Monday, July 19, 2004

New Zealand Blogger Writes


Although I do not share your politics, I enjoy reading the thoughtful commentary on your "Maverick Philosopher" website.

I just wanted to bring to your attention a follow-up post I wrote about a week ago, on truth and relativism. Go here.

The one major disadvantage of your site, in my opinion, is its self-imposed isolationism. Without comments or trackback etc., there is no easy way for your readers to notice who else is responding to your posts. If you are set against comments, and can't be bothered
integrating Haloscan trackback into your template, then perhaps the easiest way for you to overcome this would simply be to provide a link (in your sidebar) to your Technorati page.

This page lists all the blogs who have recently linked to your site.
It is very easy and convenient, and would allow your readers to follow the development of online "conversations." I can see no disadvantage to this.

Richard Chappell
Philosophy, et cetera

Mr. Chappell,

Thanks very much for writing. I wasn't aware of Technorati, and I am very glad you brought it to my attention. You make some good points in your relativism post. One of your points I would paraphrase as follows. An absolutist about truth does not of course deny the context-sensitivity of many sentences, a sensitivity that brings with it a certain relativization. Thus, sentences containing comparative terms like 'tall,' indexical words such as 'I' and 'here' and tensed verbs can only be evaluated relative to a context of use. But once those context-sensitive elements are replaced with context-invariant terms, the result is what Quine calls an 'eternal sentence' absolutely true if true at all. For example, 'I am hungry' may be true when you utter it but false when I utter it. But that is not the case for 'Richard Chappell is hungry at noon on 15 July 2004.' If true, it is true regardless of who utters or thinks it.