## Using the list

The Diversity Reading List collects high quality texts in philosophy, written by authors from under-represented groups. Its aim is to promote the work of such authors and facilitate finding and using their texts in teaching. For a broader description and the theory behind the project, visit our About page.

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## Recently added

#### Drewery, Alice . *Essentialism and the Necessity of the Laws of Nature*

**Abstract:**In this paper the author discusses and evaluates different arguments for the view that the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. She conclude that essentialist arguments from the nature of natural kinds fail to establish that essences are ontologically more basic than laws, and fail to offer an a priori argument for the necessity of all causal laws. Similar considerations carry across to the argument from the dispositionalist view of properties, which may end up placing unreasonable constraints on property identity across possible worlds. None of her arguments preclude the possibility that the laws may turn out to be metaphysically necessary after all, but she argues that this can only be established by a posteriori scientific investigation. She argues for what may seem to be a surprising conclusion: that a fundamental metaphysical question – the modal status of laws of nature – depends on empirical facts rather than purely on a priori reasoning.**Comment:**An excellent paper that could serve as further or specialized reading for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science, in particular, for modules related to the study of the laws of nature. The paper offers an in-depth discussion of essentialist arguments, but also touches upon many other fundamental concepts such as grounding, natural kinds, dispositions and necessity.

#### Maddy, Penelope . *The Philosophy of Logic*

**Abstract:**This talk surveys a range of positions on the fundamental metaphysical and epistemological questions about elementary logic, for example, as a starting point: what is the subject matter of logic – what makes its truths true? how do we come to know the truths of logic? A taxonomy is approached by beginning from well-known schools of thought in the philosophy of mathematics – Logicism, Intuitionism, Formalism, Realism – and sketching roughly corresponding views in the philosophy of logic. Kant, Mill, Frege, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Ayer, Quine, and Putnam are among the philosophers considered along the way.**Comment:**This is a survey article which considers positions within philosophy of logic analogous to the views held by the various schools of the philosophy of mathematics. The article touches briefly on many positions and authors and is thus an excellent introduction to the philosophy of logic, specially for students already familiar with the philosophy of mathematics. The text is informal and it does not involve any proofs.

#### Ismael, Jenann . *Quantum Mechanics*

**Introduction:**Quantum mechanics is, at least at first glance and at least in part, a mathematical machine for predicting the behaviors of microscopic particles – or, at least, of the measuring instruments we use to explore those behaviors – and in that capacity, it is spectacularly successful: in terms of power and precision, head and shoulders above any theory we have ever had. Mathematically, the theory is well understood; we know what its parts are, how they are put together, and why, in the mechanical sense (i.e., in a sense that can be answered by describing the internal grinding of gear against gear), the whole thing performs the way it does, how the information that gets fed in at one end is converted into what comes out the other. The question of what kind of a world it describes, however, is controversial; there is very little agreement, among physicists and among philosophers, about what the world*is like*according to quantum mechanics. Minimally interpreted, the theory describes a set of facts about the way the microscopic world impinges on the macroscopic one, how it affects our measuring instruments, described in everyday language or the language of classical mechanics. Disagreement centers on the question of what a microscopic world, which affects our apparatuses in the prescribed manner, is, or even could be, like*intrinsically*; or how those apparatuses could themselves be built out of microscopic parts of the sort the theory describes.**Comment:**The paper does not deal with the problem of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, but with the mathematical heart of the theory; the theory in its capacity as a mathematical machine. It is recommendable to read this paper before starting to read anything about the interpretations of the theory. The explanation is very clear and introductory and could serve as an introductory reading for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in philosophy of science focused on the topic of quantum mechanics.

#### Dizadji-Bahmani, Foad . *Confirmation and reduction: A bayesian account*

**Abstract:**Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, the authors argue that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, they present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. They formalize the relation between the reducing and the reduced theory before and after the reduction using Bayesian networks, and thereby show that, post-reduction, the two theories are confirmatory of each other. They ask when a purported reduction should be accepted on epistemic grounds. To do so, they compare the prior and posterior probabilities of the conjunction of both theories before and after the reduction and ask how well each is confirmed by the available evidence**Comment:**This article is an interesting reading for advanced courses in philosophy of science or logic. It could serve as further reading for modules focused on Bayesian networks, reduction or confirmation. Previous knowledge of bayesianism is required for understanding the article. No previous knowledge of thermodynamics is needed.

#### Cauman, Leigh S. . *First Order Logic: An Introduction*

**Publisher’s Note:**This teaching book is designed to help its readers to reason systematically, reliably, and to some extent self-consciously, in the course of their ordinary pursuits-primarily in inquiry and in decision making. The principles and techniques recommended are explained and justified – not just stated; the aim is to teach orderly thinking, not the manipulation of symbols. The structure of material follows that of Quine’s Methods of Logic, and may be used as an introduction to that work, with sections on truth-functional logic, predicate logic, relational logic, and identity and description. Exercises are based on problems designed by authors including Quine, John Cooley, Richard Jeffrey, and Lewis Carroll.**Comment:**This book is adequate for a first course on formal logic. Moreover, its table of contents follows that of Quine's "Methods of Logic", thus it can serve as an introduction or as a reference text for the study of the latter.