Quasi-empirical formalism and rationality

Note: I wrote this in May 2003. It's unfinished but still of some interest I think. 

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Philosophy of Maths seminar

I've been interested in the philosophy of maths for quite a long time. In the last year of my PhD I started writing a pair of seminars on the subject to be given at the Maths department at the University of Warwick. Unfortunately, writing up my thesis got in the way and I never got round to writing the second part.

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Critical review of Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia"

Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" is undoubtedly a highly original and intelligent work. It has three major flaws though. Firstly, his idea of a minimal state requires not only that the state itself respects individual liberty to an unparalleled degree, but also that the population uniformly respects others' liberty to a high degree. Secondly, there is no discussion of power relations and the possibility of actually achieving a minimal state; the introduction of a minimal state today would not, and perhaps could not, have the effect Nozick desires, and there is little indication of what sequence of events could lead to a minimal state which would work. Thirdly, the "entitlement theory of justice" is inherently dualistic, a distribution of holdings is either just or unjust, but to defend it against the charge that a just distribution of holdings is impossible to achieve in practice, one would probably have to introduce a variable scale of justness, which would be antithetical to the spirit of the theory.

Epistemology without truth

The following essay is a work in progress. The [] symbols break up logically coherent sections which I have been moving around when writing this essay. Comments in brackets [like so] are reminders to me to think about or change something. I haven't yet written the last section, so for the moment it's just a tantalising header.

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