•  143
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 13) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. In that excerpt, the author presents a study of the notion of truth using the concept of subjective fact developed earlier in the book. The author argues that mind-body materialism is compatible with certain forms of metaphysical idealism. The chapter closes with some remarks on relativism with regard to truth. (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact developed in Fr…Read more
  •  326
    In this paper I examine Daniel M. Wegner's line of argument against the causal efficacy of conscious will, as presented in Wegner's book "The Illusion of Conscious Will" (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002). I argue that most of the evidence adduced in the book can be interpreted in ways that do not threaten the efficacy of conscious will. Also, I argue that Wegner's view of conscious will is not an empirical thesis, and that certain views of consciousness and the self are immune to Wegner's lin…Read more
  •  456
    Atheists sometimes use Bertrand Russell's teapot argument, and its variants with other objects in place of the teapot, to argue for the rationality of atheism. In this paper I show that this use of the teapot argument and its variants is unacceptably circular. The circularity arises because there is indirect evidence against the objects invoked in the arguments.
  •  8
    The twentieth century was a century of progress. During those hundred years, humanity progressed from a world without airplanes, computers, or modern medicine to a new era in which these technological miracles were commonplace. These technical achievements were not the only accomplishments of that fateful century. There also were vast changes in social thought, with great steps forward toward human equality and freedom — the struggle for racial equality, the recognition of women's rights, and th…Read more
  •  234
    In this paper I propose a formalization, using modal logic, of the notion of possibility that phoneticians use when they judge speech sounds to be possible or impossible. I argue that the most natural candidate for a modal logic of phonetic possibility is the modal system T.
  •  200
    In this note, I point out some implications of the experiential principle* for the nature of the relationship between language and the world. I argue that this principle implies the existence of a certain relationship between linguistic tokens and facts, and that this relationship undermines most critiques of the referentiality of language
  •  220
    In this note I examine some implications of stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics for the concept of "charge without charge" presented by Wheeler and Misner. I argue that if a stochastic interpretation of quantum mechanics were correct, then certain shortcomings of the "charge without charge" concept could be overcome.
  •  26
    Many people regard the mind as something separate from the body. This includes many religious believers, who regard personality and self as attributes of an immortal soul. Some philosophers, relying on logic instead of faith, also have taken the position that the mind is distinct from the body and is not explainable in terms of bodily processes alone. The belief that a person is composed of a mind and a body, with neither one reducible to the other, has traditionally been called dualism.
  •  368
    In recent years, the branching spacetime (BST) interpretation of quantum mechanics has come under study by a number of philosophers, physicists and mathematicians. This paper points out some implications of the BST interpretation for two areas of quantum physics: (1) quantum gravity, and (2) stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics.
  •  14
    critiques the degradation of the person in current philosophical thought. This page points out some challenges to behaviorism, eliminativism, postmodernism, and other antipersonal ideas.
  •  164
    This book is a collection of some of my writings that do not fit the mold of standard philosophical articles. These writings range over several topics, including religion, free will, human dignity, the nature of persons, and a few others. The longest item in the collection is an archive of my blog, The Unfinishable Scroll, as it existed when the book was put together. That blog covers many philosophical topics, including some I haven't discussed elsewhere. Also in the collection are essays (form…Read more
  •  305
    In this paper I examine critically the relationship between the realist and nominalist views of abstract objects. I begin by pointing out some differences between the usage of existential statements in metaphysics and the usage of such statements in disciplines outside of philosophy. Then I propose an account of existence that captures the characteristic intuitions underlying the latter kind of usage. This account implies that abstract object existence claims are not as ontologically extravagant…Read more
  •  64
    One of the most important ongoing debates in the philosophy of mind is the debate over the reality of the first-person character of consciousness.[1] Philosophers on one side of this debate hold that some features of experience are accessible only from a first-person standpoint. Some members of this camp, notably Frank Jackson, have maintained that epiphenomenal properties play roles in consciousness [2]; others, notably John R. Searle, have rejected dualism and regarded mental phenomena as enti…Read more
  •  342
    Provides an overview of Mark Sharlow's philosophical work with summaries of his positions. Includes references and links to his writings.
  •  114
    The year is 1965. A child stands at the top of a hill, looking out over a vast golden meadow. In the field below is a dirt trail. Bicycles sail by on the trail, carrying other children to their playful destinations. Beyond the far edge of the field is the sea. On the sea are boats and ships — distant descendants of the caravels and barkentines that once explored the unknown waters of Earth.
  •  466
    Poetry, it is said, can reveal truth. Yet despite the best efforts of philosophers and poets to describe this truth, very few understand what kinds of truth poetry can convey.* One fact seems clear: only a few of the truths of poetry can be captured equally well in prose. Poetry also conveys truths of a different kind — truths that seem to exist on a level entirely different level from that of ordinary, factual truth. Some poems try to teach moral or practical lessons that also could be stated i…Read more
  •  175
    In this paper I examine a new variant of the well-known idea that the self is an abstract object. I propose a simple model of the self as a property of temporal slices of a body's history. I argue that this model, when combined with even a modest realism with regard to properties, implies that the self has many of the chief features traditionally attributed to selves. I conclude that this model allows one to reconcile the full reality of the self with even the most deflationary materialistic the…Read more
  •  29
    is not about traditional skeptical thinkers like Descartes and Hume. Instead, it is about some of the ideas of today’s ”skeptics” — people who try to debunk things that seem too odd or too spiritual. This site is not meant to encourage weird beliefs, but it might make you wonder whether skepticism is a weird belief too