Archive for the ‘Books that are cool’ Category

More Precisely

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Math for philosophers.

I like when people I like write books I like (what’s not to like?). Case in point: More Precisely: The Math You Need to Do Philosophy by Eric Steinhart, my good buddy and colleague at the Department of Philosophy of William Paterson University. [Link to publisher’s website.] (Have you Brain Hammer-heads seen the ad on Leiter’s blog?) I am geekily excited to own a single reference work where I can look up philosopher-friendly explanations of, for example, Bayes’s theorem, transfinite cardinalities, counterpart-theoretic modal semantics, and finite state automata. Damn! That’s cool. Dig this table of contents: [link].

I look forward to seeing what the general uptake of this book is going to be. I wonder, for instance, about the viability of an undergraduate philosophy course designed around such a text. Imagine a philosophy curriculum that, say, de-emphasized the cranking out of proofs in the sentential and predicate calculi and created room for a broad survey of the math needed to keep up with advances in contemporary analytic philosophy. Imagine increasing numbers in the profession who assuage their math envy with fewer fake formalisms (”S knows that P…”) and more real math.