Telephone: 0191 334 6550
Email: philosophical.writings@dur.ac.uk

Autumn 2005

No. 30, Autumn 2005
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Papers
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NOMIC INVERSION AND THE CONTINGENCY OF LAWS, Simon Bostock – University of Sheffield.
According to the Contingency Theory of Laws, if there are possible worlds in which it is a law that (for example) all Fs are G, there are also possible F-containing worlds in which it is not. I argue here that the theory is forced to accept the possibility of nomic inversion: i.e. pairs of properties that have their actual nomic roles swapped in some possible (but non-actual) world. Such inversions cannot be ruled out on grounds of logical or metaphysical inconsistency, and therefore – since nomic inversion is counterintuitive – the Contingency Theory is undermined.
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WITTGENSTEIN’S OBJECTION TO RUSSELL’S THEORY OF JUDGEMENT, Paul Los.
In 1913 Wittgenstein criticized portions of a manuscript that Russell had been working on that summer, a manuscript known today as Russell’s ‘Theory of Knowledge’ manuscript. One such criticism survives in a letter to Russell dated June of 1913. Nicholas Griffin has interpreted the criticism as a claim to the effect that Russell’s theory fails to ensure that the content of any given judgment is significant rather than nonsensical, while David Pears has interpreted it as one to the effect that the theory fails to explain how it is that any given subject is cognitively equipped to form significant judgments rather than nonsensical ones. In this paper I argue that the objection was not a criticism of Russell’s views as to the nature of those psychological facts called judgments (nonsensical or otherwise); rather, it was a criticism of Russell’s views as to the nature of the symbols signifying judgments.
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THE MYTH OF NONEPISTEMIC TRUTH AS A NECESSARY CONDITION OF KNOWLEDGE, Murat Baç – Bogaziçi University.
This paper aims to show that the putatively non-epistemic nature of propositional truth presents an interesting problem for those who reasonably believe that truth is normatively distinct from warrant or evidence and that such truth is an irreducible condition on propositional knowledge. After arguing that McDowell’s direct realist approach is rather inadequate to deal with the issue I am raising here, I introduce the notion of ‘epistemic gradient’ to show that even if one may plausibly maintain that a significant portion of our empirical beliefs are presumably true in the alethic realist sense, there is no unproblematic transition from conceding that point to making the realist truth a panepistemic condition of propositional knowledge.
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AUSTERITY AND INEFFABILITY, Edmund Dain – Cardiff University.
Two views are central to ‘New’ or ‘Resolute’ readings of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: (1) that Wittgenstein did not hold that some insights are ineffable; and (2) that Wittgenstein did hold an austere view of nonsense (‘austerity’). Adrian Moore, in his paper ‘Ineffability and Nonsense’, offers an argument that seems to show that austerity in fact involves a commitment to the existence of ineffable understanding, and so that Resolute readers cannot hold both (1) and (2). Hence, Resolute readers would have to give up one or other core commitment. Neither option is attractive. Against Moore’s argument, I show that austerity does not involve commitment to ineffable understanding.
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Reviews
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M. D. Eddy – The Scottish Enlightenment.
Laura Upperton – Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study.
María Angélica Fierro – Plato’s Symposium .
Richard de Blacquiere Clarkson – The Cambridge Companion to Brentano.
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