Occasionally I’m just going to post about random ideas that are buzzing around in the back of my head. I’ve got three of them going right now: One related to technology, one related to economics, and one–the one I’m going to post here–related to my old field, philosophy, in particular, metaphysics and the philosophy of language.
In particular, I want to look at the premise set forth by Nathan Salmon’s Reference and Essence. Salmon was looking at a pair of theories often taken to be related (though Salmon’s argument was that they weren’t; not really)–the baptismal theory of names, and essentialism. Kripke, famously, proposed the baptismal theory of names in his Naming and Necessity, and had drawn essentialism as a conclusion from it; this step was accepted by much of the philosophy of language community. Salmon wasn’t interested in whether the baptismal theory of names (or, for that matter, essentialism) was accurate or not; he was simply trying to argue that the latter did not follow from the former.
Continue reading That Rabbit Won’t Go Back in the Hat
I am–possibly–a failed academic. Or I am–perhaps–an academic who made a calm and considered decision to walk away. Or perhaps I felt I had to walk away from academia because I’d failed, or perhaps walking away was itself a failure.
I don’t know. I really don’t know the answer to this, over ten years later, and that bugs me. It doesn’t eat away at me every day–I’ve built an entirely new life since then, including a career that I’m quite happy with in an entirely different field, and building a new life, frankly, just doesn’t leave time for that kind of constant introspection. But wondering about the choice I made, and why exactly I made it, and whether it was a good choice or not, is still something that bubbles up in my mind every now and then. And I’m bothered by my sheer lack of answers, and my distrust of those few answers I do come up with.
Continue reading The Failure Seminars
I was very happy with the the results of the national election last week, even as I was quite upset about some of the results of the California balloting (in particular, the passage of Proposition 8). Unsurprisingly, the right wing has lost little time about being nasty about our new President. More surprisingly, and more disturbingly to me (as someone who considers himself pretty significantly left-of-center, particularly for the USA), parts of the left wing have lost little time in doing the same. Maybe this is just more visible to me, living as I do in the Bay Area, but it’s gotten upsetting enough that I feel a need to write about it.
Continue reading Defending Barak Obama…from the Left?
My parents got married this summer. Not because they’d only just decided to make such a commitment–they’ve been together over 35 years now–but because, for the first time in California, the law allowed them to. They didn’t want to wait to plan a ceremony–they’d been waiting for decades already–so I wasn’t able to be there for their quick ceremony in front of a justice of the peace in San Diego.
Continue reading My Thoughts Before the Proposition 8 Vote
I’m not very good at introductions, you know?
I’m not sure what to tell you about myself, or what I’m going to write here, or why exactly I feel the need to start a personal (as opposed to professional) blog. Even the “About Me” page is still under construction, and I’ll only gradually flesh it out as I figure out what things about me are germane. If I’m lucky, I’ll actually produce something a few people outside myself will find interesting, or entertaining, or at least worth making fun of. We’ll see.