UCSB Philosophy Blog

Members of the UCSB Department of Philosophy and anyone else are welcome to talk philosophy with us. Bring your own brain.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Phil-lang group

The Philosophy of Language group will meet tonight to discuss Nathan Salmon's "Time, Tense and Intension". Next week most likely we will discuss King's "Tense, Modality, and Semantic Value" (I think).
On another note, everyone feel free to post your philosophical ramblings. If you're not yet a member of the blog, post a comment or send me an email and I'll send you the official invitation you need to make posts. I'll get some more philosophical stuff on here at some point, myself, but I'm sure there's more brain activity going on among us than the posts lately have indicated! Blog whatever crazy philosophical stuff is on your mind. Chances are that the rest of us will find it worth reading and commenting on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

GRS tonight: Analytic and Continental Philosophy

All you people of Earth, hear now that the Guerrilla Radio Show, the UCSB philgrad-operated philosophy talk show, will air tonight at 7 PST. The topic of discussion: Analytic and Continental Philosophy. We'll have a guest from UC Riverside, Dr. Pierre Keller, assisting us in the discussion. Check the show's website for listening info.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New barbarism

Another reading group update: The Santa Barbarians will meet next Monday night (8pm, Oct 24) at the usual location, to discuss David Vander Laan's work in progress, "Omnificence and Counterfactuals of Freedom". Contact Tony Anderson for info or a copy of the paper.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The phil-lang reading group will be discussing David Lewis's "Index, Context and Content" and "Attitudes de dicto and de se" (not just the first of those, as previously stated) on Thursday at 6 at the usual location. Invited parties are interested to come, and vice versa.
Note that at the end of next week we'll have two southern-Cal conferences. On Friday the 28th at UCLA is ParsonsFest, and on Saturday the 29th is the 10th annual Southern California Philsophy Conference at Cal-State, Northridge. Check the page for the latter and you'll see some UCSB names in the presenter list. I'll probably be going to both of those; I encourage my fellow philgrads to get out to some of the upcoming conferences (there are more coming in November); even if you're carless, others will be going with whom you can hitch.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Guerrilla Radio Show

The new site for the Guerrilla radio show is up! Check out http://www.guerrillaradioshow.com for info about upcoming shows, archives of past shows, and more. Also check out the show's blog: http://guerrillaradioshow.blogspot.com
Tonight we'll be talking about political philosophy, hopefully with some guests. Catch us on the airwaves or online!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

2005-2006 Job Market

Hey all--
It is instructive to look at JFP, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the independent jobs for philosophers post. Each of these posts can let you figure out what the trend is in hirinings. Some of the interesting things to notice this year over last year is the increase in jobs in the following areas: Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, and History of Analytic Philosophy. Jobs in this area were low last year compared to: Applied ethics (esp. Bioethics and Business ethics), Ethical Theory, Meta-ethics, Social-Political Philosophy, and other (as I like to call it). So, get on the game and check the JFP against last years so you are aware of the projection trend.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Contingent Beings, Essence, and Existence

Hi all-- I am interested in getting some feedback on the following issues. I am really not that good at reasoning through certain issues, and it would help to see what everyone thinks of the following. So the issue is about contingent beings and the essential properties that contingent beings have. Furthermore, I am interested in writing a paper on this issue. So, if you guys think that this is not a philosophically interesting issue let me know. So, I don't waste my time. Here are some basic definitions:

(C) A being x is a contingent being if x exists at least one possible world and not in all possible worlds.

(E1) A property P is an essential property of x just in case x has P in every possible world.

(E2) A property P is an essential property of x just in case x has P in every world in which x exists.

I think (E2) is the better definition of an essential property. Primarily becuase there are many properties that an object has in every possible world that have nothing to do with the kind of thing it is . In addition, I don't know how to square (C) and (E1). If (E1) holds then there are no contingent beings with essential properties, but that seems false. In addition, there is another issue here floating around. There are certain semantical tricks one can use to make it true that an entitiy has a property in a world in which it does not exist. However, this does not square with the ontological notion of exemplfying a property. For an object to exemplify a property in a world it would have to exist in the world. That is different from a proposition or sentence being true in a world, even when the object does not exist in the world. Okay last bit--

I am worried that certain views of of possible worlds lead to the following odd result:

If any contingent being has an essential property, then there are no contingent beings that exist in just one possible world, and so it is necessary that nothing exists in just one possible world. Quasi-proof: If you are a contingent being and have an essential property, then you have to exist in more than one possible world in order to distinguish the accidental properties from the essential properties, but you cannot exist in all possible worlds, for then you would be a necessary being. But then it seems to follow that it is necessary that nothing exists in just one possible world, since necessary being exist in all worlds, and contingent beings have essential properties. This is odd because prima facie it is possible that something exists in just one possible world. Furthermore, if it is true that nothing can exist in just one possible world, and that this is necessary truth, is this truth a synthetic a priori truth.

Okay please don't make fun of me if I made an obvious mistake. Any comments would be helpful

Reading group updates/corrections

Hi again. My last post wasn't entirely accurate, as I later learned. Here's the scoop on the reading groups, where it differs from before.
  1. The Phil-mind reading group discussed Fodor's "A Theory of Content I", and when they next meet they will discuss "A Theory of Content II" and perhaps some of Fodor's The Elm and the Expert. A meeting time has not yet been set, but it won't be Tuesday at 4pm.
  2. The Phil-lang group will meet again next Thursday (Oct 20; same time/place) to discuss David Lewis's "Index, Context and Content".
That's all for that stuff. And thanks to Chris for bravely making the following true: (he is not Luke & he posted to this blog). Yea! Come on Megalon, rise up!

Omniscience --> ~Free Will?

In light of Luke’s latest urgings, I’ve decided to “blog” a bit about an issue that I’ve been contemplating recently in relation to the material being covered in Tony B’s “Freedom and Determinism” class. Ok, here goes.

Suppose a being named TONI exists. Let’s further suppose that TONI, by nature, possesses the following basic attributes: (a) TONI is omniscient in the sense that she knows everything and all her beliefs are true beliefs; (b) Moreover, TONI is not temporally bound in the same way that we (normal beings) are temporally bound, so TONI’s omniscient powers allow her not only to know everything about the past, but everything about the future as well. Let’s also assume that TONI’s knowledge of the future is not restricted to various “soft facts” about the future, but is such that she is able to know “hard facts” about the future as well.

Now, consider the following scenario. Suppose TONI knows at t (= 10.14.05) that Luke Manning (the ‘one and only’ Luke Manning) will win the California state lottery at t* (= 10.20.05) by going to the 7-11 store in Goleta and purchasing a “quick pick” ticket. Given this supposition, is it possible that Luke Manning could have done otherwise? Is it possible that Luke Manning will not win the lottery on 10.20.05? Is it possible that Luke Manning will win the lottery on 10.20.05 by purchasing a “quick tick” instead of a “quick pick” ticket? Or would Luke Manning’s very ability to do otherwise in this situation (whatever that may be) necessarily falsify TONI’s omniscience? Given TONI’s attributes, is it even possible to falsify TONI’s omniscience?

Well, that’s it for now. I’m not exactly sure what to say about such a case. I have some intuitions, but I’d like to hear some commentary from the “peanut gallery” before I lay all of my cards on the table. Anyway, that's my first contribution to this burgeoning blog site. Have fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Reading groups and other goings-on

Hi again. There are several things to catch up on. As far as I can tell, three reading groups are presently running among the UCSB philgrads and faculty. They are:
  1. The Santa Barbarians: organized by C. Anthony Anderson (caanders@philosophy.ucsb.edu) and covering new articles from journals or working papers from within the department. Meets Monday nights at 8pm at Anderson's house. This Monday the group will discuss Nathan Salmon's "Vagaries about Vagueness".
  2. The Philosophy of Mind reading group: organized by Jason Newman (jallennewman@hotmail.com), covering papers in the philosophy of mind. Meets Tuesday afternoons at 4pm in 5617 SH. This last Tuesday (sorry I missed it) the group discussed Jerry Fodor's "A Theory of Content" parts I and II. Next reading TBA.
  3. The Philosophy of Language reading group: organized by Luke Manning (luke_manning@umail.ucsb.edu) and Tim Lewis (tslewis@umail.ucsb.edu), covering papers in the philosophy of language (currently in parallel with Aaron Zimmerman's seminar in the philosophy of mind). Meets Thursday evenings at 6pm at the Starbucks in Camino Real Marketplace. Today's reading (sorry for short notice, but many will have read this already for the seminar) is David Kaplan's "Afterthoughts".
We had our first colloquium of the quarter last Friday, with speaker Alan Nelson (UC Irvine); pending resolution of some technical difficulties, we'll have an mp3 audio recording of that available on the department site.

The Guerrilla Radio Show, our philgrad-run philosophy radio show, has switched gears: we will be broadcasting new live shows every other Tuesday night from 7-8pm. On the other Tuesdays we will broadcast pre-recorded episodes or other philosophical tidbits. Stay tuned for info about upcoming broadcasts.

We've had a few commenters here on the UCSB Philosophy Blog, and I'd like to thank them and ask them to make some posts of their own. I've sent some of you invitation emails so you can do that; if you need an invitation, please ask and I can send one (again, if need be). If you're not terribly interested in aesthetics (as I seem to be at the moment), post something about metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, or whatever else keeps you up at night (thinking!).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Random Action

Time for a little update on department activities. Yesterday we had our fall gathering at Nathan Salmon's house, where we welcomed the incoming class of grad students. Chris took some pictures, so expect to see them at some point.
It's time for a little philosophy on the radio! The Guerrilla Radio Show (GRS) will be starting a brand new broadcast quarter this week (10.04.05) with two new co-hosts and a special show on which we'll determine topics for upcoming shows, and presumably goof off. Visit the above link for info on how to tune in, and help us out by calling in or emailing us with your topic suggestions. The GRS airs LIVE every Tuesday night, 7:00-8:00pm on KCSB 91.9 fm or on the World Wide Web at www.kcsb.org.
Finally, the Philosophy of Language reading group is no longer in suspended animation. This Thursday (Oct. 6) we'll be discussing David Kaplan's "Demonstratives" and "Afterthoughts" (yes, in parallel with the current Philosophy of Mind seminar). Email me or post a comment if you're interested in participating.