:: The End Times archive (

On what there is for things to be published 21/12/2014

The grounding principle seems to have quite substantive ontological implications. Take the true claim that there once were dinosaurs. What object could be such that its existence grounds the truth of that claim? Perhaps any of the formerly alive dinosaurs. But you might have thought there aren’t any such things – after all, isn’t that what we mean by saying that dinosaurs are extinct? That there don’t exist any dinosaurs? So the grounding principle pushes you toward accepting past objects in your ontology: your dead great-great-grandparents, Caesar and Cleopatra, the dinosaurs and what not, all exist, all as real as you and me – only they’re somewhat different from you and me in that they’re past.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Stephan Kraemer.

» Read more...

the metaphysics of logic published 05/12/2014

One important thing that non-classical logics have done that classical logic has not (although, who knows, it may have, had Frege lived longer) is, after stepping carefully in problematic domains, to revise or rebuild completely in the light of suspicious results: classical paradoxes or limitations in areas like quantum physics, the foundations of mathematics, and plain old everyday reasoning in inconsistent or even just possibly inconsistent situations – have all inspired non-classical logics, and as a result we now have logics offering more nuanced and accurate models of deduction across at least some contexts and at most, more contexts than those classical logic can handle.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Penny Rush.

» Read more...

Paradoxes published 29/11/2014

I encounter people who are dealing with paradoxical situations in their own lives. One woman, for example, told me that she is now wondering whether she is living with the same person she married twenty years ago. “He’s the same man, of course,” she admitted, “but he has changed so drastically, I’m not really sure he’s the same person.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Margaret Cuonzo.

» Read more...

On The Romantic Absolute published 21/11/2014

Schlegel’s claim is that philosophy does not concern any one topic, nor does it amount to any one conception of truth or reality; rather, it is in a state of eternal conflict, such that it is only by grasping the various conflicts within philosophy––determining the ways they emerged, and were resolved or dissipated––that we can grasp what philosophy is about.Schlegel similarly argues that literature must be understood through its history. In his lectures on the history of European literature he maintains that “the new cannot be understood without the old,” because “literature can only be understood as a whole.” In other words, in order to understand the nature of literature one must grasp the history of literature.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dalia Nassar.

» Read more...

Parts, wholes, abstracts, tropes and ontology published 14/11/2014

A book may be part of the library and a page part of the book, but the page is intuitively not part of the library. By contrast, if an amount of rice is part of a larger amount of rice, which in turn is part of a dish, the first amount of rice is still part of the dish. This is because amounts of rice are not integrated wholes, whereas books are.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Friederike Moltmann.

» Read more...

powers, Aristotle and the incarnation published 08/11/2014

Powers are properties that enable their bearer to bring about or suffer change. Each (type of) power is defined by the (type of) change it is ‘responsible’ for. The change is the manifestation of the nature of the power. Importantly, manifesting is one of the two different states a power may be in; the other is being inactive. Powers are real even if never manifesting. Even a changeless universe may be powerful.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Anna Marmodoro .

» Read more...

Plato aims at virtue published 31/10/2014

I certainly would not say that Plato hates poetry; rather, he is amazed by and concerned about its persuasive power. I think it is precisely this power he tries to acquire and control with his own beautiful and poetic writing. It would be a fair summary of Plato’s work to see it obsessed, from the very opening lines of the Apology, with the relationship between persuasion and truth. How and why is it that the truth so often fails to be persuasive? What has to occur to make the truth persuasive?

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Iakovos Vasiliou.

» Read more...

Leibniz: Strange monads, esoteric harmony and love published 24/10/2014

I think one of the things that makes people react to Leibniz in the way that Diderot did is the sheer breadth of his accomplishments. Setting aside his achievements in any particular field, Leibniz is clearly one of the greatest polymaths the world has ever seen. He is well-known as an important philosopher, mathematician, and natural philosopher and, to a lesser degree for his pioneering writings on jurisprudence, linguistics, and geology. But also his work extended to more practical endeavours, including inventions such as his early calculating machine, his designs for wind driven water pumps for use in mining, and a submarine. In one letter he even mentions an idea for shoes with springs underneath to facilitate quick escape from pursuers.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Lodge.

» Read more...

Category Mistakes published 17/10/2014

I haven’t been able to find a natural language that doesn’t contain category mistakes (it’s hard to imagine how there could be such a language – but I’m not just relying on this intuition. I asked speakers of a wide range of languages and all of them confirmed there are sentences that are odd in precisely this sort of way in their languages). Moreover, even within a language, category mistakes can arise in the context of very diverse grammatical constructions.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ofra Magidor.

» Read more...

about aboutness published 10/10/2014

I don’t (or didn’t) treat number-talk as straightforwardly metaphorical. Sometimes when we launch a sentence into the world our confidence in the sentence outruns our sense of how it is best interpreted, in particular whether it is best assigned a literal reading or a metaphorical one. There’s an implicit FINESS operator: construe it literally if possible, Figuratively If NeceSSary. These things can take a while to sort themselves out. And sometimes they never are sorted out.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Stephen Yablo.

» Read more...