Restoring F. P. Ramsey. “F. P. Ramsey has some claim to be the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. In Cambridge in the 1920s, he singlehandedly forged a range of ideas that have since come to define the philosophical landscape. Contemporary debates about truth, meaning, knowledge, logic and the structure of scientific theories all take off from positions first defined by Ramsey. Equally importantly, he figured out the principles governing subjective probability, and so opened the way to decision theory, game theory and much work in the foundations of economics. His fertile mind could not help bubbling over into other subjects. An incidental theorem he proved in a logic paper initiated the branch of mathematics known as Ramsey theory, while two articles in the Economic Journal pioneered the mathematical analysis of taxation and saving.” All this before he died at the age of 26. Learn more about Ramsey’s theory of truth in this Philosophy Bites podcast.
What is time?
Reviews of Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn. See especially Tensers, Time Regained!, and Resetting the Clocks, Smolin explains: “I used to believe in the essential unreality of time. Indeed, I went into physics because as an adolescent I yearned to exchange the time-bound, human world, which I saw as ugly and inhospitable, for a world of pure, timeless truth…. I no longer believe that time is unreal. In fact I have swung to the opposite view: Not only is time real, but nothing we know or experience gets closer to the heart of nature than the reality of time.” Even the laws of nature, Smolin says, are in time and change over time.