Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2010

Befriending numbers nominalistically

I probably should've posted this sooner. On Monday I'm giving a talk at Oxford, criticizing Nathan Salmon's argument against nominalism, to be found in his recent paper in Analysis titled Numbers versus Nominalists . Feel free to pop in if you're around. Details below. Rafal Urbaniak (Ghent University/ Gdansk University) 'Yellow card for Salmon' Monday, 31 May, 16:30 - 18:30, Ryle Room, Faculty of Philosophy,10 Merton Street, Oxford. Nathan Salmon (Numbers versus nominalists, Analysis 68.3:177-182,2008) argues that nominalists cannot plausibly deny the inference from(A) `there are exactly two Martian moons' to (B) `something is such that it is number two and there are exactly that many Martian moons'.He insists that the latter claim commits one to the existence ofnumbers. Salmon in effect argues that nominalism faces a rather serious challenge, for (as he claims) the inference can be denied only at the expense of giving up on higher-order logic, which

Boredom in philosophy

In Florida Philosophical Review David McNaughton has an amusing and somewhat to the point paper about why philosophy tends to be tedious and boring. Here . Why is so much philosophy so tedious? Not, or not simply, because it is technical and complex, but because—too often—it displays mere cleverness. Implausible theories are defended against objections by ever more sophisticated technical fiddling with the details. Originality and creativity are in short supply. I argue that this is bad for philosophy, bad for philosophers, and almost inevitable given various structural features of the profession which require early and prolific publication. As a profession we are autonomous—we could change our structures if we chose.

Łukasiewicz at Harvard, 1926

I was browsing a volume of a Polish philosophical journal ( Ruch Filozoficzny ) dating back to 1928, looking for something quite unrelated when I came across Łukasiewicz's report about the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy , Harvard, Sept 13-17, 1926, which, as it turns out, he attended. I did find his report slightly unusual, so here's a juicy bit, in my rough translation: Almost everything made the worst impression on me. Perhaps this was only bad luck. I wasn't present and the most interesting talks by Driesch, Weyl and Whitehead, which took place before my arrival. Although, having seen the content in print, I infer that perhaps I wouldn't have gained much had I actually heard them. From what I've experienced, a few details. In the plenary session, Bougle from Sorbonne was talking about philosophy and peace movement, and E. Becher from Munich about darwinism and international relations. Both talks were on the level of newspaper articles; and the topics