I hereby innaugarate my new

I hereby innaugarate my new weblog, The Fly Bottle. The title comes from Wittgenstein's statement that the aim of his philosophy was to show the fly the way from the fly bottle. What can this possibly mean? Well, Wittgenstein was weird. We're flies. When we philosophize we buzz around bumping into an unseen enclosing barrier, the glass, erected by the philosopher in the attempt to use perfectly good words for perverse intellectual purposes. Once we cease abusing words by ripping them from their native habitats and acquiesce to language as it is unselfconsciously used in “the wild,” we'll find that our philosophical “problems” were nothing but artifacts of our linguistic abuse. We'll be free! Now, I don't agree with this. Philosophical problems aren't generally figments of a bad way with words. But Wittgenstein is right that a lot of confusion will vanish if you carefully attend to the contours of common thought and language. What I want to do in this weblog, is to bring this kind of attentiveness to bear on intellectual questions of the day, and perhaps to help see the way out of the intellectual traps built for us by misguided contemporary intellectuals (you know, those bad leftist postmodernists). I'm quite sure that I shan't be half so prodigious as Instapundit, my blogging hero. However, I do hope to post something every day or so, and I hope that my eclectic range of interests will be more interesting than offputting.

Very nice obituary at the

Very niceĀ obituary at the Guardian of David Lewis, the Princeton metaphysician famous (for a philosopher) for his stalwart defense of the existence of real, live alternative dimensions. On Lewis's theory, any state of affairs that is possible is actual on some world or other that differs from this one only in not being this one. So there is a possible world with David Lewis still on it (his Lewisian “counterpart” at any rate) and that world is richer philosophically than ours.

To learn a little about David Lewis's philosophy, try David King's discussion of a few Lewis quotes about possible worlds. What exactly is a possible world? Try the entry at xrefer.