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Adeel, M. Ashraf, , . 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.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

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.

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Ahmed, Arif, , . Saul Kripke (Contemporary American Thinkers)
2007, Bloomsbury.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

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.

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Amijee, Fatema, , . The Role of Attention in Russell’s Theory of Knowledge
2013, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6):1175-1193.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Dominic Alford-Duguid

Abstract: In his Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell distinguished knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge of truths. This paper argues for a new interpretation of the relationship between these two species of knowledge. I argue that knowledge by acquaintance of an object neither suffices for knowledge that one is acquainted with the object, nor puts a subject in a position to know that she is acquainted with the object. These conclusions emerge from a thorough examination of the central role played by attention in Russell’s theory of knowledge. Attention bridges the gap between knowledge by acquaintance and our capacity to form judgements about the objects of acquaintance.

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Andersen, Holly, , Rick Grush. A Brief History of Time Consciousness: Historical Precursors to James and Husserl
2009, Journal of the History of Philosophy 47: 277-307.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: William James’ Principles of Psychology, in which he made famous the ‘specious present’ doctrine of temporal experience, and Edmund Husserl’s Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins, were giant strides in the philosophical investigation of the temporality of experience. However, an important set of precursors to these works has not been adequately investigated. In this article, we undertake this investigation. Beginning with Reid’s essay ‘Memory’ in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, we trace out a line of development of ideas about the temporality of experience that runs through Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, William Hamilton, and finally the work of Shadworth Hodgson and Robert Kelly, both of whom were immediate influences on James (though James pseudonymously cites the latter as ‘E.R. Clay’). Furthermore, we argue that Hodgson, especially his Metaphysic of Experience (1898), was a significant influence on Husserl.

Comment: Background reading on temporal perception – a nice historical survey of discussions of the specious present.

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Anne Conway, , . Selections from the Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy
1994, in Margaret Atherton (ed.) Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Hackett Publishing Company. [originally written 1677]
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Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

After the SEP: Anne Conway’s treatise is a work of Platonist metaphysics in which she derives her system of philosophy from the existence and attributes of God. The framework of Conway’s system is a tripartite ontological hierarchy of ‘species’, the highest of which is God, the source of all being. Christ, or ‘middle nature’, links God and the third species, called ‘Creature’. […] Anne Conway denies the existence of material body as such, arguing that inert corporeal substance would contradict the nature of God, who is life itself. Incorporeal created substance is, however, differentiated from the divine, principally on account of its mutability and multiplicity even so, the infinite number and constant mutability of created monads constitute an obverse reflection of the unity, infinity, eternity and unchangeableness of God. The continuum between God and creatures is made possible through ‘middle nature’, an intermediary being, through which God communicates life, action, goodness and justice. […] The spiritual perfectionism of Anne Conway’s system has dual aspect: metaphysical and moral. On the one hand all things are capable of becoming more spirit-like, that is, more refined qua spiritual substance. At the same time, all things are capable of increased goodness. She explains evil as a falling away from the perfection of God, and understands suffering as part of a longer term process of spiritual recovery. She denies the eternity of hell, since for God to punish finite wrong-doing with infinite and eternal hell punishment would be manifestly unjust and therefore a contradiction of the divine nature. Instead she explains pain and suffering as purgative, with the ultimate aim of restoring creatures to moral and metaphysical perfection. Anne Conway’s system is thus not just an ontology and but a theodicy.

Comment: This chapter could be used in a history of philosophy course as one week’s reading. The author has a metaphysics that is often seen to anticipate that of Leibniz so one could, e.g., include a week on Conway in advance of a week or two (or three) on Leibniz.

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Appiah, Kwame Anthony, , . Akan and Euro-American Concepts of the Person
2004, In Lee M. Brown (ed.), African Philosophy: New and Traditional Perspectives. Oxford University.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: This essay explores the theories of the person within Western and Akan traditions. It identifies six obstacles to theory comparison. It argues that there may be no non-question begging way of comparing theories since these theories themselves play key roles in understanding how each is to be used.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Arendt, Hannah, , . Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy
1982, University of Chicago Press.
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Added by: Sara Peppe, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Hannah Arendt’s last philosophical work was an intended three-part project entitled The Life of the Mind. Unfortunately, Arendt lived to complete only the first two parts, Thinking and Willing. Of the third, Judging, only the title page, with epigraphs from Cato and Goethe, was found after her death. As the titles suggest, Arendt conceived of her work as roughly parallel to the three Critiques of Immanuel Kant. In fact, while she began work on The Life of the Mind, Arendt lectured on “Kant’s Political Philosophy,” using the Critique of Judgment as her main text. The present volume brings Arendt’s notes for these lectures together with other of her texts on the topic of judging and provides important clues to the likely direction of Arendt’s thinking in this area.

Comment: This book provides a good overview of Arendt’s perspective on Kant’s political philosophy. Previous knowledge on Kant is needed.

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Astell, Mary, , . A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Parts I and II
2002, Broadview Press
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Added by: Francesca Bruno, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies is one of the most important and neglected works advocating the establishment of women’s academies. Its reception was so controversial that Astell responded with a lengthy sequel, also in this volume. The cause of great notoriety, Astell’s Proposal was imitated by Defoe in his “An Academy for Women,” parodied in the Tatler, satirized on the stage, plagiarized by Bishop Berkeley, and later mocked by Gilbert and Sullivan in Princess Ida.

Comment: This new edition by Patricia Springborg of Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies: Parts I and II includes helpful introductory material and explanatory annotations to Astell’s text. Springborg’s introduction places Astell’s work in the context of the woman question and the debate over empirical rationalism in the eighteenth-century. This is a good text to use in an early modern course.

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Baron, Marcia, , . Kantian Ethics Almost Without Apology
1995, Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Nomy Arpaly

Publisher’s Note: The emphasis on duly in Kant’s ethics is widely held to constitute a defect. Marcia W. Baron develops and assesses the criticism, which she sees as comprising two objections: that duty plays too large a role, leaving no room for the supererogatory, and that Kant places too much value on acting from duty. Clearly written and cogently argued, Kantian Ethics Almost without Apology takes on the most philosophically intriguing objections to Kant’s ethics and subjects them to a rigorous yet sympathetic assessment.

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Beebee, Helen, , . Hume on Causation
2006, Routledge.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

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.

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Berges, Sandrine, , . On the Outskirts of the Canon: The Myth of the Lone Female Philosopher, and What to Do about It
2015, Metaphilosophy, 46(3), pp.380-397.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg, Contributed by:

Abstract: Women philosophers of the past, because they tended not to engage with each other much, are often perceived as isolated from ongoing philosophical dialogues. This has led – directly and indirectly – to their exclusion from courses in the history of philosophy. This article explores three ways in which we could solve this problem. The first is to create a course in early modern philosophy that focuses solely or mostly on female philosophers, using conceptual and thematic ties such as a concern for education and a focus on ethics and politics. The second is to introduce women authors as dialoguing with the usual canonical suspects: Cavendish with Hobbes, Elisabeth of Bohemia with Descartes, Masham and Astell with Locke, Conway with Leibniz, and so on. The article argues that both methods have significant shortcomings, and it suggests a third, consisting in widening the traditional approach to structuring courses in early modern philosophy.

Comment: A good paper for any classes on how to teach philosophy, on early modern philosophy, the philosophy of history, or feminism.

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Blanchette, Patricia, , . Frege and Hilbert on Consistency
1996, Journal of Philosophy 93 (7):317
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Alex Yates

Abstract: Gottlob Frege’s work in logic and the foundations of mathemat- ics centers on claims of logical entailment; most important among these is the claim that arithmetical truths are entailed by purely logical principles. Occupying a less central but nonetheless important role in Frege’s work are claims about failures of entailment. Here, the clearest examples are his theses that the truths of geometry are not entailed by the truths of logic or of arithmetic, and that some of them are not entailed by each other. As he, and we, would put it: the truths of Eluclidean geometry are independent of the truths of logic, and some of them are independent of one another.’ Frege’s talk of independence and related notions sounds familiar to a modern ear: a proposition is independent of a collection of propositions just in case it is not a consequence of that collection, and a proposition or collection of propositions is consistent just in case no contradiction is a consequence of it. But some of Frege’s views and procedures are decidedly tinmodern. Despite developing an extremely sophisticated apparattus for demonstrating that one claim is a consequience of others, Frege offers not a single demon- stration that one claim is not a conseqtuence of others. Thus, in par- tictular, he gives no proofs of independence or of consistency. This is no accident. Despite his firm commitment to the independence and consistency claims just mentioned, Frege holds that independence and consistency cannot systematically be demonstrated.2 Frege’s view here is particularly striking in light of the fact that his contemporaries had a fruitful and systematic method for proving consistency and independence, a method which was well known to him. One of the clearest applications of this method in Frege’s day came in David Hilbert’s 1899 Foundations of Geometry,3 in which he es- tablishes via essentially our own modern method the consistency and independence of various axioms and axiom systems for Euclidean geometry. Frege’s reaction to Hilbert’s work was that it was simply a failure: that its central methods were incapable of demonstrating consistency and independence, and that its usefulness in the founda- tions of mathematics was highly questionable.4 Regarding the general usefulness of the method, it is clear that Frege was wrong; the last one hundred years of work in logic and mathemat- ics gives ample evidence of the fruitfulness of those techniques which grow directly from the Hilbert-style approach. The standard view today is that Frege was also wrong in his claim that Hilbert’s methods fail to demonstrate consistency and independence. The view would seem to be that Frege largely missed Hilbert’s point, and that a better under- standing of Hilbert’s techniques would have revealed to Frege their success. Despite Frege’s historic role as the founder of the methods we now use to demonstrate positive consequence-results, he simply failed, on this account, to understand the ways in which Hilbert’s methods could be used to demonstrate negative consequence-results. The purpose of this paper is to question this account of the Frege- Hilbert disagreement. By 1899, Frege had a well-developed view of log- ical consequence, consistency, and independence, a view which was central to his foundational work in arithmetic and to the epistemologi- cal significance of that work. Given this understanding of the logical relations, I shall argue, Hilbert’s demonstrations do fail. Successful as they were in demonstrating significant metatheoretic results, Hilbert’s proofs do not establish the consistency and independence, in Frege’s sense, of geometrical axioms. This point is important, I think, both for an understanding of the basis of Frege’s epistemological claims about mathematics, and for an understanding of just how different Frege’s conception of logic is from the modern model-theoretic conception that has grown out of the Hilbert-style approach to consistency.

Comment: Good for a historically-based course on philosophy of logic or mathematics.
[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Blanchette, Patricia, , . Frege’s Conception of Logic
2012, New York: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Alex Yates

Publisher’s Note: In Frege’s Conception of Logic Patricia A. Blanchette explores the relationship between Gottlob Frege’s understanding of conceptual analysis and his understanding of logic. She argues that the fruitfulness of Frege’s conception of logic, and the illuminating differences between that conception and those more modern views that have largely supplanted it, are best understood against the backdrop of a clear account of the role of conceptual analysis in logical investigation.

The first part of the book locates the role of conceptual analysis in Frege’s logicist project. Blanchette argues that despite a number of difficulties, Frege’s use of analysis in the service of logicism is a powerful and coherent tool. As a result of coming to grips with his use of that tool, we can see that there is, despite appearances, no conflict between Frege’s intention to demonstrate the grounds of ordinary arithmetic and the fact that the numerals of his derived sentences fail to co-refer with ordinary numerals.

In the second part of the book, Blanchette explores the resulting conception of logic itself, and some of the straightforward ways in which Frege’s conception differs from its now-familiar descendants. In particular, Blanchette argues that consistency, as Frege understands it, differs significantly from the kind of consistency demonstrable via the construction of models. To appreciate this difference is to appreciate the extent to which Frege was right in his debate with Hilbert over consistency- and independence-proofs in geometry. For similar reasons, modern results such as the completeness of formal systems and the categoricity of theories do not have for Frege the same importance they are commonly taken to have by his post-Tarskian descendants. These differences, together with the coherence of Frege’s position, provide reason for caution with respect to the appeal to formal systems and their properties in the treatment of fundamental logical properties and relations.

Comment: This book would be a suitable resource for independent study, or for a historically oriented course on philosophy of logic, of math, or on early analytic philosophy, especially one which looks at philosophical approaches to axiomatic systems.

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Bobzien, Susanne, , . Ancient Logic
2016, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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Added by: Berta Grimau, Contributed by: Giada Fratantonio

Summary: A comprehensive introduction to ancient (western) logic from the 5th century BCE to the 6th century CE, with an emphasis on topics which may be of interest to contemporary logicians. Topics include pre-Aristotelian logic, Aristotelian logic, Peripatetic logic, Stoic Logic and a note on Epicureans and their views on logic.

Comment: This paper would be ideal as an introductory overview for a course on ancient logic. Alternatively, it could serve as an overview for a module on ancient logic within a more general course on the history of logic. No prior knowledge of logic is required; formalisms are for the most part avoided in the paper. Note that this is a SEP entry, so it’s completely accessible to students.

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Bobzien, Susanne, , . Stoic Syllogistic
1996, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 14: 133-92.
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Added by: Berta Grimau, Contributed by: Giada Fratantonio

Abstract: For the Stoics, a syllogism is a formally valid argument; the primary function of their syllogistic is to establish such formal validity. Stoic syllogistic is a system of formal logic that relies on two types of argumental rules: (i) 5 rules (the accounts of the indemonstrables) which determine whether any given argument is an indemonstrable argument, i.e. an elementary syllogism the validity of which is not in need of further demonstration; (ii) one unary and three binary argumental rules which establish the formal validity of non-indemonstrable arguments by analysing them in one or more steps into one or more indemonstrable arguments (cut type rules and antilogism). The function of these rules is to reduce given non-indemonstrable arguments to indemonstrable syllogisms. Moreover, the Stoic method of deduction differs from standard modern ones in that the direction is reversed (similar to tableau methods). The Stoic system may hence be called an argumental reductive system of deduction. In this paper, a reconstruction of this system of logic is presented, and similarities to relevance logic are pointed out.

Comment: This paper can be used as specialised/further reading for an advanced undergrad or postgraduate course on ancient logic or as a primary reading in an advanced undergrad or postgraduate course on Stoic logic. Alternatively, given that the text argues that there are important parallels between Stoic logic and Relevance logic, it could be used in a course on Relevance logic as well. It requires prior knowledge of logic (in particular, proof theory).

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