Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to Blogging

One thing I learned this summer is that it is extremely easy to radically underestimate the time and energy involved in moving from Los Angeles to Detroit. However, now that I am here, have the first few weeks of classes under my belt, and am beginning to get into a bit of a routine, I am happy to say that I will be getting back into somewhat regular blogging. A couple of fun announcements: I'll be presenting a paper on Locke that I've been working on at the South Central Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy. The central argument of the paper is that Locke's philosophy of language runs into some difficult problems because he does not posit negative ideas. I show that these problems are independent of which interpretation of Signification one prefers (signification being the core semantic/linguistic relation employed by Locke). The paper also includes some speculative discussion of the source of Locke's reluctance to admit negative ideas. I will also be presenting a paper at the Central APA this February in Chicago. My paper, "Reid's Complaint against Hume's Maxim: Conceivability, Possibility, and Reductio Reasoning", concerns some pretty daunting challenges for Hume's theory of cognition raised by Thomas Reid. Essentially, Thomas Reid observes that the "maxim of conceivability" (i.e. the view that conceivability implies possibility) has consequences for one's account of various sorts of mathematical reasoning. If you can't conceive of any impossible claim, for instance, how can you suppose one to be true for purposes of a reductio argument against it? I show how Hume's basic resources can be put to work addressing this challenge.

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