A short item on natural kinds 
One of the papers I was working on when I looked for places to send short papers has been accepted at Phil. Quarterly. I argue that the homeostatic property cluster account shouldn't be taken to define natural kinds, despite common misreadings which take it to do so.

Even the title is short: NK≠HPC

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2013 as the blog flies 
The hour is late, and it's time to review the year. The traditional method takes 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, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

I: In a recent item at 3 Quarks Daily under the title The Problems of Philosophy, philosophers Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse lament that (according to them) contemporary professional philosophers are too worried about what's wrong with professional philosophy and pay too little attention to genuine philosophical problems.

II: My paper on cover songs, coauthored with Cristyn Magnus and Christy Mag Uidhir, was recently accepted at The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

III: I posted an updated version of my paper on Mill on natural kinds, in advance of giving a talk at Middlebury College tomorrow.

IV: I was an invited speaker last week at DIY Publishing and the University, an event held by the NorthEast Regional Computing Program.

V: My paper with Heather Douglas, "Why novel prediction matters", has now made it into the limbo of things published online, waiting in the queue to appear in print.

VI: Via Leiter, I was led to Gerald Dworkin's recent Kindle e-book Philosophy: A Commonplace Book.

VII: I wrote in a recent post that I like the kind of book review which "offers a critical view of the issue and situates the book in recent discussions" and which also "treats the book as a bit of philosophy worthy of criticism."

VIII: I just read Bradford Skow's "Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?", which is due to be published in BJPS.

IX: I am puttering around today and thinking about scientific realism.

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

XI: I have written several papers recently which have turned out to be a bit under 3,000 words each.

XII: The hour is late, and it's time to review the year.

There was blog activity for every month this year, although this month was thin.

Extrapolating from this sample, this year has been about what I've been reading, what I've written, what I'm talking about.


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Turkeys form a natural kind, stuffing is an HPC 
To those of you in the USA, happy Thanksgiving.

To those of you outside the USA, my apologies for this day in which you have to put up with people in the USA taking the day off to mark a holiday that has its roots in empire and genocide.

We're marking the day by having some of my colleagues over for a big dinner. Two of them are Canadian and so are just indulging us.

My paper with Heather Douglas has finally been published. In a time of advance access DOIs and on-line first, finally appearing in print doesn't seem like a big deal. But it means the reference is finalized, so I updated the references on my website.

I also posted a draft about natural kinds and homeostatic property clusters which I had meant to post a couple of weeks ago.

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Florida and the last mile of logic 
Back in 2007, I opted to change the license for my logic textbook, forall x. The removal of the Non-Commercial provision meant that, since then, people have been allowed to sell copies of the book and of any derivative works they might make. At the time, I wrote this:
There is little danger that a publisher will sell an overpriced deluxe edition of forall x, because the Sharealike provision would preclude them from exercising restrictive rights over it. The content would still be free.

I was perhaps a bit too optimistic.

A while later, a company began selling a poorly made ebook version on Amazon. I wrote a review telling people not to buy it and pointing them to where they can download it for free.

Today I discovered that University Press of Florida is offering forall x for $32.50. They assigned it an ISBN and everything. Their product page does not have any product description at all. If you do a search, though, the description includes information about how to get a copy from Lulu where it's available for $8.50.

They also have the title slightly wrong: "Forall x: Introductory Textbook in Formal Logic" rather than "forall x: An introduction to formal logic"

At the same time, the Senate is considering legislation to support more open licensed textbooks in an effort to make college textbooks affordable. We need to remember that an open license only saves the bit that would be paid to the author. The last mile is getting the text into student hands, which requires not screwing them on printing costs.

UPDATE nov19: I just spoke with someone at UPF. They print the book on-demand for Orange Grove, an imprint which has offered it on Amazon since 2009. So it was already something I knew about, really.

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Problems in logic and the application of terms 
Brian Leiter has a recent post which I'll quote in full:
Open-access textbooks
Here's one in logic, that will be familiar to many readers.

The link is to a page for Arguments: Deductive Logic Exercises by Howard Pospesel and David Marans. The book was originally published in 1978 and has been long out of print. Rights have reverted to the authors, who have made scanned PDFs available for free.

The frontmatter includes the statement, "Permission is hereby granted for reprinting this work in whole or in part if, and only if, the material includes [this disclaimer]." The right to reprint is something, but it is not actually open-access. The book is free to share, but only inside a password locked PDF. Nobody can use the problem sets in another context or adapt them for somewhat different purposes. They can't even typset it properly to make it anything besides the image files of scanned pages.

Regardless, the book is kind of nifty. One thing that people who teach logic inevitably need is more exercises, either to assign as homework or to use as exam questions. And that's all Arguments is, page after page of sentences and arguments. They are divided into chapters, but numbered continuously. I was amused to find this in the middle of the book:
299 "He whose TESTICLES are crushed or whose male MEMBER is cut off shall not ENTER the assembly of the Lord."
Deuteronomy 23:1
(Universe: people)

I used to be able to identify translations of the Bible just from how they translated this one verse. Pospesel and Marans have used the Revised Standard Version.

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