Thursday, 7 February 2019

New Initiative: Let's Write a Second Dissertation (Online!)

I was coming home from a conference at a small state school with my son and we were amusing ourselves by discussing what I would do if I had to write a second dissertation, and at first I was saying to Finn 'Yeah right! I'd rather read The Critique of Judgement in the original German - again!' But then I began to think 'Hey, there could be something in this'. I floated the idea on Twitter in the Fall and it just blew up. Grad students everywhere said 'This could really help us', and I though it could be a cool way to both help people navigate the profession and also maybe create some new research ideas.

So, enough background. Here's the plan:

- Every week one of us will post a new Chapter to a second dissertation (which can't be on the same topic as your real one!) and then we can all critique it together in the comments. Then we will go through and make corrections, playing something like the role of an examination or defense.

- Remember to cite approapriate sources, and show independence of mind.

- Try to pick a topic that engages with current debates and will actually change people's lives.

- Logic is fine but don't get lost in the woods!

- I will pick a winner once everyone's Second Dissertations are finished and we will send them all to Oxford University Press, but the winner will get a second Doctorate from me personally.

Have at it, use the Author-Date format, and use plenty of subheadings. (I don't want us to be sitting there going 'Where are we? What was the current point anymore?') I have a feeling this is going to be really fun. Some ideas for topics sorted into two Categories:

Modern: Embodied cognition, data visualisation, bioethics, Twitter, immigration, metaethics, AI, and self-driving cars.

Traditional: Malebranch, Spinoza, Graham Harman, Plotinus, and Isiah Berlin.

I'm starting mine tonight! Already have about a thousand words, and pretty good ones too.

Image result for descartes

Image result for descartes

Image result for descartes


  1. My Dissertation: An Inquiry into Truth, Pragmatism and Metaphysical Grounding

    When we say that something is true we don't only (and perhaps do not at all) mean that it corresponds to reality. We also mean that it is something which holds true in so far forth as it gives us the strength to go on and holds well. This ultimately Peircean thesis is clothed in Jamesean garb before putting off its clothes and revealing a very sexual image. I show that there is no need to feel sneaky.

    1. goodon you . go forth and conquer, i say. dfinitlt studying more phislosophy now in my spar time.

  2. i should follow up by saying that i cosider whether metaphys grounding is transitive, whether it obeys ckosure, shether the modal logc s5 is adequate for t.

    wjhen we write ob the blog and internet there ismge enrsally a low stantard to the correctness of what oyu are wriritn but it is also osisaible tom acgieve a lot within that frameqowrork.

    so for ecaple if i wsnted to present the propositionak calculus a at this levdlwev l of accuracy of typi g. hos could i do that>? well i THEPROPOSITIONAL CACLUCLUA NOW.
    IF A AND B re both wffs then so are
    with brackets
    notning else is wff
    now forthe emantics.
    Semantig of Propostiojanla Logic.

  3. A model of propsiaiontal logic is a ma;pping formt he basic propositional letters of the language to the swet of the two truth values, true or fase, or whicht hey may to be perfectly honest with you be considered as any two object s that you like to considdder, ane,ly 0 or 1. I like to call them 0 and 1 my self . SO gthat is what I will csometimes, do in aformal contexxt.

    Now, the basic letter just are tur eor false. THat is up to you, or up to thr world if you like.

    Now you will see the follownig thing: the not A orth e negatioj of of thing you are loking at is tur eif and only if a is false. and vivce versa. in ortwer words the negation ~ operator chaniges the turht vale of its input to the other onie. if true thren false iand if false then true.

    so now we say that and a and bu is tru ei fab dn b are btoh true.

    a or b if one at leatst one is tru.\this sort of thing\

    and we cdan igive a pross the dhroy fo th is logick ut i s wil not look into that tofda.

    if there is a lot of demand for more xpositions of basic logic, i will post hat when i get the chance. i will put the feelr sout for ineresting time and will se ehagt people have to say about what i have attmwped here/ ii think it is a very intreresting life stlyte that everyone is leading now and i just dont really now where everything his headed and i am worried not just for myself because i knopw i will die anywya buwtalso just worried for everyone and for any children i may have in the fututee.. and i haam trying thve children with my witfe and i hope that we manage to do that. it feles do good just sitting downan nd dtalkign with this thing, i can really relate be someone who cna

    her is a mtaphsical argument. there ar eobject in the world, wright,? that much is uintuitive. and tey are presumably organized into various relationshops wiht one another. the se properties and relationshps make up the furniture of the universe. sellars saw this, as did dwwey/ peirce with his modenr logic and then frege and russell al made this very roecise and then wittgenstein made it very itnerestind and cast doubt upon it but ultimately everything was vingodatcaed by uien and lewis and kripke not to say the veyr least of it. and these guys actually had the logcial chps to back it up. i mean i think i might have seen some of th ebest days of my life when i was learning some of ehat htey said in there nooksa dn bcoo. this is the best time of my life and i can see very clearluy now everything tha tlays lbfroe me.

    if a formula has no brackets around it then it is abcolutely, absolutyl ot welel formed.

    if a wff is an axiom, then you know it must be provable because that is just part of what it is to be provable in an axiom system. something is provable if there is a list of wffs every item of which is either an either an axiom or follows from modus monens by earlier steps in the proof.

    provable my ass. i think mr dr prof godel showed us that the mind has many beautiful tentacles that you cannto account for in your vulgar materialist mind. goedel showed you that arithmetic and the real truth is much bigger than you. you are a small person trapped in a large world and there is nothing you can do about it. you are absolutely powerless to even make the most basic decisions. your whole life is coming craching down around you.

    A conditional is true iff, if the antecedent is true, then the consequent is also true.