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Adeel, M. Ashraf, and . Evolution of Quine’s Thinking on the Thesis of Underdetermination and Scott Soames’s Accusation of Paradoxicality

2015, HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5(1): 56-69.

Abstract: Scott Soames argues that interpreted in the light of Quine’s holistic verificationism, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination leads to a contradiction. It is contended here that if we pay proper attention to the evolution of Quine’s thinking on the subject, particularly his criterion of theory individuation, Quine’s thesis of underdetermination escapes Soames’ charge of paradoxicality.

Comment: Good as a secondary reading for those who are confident with Quine's thesis of underdetermination. Recomended for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science.

Ahmed, Arif, and . Saul Kripke (Contemporary American Thinkers)

2007, Bloomsbury.

Introduction: Saul Kripke is one of the most important and original post-war analytic philosophers. His work has undeniably had a profound impact on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. Yet his ideas are amongst the most challenging frequently encountered by students of philosophy. In this informative and accessible book, Arif Ahmed provides a clear and thorough account of Kripke’s philosophy, his major works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the important and complex thought of this key philosopher. The book offers a detailed review of his two major works, Naming and Necessity and Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, and explores how Kripke’s ideas often seem to overturn widely accepted views and even perceptions of common sense. Geared towards the specific requirements of students who need to reach a sound understanding of Kripke’s thought, the book provides a cogent and reliable survey of the nature and significance of Kripke’s contribution to philosophy. This is the ideal companion to the study of this most influential and challenging of philosophers.

Comment: This would be very useful in a course on philosophy of language, the work of Saul Kripke, a course on metaphysics which dealt with essences or the necessary a posteriori, or a course dealing with Wittgenstein's views on rule-following and private languages. There are separate chapters on names, necessity, rule-following, and private languages; so a syllabus could make use of these individually depending on need, rather than the entire book. Suitable for undergraduates and graduates.

Beebee, Helen, and . Hume on Causation

2006, Routledge

Publisher’s Note: Hume on Causation is the first major work dedicated to Hume’s views on causation in over fifteen years, and it argues that Hume does not subscribe to any of the three views he is traditionally credited with. The first view is the ‘regularity view of causation’. The second is the view that the world appears to us as a world of unconnected events, and the third is inductive scepticism: the view that the ‘problem of induction’, the problem of providing a justification for inference from observed to unobserved regularities, is insoluble.It places Hume’s interest in causation within the context of his theory of the mind and his theory of causal reasoning, arguing that Hume’s conception of causation derives from his conception of the nature of the inference from causes to effects.

Comment: This book serves as an introduction to the topic of causation. Beebee covers all the major issues and debates in the topic. The books offers an overview that can help undergraduates to learn about the problem of causation and necessity connection. It could be useful as well for postgraduates who want to research Hume's views.

Cohon, Rachel, and . Hume’s Moral Philosophy

2010, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]

Introduction: Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (see Section 3) (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason (see Section 4). (3) Moral distinctions are derived from the moral sentiments: feelings of approval (esteem, praise) and disapproval (blame) felt by spectators who contemplate a character trait or action (see Section 7). (4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). There is heated debate about what Hume intends by each of these theses and how he argues for them. He articulates and defends them within the broader context of his metaethics and his ethic of virtue and vice.

Hume’s main ethical writings are Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, “Of Morals” (which builds on Book 2, “Of the Passions”), his Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and some of his Essays. In part the moral Enquiry simply recasts central ideas from the moral part of the Treatise in a more accessible style; but there are important differences. The ethical positions and arguments of the Treatise are set out below, noting where the moral Enquiry agrees; differences between the Enquiry and the Treatise are discussed afterwards.

Comment:

Coliva, Annalisa, and . Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology

2015, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher’s Note: Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein’s idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, of our belief in the existence of the past and of other minds, and the nature of testimonial justification. Along the way, further technical issues, such as the scope of the Principle of Closure of epistemic operators under known entailment, the notion of transmission failure, and the existence of entitlements are addressed in new and illuminating ways.

Comment: In this interesting book, Annalisa Coliva develops an account of the structure of justification inspired by Wittgenstein's epistemology (Ch.1-3), argues a constitutivism about epistemic rationality (Ch.4) and reveals its significance for many contemporary problems (Ch.5). Ch.1 involves a overview of three dominant views of perceptual warrants: liberalism, conservativism and moderatism, so it could be a useful reading material for teachings on epistemic justification and perceptual warrant. Ch.4 can be used as a further reading for topics on epistemic rationality, Wittgenstein's epistemology and external world skepticism.

Coliva, Annalisa, and . Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty, and Common Sense

2010, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher’s Note: Does scepticism threaten our common sense picture of the world? Does it really undermine our deep-rooted certainties? This book offers an answer to these questions through a comparative study of the epistemological work of two key figures in the history of analytic philosophy: G. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein. While historically accurate and engaging with scholarly work in this area, the book also puts forward novel interpretations of their works and brings out their relevance to present-day debates both in epistemology and philosophy of language.

Comment: This book is a useful and sustained examination of a variety of themes in Wittgenstein's On Certainty, the very late compilation of remarks inspired by G.E. Moore's engagement with scepticism and idealism in "A Defence of Common Sense," "Proof of an External World" and a few other papers. Among the topics considered are the strategies of Moore's arguments, ordinary and philosophical uses of language, differing interpretations of Moore, externalism, internalism and contextualism, Wittgenstein's objections to Moore, meaning and use, language games, Cartesian and Humean sceptical arguments, the epistemic and semantic status of so-called "hinge" propositions, epistemic relativism, and a comparison of Wittgenstein's and Moore's views with those of subsequent philosophers. It thus constitutes a very good reading or even central text for a course on Moore's epistemology, Wittgenstein's epistemology and external world skepticism.

Ginsborg, Hannah, and . Aesthetic Judgment and Perceptual Normativity

2006, Inquiry 49(5): 403-437.

Abstract: I draw a connection between the question, raised by Hume and Kant, of how aesthetic judgments can claim universal agreement, and the question, raised in recent discussions of nonconceptual content, of how concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. Developing an idea suggested by Kant’s linkage of aesthetic judgment with the capacity for empirical conceptualization, I propose that both questions can be resolved by appealing to the idea of “perceptual normativity”. Perceptual experience, on this proposal, involves the awareness of its own appropriateness with respect to the object perceived, where this appropriateness is more primitive than truth or veridicality. This means that a subject can take herself to be perceiving an object as she (and anyone else) ought to perceive it, without first recognizing the object as falling under a corresponding concept. I motivate the proposal through a criticism of Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition, which, I argue, rests on a confusion between the notion of a way something is perceived, and that of a way it is perceived as being. Whereas Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition depends on an illicit slide between these two notions, the notion of perceptual normativity allows a legitimate transition between them: if someone’s perceiving something a certain way involves her taking it that she ought to perceive it that way, then she perceives the thing as being a certain way, so that the corresponding concept is available to her in perceptual experience.

Comment: This paper will mainly be of relevance in relation to the antinomy or paradox of taste, a problem famously examined by Hume and Kant. It may also be of use in relation to topics in the Philosophy of Perception or Epistemology, or in teaching on Kant's Critique of Judgment. Ginsbourg presents a very thorough discussion of the notion that perceptions make concepts available by involving implicit claims to their own appropriateness; she uses this idea to make an interesting and plausible contribution to the debate regarding the antinomy of taste.

Goldstein, Rebecca, and . Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away

2014, Pantheon Books

Publisher’s Note: Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multi-city speaking tour. How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a ‘tiger mum’ on how to raise the perfect child? How would he handle the host of a right-wing news program who denies there can be morality without religion? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowdsourced rather than reasoned out by experts? Plato at the Googleplex is acclaimed thinker Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s dazzling investigation of these conundra. With a philosopher’s depth and erudition and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world; it is a stunningly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics and science.

Comment: Useful in a general intro to philosophy course. This is partcularly suited for a general introduction course because it touches on a number of disparate parts of philosophy, and because it provides arguments for the continued value of philosophy.

Hampton, Jean, and . Contracts and Choices: Does Rawls Have a Social Contract Theory?

1980, Journal of Philosophy 77(6): 315-338.

Introduction: In A Theory of Justice John Rawls tells us he is presenting a social contract theory: “My aim,” he writes, “is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract as found in say, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant”. And indeed his many and various critics have generally assumed he has a contractarian position and have criticized him on that basis. However, it will be my contention in this paper that a contractual agreement on the two principles not only does not but ought not to occur in the original position, and that, although Rawls uses contract language in his book, there is another procedure outlined in Part One of A Theory of Justice through which the two principles are selected.

Comment: Questions the nature of the Rawlsian contract and asks whether it really belongs in the same tradition as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Useful if engaging with Rawls's methodology at a deep level. Would make good further reading for a module on either Rawls specifically or the social contract tradition more generally.

Hampton, Jean, and . Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition

1986, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Publisher’s Note: This major study of Hobbes’s political philosophy draws on recent developments in game and decision theory to explore whether the thrust of the argument in Leviathan, that it is in the interests of the people to create a ruler with absolute power, can be shown to be cogent. Professor Hampton has written a book of vital importance to political philosophers, political and social scientists, and intellectual historians.

Comment: Hampton offers a 'rational reconstruction' of Hobbes's argument, arguing that it fails in a way which shows that the alienation model in social contract theory suffers from some fundamental flaws. The book offers an interesting insights which can inspire student essays and dissertations, and can be a good further or advanced reading for Hobbes.