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Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Mathematics’ Category

Michael Dummett, perhaps one of the most influential Anglo-American philosophers of the last half of the 20th century, died on December 27th, 2011. I would have posted earlier had I been aware, but Dummett’s death only recently caught my attention. Personally, Dummett’s work on intuitionistic logic and verificationism have greatly influenced my own thoughts on logic and epistemology and, ironically, despite his verificationism, Dummett was also a practicing Roman Catholic.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Dummett’s work, here is an informative discussion given by Graham Priest, who last year permitted the FSPB to interview him, and Alan Saunders, the host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s programme The Philosopher’s Zone.

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Should students have to learn mathematics in school? A parody of the answers various Miss USA contestants gave to the question: Should students have to learn evolution in school? I agree with many of the Miss USA contestants. We should teach students both sides of the homeopathy and chemistry debate, too. I mean, like, students should have the opportunity and stuff to decide for themselves if homeopathy is true for them. I mean, like, isn’t logic culturally determined anyways and stuff?

From the blog Logic and Rational Interaction: The new Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy has initiated an iTunes channel with videocasts of lectures presented at the Center. Here is the description of the Munich Center from the iTunes channel:

Mathematical Philosophy – the application of logical and mathematical methods in philosophy – is about to experience a tremendous boom in various areas of philosophy. At the new Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, which is funded mostly by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, philosophical research will be carried out mathematically, that is, by means of methods that are very close to those used by the scientists. The purpose of doing philosophy in this way is not to reduce philosophy to mathematics or to natural science in any sense; rather mathematics is applied in order to derive philosophical conclusions from philosophical assumptions, just as in physics mathematical methods are used to derive physical predictions from physical laws. Nor is the idea of mathematical philosophy to dismiss any of the ancient questions of philosophy as irrelevant or senseless: although modern mathematical philosophy owes a lot to the heritage of the Vienna and Berlin Circles of Logical Empiricism, unlike the Logical Empiricists most mathematical philosophers today are driven by the same traditional questions about truth, knowledge, rationality, the nature of objects, morality, and the like, which were driving the classical philosophers, and no area of traditional philosophy is taken to be intrinsically misguided or confused anymore. It is just that some of the traditional questions of philosophy can be made much clearer and much more precise in logical-mathematical terms, for some of these questions answers can be given by means of mathematical proofs or models, and on this basis new and more concrete philosophical questions emerge. This may then lead to philosophical progress, and ultimately that is the goal of the Center.

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Patricia Churchland discusses eliminative materialism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzT0jHJdq7Q

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SCENE: BEDROOM IN AN AUSTRIAN MANSION, c.1937

GRETEL: I don’t like his manner.

KURT: His attitude worries me.

LISEL: I am troubled by a general air of foreboding.

MARIA: Yes, children: my life is also, on occasion, clouded by manners, attitudes and airs of foreboding.

BRIGITA: So what do you do about it?

MARIA: Why, I simply think of nominalistically respectable things instead.

VON TRAPP CHILDREN (together): Nominalistically respectable things? What are they?

MARIA: Well, let me explain …

Properties, counterparts, tropes and relations,
Promises, lies and confused explanations,
Numbers and rhomboids, and this very list:
These are all items which do not exist.

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… a Philosophy Slam, featuring Mike Gagliardo (Jacksonville University) will take place tomorrow, March 10th, at 7:30 P.M. at The London Bridge — at the corner of Ocean and Adams in downtown Jacksonville.

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Congratulations to the students whose papers have been accepted for presentation at the 12th Annual Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference at UNF on February 7th:

“How to Motivate the Maxim that ‘Ought Implies Can’ to Defend the Principle of Alternate Possibilities”
Sean Armil (University of Florida)

“On the Limitations of Formal Methods”
Wataru Asanuma (Florida State University)

“A Defense of Lewisian Contextualism”
Yael Benjamin (University of Massachusettes at Dartmouth)

“The Impact of Chalmers’ Theory of Consciousness on the Theistic Argument from Consciousness”
Andrew Brenner (University of North Florida)

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Looks like you can watch the whole film, “Wittgenstein,” here.

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