Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The Problem of Evil: Eight Views in Dialogue

2019.05.06 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews N. N. Trakakis (ed.), The Problem of Evil: Eight Views in Dialogue, Oxford University Press, 2018, 233pp., $58.50 (hbk), ISBN 9780198821625. Reviewed by Daniel M. Johnson, Shawnee State University This book consists of eight essays, each summarizing an approach to the problem of evil, together with exchanges among the contributors. The authors are arranged in two groups. The first includes Eleonore Stump, John Bishop, Graham Oppy, and N. N. Trakakis; the second, Beverly Clack, Yujin Nagasawa, Terrence W. Tilley, and Andrew Gleeson. Each article is followed by responses from the other three members of the group and a final response by the original contributor. In his introduction, the editor (N. N. Trakakis) indicates that his goal for the volume is to bring attention to approaches to the problem of evil which break out of the usual dialectic, which he characterizes as a kind of... Read [More]

School Vouchers Part Two

In the previous essay, I considered some of the arguments in favor of school vouchers. I now continue the discussion. Another set of arguments focus on the choice aspect, that vouchers allow parents to select education that best fits their children and education that will cultivate values. For example, choice proponents claim that vouchers (and [More]

The Epsilon Calculus

[Revised entry by Jeremy Avigad and Richard Zach on May 6, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The epsilon calculus is a logical formalism developed by David Hilbert in the service of his program in the foundations of mathematics. The epsilon operator is a term-forming operator which replaces quantifiers in ordinary predicate logic. Specifically, in the calculus, a term (varepsilon x A) denotes some (x) satisfying (A(x)), if there is one. In Hilbert's Program, the epsilon terms play the role of ideal elements; the aim of Hilbert's finitistic consistency proofs is to give a procedure which removes such terms from a formal proof. The procedures by which this is to be carried out are based on Hilbert's epsilon substitution method. The epsilon calculus, however, has applications in other contexts as well. The first general application of the epsilon calculus was in Hilbert's epsilon theorems, which in turn provide the basis for the first correct proof of Herbrand's theorem. More recently, variants of the epsilon operator have been applied in linguistics and linguistic philosophy to deal with anaphoric pronouns. 1. Overview 2. The Epsilon [More]

Seeing, Knowing, Understanding

2019.05.05 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Barry Stroud, Seeing, Knowing, Understanding, Oxford University Press, 2018, 277pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198809753. Reviewed by Catherine Z. Elgin, Harvard University The book consists of a series of articles written between 2001 and 2017. Most were previously published. Apart from a couple of autobiographical pieces, they concern topics in epistemology and related fields that have preoccupied Barry Stroud for many years -- skepticism, perceptual knowledge, color, judgment. Several are his contributions to ongoing debates. Stroud's epistemological position is complex. The papers on seemingly diverse topics are mutually illuminating and mutually reinforcing. Here I will focus on a line of argument that runs through the papers. Stroud recognizes that Cartesian skepticism is a deep philosophical problem. Many epistemologists disagree. They think that the skeptic's argument suffers from an easily identifiable, easily correctible flaw. Perhaps Descartes set his... Read [More]

Empty domains: Must do better

In §11.1 of their Plural Logic, Alex Oliver and Timothy Smiley argue — with characteristic vigour — that an acceptable singular logic (as well a plural logic) should allow empty domains. Their two related headline thoughts: Logic should be topic-neutral, … Continue reading → The post Empty domains: Must do better appeared first on Logic [More]