I just noticed that recently this site has been getting an odd amount of traffic, odd because it has not been updated in years. You should probably check out my academic website, which contains my recent info, abstracts of a couple of papers, and my current CV.

There is some excellent news, posted by Richard Zach. (Although, I imagine most of my readers will have seen this on his blog. I think this information should be spread as much as possible. It is a Very Good Thing.) The Association of Symbolic Logic has decided to release several out of print logic books for free through Project Euclid. These include books from the Perspectives in Logic series and the Lectures Notes in Logic series. They are available in chapter-by-chapter .pdf. Be careful about downloading a lot at once or your IP will get banned. As Richard says,

This includes classics like

It is an excellent selection of books. The Barwise volumes, in particular, are gems that are nigh impossible to obtain elsewhere. (HT: Richard Zach)

The SEP article on Wilfrid Sellars has been updated with the addition of more internet resources. This is despite the passing of its author a while back. In any case, one of them appears to be quite nice. There is a link to a .pdf of some lectures given by Sellars at Notre Dame. The dates listed say 1969-1986. The document itself is 447(!) pages. It looks promising. Here is a snippet from one of the lectures, quoted in the introduction.

One of the basic tasks that philosophy has to do is to raise questions to open up conceptual possibilities… philosophers should not regard themselves as merely owls of Minerva who come back in the night after the day is done. They should also be “heralds of the dawn” who create the categories in terms of which science is rejuvenated.

The semester at Pitt has come to an end, and I declare victory over year three. It was a bit of a rough term. Posting has become a bit slow of late, but it should pick up again soon. Read the rest of this entry »

There is an interesting post on Brandom’s discussion of singular terms over at Jon Cogburn’s blog. It makes some good points about one of the hardest arguments in Articulating Reasons. Jon points out that indefinite descriptions don’t seem to fit the pattern Brandom argues singular terms must fit. I don’t think I’ve come across that before. A quick glance at the responses to objections to the corresponding argument in MIE doesn’t reveal any standing response to it either.

The other talk at BelnapFest I wanted to say something about was Phil Kremer’s, titled “How Truth Behaves When There’s No Vicious Reference.” Before the talk, Kremer gave Belnap a little present. He showed us a .pdf of a partial academic genealogy for Belnap.  Read the rest of this entry »

I spent the weekend at BelnapFest. It was an excellent conference with good talks. There were also a lot of fantastic anecdotes about Nuel and other members of the department. I got to meet several people whose work I’ve studied, which was a treat. Most of the conference attendees were Nuel’s old students and colleagues. It was  amazing to see how many first-rate philosophers and logicians have studied under him. I count myself lucky to have such an opportunity. I don’t have much to say about many of the talks, but I do have some thoughts on two of them, Urquhart’s and Kremer’s. I’ll begin with Urquhart’s and try to get to Kremer’s later.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been a bit negligent in my posting. My apologies. Things got terribly hectic around here and it sapped all my energy for writing.

I was talking to a colleague today and was asked about what to read over the summer to get a handle on Brandomian inferentialism. One answer is to read all of Making It Explicit, but that is a bit daunting. I’ve compiled the following list that is much more manageable and hits all of the essential points I think. The abbreviations are: MIE for Making It Explicit and AR for Articulating Reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m rather fond of this quotation from Richard Montague. When I mention it to people, it tends to elicit either a hearty nod of agreement or a puzzlement about why anyone would ever think it. He says: 

I reject the contention that an important theoretical difference exists between formal and natural languages. … Like Donald Davidson, I regard the construction of a theory of truth — or rather, of the more general notion of truth under an arbitrary interpretation — as the basic goal of serious syntax and semantics.

That is from the opening of his “English as a Formal Language.” I usually only remember the first sentence, which is what gets the reactions. The second sentence quoted surprised me a bit, but it probably should not have. Montague worked on paradoxes as well as general topics in semantics. It is, perhaps, surprising that a theory of meaning does not come in as the basic goal of serious semantics. That might be slightly further on in the article.

More substantive stuff to come later this weekend.

There is a review of Jeremy Wanderer’s Robert Brandom on NDPR. The reviewer is Christopher Gauker. It seems like a good review that is generally positive about the book and fairly critical about Brandom’s philosophy. Gauker thinks that Wanderer’s exposition, while accurate and generally good, doesn’t settle the question about the status of objectivity in Brandom’s view. There are scattered critical comments about Brandom’s view, particularly on his views about conditionals and linguistic scorekeeping.


Shawn Standefer, recent Ph.D. in philosophy from Pitt. (More about me)