If any year has been an occasion for some self-reflection, it’s 2020.

Like everyone else, I have had a broad range of influences across my personal and professional life. Some of those influences have been helpful, and others have been unhelpful in varying degrees. Recently, through the now-familiar and even ubiquitous medium of video chat, I was able to reconnect with a like-minded friend (you know who you are; thanks) and have a conversation about some of those influences, and how I had found myself following a particular methodological pattern when engaging in theological discussion. And through describing some unhelpful…

“I love being in America, but I’m also so interested in Holland.”

“Oh that’s cool, I live in Holland! Obviously I share your interest. There are some fascinating things here.”

“My favorite parts about Holland include wooden shoes and dams. Those are pervasive across Holland and so important to all Dutch people.”

“Sort of, though that’s kind of an oversimplification. I know many people here who might characterize things differently. There are a lot of other…”

“Based on a few Dutch I’ve seen in the media, I’ve developed a theory about how we Americans must consider the importance of wooden…

5. Christopher Menzel, “In Defense of the Possibilism-Actualism Distinction” . (Post)

4. Edward Zalta, “Essence and Modality”. (Post)

3. Aaron Cotnoir, “On the Role of Logic in Analytic Theology: Exploring the Wider Context of Beall’s Philosophy of Logic”. (Post)

2. Language Turned on Itself: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metalinguistic Discourse, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore. (Post)

  1. Paul Taylor, Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics.

This was the most impressive, impactful book I read in 2019. The reasons for that are complex. You’ll need to know a couple things about the author and his training, but the content…

5. Christopher Menzel, “In Defense of the Possibilism-Actualism Distinction” . (Post)

4. Edward Zalta, “Essence and Modality”. (Post)

3. Aaron Cotnoir, “On the Role of Logic in Analytic Theology: Exploring the Wider Context of Beall’s Philosophy of Logic”. (Post)

2. Language Turned on Itself: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metalinguistic Discourse, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore.

I just picked up this book within the past couple of weeks because of the research I’m doing on the metaphysics of language, so I haven’t read every word of every chapter. But the introductory section alone made this title one my favorites.

Let…

5. Christopher Menzel, “In Defense of the Possibilism-Actualism Distinction” . (Post)

4. Edward Zalta, “Essence and Modality”. (Post)

3. Aaron Cotnoir, “On the Role of Logic in Analytic Theology: Exploring the Wider Context of Beall’s Philosophy of Logic.

I would argue that anyone who is interested in the topic of where theology meets logic needs to read this piece. Often, theologians assume there is a thing called logic and its laws are inviolable, and they typically assume such a thing because they had a brush with an introductory class on classical logic and natural deduction. Or perhaps they have read…

In the previous post, I mentioned that Menzel’s paper asks an important question about essential properties that clarifies central discussions and debates surrounding modal properties. Those issues are the subject of another paper on modal metaphysics that has been a staple in my thinking, Edward Zalta’s “Essence and Modality”.

5. Christopher Menzel, “In Defense of the Possibilism-Actualism Distinction”.

4. Edward Zalta, “Essence and Modality.

Like most people who are interested in what essence might be (granted, it’s not a large group of people, relatively speaking) and who start to read up on essential properties, typically you’ll see ‘essential property’ defined…

This brief list includes both articles and books, and draws from modal metaphysics, logic and philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, and black aesthetics. Though my area of specialization (AOS) is metaphysics, my areas of competence (AOC) include philosophy of language and philosophy of religion, and I may in time include black aesthetics as well. For now, these are all areas of interest, and I read most of them over the course of taking seminars or doing research for my PhD project.

Like any philosopher, I have to explain what I mean by that catch-all, ambiguous word ‘top’ (and ‘of’)…

Here’s a narrative you may have come across if you have received a history of philosophy from a historical-theological focus:

From a theological perspective, the most pertinent philosophy began with Augustine and Boethius, kickstarting much of the philosophical discussion during the medieval period that would interact with Aristotle, Plato, and the Stoics. During this period, much of the philosophical discussion overlapped with theological issues, where logic, ontology, epistemology, and other sub-disciplines were developed in concert with developments in theology proper, anthropology, etc. This became especially true after the rediscovery of Aristotle’s works, where many Islamic philosophers were on the cutting…

As for why philosophy is so secular, I suppose that story is a long one but must trace back to the Enlightenment. It also seems that most current-day philosophers, at least in the Anglophone world, are not religious…”

For much of ancient and medieval philosophy up to the Renaissance the distinction between philosophy and religion is meaningless. Aristotle describes the human end as “serving and contemplating god” at the end of the Eudemian Ethics. Spinoza describes it as “intellectual love of god.” Of course the god of the philosophers can come into conflict with the god (or gods) of more…

A Case for Posting Complex Content

Why in the world would I post something like this?

I know it will get almost no likes or retweets, and it might appeal to about 1–3% of my followers, at best. If interaction and engagement are not my motivators, am I driven by some desire to look smart or academic? What else could be the upside of posting something like this?

I’ll give you a few reasons why from time to time I willingly and knowingly post things that appear as wasted tweets.

  1. Goin’ Fishin’: Maybe, just maybe, someone out there has…

Jared Oliphint

PhD Student in Philosophy. College Station, TX. What doesn’t fit on twitter.

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