January 14, 2008

Both Kinds of Philosophy: Country and Western

More updates from the Arizona Ontology conference. Our pictures are on our Facebook. Carrie Jenkins has great pics on her page.

John MacFarlane, seen here, defends a paper co-written with Niko Kolodny, in which they argue that there isn't a subjective 'ought' for deliberation and a separate objective 'ought' for advice. Rather, there is just one assessment-sensitive 'ought' that can explain it's dual role in deliberation and advice.

Daniel Nolan argued that, of nomological necessity, there are no quantities in between the fixed quantities that quantum physics deals with. There is a physically important sense in which the hydrogen atom, jumping from -13.6eV to -3.4eV, couldn't have passed through states -10eV or -5.1eV. The fundamtental quantities of quantum reality are discrete.

The thesis of Ted Sider's paper was that neither existence monism nor priority monism has legs. For instance, priority monism, the thesis that no natural features are had by any object other than the world-object, entails that every sub-world object has all the same natural features, both intrinsic and extrinsic. To make a long story short, priority monism can't explain the rich structure of the universe.

Jenann Ismael gave an exciting paper arguing that the notion of objective chance appears in physics much earlier than most philosophers suppose. It is implicit even in classical mechanics! Indeed, it was argued, that one can't do physics without ruling out various possibilities in a way that is guided by objective chance.

Berit and I discussed essence, limit assumptions about relevance, and our impossible worlds approach to counterfactuals. Overall, the conference was philosophically very rich and a great deal of fun.

No comments: