Monday, January 21, 2008

Notes and Links

* The Open Laboratory 2007 anthology is now available.

* Rachel Leow has a good post at "A Historian's Craft" suggesting a link, or at least an analogy, between certain sorts of historical description and the Humean view of causation (also at Cliopatria). The analogy could probably be developed quite fruitfully by consideration of what Hume calls 'probability', as discussed in Treatise 1.3.11-13, where he discusses our judgments about likelihood and plausibility in explanations.

* Carolyn McCulley has a post on Simone de Beauvoir at "Radical Womanhood." (ht)

* An interesting post on Claude Bernard by Cosma Shalizi.

* Br. Guy Consolmagno, S. J., of the Vatican Observatory, an amusing musing on techies and religion.

* Michael Pakaluk has some facts about Aquinas's citation of Aristotle.

* A humorous review of Alter's translation of the Psalms. I must say, I rather like the sound of "Aliens cringed before me" (as a translation of Ps. 18:45); it sounds like a science fiction short story. The review also gives a taste of some poetic translations of the Psalms. And Weinberger is quite right toward the end when he talks about the Jerusalem Bible; it does what Alter is trying to do to a very high level of quality.

* Adam Roberts says of Frank Herbert:

[He also liked to dip into Heidegger: his 1968 novel The Santaroga Barrier is a pulp sciencefictional riff on Being and Time, and is as rubbish as that summary makes it sound. Its hero is called Gilbert Dasein].

The rubbish part is really not true. The Santaroga Barrier is one of Herbert's better novels; it has better-written passages, more likeable characters, and more of a sense of humor than most of his other works. Easily one of his better ones (not that that's difficult in an oeuvres that includes works like Hellstrom's Hive, whose relatively greater popularity always mystifies me).

* Michael Bowen has some thoughts on how the AHA could do more for job seekers. What really stands out is that every single one of the issues raised is a problem for the American Philosophical Association as well. (ht) More and more I've become to think that there are serious general problems with the character of academic life and work -- we assume things that are extraordinarily odd to assume, and I think the result of this uncritical acceptance of the Way Things Work is dangerous. Many basic structures of academic life -- the job market is perhaps the most obvious but not the only one -- are very poorly adapted to fields whose primary raison d'etre is to learn and teach.

Independently, Jender has a post on the problem in philosophy, with some good discussion in the comments.

* I find myself in the curious position of defending (part of) the kalam argument at Mike Almeida's place; that's certainly a first, since I think the argument's question-begging. But infinities make strange bedfellows.

* Currently reading:
Hájek, What Conditional Probability Could Not Be (PDF)
Easwaran, What Conditional Probability Could (Almost) Be (PDF)
Joyce, Theistic Ethics and the Euthyphro Dilemma (PDF)
Ben-Yami, A Critique of Frege on Common Nouns (PDF; ht)
Knuth, Lattice Duality (PDF)
Knuth, What is a Question? (PDF)
Griggs, Killian, and Savage, Venn Diagrams and Symmetric Chain Decompositions in the Boolean Lattice (PDF)
Palmquist, Kant on Euclid
Randall, A Critique of the Kantian View of Geometry
David Miller, Word Games for Formal Logic (PDF)
Peter Jipsen, An Overview of Generalized Basic Logic Algebras (PDF)
Stith, The Priority of Respect (PDF)
Ruskey, Savage, and Wagon, The Search for Simple Symmetric Venn Diagrams (PDF)
Hicks, The Eremitic Ideal and the Dreamer's Quest in Piers Plowman

* A useful set of notes on the very basics of Boolean lattices (PDF)
See also the SEP's Basic Theory of Ordering Relations supplement to the quantum logic article and also J.B. Nation's Notes on Lattice Theory (PDF). If you know of any other good primer-level discussions of lattice theory, and particularly of distributive lattices, whether online or in paper, let me know.

Early editions of Malebranche at Google Books

I've recently come to think that the increasing scholarly resources online need to be laid out more clearly than they are -- a kind of rough bibliographical work for the Internet set. So here's a first contribution, early editions (within his lifetime) of Malebranche's works at Google Books.

The 1685 Three Letters. This was a response to Arnauld's Defense against Malebranche's criticism of Arnauld's criticism (in the book of True and False Ideas) of Malebranche's Search.

The 1709 edition of the Recueil, Third Volume.
The 1709 edition of the Recueil, Fourth Volume. Collect together a number of the responses to Arnauld.

The 1711 Dialogues on Metaphysics, on Religion, and on Death, First Volume. This is the first three dialogues.

The 1712 edition of The Search after Truth, Second Volume. This is Books 3, 4, and 5.
The 1712 edition of The Search after Truth, Third Volume. This is Book 6, along with the Response to Regis.
The 1712 edition of The Search after Truth, Fourth Volume. The Elucidations.