Wednesday, April 04, 2007

From Boise to SF

The metametaphysics conference in Boise has ended. Although I was not particularly active myself, I’ve really enjoyed it, both in format and content. I really wish people adopted the “pre-read papers” format more often, at least concerning small-medium sized conferences on specific topics. Having the papers in advance, and having much more time devoted to comments and discussion seem to go necessarily for the good of it!

I hope I’ll post more about it, both here and at The bLOGOS. But right now I’ve confirmed that one of the things that a fuller version of my paper should include is a comment—indeed, a complaint—about people in the field often equating analytic with trivial or philosophically nonsubstantive ;-{)}!

More importantly, I was re-reading in the plane Josh Parsons’ very interesting paper against analytic universalism. In my view, this represents a much more serious challenge for the view than those I have already discussed. I really look forward to think more about it as soon as I am back.

Now my first APA!


Oscar Cabaco said...

I think that you misrepresent the view of other philosophers in the field when you say that they equate “analytic with trivial or philosophically nonsubstantive.” The reason is that it’s obvious for anyone that very complex mathematical truths are analytic but not trivial in any sense.

Surely what you want to say is that they only assign a minor/secondary role to conceptual analysis in metaphysics. But that stills gives us an incomplete picture of what’s going on. Surely, they don’t claim that SUM is an empirical question and we must perform experiments to decide whether it’s true or not.

SUM: Whenever there are two things, there is something which is a sum of them.

So, which is exactly the thesis that’s disputed? Which is, according to them, the source of metaphysic knowledge?

Ross Cameron said...

Both Josh and I are making some of the claims that you think we're obviously not making. (Perhaps charity simply fails when applied to us!)

Josh does think that SUM is an empirical claim, and that is part of his reason for thinking it is analytic. I think SUM is a priori, if true, but deny this gives us any reason to think it is necessary.

And I do think the analytic truths are trivial and philosophically nonsubstantive. And I do not find it obvious that very complex mathematical truths are analytic but not trivial in any sense. (But the conjunct I deny varies from day to day!)