Resolving the Bounding Puzzles

My theory so far comprises three commitments: A conditional “if A, B” encodes the disposition to infer its consequent from its antecedent, together with how things would be if its antecedent were true. Whether you believe or leave open the possibility of a conditional depends on whether you are inferentially disposed in accordance with theContinue reading “Resolving the Bounding Puzzles”

On Inferences and Conditionals

In the previous two posts, I articulated two bounding puzzles that reveal a tension between the informational content and logical strength of conditionals. In this post, I want to articulate and motivate my positive theory of conditionals. I will come back to show how it handles the bounding puzzles in the next post. If youContinue reading “On Inferences and Conditionals”

Subjunctive Bounding

In the previous post, I discussed a puzzle about the meaning of indicative conditionals, and I mentioned that a similar puzzle arises for subjunctive conditionals. But what do these terms “indicative” and “subjunctive” mean? The terms refer to a grammatical distinction, which we can informally describe this way: the indicatives are the simple-looking conditionals, whileContinue reading “Subjunctive Bounding”

The Meaning of “If”: Indicative Bounding

This marks the first of a series of posts on my book, currently under contract with OUP, on the meaning of conditional sentences (like, “If Sue caught her flight, she arrived at noon”). My hope in this series is to explain, without jargon or technical machinery, what the book is about, my view, and someContinue reading “The Meaning of “If”: Indicative Bounding”

On cancelling and sincerity

In a recent op-ed, “Should we cancel Aristotle?”, Agnes Callard suggests that “we philosophers,” and by extension, I presume, all members of civil society, “must countenance the possibility of radical disagreement.” But, she observes, what if your intellectual opponent espouses views you regard as not only wrong, but morally and intellectually repugnant? Callard distinguishes literalContinue reading “On cancelling and sincerity”

Drawing Lewis Spheres in Tikz

For some reason, I could never get Richard Zach’s Ptolemaic Astronomy diagrams to work correctly, so I set out to write my own macros for TikZ that would allow me to draw Lewis system of sphere diagrams like these: These aren’t perfect by any means, but they are a decent first start. As far asContinue reading “Drawing Lewis Spheres in Tikz”

Jaws (1975)

Much like our current crisis, there is an obvious solution to the problem facing the characters on Amity Island. Just as sharks don’t have feet, which makes them easy to avoid by staying on land, COVID-19 can’t survive without a host, making it easy to avoid by staying inside and avoiding large gatherings. Yet, drawnContinue reading “Jaws (1975)”

The Ascent (1977)

In that long ascent to the gallows, would we have the courage to stay true to our ideals, or would they evaporate under the demands of self-preservation? Rybak’s rationalization would, I think, ring true in that moment—what use am I dead? If I stay alive I’ll have some chance to continue to fight for whatContinue reading “The Ascent (1977)”

Boolean Diagrams in TikZ

If you’re like me, you like representing philosophical ideas with intersecting circles. Here’s how to draw them in TikZ. Basics Circles and rectangles with rounded corners are easy: \draw[-] (0,0) circle (1cm);\draw[-,rounded corners,thick] (2,-1) rectangle (5,1); In addition to specifying coordinates absolutely, as we have been doing so far, you can also do so viaContinue reading “Boolean Diagrams in TikZ”

My Own Private Idaho (1993)

The ebb and flow of Mike and Scott’s tangled and fraught relationship obscures the stark differences in where they are coming from and where they are headed. In that brief extended moment when their overlapping oscillations sync up, we are treated to a carefree journey of self-understanding and friendship, marked by an openness and acceptance that’sContinue reading “My Own Private Idaho (1993)”