# Officially Available:

**04**
*Tuesday*
Apr 2017

**04**
*Tuesday*
Apr 2017

**17**
*Friday*
Feb 2017

Posted Logic, naturalism, Philosophy of Logic, Philosophy of Science, Whitehead

inPublication is almost upon us.

“*The Quantum of Explanation* advances a bold new theory of how explanation ought to be understood in philosophical and cosmological inquiries. Using a complete interpretation of Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophical and mathematical writings and an interpretive structure that is essentially new, Auxier and Herstein argue that Whitehead has never been properly understood, nor has the depth and breadth of his contribution to the human search for knowledge been assimilated by his successors. This important book effectively applies Whitehead’s philosophy to problems in the interpretation of science, empirical knowledge, and nature. It develops a new account of philosophical naturalism that will contribute to the current naturalism debate in both Analytic and Continental philosophy. Auxier and Herstein also draw attention to some of the most important differences between the process theology tradition and Whitehead’s thought, arguing in favor of a Whiteheadian naturalism that is more or less independent of theological concerns. This book offers a clear and comprehensive introduction to Whitehead’s philosophy and is an essential resource for students and scholars interested in American philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics and physics, and issues associated with naturalism, explanation and radical empiricism.”

This author’s profile can be found HERE.

More information on the book can be found HERE.

Let’s just say I’m a little excited.

**16**
*Friday*
Dec 2016

Posted Critical Thinking, Donald Trump, Inquiry, John Dewey, Logic, Martin Luther King, Philosophy of Logic

inIt is certainly disturbing to see how many people prefer a convenient lie over a disquieting truth. But more importantly, we should make note of how many people will flee in abject terror to the warm, terroristic embrace of a convenient lie when confronted with an indisputable *uncertainty*, the unavoidable knowing that you *do not* know. I should get that tattooed somewhere … somewhere where no one will ever see it …

There is a formal structure to at least some kinds of disruptive uncertainty, and that structure is not all that hard to understand. I’ll mostly be discussing that *logical* structure, which often requires a kind of patience with inconsistency. But I will turn to the *psychological* issues of those who embrace inconsistency *without* thought at the end. What I wish to address here are *kinds* of inconsistency, most importantly noting that there *are* genuinely and importantly different *kinds.* I’ll mainly draw on investigations by Nicholas Rescher and Robert Brandom, coupled with developments by Jon Barwise and John Perry. Continue reading

**05**
*Tuesday*
Apr 2016

in

So, what is it that makes something true? (Trust me, this ties in with this post’s title.) If I say that “X is the case,” and it, indeed, turns out that X * IS* the case, then my saying so was true. Or, rather, the thing I said was true, and my saying it was said truly. (Actually, my

Because even as (and insofar) as “the truth is out there,” our having, getting, finding, or whatever, that truth involves a substantial amount of *making.* If you take the idea of truth *seriously*, then you must take seriously the fact that we have to go out and *make* that truth *apparent* through significant and substantive *inquiry.* Where this is going (and it will go fast) is that the *maker* that *connects* the truth *as said* with the truth *as found*, looks a lot like a successful “strategy” in a “game.” This is a formal, logical concept, which brings scientific inquiry into a dirty-dance with that part of formal logic known as model-theory. (Somewhere, somebody has sheet music on this stuff … ) Continue reading

**09**
*Saturday*
Jan 2016

Posted Logic, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Logic, Whitehead

inExplanations come in discrete units, logically minimum quanta. It is logically impossible for the situation to be otherwise. We can reason *about* continua of various different kinds (the “continuum” of the Real numbers being a prominent example, although it is to be noted that within that branch of formal logic known as “model theory,” there are examples of continua that are “more continuous” than even the Real numbers.) But we cannot reason “in” a continuum. Our ideas may have vague boundaries, but they are still unitary quanta, or at least collections of such quanta. Our concepts are even more sharply defined. We assemble these units into larger structures that become arguments (in the good, philosophical sense) and, ideally, explanations. But a continuum gives us nothing to work with. Like trying to nail mercury to the wall, every time we attempt to grasp it, it slips around and away in out grasp, so that either we (1) end up speaking about the continuum itself as a whole, at which point the continuum qua whole has become our quantum, (2) we isolate individual points on the continuum, and these become our quanta as we extrapolate connections amongst them, (3) or, alternatively, we end up spouting nothing but nonsense.

I’ve touched on this subject before. But rather than making coy suggestions in the final paragraph as a rhetorical flourish, I think it time I spoke to the subject more directly. As is often the case, I’ll barely be able to gloss the topic in this post. But, of course, the whole purpose of a blog post is to provide a small quantum of ideas that might lead interested readers off in interesting directions. Continue reading

**28**
*Monday*
Dec 2015

Posted Logic, Philosophy of Logic

inThere is a large, nested, complexly intersecting, multidimensional area of logic known as “modal logic.” Standard (“assertoric” – dealing with comparatively simple *assertions*) logic essentially forgoes any considerations of the *modes* (hence, “modal”) in which an assertion is considered to be true or false; it simply is, or it is not (true or false). Modal logics are intended to examine the *ways* (modes) in which a proposition or assertion might express such truth or falsity. A great deal of very good work has been done in this area of study, but it remains a long way from solving its most basic problems; indeed, most proposed “solutions” do not so much “solve” their problems as strangle them.^{i} I am at once deeply impressed by the technical sophistication of contemporary work on modality, and profoundly dissatisfied with the narrowness of its vision. Because one of the “modes” in which an assertion or proposition might be true or false is whether it is *possibly* true or false.

I can certainly inundate any interested party with citations, but anyone capable of following those citations would most likely already be familiar with them. It takes years of dedicated study to bootstrap one’s self up through propositional, into quantificational, and finally on to modal logics. On the other hand, it takes nothing more than the most elementary capacity for cognition to instantly see that there is a difference between saying that “X *is* the case,” and “X *might be* the case.” Just as we can talk about Jazz without mastering the saxophone, or relativity without deriving proofs related to the Ricci tensor, we can talk about possibility without becoming research mathematicians in formal logic. One might even argue that mastering such mathematics would not ideally equip us to talk about *possibility* which is, after all, a metaphysical, rather than a mathematical topic. Continue reading

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