The 3 Rs of Publishing Philosophy

So you want to publish philosophy? Follow the three Rs! 1. Rhetoric No matter how good your results are or how technically sophisticated your argumentation, if it is done in an obscure way, your paper will not be published. There are at least two, but more usually three or more people that will read your paper when it is sent to a journal. First is the head editor and/or section editor. If they can’t make […]

Cynic Argumentation

Many arguments are called ‘cynical,’ but is there anything that is common to them? Is there a general form of cynical argument? One type of cynical argument is a kind of reductio ad absurdem, a proof by contradiction, to discredit a premise. The first step is to take the premise and associate it with some worldview. Assume P. (premise) P holds under worldviews W.  (Cynical Generalization) Then, the cynic discredits those worldviews. Worldviews W are […]

The Paradox of Unreasonability

“You’re being unreasonable!” One or more of you may have had this directed at you. But what does the speaker mean by it? Presumably the speaker believes that the listener is not acting according to some given standard. However, if the speaker had an argument to that effect, the speaker should’ve presented it. Hence, all the above statement means is that the speaker has run out of arguments and has resorted to name-calling: being unreasonable […]

Fodor May Yet Be Clever

I was trying to figure out what Fodor could have been thinking.  Here’s what I came up with: If we are trying to figure out what Evolution has done, then we presuppose that Evolution is capable of doing something. If Evolution is capable of doing something, then there must be some mechanism of Evolution that does the doing. Now imagine yourself in the position of the mechanism of Evolution that does the doing, i.e. the […]

On Block and Kitcher on Fodor

Ned Block and Philip Kitcher have posted a review of Fodor/Piatelli-Palmarini’s “What Darwin Got Wrong” (via Leiter). It is a well executed, though flawed, counter to Fodor’s arguments.  First they give a nice rundown of the underdetermination issue I posted about here. Then they discuss the “intensional fallacy”.  They argue that the crux of F & P’s argument can be seen as trying to split up the causal efficacious trait and the selected-for trait.  This […]