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Peter Ludlow

Peter Ludlow, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, is the author of Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language (MIT Press, 1999), among other books, and the editor of Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias (MIT Press, 2001) and High Noon on the Electronic Frontier (MIT Press, 1996).

Titles by This Author

A BIT of The Second Life Herald

This BIT chronicles the migration of virtual journalist Urizenus Sklar (the avatar of author Peter Ludlow) from The Sims Online to Second Life. Banned from TSO for journalistic truth-telling, Urizenus finds a new home in Second Life, where he and other TSO refugees learn to live in a labor-intensive, richly creative virtual world of resident-created content.

Purchasers of this MIT Press BIT will also receive a discount code (good on the MIT Press website only) for 40% off the price of the book The Second Life Herald, from which this BIT is excerpted. Please email mitbits@mit.edu with your order number to receive your discount code.

The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse

When a virtual journalist for a virtual newspaper reporting on the digital world of an online game lands on the real-world front page of the New York Times, it just might signal the dawn of a new era. Virtual journalist Peter Ludlow was banned from The Sims Online for being a bit too good at his job--for reporting in his virtual tabloid The Alphaville Herald on the cyber-brothels, crimes, and strong-arm tactics that had become rife in the game--and when the Times, the BBC, CNN, and other media outlets covered the story, users all over the Internet called the banning censorship. Seeking a new virtual home, Ludlow moved the Herald to another virtual world--the powerful online environment of Second Life--just as it was about the explode onto the international mediascape and usher in the next iteration of the Internet. In The Second Life Herald, Ludlow and his colleague Mark Wallace take us behind the scenes of the Herald as they report on the emergence of a fascinating universe of virtual spaces that will become the next generation of the World Wide Web: a 3-D environment that provides richer, more expressive interactions than the Web we know today. In 1992, science fiction writer Neal Stephenson imagined “the Metaverse,” a virtual space that we would enter via the Internet and in which we would conduct important parts of our daily lives. According to Ludlow and Wallace, that future is coming sooner than we may think. They chronicle its chaotic, exhilarating, frightening birth, including the issue that the mainstream media often ignore: conflicts across the client-server divide over who should write the laws governing virtual worlds. Peter Ludlow, Professor of Philosophy and James B. and Grace J. Nelson Fellow at the University of Michigan, is the author of Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language (MIT Press, 1999), among other books, and the editor of Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias (MIT Press, 2001) and High Noon on the Electronic Frontier (MIT Press, 1996). A freelance journalist, Mark Wallace has written widely on virtual worlds and online games for a variety of publications, including Wired and The New York Times. He is the editor of leading metaverse blog 3pointD.com, and an author of Second Life: The Official Guide.

An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language

According to Peter Ludlow, there is a very close relation between the structure of natural language and that of reality, and one can gain insights into long-standing metaphysical questions by studying the semantics of natural language. In this book Ludlow uses the metaphysics of time as a case study and focuses on the dispute between A-theorists and B-theorists about the nature of time. According to B-theorists, there is no genuine change, but a permanent sequence of events ordered by an earlier-than/later-than relation. According to the version of the A-theory adopted by Ludlow (a position sometimes called "presentism"), there are no past or future events or times; what makes something past or future is how the world stands right now.Ludlow argues that each metaphysical picture is tied to a particular semantical theory of tense and that the dispute can be adjudicated on semantical grounds. A presentism-compatible semantics, he claims, is superior to a B-theory semantics in a number of respects, including its abilities to handle the indexical nature of temporal discourse and to account for facts about language acquisition. Along the way, Ludlow develops a conception of "E-type" temporal anaphora that can account for both temporal anaphora and complex tenses without reference to past and future events. His view has philosophical consequences for theories of logic, self-knowledge, and memory. As for linguistic consequences, Ludlow suggests that the very idea of grammatical tense may have to be dispensed with and replaced with some combination of aspect, modality, and evidentiality.

Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace

Peter Ludlow has culled from various sources, both print and electronic, key articles on hot cyberspace policy issues, together with lively extracts from online discussions of these issues. These include the standard academic pieces along with "rants and manifestos" on a broad range of issues from the denizens of cyberspace and reflect the discourse of cyberspace itself. At times they have what Ludlow terms "a certain gonzo quality," but nonetheless they raise serious conceptual issues in a way that illustrates precisely what is at stake. The topics covered in this timely compilation include privacy, property rights, hacking and cracking, encryption, censorship, and self and community on-line.

Titles by This Editor

Classical Problems/Contemporary Issues

The Philosophy of Mind remains the only sourcebook of primary readings offering in-depth coverage of both historical works and contemporary controversies in philosophy of mind. This second edition provides expanded treatment of classical as well as current topics, with many additional readings and a new section on mental content. The writers included range from Aristotle, Descartes, and William James to such leading contemporary thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and Jaegwon Kim. The 83 selections provide a thorough survey of five areas of enduring controversy: the mind-body problem, mental causation, mental content, innatism and modularity, and associationism and connectionism. Each section includes an introductory overview of the topic by the editors as well as suggestions for further reading.

The selections added for the second edition serve both to enhance historical coverage and to update contemporary issues, especially in areas of current empirical research such as connectionism and innatism. Changes to historical coverage include a wider array of readings on classic positions as well as neglected precursors to views often considered recent innovations. The section on the mind-body problem in particular has been greatly expanded, including numerous selections on consciousness and phenomenal qualities (qualia). The book is ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy and the history of psychology and will be useful both as a reference for researchers and a self-contained survey for the general reader.

Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument

In Frank Jackson's famous thought experiment, Mary is confined to a black-and-white room and educated through black-and-white books and lectures on a black-and-white television. In this way, she learns everything there is to know about the physical world. If physicalism—the doctrine that everything is physical—is true, then Mary seems to know all there is to know. What happens, then, when she emerges from her black-and-white room and sees the color red for the first time? Jackson's knowledge argument says that Mary comes to know a new fact about color, and that, therefore, physicalism is false. The knowledge argument remains one of the most controversial and important arguments in contemporary philosophy.

There's Something About Mary—the first book devoted solely to the argument—collects the main essays in which Jackson presents (and later rejects) his argument along with key responses by other philosophers. These responses are organized around a series of questions: Does Mary learn anything new? Does she gain only know-how (the ability hypothesis), or merely get acquainted with something she knew previously (the acquaintance hypothesis)? Does she learn a genuinely new fact or an old fact in disguise? And finally, does she really know all the physical facts before her release, or is this a "misdescription"? The arguments presented in this comprehensive collection have important implications for the philosophy of mind and the study of consciousness.

Edited by Peter Ludlow

In Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias, Peter Ludlow extends the approach he used so successfully in High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, offering a collection of writings that reflects the eclectic nature of the online world, as well as its tremendous energy and creativity. This time the subject is the emergence of governance structures within online communities and the visions of political sovereignty shaping some of those communities. Ludlow views virtual communities as laboratories for conducting experiments in the construction of new societies and governance structures. While many online experiments will fail, Ludlow argues that given the synergy of the online world, new and superior governance structures may emerge. Indeed, utopian visions are not out of place, provided that we understand the new utopias to be fleeting localized "islands in the Net" and not permanent institutions.The book is organized in five sections. The first section considers the sovereignty of the Internet. The second section asks how widespread access to resources such as Pretty Good Privacy and anonymous remailers allows the possibility of "Crypto Anarchy"--essentially carving out space for activities that lie outside the purview of nation states and other traditional powers. The third section shows how the growth of e-commerce is raising questions of legal jurisdiction and taxation for which the geographic boundaries of nation-states are obsolete. The fourth section looks at specific experimental governance structures evolved by online communities. The fifth section considers utopian and anti-utopian visions for cyberspace.Contributors Richard Barbrook, John Perry Barlow, William E. Baugh Jr., David S. Bennahum, Hakim Bey, David Brin, Andy Cameron, Dorothy E. Denning, Mark Dery, Kevin Doyle, Duncan Frissell, Eric Hughes, Karrie Jacobs, David Johnson, Peter Ludlow, Timothy C. May, Jennifer L. Mnookin, Nathan Newman, David G. Post, Jedediah S. Purdy, Charles J. Stivale.

Edited by Peter Ludlow

Throughout the history of ideas, various branches of philosophy have spun off into the natural sciences, including physics, biology, and perhaps most recently, cognitive psychology. A central theme of this collection is that the philosophy of language, at least a core portion of it, has matured to the point where it is now being spun off into linguistic theory. Each section of the book contains historical (twentieth-century) readings and, where available, recent attempts to apply the resources of contemporary linguistic theory to the problems under discussion. This approach helps to root the naturalization project in the leading questions of analytic philosophy. Although the older readings predate the current naturalization project, they help to lay its conceptual foundations. The main sections of the book, each of which is preceded by an introduction, are Language and Meaning, Logical Form and Grammatical Form, Descriptions, Names, Demonstratives, and Attitude Reports.

The collection is not intended as a final report on a mature line of philosophical inquiry. Rather, its purpose is to show students what doing real philosophy is all about and to let them share in the excitement as philosophers enter a period in which how philosophy of language is conducted could change in fundamental ways.