Book Progress, Update I

The book is coming along swimmingly well. At least three chapters are already in the revising stage, largely because they have been adapted from previously published or previously written but unpublished works. The rest of the book is in outline form. Two things I’ll discuss here: (i) the importance of detailed outlines and (ii) thinking about one’s audience.

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What is Endoxic Alethic Pluralism?

The primary focus of my book is to argue for a position I have started calling (for better or worse): Endoxic Alethic Pluralism. Since some readers may be unfamiliar with the nature of truth debate and the various positions one could adopt in it, this post will give a very brief overview of the debate, define truth pluralism, and discuss a unique feature of my position.

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On Writing a Book

write-a-craft-book-300x196I’ve had an idea banging around in my head for the last seven years or so, but I’ve never brought myself to work on it in earnest, until now. The idea has many moving parts with a single upshot: to argue that the ordinary person’s conception of truth, especially when understood in terms of empirical results, supports a view I call “endoxic alethic pluralism”.

The product of my work will likely come in the form of a book or, more specifically, an academic monograph geared toward an audience of philosophers, professionals and students alike, with an interest in showing the folk concept of truth is not a tidy singular and monolithic concept. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to use this blog as a sounding board for the content of the book. Some will find my work interesting; others will not. Primarily, I will remind those who feel less compelled by my work that, although analytic metaphysics is largely driven by normative analyses, there is, in the words of P.F. Strawson, an alternative equally worthwhile project one could undertake: descriptive metaphysics. My work falls squarely within the confines of such a paradigm. More will be said on the components later. For now, I’d like to comment on the process of writing the monograph.

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How closely connected are Næss’ empirical semantics and deep ecology?

arne-naess-1

Environmental philosophy, especially those who have espoused a version of “deep ecology”, have assumed that Næss, the founder of the movement, believed in two deeply entrenched claims. According to Benjamin Howe (2010), the two claims may be articulated in the following way:

(1) According to Næss, the supporters of deep ecology have an ecological world via, or paradigm that distinguishes them from the supporters of shallow ecology, who share mainstream society’s mechanistic and anthropocentric world view. (passim)

(2) Næss thinks that deep ecology’s platform articulates a set of principles that are held in common by its supporters. (passim)

If these two claims are correct, then Næss seems forced into a position that accepts some queer form of anthropocentrism no proponent of deep ecology would adopt. The first condition seems ill-conceived on its face. Distinguishing deep from shallow ecology so crudely and brazenly seems too limiting for Naess. In many of his works outlining deep ecology (e.g., 1993), Næss argues that followers of deep ecology seem to include shallow views among their main tenets but that one who embraces deep ecology wholeheartedly embraces along with it a holistic and all-encompassing worldview from which we come to appreciate our role, as well as the role of non-human species, to include plants and the like, in the diverse, complex, ecosophere. This doesn’t necessarily undermine shallow ecology from without but adds to it something qualitatively superior and missing from it. It is from the shallow view one begins to appreciate the wider-area network of interconnections present in the ecosophere, such that one may set out their own view or ecosophy.

The second condition seems equally controversial in light of what Næss learned in the 1930s through 1950s about the common person’s view of truth and similar semantic notions. I’d like to draw attention to some of these lessons below the fold.

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Couldn’t put UW back together again (3 of 3 posts on the state of UW)

Critical though I may have been in the first two posts about the sad state-of-affairs gripping UW, I will argue here that there seems no escape from the hostile academic and financial environment that has unfortunately befallen the state of Wyoming. The oil, natural gas, and coal industry has seized the state, its legislators, its educators, and its citizens. All spending has been frozen, except for those budget items deemed necessary (read “deemed necessary” as “in the interests of those businesses who have staked a claim somewhere in the state”). So, what’s left for Wyomingites to do?

(Part 3 of 3 on the state of UW)

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Næss on higher education

“There are people with little capacity and training in articulating problems and taking part in formal discussions. But if they are members of underprivileged groups, it is one of the most important jobs of people with training at the university level to come to their assistance. Therefore all students, all people who have the fundamental […]