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Showing posts from November, 2010

Possibility and the burden of proof

If I didn't run into this sort of arguments often enough, I wouldn't be writing about this. Some time ago, Gualtiero Piccinini (whose computability-related stuff I really enjoy reading) posted a question about known good arguments for the existence of afterlife. Joshua Carl Davis commented : I make an argument in my book Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life that there is an afterlife. The argument goes as follows: 1) It is always valid to argue from actuality to possibility (a logical principle dating to Medieval times), 2) I exist now therefore it is possible for me to exist again. While this does not prove the immortality of the soul, it switches the burden of proof to the other side and, I believe it is an overwhelming burden. The argument is given on page 282. The book is available on Amazon. Good luck to you. Eric Thomson gives a pretty straightforward explanation of what went wrong there. ET argues that equally well the fact that one didn't exist before they were

Evolutionary arguments do go astray (sometimes)

Norton ( Why thought experiments do not transcend empiricism . In Hitchcock, C., editor, Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science, pages 44–66, Blackwell) when talking about developing non-classical logics to model certain aspects of thought experiments gives the following, as he calls it, evolutionary argument : I think there are some reasons to believe that no new, exotic logic is called for. In outlining the general notion of logic above, I recalled the evolutionary character of the logic literature in recent times. New inferential practices create new niches and new logics evolve to fill them. Now the activity of thought experimenting in science was identified and discussed prominently a century ago by Mach (1906) and thought experiments have been used in science actively for many centuries more. So logicians and philosophers interested in science have had ample opportunity to identify any new logic that may be introduced by thought experimentation in science. So my presu

A geeky note about multilingual support for WinEdt 6.0

So WinEdt 6.0 has been out for a while now. It's a good piece of software, and I've been using various versions of WinEdt since 2003 (sometimes I use emacs with auctex , but for larger projects, I definitely prefer WinEdt). Anyway, if you often switch between languages, you have to play around to get WinEdt to open your files with appropriate dictionaries. This is where modes kick in. It so happens that the explanation that WinEdt provides for this stuff isn't too clear , so here is a step-by-step procedure that will get you multilingual support for WinEdt 6.0. Download appropriate dictionaries. They are available here . Extract (if needed) and save the file(s) somewhere. It doesn't really matter where, just make sure you know where it is. Say you want to install Polish and download pl_huge.dic saving it at C:\Program Files\WinEdt Team\WinEdt\Dict\pl_huge.dic . Run WinEdt 6, go to Options . Under Editor: Mouse, Modes, Defaults you will find Modes . Open the file