Expanding the representation of Document Acts

What is a document act? It is an intentional act that changes social arrangements by means of a document. A deontic role is a social role that inheres in an agent (an individual, aggregate of individuals, or an organization) that is grounded in the normative expectations of others. Some document acts can only be performed by those who bear the appropriate roles. E.g., a pastor in virtue of bearing the role has the power to pronounce marriage and sign a marriage license.

Fallacious and non-fallacious Whataboutism

In my view, many so-called ‘fallacies’ have rational counterparts. A fallacy is just a counterfeit for sound or cogent reasoning. It looks like good reasoning, but it is off in a subtle way. It is because there is a legitimate form of reasoning adjacent to the fallacy, which explains why the fallacy is so appealing. Someone asked on Reddit “Is whataboutism always fallacious?“ Here’s my reply: Bringing up someone else’s lack of consistency across cases is not fallacious in and of itself. It’s basically an appeal to say “Show me your principles, so I can understand you” and follow-up “But … Continue reading Fallacious and non-fallacious Whataboutism

The Method to Science, Book 1 now available

I have now made the entire text The Method to Science, Book I, available online! Rather than continue to make each less available piecemeal, which I can do later (it is rather tedious to reformat and tailor everything to HTML), the entire text is now available as a PDF. It can be downloaded here: I intend to create the next layer (updating spelling, such as ‘meerly’ -> ‘merely’, ‘compleat’ -> ‘complete’) after I finish the remaining books. There is so much to say by way of commentary. Much of what he offers is a fairly clear and straightforward case … Continue reading The Method to Science, Book 1 now available

Method to Science, Lessons 2 and 3

I have posted the two most recent lessons from Sergeant’s Method to Science. First, some editing notes, and then some philosophical insights from Lessons II and III worth mentioning. Editing notes. I have changed some conventions a little bit. First off, I am including both Sergeant’s marginal notes and mine in-text with a set-bracket, e.g. “{Sect. 7.}” and “{Latin: ‘secondary substance’}”, respectively. I use these because the normal brackets “[ ]” are used by Sergeant extensively to clarify his own speech or highlight a technical term, so I want to preserve a distinction between Sergeant’s voice and my own, to … Continue reading Method to Science, Lessons 2 and 3

Works of John Sergeant, electronic

I began a project in my spare time of editing and cleaning up extant electronic versions of the works of the early modern philosopher and theologian, John Sergeant (1623-1707). The most famous and most easily available are his Method to Science (1696), Solid Philosophy (1697), and Transnatural Philosophy (1700). You can go to the “John Sergeant” link in the menu to see what chapters and sections are available thus far. One of my concerns has been to perform this project with the rigor of text criticism in mind. First it means that any changes I make, I document them or … Continue reading Works of John Sergeant, electronic

Phase 10 Score Tracking Spreadsheet

Want to keep track of scores Phase 10 but don’t want to use paper? There really wasn’t any easy way to do it electronically. I can’t think of an app that would do this well. Here’s what I would want the score keeper to be able to do: enter in numbers and the total score is calculated automatically keep track of who has completed a phase in a round easily calculate which phase each player is on Well, could a spreadsheet do that? Yes! Yes it can! Here’s mine: And here’s the template version: It accomplishes all of the … Continue reading Phase 10 Score Tracking Spreadsheet

Bible Reading Plan Spreadsheet

I wanted to start doing the Robert M’Cheyne Bible reading plan this year. In it there is about 4 chapters per day, organized to have two from the Old Testament, and two from the New. There is an emphasis on reading the New Testament twice throughout the year. Here’s a PDF of M’Cheyne’s plan with some pros and cons mentioned at the start: No big deal – there are a lot of ways to keep track. Well, I’m the kind of guy I don’t want to have paper around, so I’d like to avoid printing something off. I also … Continue reading Bible Reading Plan Spreadsheet

Informed Consent Ontology – ICBO 2019

ICBO 2019 : International Conference on Biomedical Ontology 2019 Poster: Using Stases to Enrich When and Where Regulations are in Force Abstract: Using Stases to Enrich When and Where Regulations are in Force Ontologies in OWL suffer limitations in time-indexing, yet these difficulties may be overcome with the use of the class ‘stasis’ in the Common Core Ontologies. The Informed Consent Ontology exemplifies an effective implementation of stases for tracking whether a biospecimen or informed consent process is subject to regulations in the relevant jurisdiction. Other OBO Foundry ontologies may be similarly improved by using stases.


I am a PhD student at the University of Buffalo working on the Problem of Universals. My focus is on the Early Modern period. This functions as a window into many other philosophical problems, including those of interest to a broader academic community, such as those found in applied ethics (e.g., biomedical ethics or professional ethics) and in applied ontology (e.g., a representation of what exists in, say, the relationships between paper documents and the information they contain or the obligations they prescribe).