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Can Joe Biden make America great again?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 8:00pm in

His skills as a fixer are finely honed – but they cannot restore a pre-Trump normality. As president, Biden’s private self, shadowed by loss, must come into its own

Every year after 1975, Joe Biden, his second wife Jill, his sons Beau and Hunter and their growing families, would gather for Thanksgiving on Nantucket island off Cape Cod. Part of the annual ritual was that the Bidens would take a photograph of themselves in front of a quaint old house in the traditional New England style that stood above the dunes on their favourite beach.

In November 2014, when Biden was serving as Barack Obama’s vice-president, he found, where the house should have been, an empty space marked out by yellow police tape. The building, he wrote in his memoir Promise Me, Dad had “finally run out of safe ground and run out of time; it had been swept out into the Atlantic”.

There has been an open attempt to turn the US into an authoritarian regime – what has happened once can happen again

Biden has to create a bold departure from the hollow promises of the American dream and towards a new, real equality

Continue reading...

New Target Releases

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/01/2021 - 1:24am in



BBC Books has announced seven new titles in the Doctor Who Target range, all publishing on 11th March 2021, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry. 

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s holds a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963  and 1989, with just five notable exceptions.

Since 2012, BBC Books has been successfully reissuing these classic paperbacks and expanding the Target range to include all-new novelisations of modern-era Doctor Who episodes.  

These latest novelisations, almost all by the original writers of the TV episodes, will help Target fans finally complete their classic-era collection, and take the Target range into its next incarnation.  

They include the long-awaited Target editions of Eric Saward’s Resurrection of the Daleks and  Revelation of the Daleks; The Pirate Planet by James Goss which is based on the scripts by Douglas  Adams; as well as a reissue of Gary Russell’s novelisation of The TV Movie starring Paul McGann.  

To complete the set are three new-era novelisations: The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss, Dalek by  Robert Shearman, and The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson.

The Witchfinders is the first Thirteenth  Doctor adventure to be published on the Target list, and the first to carry the new-look Target branding, with the current Doctor Who logo, that will appear on all future Target releases. 


Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet 

Douglas Adams and James Goss 

The Fourth Doctor and Romana arrive at the right place to find the wrong planet.

Douglas Adams is best known as the creator of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started life as a BBC Radio 4 series. The book went on to be a No. 1 bestseller. He followed this success with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980); Life, The Universe and Everything (1982); So Long and Thanks for all the Fish (1984); Mostly Harmless (1992) and many more. He sold over 15 million books in the UK, the US and Australia. Douglas died unexpectedly in May  2001 at the age of 49.

James Goss is the author of the novelisation of Douglas Adams’ City of Death, as well as several other  Doctor Who books. While at the BBC James produced an adaptation of Shada, an unfinished Douglas Adams Doctor Who story, and Dirk is his award-winning stage adaptation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic  Detective Agency. He won Best Audiobook 2010 for Dead Air and his books Dead of Winter and First  Born were both nominated for the 2012 British Fantasy Society Awards.


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Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks 

Eric Saward 

The TARDIS is ensnared in a time corridor, catapulting it into derelict docklands on 20th century Earth. The Fifth Doctor and his companions, Tegan and Turlough, stumble on a warehouse harbouring fugitives from the future at the far end of the corridor – and are soon under attack from a Dalek assault force. 

Eric Saward has written for both radio and television, script edited Doctor Who for five years and also written four original stories for the show. During this time, he also novelised four scripts and wrote the first-ever Doctor Who radio serial. Recently he has completed a  graphic novel based around the adventures of Lytton. 


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Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks 

Eric Saward  


The Sixth Doctor and Peri land on the planet Necros to visit Tranquil Repose – a funerary home where the dead are interred and the near-dead placed in suspended animation until such time as their conditions can be cured.


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Doctor Who: The TV Movie 

Gary Russell 

The Eighth Doctor confronts the Master in modern-day San Francisco.

Gary Russell, previous Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures script editor, has written books on subjects such as Doctor Who, Frasier, The Simpsons and The Lord of the Rings movies. He is currently overseeing animated reimaginings of old 1960s missing Doctor Who stories for BBC Studios.


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Doctor Who: Dalek 

Robert Sheaman 

The Ninth Doctor and Rose discover an unexpected survivor of The Time War. 

Robert Shearman is an award-winning writer for television, radio and the stage, as well as several acclaimed short story collections, the first of which won him a World Fantasy Award, and Doctor Who audio scripts for Big Finish Productions. 


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Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror 

Mark Gatiss 

The Eleventh Doctor and Clara investigate something ghastly afoot in Victorian Yorkshire. 

Mark Gatiss is one of The League of Gentlemen from the award-winning television show, and the author of the novels The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber. He has also written acclaimed radio and television scripts, including episodes of Doctor Who. He co created and writes for the hit TV series Sherlock with Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat. 


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Doctor Who: The Witchfinders 

Joy Wilkinson 

The Thirteenth Doctor and companions battle an evil presence in 17th century Lincolnshire. 

Joy Wilkinson is an award-winning writer working across film, television, theatre and radio. As well as Doctor Who her TV credits include Nick Nickleby and The Watch. Her directing debut – the film Ma’am – is released in 2020.


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Cis Lit and the Trans Writer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/01/2021 - 3:40am in

What’s the one weird secret trans women know? Torrey Peters nails it in her new novel, Detransition, Baby.“Heterosexual cis people, while willfully ignoring...

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New: Virtual Publisher Showcases at the APA (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/01/2021 - 1:12am in

One of the pleasures of the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association (APA) is browsing the book displays. With the pandemic forcing the Eastern Division meeting online, it seemed like that wouldn’t be possible. Yet constraints can inspire innovation, and that is what has happened here.

In the following guest post*, Adam Hodgkin (@adamhodgkin), the chairman and co-founder of Exact Editions (and author of Following Searle on Twitter) explains how his company is working with the APA to create a virtual open digital display of books from multiple publishers.

Virtual Publisher Showcases
by Adam Hodgkin

The American Philosophical Association for its Eastern Meeting (January 7th – 17th) has organised an open digital display of 30+ new philosophy titles from 6+ publishers.

Although the display is free it is not Open Access in the way that term is used in libraries or by research funders. The free access is temporary, time-limited by software. But the display is free/open in two senses (1) to any web user who follows a Reading Room link—no subscription, pre-qualification or registration is required; (2) the book displays are to complete books, no pages are hidden, all of the books are readable, searchable and browse-able. The conference display is organised as a set of publisher-specific collections, but the full set can be accessed here.

Note that the access is to a temporary display and no content is available from the Reading Room link after 17 January, when the exhibition closes. There will be books shown from: Broadview, Brill, De Gruyter, Hackett, Oxford, Princeton, and Wiley. As it happens there will be very similar content available, again on a temporary basis, for the Central and Pacific meetings. So if a reader misses the event in January there will be further opportunities to sample the books.

The service uses a system of streamed access to Reading Rooms (each book having its own Reading Room) which has been developed by Exact Editions. It is the first time that the Exact Editions platform (built originally for consumer magazines) has been used extensively for book displays, but the company views the APA service as a potentially useful prototype for the wider use of Reading Rooms for a range of promotional services: review copies; inspection copies for instructors; sampling, or tasting, preliminary to the sale of print or digital books; book fairs; audience access to accompany blogs or conferences and other circumstances in which books can be useful digitally even when they are not being sold or subscribed.

The solution has been tested with philosophy books by the APA Blog. See their recent notice of The Murder of Professor Schlick. The Reading Room concept may be particularly suitable for online reviews, and philosophy, having an excellent online open access reviewing service, would be well placed to take advantage of it. When a good review appears, the publisher who has a Reading Room capability can, and we expect will, amplify the notice by posting or circulating a Reading Room for the book being discussed (one day, seven days, or 30 days being the default choices in the publisher’s tool box).

Exact Editions is positioning its service as a promotional platform for publishers in general, not as a sales or subscription service, and it may be particularly attractive to publishers with lists of highly illustrated or design-rich titles that are not well served by e-books formats. Why then start with philosophy titles? There may be an element of accident in the choice of a major philosophy conference as a venue to launch the notion of temporary but free access to complete digital books. But Daryl Rayner, Managing Director and co-founder of Exact Editions, notes that philosophy is similar to other academic disciplines a subject where “short term and temporary access to digital books should be the best way of promoting their value”. She adds that Exact Editions has also been rolling out promotional Reading Rooms for poetry books. So philosophy may be a subject particularly suitable for digital promotion, especially with temporary tools, precisely because the books are meant to last and a brief glimpse will never be enough to satisfy serious readers.

Although the APA showcases are temporary, the system of displayed Reading Rooms is a web-based streaming service and usable with other interactive tools. So it is straightforward to record and integrate sessions of database use with these digital books, projecting the session into interactive tools such as Skype, Zoom, PowerPoint, Teams, YouTube etc. Two recorded Zoom sessions from the APA collection are reproduced here:  an overview of the digital reading interface together with an appreciation of Ethical Reasoning, Theory and Application (Andrew Kernohan – Broadview Press) and a glimpse of  The Murder of Professor Schlick (David Edmonds – Princeton University Press).  These Zoom recordings,  by another Exact Editions co-founder, Adam Hodgkin, unlike the Reading Room links are not time-limited.

The post New: Virtual Publisher Showcases at the APA (guest post) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Positive note #10: book reading (non-fiction edition)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 3:01pm in



I’m going to end this little series of positive notes I started ten days ago with sharing several excellent nonfiction books I read in 2020. Last year, my goal was to read 52 books. A year ago I had set as my goal for 2020 60 books, not because I knew we’d all be experiencing a lockdown, but because I was supposed to be on sabbatical in the fall and figured I’d be able to make more time for it. (I was indeed on sabbatical this past fall, but I did not “go” on sabbatical in that I just stayed in Zurich rather than my original plan of spending it at my alma mater Smith College in a special visiting position. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule that for fall ’23.) It turns out, during lockdown March-May I didn’t read any books at all. I can’t explain it, but it’s not how I coped. Fortunately, during the rest of the year I caught up. I already posted separately my resulting fiction recommendations, now for the rest.

I started 2020 with a tough, but very important and well-written book: Know My Name by Chanel Miller. This is the story of the woman who had been sexually assaulted by Brock Turner on Stanford’s campus. She goes through so much of what happened in the aftermath including lots of discussion of the crazy legal system that lets people like Turner move on with their lives while the lives they assault are forever changed. I believe this should be required reading on university campuses. It would be very hard for 18-year-olds to process (it’s hard to process at any age), but valuable.


While we are on the topic of sexual assault, I found both She Said (2019) by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey as well as Catch and Kill (2019) by Ronan Farrow interesting and informative. While both are inspired by and explore Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse of women, the former goes well beyond that one case including details about the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. This broader focus was appealing to me and valuable beyond the one case. What you get more of in the Farrow book is details of the Weinstein case, especially the media’s role in covering it up for way too long. In many ways, the book is an indictment of NBC and a props to the New Yorker. On the whole, however, while the author mentions several times that this is not about him, it’s about the women, he is still rather front and center in the story, which was not particularly appealing. Overall, then, I rate She Said higher and if you were to read just one of the two, that’s the one I’d read.

On the topic of monsters who get away with way too much (and the media’s role in all that), I thought Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough (2020) about how Donald Trump came to be who he is was very insightful. It must have been a hard book to write, there is a lot of dirty laundry in that family and a lot of it is very painful for several members. While nothing justifies all the revolting behaviors over the years, the book did help me feel a bit less bewildered by where all of that would come from. Again, not as a justification, but as an origins question.

Aaand one more on the world giving a pass to some people for way too long concerned the story of Elizabeth Holmes as told by John Carreyrou in Bad Blood (2018). (The twist here is that it concerns a young woman.) If this was a fictional account, I suspect the book would be critiqued for being far too out there. But no, it all happened. Fairly early on (as in not even close to halfway into the book) I was already thinking that there was enough evidence to see the issues and was not sure what could be the topic of the remainder of the book, but the crazy just continued. And continued. It’s a very engaging read.


In the summer, I read several books on racial justice as I hope others did as well. I was rather late to Between the World and Me (2015) by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It deserves all the praise it has gotten. It’s beautiful and raw and an absolute must-read. Another quick read while also engaging is Austin Channing Brown’s I’m Still Here (2018). The author shares personal experiences that are helpful in getting a glimpse of the exhaustion and exasperation that Black people endure day in and day out while simply going about their everyday lives.

To understand the calls for defunding the police, I read The End of Policing (2017) by Alex Vitale. It was extremely informative while also immensely depressing. There is helpful background in how the system came about and has evolved. In addition to racial discrimination, the book has chapters dedicated to LGBTQ issues, people with mental illness, immigration and border control, to name a few. The author quotes lots of helpful statistics. I’ve always been disgusted by the private prison system in the US, this book clarifies why it is so problematic (e.g., how pouring a fraction of the cost into social services for people in need would be much more meaningful).


I enjoy reading memoirs especially of people whose lives are very different from mine. I give high marks to both Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (2016) and Over the Top (2019) by Jonathan Van Ness. I very much appreciate just how much of a feminist Rhimes is and how this is reflected in her life. I was not at all familiar with Van Ness (but I understand now that he has quite a following) having never seen Queer Eye (I simply have no interest in the reality TV genre), nonetheless I found this book interesting to learn about how he ended up in Hollywood from a small Midwestern town. I most appreciated the love he shows for his mother and her support along the way. (In case anyone is wondering, I did end up watching one episode of the show out of curiosity. That was more than plenty for me.)


Shifting gears, I read two helpful books about book publishing. Thinking Like Your Editor (2003) by Susan Rabiner came highly recommended and I understand why. It is very helpful for thinking through your writing even if you’re not in the midst of trying to get a contract for a book or working on your manuscript. It is especially relevant for those looking to publish nonfiction work beyond the university press world. That is not my current goal, but I still found it educational. So You Want to Publish a Book? (2020) by Anne Trubek is a short read by an independent publisher. The author describes several parts of the book publishing process that don’t get talked about much so it was interesting to learn about certain behind-the-scenes processes (as applied to an independent press at least).

I was fascinated by the material (pun intended) in Stuff Matters (2014) by Mark Miodownik. Who knew materials science could be so engaging? The author has a great sense of humor that he applies to describing a wide range of materials from cement to chocolate to diamonds.


I’ll finish with two books related to my various hobbies. Art Matters (2018) by Neil Gaiman is a too-short (meaning that I wish it had gone on longer) love letter to libraries and the importance of creativity. Leave Only Footprints (2020) by Conor Knighton is a fantastic engagement with US national park. Beyond telling the wonders of the parks based on his visit to all of them during the course of one year, the author does not shy away from difficult topics like how Native Americans were ousted from their lands and why it’s important that Americans of all backgrounds feel welcomed at the parks including African Americans who have too long been discriminated against. It’s a nice and thoughtful 21st century reflection on the parks.

I read a few dozen other books (over 60 in total, which I was happy with, but it doesn’t come close to Doug K’s 200, not that it’s a competition;-) and liked several others among them. The list above includes the ones I recommend the most. What nonfiction did you enjoy this year?

End-of-year positives: fiction

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/12/2020 - 4:37pm in



I decided to dedicate two separate posts to books, this one is for fiction. I usually don’t read much fiction so last year I wouldn’t have had enough to write about for such a post (and what I did read I didn’t like so wouldn’t have wanted to write about it). I still don’t have that much, the hope is that you’ll add your own. Like last year, this is not about books that were published in 2020, I am just sharing what I read in 2020 and recommend.

My big reading innovation this year, by the way, was listening to audiobooks. It helped me read more since I can still follow along comfortably at 1.5x speed, often even 1.75x or 2x speed, which is definitely faster than I read. Importantly, it lets me multitask so I can make progress on a book while cooking or working on a jigsaw puzzle (one of my pandemic sanity preoccupations although some of you may recall that this wasn’t a pandemic novelty for me).

This book is definitely not new, it’s even been made into a movie already (I haven’t seen it), but I only came across it this year: Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007). It’s a tough topic, early onset Alzheimer’s in an academic. It’s beautifully written and the best fictional depiction of academia I have seen (but again, to be fair, I don’t see that much fiction). It did make me rather paranoid, but following up on the book I also read about things one can do to help delay onset (FWIW, solving crossword puzzles is not one of them).

I no longer remember how I came across Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (2018), but I’m glad I did. Most reviews I read said nothing about the main character being on the autism spectrum, but it definitely reads like it. I enjoyed how the author portrayed her (the character’s) perspective on very much everyday things and interactions. I generally like the idea of not conforming to people’s expectations and that is precisely what the main character does.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang (2019) is a collection of stories, some of them short, others over 100 pages long. They are delightful stories. All of them make you think about the implications of technologies in our lives. The varied and colorful ways in which the author talks about humans and tech is both lovely and thought-provoking.

For younger readers and those young at heart, I recommend Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017) and Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (2019) both by Dusti Bowling. They’re about a middle school (and then high school) girl who does not have arms (more the focus of the first book than the second although given bullying so characteristic of high school, it remains part of the story). She ends up becoming good friends with a boy who has Tourette syndrome and one who struggles with being teased about his weight. There are several other interesting characters and storylines.

What fiction did you enjoy this past year?

(Economics) books to read over summer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/12/2020 - 10:47am in



The Deficit Myth: How to Build a Better Economy

Stephanie Kelton, Hachette Australia

No book prepared ahead of time better targeted the year in economics.

Just as governments including Australia’s were embracing debt (A$800 billion and counting) and creating money out of nowhere ($200 billion scheduled) came a treatise explaining that at times like these (actually, at any time when the resources of the economy aren’t fully employed) that’s entirely responsible.

Stephanie Kelton’s book has rightly been displayed on Alan Kohler’s desk, and Kohler himself has become a convert to modern monetary theory which the book outlines in the clearest of terms.

Kelton explains that in an economy such as Australia’s the purpose of tax isn’t to raise money but to slow spending, and something else: demanding the payment of tax in Australian dollars forces Australians to use Australian dollars.

The example of teenagers not cleaning up around the house that she used in her talk at Adelaide University in January is priceless. You can watch the video here.

Economics in the Age of COVID-19

Joshua Gans, MIT Press

Written as we were coming to grips with what to do, and posted online chapter by chapter to get real-time feedback, the Australian author’s flash of inspiration was that we have experience in shutting down an economy and then restarting it.

We do it every Christmas writes Joshua Gans, and “no-one screams depression”.

That his way of seeing things now dominates talk about the pandemic doesn’t make it less radical. It’s partly because of his insights, published in April, that most governments no longer think that in this crisis they can trade off health against wealth.

He persuades by analogy. Fans of Mission Impossible II, the computer game Plague Inc and the came of chess will appreciate the references.

Radical Uncertainty

Mervyn King, John Kay, Hachette Australia

The idea that every possibility can be reduced to a number, to a probability, is what makes simple mathematical economics work. It’s what makes insurance and credit ratings and assessments of the risk of getting coronavirus work. And it is wrong, as became clear in the devastation caused by the global financial crisis.

By itself, that’s not a particularly useful observation, but what is useful is the author’s discovery of where the idea that probability could be reduced to a simple number came from. The Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman shares much of the blame. He insisted that every uncertainty could be reduced a number that a rational utility-maximising human being could use to make decisions.

Before Friedman and contemporaries, there used to be two numbers, one representing risk, and the other representing uncertainty, which are quite different things and can’t be thrown together.

If you’re too busy for the book, try the London School of Economics podcast.

Fully Grown: Why A Stagnant Economy Is A Sign Of Success

Dietrich Vollrath, University of Chicago Press

Advanced economies may or may not roar out of the recession, but they are unlikely to boom as they did before. For decade after decade throughout the 1900s annual economic growth has been strong, averaging 2% per capita in the US.

In the first two decades of the 2000’s that growth has been weak, averaging 1% – only half of what it did.

Dietrich Vollrath, who blogs on growth and had no preconceptions, approached the puzzle as a mystery and found that the usual suspects (rising inequality, slower innovation, competition from China) didn’t explain enough.

The extra comes from success. The populations of the US and kindred nations have become so rich and (on average) old that having more children and striving for even higher incomes no longer makes sense.

The technical stuff is at the back. The message from the front is that we’ve arrived at our destination, which needn’t be a bad thing.

Economics in Two Lessons

John Quiggin, Princeton University Press

I’ve slipped this one in from 2019 for a reason. John Quiggin is about to publish a sequel, The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic.

Economics in One Lesson, published in 1946 financial journalist Henry Hazlitt, was a homage to the power of prices in a free market.

In lesson one (the first half of the book) Quiggin teases out Hazlitt’s thinking, and in lesson two shows how it follows from it that in many circumstances the market has to be contained.

Central to both lessons is opportunity cost, “what you give up in order to get something”, the most important concept in economics.

Polluters will make the wrong decisions if the cost of their pollution (largely borne by others) isn’t charged for. It’s a persuasive and increasingly-pressing argument.

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The ConversationPeter Martin is economics correspondent for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He blogs at and tweets at @1petermartin.

David Tennant Offers "Around the World in 80 Days" Production Update

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/12/2020 - 3:35am in

With production back underway after a COVID-related pause to production, David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) offered viewers an update on the upcoming adaptation of Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days. Accepting the Digital Spy Reader Awards 2020 award for "Best Actor (Male)" for his portrayal of real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV's […]

The post David Tennant Offers "Around the World in 80 Days" Production Update appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

‘American Bonds’ by Sarah Quinn — The Best Book in Economic Sociology and Political Economy for 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/12/2020 - 12:34pm in

The ES/PE global academic community is pleased to announce the granting of the Best Book in Economic Sociology and Political Economy Award for 2020 to Sarah Quinn‘s superb, enlightening, thoroughly researched and engagingly written American Bonds: How Credit Markets Shaped a … Continue reading →

2020 Journal of the History of Philosophy Book Prize

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 21/12/2020 - 7:00pm in


award, Books

The 2020 Journal of the History of Philosophy (JHP) Book Prize, for books published in 2019, has been awarded to Sanford Shieh, professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University.

Dr. Shieh won the award for his Necessity Lost: Modality and Logic in Early Analytic Philosophy, vol. 1 (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

A long tradition, going back to Aristotle, conceives of logic in terms of necessity and possibility: a deductive argument is correct if it is not possible for the conclusion to be false when the premises are true. A relatively unknown feature of the analytic tradition in philosophy is that, at its very inception, this venerable conception of the relation between logic and necessity and possibility—the concepts of modality—was put into question. The founders of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell, held that these concepts are empty: there are no genuine distinctions among the necessary, the possible, and the actual. In this book, the first of two volumes, Sanford Shieh investigates the grounds of this position and its consequences for Frege’s and Russell’s conceptions of logic. The grounds lie in doctrines on truth, thought, and knowledge, as well as on the relation between mind and reality, that are central to the philosophies of Frege and Russell, and are of enduring philosophical interest. The upshot of this opposition to modality is that logic is fundamental, and, to be coherent, modal concepts would have to be reconstructed in logical terms. This rejection of modality in early analytic philosophy remains of contemporary significance, though the coherence of modal concepts is rarely questioned nowadays because it is generally assumed that suspicion of modality derives from logical positivism, which has not survived philosophical scrutiny. The anti-modal arguments of Frege and Russell, however, have nothing to do with positivism and remain a challenge to the contemporary acceptance of modal notions.

You can read a review of Necessity Lost at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and at the journal, History and Philosophy of Logic (paywalled).

The prize is $5000.

Honorable Mention for the award goes to Ada Bronowski, lecturer in philosophy at the New College of Humanities, London, for her book, The Stoics on Lekta: All There Is to Say (Oxford University Press, 2019), which, according to JHP Book Review Editor Jean-Luc Solère (Boston College), “came in as a very close second.” Here’s the publisher’s description of Dr. Bonowski’s book:

After Plato’s Forms, and Aristotle’s substances, the Stoics posited the fundamental reality of lekta—the meanings of sentences, distinct from the sentences themselves. This is the first time in the tradition of Western philosophy that what is signified is properly distinguished from signs and signifiers. The Stoics on Lekta offers a synoptic treatment of the many implications of this distinction, which grants an existential autonomy to lekta: language can only ever express meanings, but what happens to meanings which are there, ready to be said, but which are never actually expressed? It analyses the deep shift in ontological paradigm required by the presence of lekta in reality, and reveals a truly unique, complex, and consistent cosmic view in which lekta are the keystones of the structure of reality. According to this view, we cannot not speak or think in terms of lekta, and for this reason, they are in fact all there is to say. The Stoics’ position ignited many fiery debates in antiquity and continues to do so in the modern era: they were the first to be concerned with questions about language and grammar, and the first to put the relation of language to reality at the heart of the enquiry into human understanding and the place of man in the cosmos. Such questions remain central to life and philosophy to this day, and by explicitly comparing and contrasting the themes and topics discussed to twentieth-century treatments of the status of the proposition, propositional structure, speech act theory, and the relation of attribution of the predicate to a subject-term, this volume seeks to demonstrate the enduring value of a direct Stoic contribution to the contemporary debate.

The JHP review of The Stoics on Lekta is here (paywalled).

The post 2020 Journal of the History of Philosophy Book Prize appeared first on Daily Nous.