Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Free books

Lots of Springer books are available for free download, including one by me. Here (I hope) is Ethics After Anscombe.

vh wins!

Possibly the last ever 3QuarksDaily philosophy blog contest has been deservedly won by Vidar Halgunset. Congratulations and hurray! You can read his winning post here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Slouching towards the Christmas spirit

Over at philpercs I end up moaning a bit again but mean to say how happy I am to find work in the humanities outside philosophy that I agree with so much.

Friday, December 11, 2015


3QuarksDaily is having another, and possibly its last ever, competition for philosophical blog posts. You can see the full list with links here. Far be it from me to tell you how to vote, but readers of this blog might be interested in 7, 9, 13, 17, and 25.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wittgenstein and Pragmatism (cfp)

This looks good:

Call for Papers
Wittgenstein and Pragmatism
A symposium arranged by HCAS, Nordic Wittgenstein Society (NWS) and
Nordic Pragmatism Network (NPN).
Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies, Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland.
May 16-17, 2016
It is well known that Ludwig Wittgenstein is sparse with references to other philosophers, and when he does mention other philosophers it is hardly in praise. There are a few exceptions – and one of the exceptions that stands out is his continuously warm regard for pragmatist philosopher William James. “Whenever I have time now,” Wittgenstein wrote to Bertrand Russell, “I read James’s Varieties of Religious Experience. This book does me a lot good.” And James’s work was also one of the few philosophical works that Wittgenstein is reported to have recommended his students to read.
It is no accident that James’s pragmatism was one of the philosophical approaches that Wittgenstein found inspiring and rewarding, yet challenging. For there are a number of affinities between pragmatism and Wittgenstein-inspired ways of doing philosophy – which is vindicated by the fact that most contemporary pragmatists and neo-pragmatists think about their own work as, at least partly, inspired by Wittgenstein’s philosophy.
Wittgensteinian philosophy and pragmatism are two traditions of thought in which several interesting parallels can be discerned, regarding the problems they focus on and how, but also regarding what they are opposing.
Both traditions engage in the perennial issues of knowledge, truth and the good from the perspective of human practices. Both eschew metaphysical system building as well as the naturalist reductionism of much analytic philosophy. Philosophy, according to both traditions, is not in need of foundations, but rather of a more sensitive attention to the varieties of human activity and meaning making: in ordinary language, science, morals, religion. Certain general tenets of 20th-century and present philosophy, like the sharp fact-value dichotomy and the (varieties of a) correspondence theory of truth, are questioned by both traditions for reasons relating to the attention to practice.
This conference investigates the common ground and intersections between the legacy of Wittgenstein and Pragmatist philosophy.
Keynote speakers:
1. Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
2. Cora Diamond (University of Virginia, USA)
3. Russell B. Goodman (University of New Mexico, USA)
4. James Conant (University of Chicago, USA)
5. Logi Gunnarsson (University of Potsdam, Germany)
Open call for papers
In addition to the key note speakers we have 10-12 slots for speakers selected through an open call for papers. We also welcome papers from scholars in fields other than philosophy: comparative literature, educational science, cultural studies, sociology, etc.
Abstracts should be:
• submitted no later than February 12, 2016
• have a maximum length of 500 words
• submitted to nora.hamalainen@helsinki.fi.
Notifications will be sent out in the first week of March 2016.
Here are some suggestions for topics:
• Wittgensteinian and Pragmatist approaches in the Humanities and the Social Sciences
• Wittgenstein and James on Religious Belief
• Methodological similarities and differences between Wittgensteinian and pragmatist philosophy
• Ethics from a Pragmatic and a Wittgensteinian Perspective
• Pragmatist and post-Wittgensteinian Epistemology
• Dewey and Wittgenstein on Education
• Wittgenteinian Influences in Contemporary Pragmatism
• Theory and Anti-theory in Philosophy
• Inheriting a Tradition (pragmatist and/or Wittgensteinian)
Organizing Committee
Niklas Forsberg, NWS, Philosophy, Uppsala University
Nora Hämäläinen, NWS, Helsinki Collegium, University of Helsinki
Sami Pihlström, NPN, Systematic Theology, University of Helsinki
Henrik Rydenfeldt, NPN, University of Helsinki
Contact: nora.hamalainen@helsinki.fi

Sunday, December 6, 2015

More at philpercs

Here I am moaning about the pseudo-science and pseudo-philosophy that seem so prevalent these days in academia. It's probably very boring to go on about this, but part of me thinks it's something that should be done constantly. After all:
6.53 The right method for philosophy would properly be this: To say nothing other than what can be said, thus propositions of natural science – thus something that has nothing to do with philosophy –, and then always, if another wanted to say something metaphysical, to point out to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying for the other person – he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy – but it would be the only strictly correct one. 
I'm not talking about metaphysics, and Wittgenstein doesn't really seem to recommend this "right method," but still. One role for the philosopher, as for the satirist, is pointing out nonsense. And this isn't likely to work if it isn't done consistently. (Although it might not work even then.)