Monday, October 30, 2006

Without David Lewis (2001-2006)

Unfortunately, I never met David Lewis. In (Northern) summer 2001 I was lucky enough as to having been accepted as a visiting student for a little while at the RSSS Philosophy Program at ANU. When making the arrangements, I learned that David Lewis would give the Jack Smart Lecture in June. This clashed with the First Latin Meeting in Analytic Philosophy I was participating in, so finally I decided to miss Lewis’ and arrived in Canberra in July 2001.

This turned out to be the time I was closest to meet him. Sadly and untimely, he died some months later, while I was in effect visiting there where he had so many friends and colleagues.

I was thinking about this during the opening of the Inaugural David Lewis Lecture, delivered by Frank Jackson at Princeton last Friday. A very appropriate way to honor one of the deepest and most influential philosophers of recent times.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Disjunctions, Conjunctions, and their Truthmakers

(Cross-posted at The bLOGOS.)

A truthmaker for a given truth is something in virtue of which the truth is true. One plausible thesis about truthmaking is that it is closed under entailment, in the sense of obeying the so-called entailment principle:

If something makes a certain truth true, then it also makes true all of this truth’s consequences.

Though plausible, the principle seems to have some undesirable consequences: the explosion of truthmakers for necessities—every thing is a truthmaker for every necessary truth—, and indeed the truthmaker triviality—every thing is a truthmaker for every truth whatsoever—.

Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra in his ‘Truthmaking, Entailment, and the Conjunction Thesis’ has recently argued against attempts to preserve (perhaps, a restriction of) the entailment principle while avoiding these results. In so doing, Gonzalo crucially both defends the disjunction thesis—if something makes true a disjunctive truth, then it makes true one of its disjuncts—, and rejects the conjunction thesis—if something makes true a conjunctive truth, then it makes true each of its conjuncts—.

I have written a short reply to his paper. I first provide plausible counterexamples to the disjunction thesis, and contend that Gonzalo’s general defense of it fails. Then I defend the conjunction thesis from Gonzalo’s case against it. I finally conclude that the envisaged attempts have not been proved, by Gonzalo’s considerations, to be at fault.

(My note originated from the discussion I had with Gonzalo here.)

All comments welcome!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Every now and then—and more often than not, depending on who your friends are ;-)—people talk about feminist contributions to a philosophical debate, feminist analyses of a certain concept, feminist approaches to a certain topic…

One might perhaps wonder what exactly it would be for such contributions, analyses, or approaches to be feminist. One “deflationary” view would be that those are contributions, analysis, approaches offered by people who, as a matter of fact, are feminist. As to what the latter would be, how about anti-sexist people—people against sex-based discrimination?

This is deflationary assuming that, in most cases at least, there won’t be essential connections between the normative claims one holds and the soundness of the contribution, analysis, or approach in question. In that sense, and to put it provocatively, one could equally talk of blond contributions to a philosophical debate, tall analyses of a given concept, or gay approaches to a certain topic. But my assumption here is probably contentious!

(This was triggered by a recent discussion here.)

So here we go!

Welcome! This is my new blog. I will be the main one posting here, but please contact me if you would like to. Everyone is of course welcomed (and encouraged!) to comment. Hopefully language will be English (enough), length short (enough), and content philosophical (enough). Let's see how this works...!