Logic keeps you sane

Non-philosophical events have really been rather stressful over the last six weeks or so. While I’m keeping my head above water as far as teaching and seminars are concerned, lots of other things — like sounding off here! — have been pushed right into the background. And I’m going to pressed for time this coming week too. For I’m down to respond to Luca at a Faculty Colloquium this Friday: we’re talking about Graham Priest’s animadversions against the iterative conception of sets, and I need to write a talk. How on earth this will go down with a general audience of non-logicians, heaven alone knows. But then, the whole idea of a general colloquium seems to me mildly daft. Still, the topic is a good one to think about.

Indeed, logic matters have been a lot of fun this last week, and a very welcome distraction to keep me sane. Two of our MPhil students gave very nice and very helpful presentations at the two seminars — one on Chap. 3 of Parsons’s book in the reading group on that, and one on Big Typescript §113, the section on “Ramsey’s Theory of Identity”. None of us ended up very much clearer about what Parsons’s noneliminative structuralism comes to exactly: but I’ll return to that here shortly. Lectures are going pretty enjoyably too (for me, at least!). I’m probably going too slowly talking about Gödel’s theorems to cover everything I really should, but at least people seem to still be on board. And I unthinkingly produced a frisson of mildly scandalized reaction in the first year logic course by saying en passant that, while Wittgenstein might have been a great philosopher — he’d just come up in the context of talking about the idea of a tautology — he seems to have been a bit of a shit as a human being. Still, we do need to encourage some healthy disrespect!

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