Monday, October 29, 2007

Metaphysical Links

Some metaphysical links:

* Clayton discusses whether the Kalam argument is consistent with divine omniscience.

* Tanasije sketches out an argument for the claim that there is a reason for everything.

* I've already linked to it, but I'll do so again: Kenny has a paper up on the semantics of sense perception in Berkeley.

* At Houyhnhnm Land, I note two contemporary comments on Lady Mary Shepherd. The first is a complimentary one by Thomas Noon Talfourd, in which he says that she "is a thinker of as much honesty as of courage". The second is a disparaging one by Harriet Martineau, where she says that Lady Mary "wasted her fine analytical powers on things unknowable or purely imaginary," which tells us, perhaps, more about Martineau's view of metaphysics than about Lady Mary Shepherd, so Martineau's attack on her puts her in the company of almost all the great minds of the time. Of course, anyone who has read Martineau knows that she's disparaging of almost everyone but herself. But Martineau has a delightful bit of gossip about Lady Mary that I'd not come across before; and while she interprets it as reflecting badly on Shepherd, I, of course, interpret it as yet one more reason to think that Shepherd's awesome.

* Alexander Pruss has put up his lecture notes on the cosmological argument.

* Michael Ruse has made some revisions to his SEP article on creationism. Re-reading it, I'm struck by how un-encyclopedia-like it is. It's interesting, of course; Ruse usually is interesting even when he's wrong, and I have strong sympathies in his direction on this subject (although I think he goes wrong in a number of places). But the article's approach to the subject is polemical, not at all suitable for a reference text. (One is struck by this throughout; Laudan's arguments that falsifiability is a poor criterion for demarcation are dismissed as "quibbles", for instance.) It's more like what one could hope to find in a good intellectual magazine than what one would want if you were looking for a good, sober introduction to the philosophical issues involved in creationism. Nonetheless, it is actually an enjoyable read.

* Carnivalesque 32, an early modern edition, is up at "Serendipities." While not strictly metaphysical in topic, some of the links you'll find there are. For instance, there's a post on Fontanelle's discussion of the plurality of worlds. But metaphysics or not, it's a good carnival, with a lovely common-place book theme.

And a reminder to myself to locate and read the following book:

James Henderson, Early Mathematical Economics: William Whewell and the British Case

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