virtue of accepting reasons of the wrong kind for an action’s being virtuous or vicious in respect to a virtue. My arguments, if successful, motivate an alternative version of the target-centered account. Finally, I contribute to the development of such an alternative by sketching a view of virtuous action that avoids the aforementioned defects and thereby promises full success in capturing what makes actions right. (shrink)
Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them.
This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague objects (...) ; we argue that an object is indeterminate in a certain respect (colour, size, etc.) just in case it is a borderline case of a maximally specific colour (size, etc.) property. Finally we consider the idea that the world as a whole might be indeterminate; we argue that the world is indeterminate just in case it lacks a determinate division into determinate objects. (shrink)
This paper presents and defends a definition of vagueness, compares it favourably with alternative definitions, and draws out some consequences of accepting this definition for the project of offering a substantive theory of vagueness. The definition is roughly this: a predicate 'F' is vague just in case for any objects a and b, if a and b are very close in respects relevant to the possession of F, then 'Fa' and 'Fb' are very close in respect of truth. The definition (...) is extended to cover vagueness of many-place predicates, of properties and relations, and of objects. Some of the most important advantages of the definition are that it captures the intuitions which motivate the thought that vague predicates are tolerant, without leading to contradiction, and that it yields a clear understanding of the relationships between higher-order vagueness, sorites susceptibility, blurred boundaries, and borderline cases. The most notable consequence of the definition is that the correct theory of vagueness must countenance degrees of truth. (shrink)
This paper addresses a worry about backwards time travel. The worry is that there is something mysteriously inexplicable about the combination of commonplace events that will inevitably conspire to prevent the time traveler from doing something impossible such as killing her younger self. The worry is first distinguished from other problems for backwards time travel concerning its alleged impossibility or improbability. It is then shown that the worry is misplaced: there is in fact no real problem here. Yet the worry (...) has been widely expressed—so a suggestion is also made as to why it is so easy to get into the position of thinking that there is a genuine problem here, when in fact there is not. Finally, in light of the resolution of the inexplicability worry, a new way of dealing with the other two problems for backwards time travel—concerning its alleged impossibility and improbability—is proposed. (shrink)
This book develops novel accounts of many of the most controversial topics in the philosophy of Socrates. The authors first develop Socrates' methodological, epistemological, and psychological views before examining his ethical, political, and religious convictions. The results reveals both the richness and the remarkable coherence of the philosophy of Plato's Socrates.
There has been little scholarly attention given to explaining exactly how and why Socrates thinks that wrongdoing damages the soul. But there is more than a simple gap in the literature here, we shall argue. The most widely accepted view of Socratic moral psychology, we claim, actually leaves this well-known feature of Socrates’ philosophy absolutely inexplicable. In the first section of this paper, we rehearse this view of Socratic moral psychology, and explain its inadequacy on the issue of the damaging (...) consequences of wrongdoing. We then go on to provide our own account of the way in which injustice damages the soul, and then draw conclusions about how Socratic moral psychology should be understood. (shrink)
This article examines a neglected but crucial feature of Honneth's critical theory: its use of a concept of recognition to articulate the norms that are apposite for the contemporary world of work. The article shows that from his first writings on the structure of critical social theory in the early 1980s to the recent exchange with Nancy Fraser on recognition and redistribution, the problem of grounding a substantive critique of work under capitalism has been central to Honneth's enterprise. This answers (...) the routine objection that the recognition paradigm fails to take into account economic or material realities. At the same time, Honneth's approach to the critique of work has undergone significant shifts, and it is yet to be fully developed. The article traces these changes in direction, and it proposes an expressivist conception of work that builds upon the `normative content' of the concept of work described by Honneth in his 1980 essay `Work and Instrumental Action'. (shrink)
This paper presents a new solution to the problems for orthodox decision theory posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives. I argue that a key question raised by consideration of these gambles is whether evaluative compositionality (as I term it) is a requirement of rationality: is the value that an ideally rational agent places on a gamble determined by the values that she places on its possible outcomes, together with their mode of composition into the gamble (i.e. the probabilities (...) assigned to them)? The paper first outlines a certain simple response to the Pasadena game and identifies two problems with this response, the second of which is that it leads to a wholesale violation of evaluative compositionality. I then argue that rationality does not require decision makers to factor in outcomes of arbitrarily low probability. A method for making decisions which flows from this basic idea is then developed, and it is shown that this decision method (Truncation) leads to a limited — as opposed to wholesale — violation of evaluative compositionality. The paper then argues that the truncation method yields solutions to the problems posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives that are both attractive in themselves and superior to those yielded by alternative proposals in the literature. (shrink)
A many-valued (aka multiple- or multi-valued) semantics, in the strict sense, is one which employs more than two truth values; in the loose sense it is one which countenances more than two truth statuses. So if, for example, we say that there are only two truth values—True and False—but allow that as well as possessing the value True and possessing the value False, propositions may also have a third truth status—possessing neither truth value—then we have a many-valued semantics in the (...) loose but not the strict sense. A many-valued logic is one which arises from a many-valued semantics and does not also arise from any two-valued semantics [Malinowski, 1993, 30]. By a ‘logic’ here we mean either a set of tautologies, or a consequence relation. We can best explain these ideas by considering the case of classical propositional logic. The language contains the usual basic symbols (propositional constants p, q, r, . . .; connectives ¬, ∧, ∨, →, ↔; and parentheses) and well-formed formulas are defined in the standard way. With the language thus specified—as a set of well-formed formulas—its semantics is then given in three parts. (i) A model of a logical language consists in a free assignment of semantic values to basic items of the non-logical vocabulary. Here the basic items of the non-logical vocabulary are the propositional constants. The appropriate kind of semantic value for a proposition is a truth value, and so a model of the language consists in a free assignment of truth values to basic propositions. Two truth values are countenanced: 1 (representing truth) and 0 (representing falsity). (ii) Rules are presented which determine a truth value for every proposition of the language, given a model. The most common way of presenting these rules is via truth tables (Figure 1). Another way of stating such rules—which will be useful below—is first to introduce functions on the truth values themselves: a unary function ¬ and four binary functions ∧, ∨, → and ↔ (Figure 2).. (shrink)
One of the most striking differences between Frege's Begriffsschrift (logical system) and standard contemporary systems of logic is the inclusion in the former of the judgement stroke: a symbol which marks those propositions which are being asserted , that is, which are being used to express judgements . There has been considerable controversy regarding both the exact purpose of the judgement stroke, and whether a system of logic should include such a symbol. This paper explains the intended role of the (...) judgement stroke in a way that renders it readily comprehensible why Frege insisted that this symbol was an essential part of his logical system. The key point here is that Frege viewed logic as the study of inference relations amongst acts of judgement , rather than – as in the typical contemporary view – of consequence relations amongst certain objects (propositions or well-formed formulae). The paper also explains why Frege's use of the judgement stroke is not in conflict with his avowed anti-psychologism, and why Wittgenstein's criticism of the judgement stroke as 'logically quite meaningless' is unfounded. The key point here is that while the judgement stroke has no content , its use in logic and mathematics is subject to a very stringent norm of assertion. (shrink)
Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith offer a comprehensive historical and philosophical interpretation of, and commentary on, one of Plato's most widely read works, the Apology of Socrates. Virtually every modern interpretation characterizes some part of what Socrates says in the Apology as purposefully irrelevant or even antithetical to convincing the jury to acquit him at his trial. This book, by contrast, argues persuasively that Socrates offers a sincere and well-reasoned defense against the charges he faces. First, the authors establish a (...) consensus of ancient reports about Socrates ' moral and religious principles and show that these prohibit him from needlessly risking the condemnation of the jury. Second, they consider each specific claim made by Socrates in the Apology and show how each can be construed as an honest effort to inform the jurors of the truth and to convince them of his blamelessness. The arguments of this book are informed by a critical review of the scholarly literature and careful attention to the philosophy expressed in Plato's other early dialogues. (shrink)
This paper presents a new theory of vagueness, which is designed to retain the virtues of the fuzzy theory, while avoiding the problem of higher-order vagueness. The theory presented here accommodates the idea that for any statement S₁ to the effect that 'Bob is bald' is x true, for x in [0, 1], there should be a further statement S₂ which tells us how true S₁ is, and so on - that is, it accommodates higher-order vagueness without resorting to the (...) claim that the metalanguage in which the semantics of vagueness is presented is itself vague, and without requiring us to abandon the idea that the logic - as opposed to the semantics - of vague discourse is classical. I model the extension of a vague predicate P as a blurry set, this being a function which assigns a degree of membership or degree function to each object o, where a degree function in turn assigns an element of [0, 1] to each finite sequence of elements of [0, 1]. The idea is that the assignment to the sequence (0.3, 0.2), for example, represents the degree to which it is true to say that it is 0.2 true that o is P to degree 0.3. The philosophical merits of my theory are discussed in detail, and the theory is compared with other extensions and generalisations of fuzzy logic in the literature. (shrink)
This volume addresses the long-standing neglect of the category of labour in critical social theory and it presents a powerful case for a new paradigm based on the anthropological significance of work and its role in shaping social bonds.
In Part I of this paper, I argue that the arguments Plato offers for the tripartition of the soul are founded upon an equivocation, and that each of the valid options by which Plato might remove the equivocation will not produce a tripartite soul. In Part II, I argue that Plato is not wholly committed to an analogy of soul and state that would require either a tripartite state or a tripartite soul for the analogy to hold. It follows that (...) the heart of the analogy is not to be found in the comparison of the Kallipolis and its three parts to the soul conceived as tripartite, but rather must be supposed to reside in some other connection between the ways in which justice characterizes states and souls, and I will suggest what this other connection consists in. (shrink)
From Fine and Kamp in the 70’s—through Osherson and Smith in the 80’s, Williamson, Kamp and Partee in the 90’s and Keefe in the 00’s—up to Sauerland in the present decade, the objection continues to be run that fuzzy logic based theories of vagueness are incompatible with ordinary usage of compound propositions in the presence of borderline cases. These arguments against fuzzy theories have been rebutted several times but evidently not put to rest. I attempt to do so in this (...) paper. (shrink)
The article considers how Richard Rorty's writings on religion dovetail with his views on the philosophical significance of hope. It begins with a reconstruction of the central features of Rorty's philosophy of religion, including its critique of theism and its attempt to rehabilitate religion within a pragmatist philosophical framework. It then presents some criticisms of Rorty's proposal. It is argued first that Rorty's "redescription" of the fulfilment of the religious impulse is so radical that it is hard to see what (...) remains of its specifically religious content. This casts doubt on Rorty's claim to have made pragmatism and religion compatible. The article then offers an analysis of Rorty's key notion of "unjustifiable hope". Different senses of unjustifiable hope are distinguished, in the course of which a tension between the "romantic" and "utilitarian" aspects of Rorty's pragmatist philosophy of religion comes into view. (shrink)
Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...) why Socrates believed that emotions, desires and appetites can influence human motivation and lead to error. Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith defend the study of Socrates' philosophy and offer an alternative interpretation of Socratic moral psychology. Their novel account of Socrates' conception of virtue and how it is acquired shows that Socratic moral psychology is considerably more sophisticated than scholars have supposed. (shrink)
This is the first book-length philosophical study of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and Freud’s theory of the unconscious. The book investigates the possibility for Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology to clarify Freud’s concept of the unconscious with a focus on the theory of repression as its centre. Repression is the unconscious activity of pushing something away from consciousness, while making sure that it remains active as something foreign within us. How this is possible is the main problem addressed in the work. Unlike previous (...) literature (including Ricœur, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida) this book makes full use of the resources of genetic phenomenology and passivity in the attempt to clarify the Freudian unconscious. The central argument developed is that the structure of the lebendige Gegenwart as the core of Husserl’s theory of passivity consists of preliminary forms of bodily kinaesthesia, feelings and drives in a constantly ongoing process where repression occurs as a necessary part of all constitution. The clarification of Freudian repression thus takes place by showing how it presupposes a broad conception of consciousness such as that presented by Husserl’s genetic phenomenology. By arguing that “repression” is central to any philosophical account of subjectivity, this book takes on the most distinct challenge to philosophy posed by Freud. (shrink)
A number of authors have noted that vagueness engenders degrees of belief, but that these degrees of belief do not behave like subjective probabilities. So should we countenance two different kinds of degree of belief: the kind arising from vagueness, and the familiar kind arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability? I argue that we cannot coherently countenance two different kinds of degree of belief. Instead, I present a framework in which there is a single notion of degree (...) of belief, which in certain circumstances behaves like a subjective probability assignment and in other circumstances does not. The core idea is that one’s degree of belief in a proposition P is one’s expectation of P’s degree of truth. (shrink)
If we think, as Ramsey did, that a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then it is clear that not only uncertainty, but also vagueness, gives rise to degrees of belief. If I like hot coffee and do not know whether the coffee is hot or cold, I will have some tendency to reach for a cup; if I like hot coffee and know that the coffee is borderline hot, I (...) will have some tendency to reach for a cup. Suppose that we take degrees of belief arising from uncertainty to obey the laws of probability and that we model vagueness using degrees of truth. We then encounter a problem: it does not look as though degrees of belief arising from vagueness should obey the laws of probability. One response would be to countenance two different sorts of degrees of belief: degrees of belief arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability; and degrees of belief arising from vagueness, which obey a different set of laws. I argue, however, that if a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then this option is not open. Instead, I propose an account of the behaviour of degrees of belief that integrates subjective probabilities and degrees of truth. On this account, degrees of belief are expectations of degrees of truth. The account explains why degrees of belief behave in accordance with the laws of probability in cases involving only uncertainty, while also allowing degrees of belief to behave differently in cases involving only vagueness, and in mixed cases involving both uncertainty and vagueness. Justifications of the account are given both via Dutch books and in terms of epistemic accuracy. (shrink)
Graham Priest (1994) has argued that the following paradoxes all have the same structure: Russell’s Paradox, Burali-Forti’s Paradox, Mirimanoff’s Paradox, König’s Paradox, Berry’s Paradox, Richard’s Paradox, the Liar and Liar Chain Paradoxes, the Knower and Knower Chain Paradoxes, and the Heterological Paradox. Their common structure is given by Russell’s Schema: there is a property φ and function δ such that..
One of Tarski’s stated aims was to give an explication of the classical conception of truth—truth as ‘saying it how it is’. Many subsequent commentators have felt that he achieved this aim. Tarski’s core idea of defining truth via satisfaction has now found its way into standard logic textbooks. This paper looks at such textbook definitions of truth in a model for standard first-order languages and argues that they fail from the point of view of explication of the classical notion (...) of truth. The paper furthermore argues that a subtly different definition—also to be found in classic textbooks but much less prevalent than the kind of definition that proceeds via satisfaction—succeeds from this point of view. (shrink)
If God actually answers prayers that petition him for something, then it seems he is willing to withhold some good from the world unless and until someone prays for those goods. But how is this compatible with His benevolence? On the other hand, if God is dedicated to providing every good to us that we may need, it would seem that He would provide these to us even if we did not pray for them. But if so, it would appear (...) that petitionary prayer is pointless. This discussion reviews the various contributions made by philosophers in trying to answer these questions, and in criticizing these answers. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer a range of new perspectives on Charles Taylor's philosophy. Part one addresses key metaphilosophical themes such as the role of transcendental arguments, the critique of representationalism, and the dialectics of Enlightenment. Part two critically examines Taylor's views on personhood, selfhood and interpersonal recognition. Part three discusses issues in Taylor's moral and political theory, including the nature of his moral realism, his theory of modernity, and his critical appropriation of the liberal tradition. The book concludes (...) with an interview with Taylor in which he summarizes his work and comments on some key contemporary issues. (shrink)
Strong Hermeneutics presents a compelling case for the importance of hermeneutics in understanding ethics today. It provides a critical comparison of the enlightenment view of ethics with the postmodern or "weak" view of ethics. The weak view, which Nicholas H. Smith traces back to Nietzsche and identifies in the recent work of Rorty and Lyotard, is skeptical of any universal principles in ethics. The enlightenment view, starting with Kant and taken up in the work of Habermas, casts identity as subject (...) of universal but formal moral constraints. Smith argues that neither of these views can provide a proper framework for ethics. Drawing on the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, he presents a fascinating reworking of key issues in ethics and continental philosophy. (shrink)
Nicholas J. J. Smith argues that an adequate account of vagueness must involve degrees of truth. The basic idea of degrees of truth is that while some sentences are true and some are false, others possess intermediate truth values: they are truer than the false sentences, but not as true as the true ones. This idea is immediately appealing in the context of vagueness--yet it has fallen on hard times in the philosophical literature, with existing degree-theoretic treatments of vagueness facing (...) apparently insuperable objections. Smith seeks to turn the tide in favour of a degree-theoretic treatment of vagueness, by motivating and defending the basic idea that truth can come in degrees. He argues that no theory of vagueness that does not countenance degrees of truth can be correct, and develops a new degree-theoretic treatment of vagueness--fuzzy plurivaluationism--that solves the problems plaguing earlier degree theories. (shrink)
In this note I raise a new problem for backwards time travel, and make some first suggestions as to how it might be solved. I call it the motivation problem. It is not a logical or a metaphysical problem, but a psychological one. It does not impact upon the possibility, or even the likelihood, of backwards time travel. Yet it is deeply puzzling, and we will have no idea what time travel would actually be like until we explore it. Thus, (...) where other problems for backward time travel assume that we know what time travel would be like, and argue that we cannot have it, this new problem gives us no reason to think that we cannot have time travel, but argues that we have much less idea than we usually suppose about what it would really be like to travel back in time. (shrink)
In this text I would like to show two things. Firstly, that the so-called “timelessness” of the Freudian unconscious can be elucidated through an interpretation of the concept of Nachträglichkeit, and showing thereby that there is indeed a temporality specific to the workings of the unconscious. Freud’s analysis of early psychic trauma related to sexual phenomena pointed to a serious complication for all believers in the immediate transparency of consciousness. For the “wound” itself was constituted over time, and the possibility (...) of coming to understand the trauma (thereby achieving a certain freedom from its repercussions) was again only possible after the event had passed. The Nachträglichkeit involved in the psychoanalytical understanding of sexual trauma thus hinges on a threefold temporal process at work in subjective life. Secondly, I wish to show that Husserl, in his analyses of time and intersubjectivity, delivered the materials with which a phenomenological clarification of Nachträglichkeit can be given. Since Nachträglichkeit is essentially tied to the structure of repression (and thus the very constitution of the unconscious), what I am suggesting is a prolegomenon to a phenomenological clarification of Freudian repression. This clearly suggests the need for further investigations into the phenomenology of sexual life. (shrink)
In this paper I present a new argument against vague identity — one that is more fundamental than existing arguments — and I also try to explain why we find the idea of vague identity puzzling, in a way that will dispel the puzzlement. In brief, my argument is this: to make clear sense of something, one must at least model it set-theoretically; but due to the special place of identity in set-theoretic models, any vague relation that one does model (...) set-theoretically will not be identity, for real identity will already be there, built into the background of the model, and perfectly precise. (shrink)
Logic is essential to correct reasoning and also has important theoretical applications in philosophy, computer science, linguistics, and mathematics. This book provides an exceptionally clear introduction to classical logic, with a unique approach that emphasizes both the hows and whys of logic. Here Nicholas Smith thoroughly covers the formal tools and techniques of logic while also imparting a deeper understanding of their underlying rationales and broader philosophical significance. In addition, this is the only introduction to logic available today that presents (...) all the major forms of proof--trees, natural deduction in all its major variants, axiomatic proofs, and sequent calculus. The book also features numerous exercises, with solutions available on an accompanying website. -/- Logic is the ideal textbook for undergraduates and graduate students seeking a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the subject. -/- Provides an essential introduction to classical logic Emphasizes the how and why of logic Covers both formal and philosophical issues Presents all the major forms of proof--from trees to sequent calculus Features numerous exercises, with solutions available at http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/~njjsmith/lawsoftruth The ideal textbook for undergraduates and graduate students . (shrink)
Humans have long been fascinated by the idea of visiting the past and of seeing what the future will bring. Time travel has been one of the most popular themes of science fiction. Most people have seen the TV series ‘Dr Who’ or ‘Quantum Leap’ or ‘Star Trek’. You’ve probably seen one of the ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Terminator’ movies, or ‘Twelve Monkeys’. Time travel narratives provide fascinating plots, which exercise our imaginations in ever so many ways. But is (...) the idea of travelling forward and backward in time pure fantasy—or can it be done? To be sure, not all time travel scenarios are coherent. But we hope to persuade you that the most common objections to the very idea of time travel have no real force. (shrink)
There is an extensive literature on time travel in both philosophy and physics. Part of the great interest of the topic stems from the fact that reasons have been given both for thinking that time travel is physically possible—and for thinking that it is logically impossible! This entry deals primarily with philosophical issues; issues related to the physics of time travel are covered in the separate entries on time travel and modern physics and time machines. We begin with the definitional (...) question: what is time travel? We then turn to the major objection to the possibility of backwards time travel: the Grandfather paradox. Next, issues concerning causation are discussed—and then, issues in the metaphysics of time and change. We end with a discussion of the question why, if backwards time travel will ever occur, we have not been visited by time travellers from the future. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call ‘partnership with God’. (shrink)
The paper contrasts two approaches to the analysis of hope: one that takes its departure from a view broadly shared by Hobbes, Locke and Hume, another that fits better with Aquinas's definition of hope. The former relies heavily on a sharp distinction between the cognitive and conative aspects of hope. It is argued that while this approach provides a valuable source of insights, its focus is too narrow and it rests on a problematic rationalistic psychology. The argument is supported by (...) a discussion of hope understood as a stance and by a consideration of the phenomenological contrast between expectation and anticipation. The paper concludes with some reflections on the relation between hope and illusion and the idea of responsible hope. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call 'partnership with God'. (shrink)