Title bout, round two 
My book on natural kinds is in the hands of the publisher. It was to have been titled Carving up the world: Scientific enquiry and natural kinds, but yesterday I learned about a just-published collection of essays titled Carving nature at its joints: Natural kinds in metaphysics and science.

The collection from MIT Press includes a wide range of essays from the 11th Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference, so it really isn't direct competition for my focused monograph on natural kinds. Yet the title, as my publisher says, is "a little close for comfort."

In short, I need a new title.

Brainstorming this morning led to the following list, plus others too terrible to record. Do any of these sound like books you would want to read?

1. The philosophy of Planets, mallards, and other natural kinds

2. Natural kinds and the structure of the world

3. Pragmatism, realism, and natural kinds

4. What about natural kinds?

5. Science, philosophy, and natural kinds

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The FOE digest for 2011 
I continue the tradition of taking the first sentence from the first post of every month in order to generate a summary of the year's blogging; cf. 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

I: One thing that commentators on Descartes fret about is who the "I" is who narrates the meditations.

II: In elementary school, there was a unit on letter writing.

III: When writing problem sets for Intro Logic, I try to use interesting topics.

IV: Brian Leiter is calling for a boycott of Synthese.

V: Last week we had the final class meeting for my 17th+18th Century Philosophy course.

VI: Last month, I discussed the unprofessional and craven reply by the editors of Synthese to the petition protesting their unprofessional and craven behaviour.

VII: When there were first calls to boycott Synthese, I was in a bit of a bind.

VIII: Two computer scientists at Stanford are going to be teaching a free on-line course in AI.

IX: I have played around with Google's Ngram Viewer before.

X: Today marks the end of this blog's year six.

XI: A few weeks ago, I did an exercise in my intro course in which students read descriptions of two scenarios, answered some multiple choice questions individually.

XII: I have just sent off the final manuscript for my book, Carving up the world: Scientific enquiry and natural kinds.

Teaching (in general) and the Synthese debacle (in particular) dominate the round-up, with the usual smattering of stuff about life on-line.

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Digesting the whole Wikipedia 
In the most recent issue of First Monday, Royce Kimmons has an interesting analysis of community contributions in Wikipedia. His results suggest that most particular entries are the work of separate contributions by a small number of people, rather than the efforts of an ongoing community. The cool thing is that it is a systematic study of all Wikipedia entries and histories.
Abstract: Wikipedia stands as an undeniable success in online participation and collaboration. However, previous attempts at studying collaboration within Wikipedia have focused on simple metrics like rigor (i.e., the number of revisions in an article’s revision history) and diversity (i.e., the number of authors that have contributed to a given article) or have made generalizations about collaboration within Wikipedia based upon the content validity of a few select articles. By looking more closely at metrics associated with each extant Wikipedia article (N=3,427,236) along with all revisions (N=225,226,370), this study attempts to understand what collaboration within Wikipedia actually looks like under the surface. Findings suggest that typical Wikipedia articles are not rigorous, in a collaborative sense, and do not reflect much diversity in the construction of content and macro–structural writing, leading to the conclusion that most articles in Wikipedia are not reflective of the collaborative efforts of the community but, rather, represent the work of relatively few contributors.


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Carving up the words 
I have just sent off the final manuscript for my book, Carving up the world: Scientific enquiry and natural kinds. It has been about a year since I completed the first complete draft of the book. I was under contract to deliver it by February, but it had reached a point where I just wanted it out of my hands.

UPDATE: Here's the picture that I mention in the comments.



Photo by Joost J. Bakker.

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Another digit in the googleplex 
Google Scholar has now added author pages, in addition to indiscriminate academic search. It has to be set up manually, but an author can distinguish themselves from other scholars who just happen to have the same name. This is handy for me, because - although I have managed to eclipse the doctor P.D. Magnus who writes about breast feeding - I still lag behind the chemist P.D. Magnus who writes about sulfone chemistry.

[link] My Google Scholar page

As most scholars do, I occasionally check to see how widely I am cited. The new page not only puts that all in one place, it also calculates aggregate impact scores.

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