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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.

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

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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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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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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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Chatti, Saloua, , . Extensionalism and Scientific Theory in Quine’s Philosophy
2011, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25(1):1-21.
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Added by: Sara Peppe, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this article, I analyze Quine’s conception of science, which is a radical defence of extensionalism on the grounds that first?order logic is the most adequate logic for science. I examine some criticisms addressed to it, which show the role of modalities and probabilities in science and argue that Quine’s treatment of probability minimizes the intensional character of scientific language and methods by considering that probability is extensionalizable. But this extensionalizing leads to untenable results in some cases and is not consistent with the fact that Quine himself admits confirmation which includes probability. Quine’s extensionalism does not account for this fact and then seems unrealistic, even if science ought to be extensional in so far as it is descriptive and mathematically expressible.

Comment: This text provide an in-depth overview and critique on Quine’s perspective on modality and it would be crucial in postgraduate courses of philosophy of science and logic. Previous knowledge on Quine, modality and quantum mechanics is needed.

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Coliva, Annalisa, , . Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology
2015, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

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.

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Coliva, Annalisa, , . Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty, and Common Sense
2010, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

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.

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Gluer, Kathrin, , . Donald Davidson: A short Introduction
2014, Oxford University Press USA
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Donald Davidson was one of the 20th Century’s deepest analytic thinkers. He developed a systematic picture of the human mind and its relation to the world, an original and sustained vision that exerted a shaping influence well beyond analytic philosophy of mind and language. At its center is an idea of minded creatures as essentially rational animals: Rational animals can be interpreted, their behavior can be understood, and the contents of their thoughts are, in principle, open to others. The combination of a rigorous analytic stance with aspects of humanism so distinctive of Davidsonian thought finds its maybe most characteristic expression when this central idea is brought to bear on the relation of the mental to the physical: Davidson defended the irreducibility of its rational nature while acknowledging that the mental is ultimately determined by the physical. Davidson made contributions of lasting importance to a wide range of topics – from general theory of meaning and content over formal semantics, the theories of truth, explanation, and action, to metaphysics and epistemology. His writings almost entirely consist of short, elegant, and often witty papers. These dense and thematically tightly interwoven essays present a profound challenge to the reader. This book provides a concise, systematic introduction to all the main elements of Davidson’s philosophy. It places the theory of meaning and content at the very center of his thought. By using interpretation, and the interpreter, as key ideas it clearly brings out the underlying structure and unified nature of Davidson’s work. Kathrin Gluer carefully outlines his principal claims and arguments, and discusses them in some detail. The book thus makes Davidson’s thought accessible in its genuine depth, and acquaints the reader with the main lines of discussion surrounding it.

Comment: Can be used as brief introduction into the main thoughts of Donald Davidon’s philosophy.
[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Hampton, Jean, , . Contracts and Choices: Does Rawls Have a Social Contract Theory?
1980, Journal of Philosophy 77(6): 315-338.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

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.

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Jeshion, Robin, , . Frege’s Notions of Self-Evidence
2001, Mind 110 (440):937-976
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Alexander Yates

Abstract: Controversy remains over exactly why Frege aimed to estabish logicism. In this essay, I argue that the most influential interpretations of Frege’s motivations fall short because they misunderstand or neglect Frege’s claims that axioms must be self-evident. I offer an interpretation of his appeals to self-evidence and attempt to show that they reveal a previously overlooked motivation for establishing logicism, one which has roots in the Euclidean rationalist tradition. More specifically, my view is that Frege had two notions of self-evidence. One notion is that of a truth being foundationally secure, yet not grounded on any other truth. The second notion is that of a truth that requires only clearly grasping its content for rational, a priori justified recognition of its truth. The overarching thesis I develop is that Frege required that axioms be self-evident in both senses, and he relied on judging propositions to be self-evident as part of his fallibilist method for identifying a foundation of arithmetic. Consequently, we must recognize both notions in order to understand how Frege construes ultimate foundational proofs, his methodology for discovering and identifying such proofs, and why he thought the propositions of arithmetic required proof.

Comment: A nice discussion of what sort of epistemic status Frege thought axioms needed to have. A nice historical example of foundationalist epistemology – good for a course on Frege or analytic philosophy more generally, or as further reading in a course on epistemology, to give students a historical example of certain epistemological subtleties.

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Kuki Shūzō, , . The Structure of Iki
2004, In Hiroshi Nara (ed.). The Structure of Detachment: The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Sh?z?. Univeristy of Hawai’i Press.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn, Contributed by:

Summary: One of the most important and creative works in modern Japanese aesthetics. Kuki develops a description of a uniquely Japanese sense of taste (iki) that brings together characteristics of the geisha, samurai, and Buddhist priest.

Comment: Best used by a reader with at least an introductory knowledge of Japanese aesthetics. Could be used comparatively with work on disinterest in western Aesthetics, e.g., Kant.

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Kukla, Rebecca, , . Objectivity and perspective in empirical knowledge
2006, Episteme 3 (1-2):80-95.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Article: Epistemologists generally think that genuine warrant that is available to anyone must be available to everyone who is exposed to the relevant causal inputs and is able and willing to properly exercise her rationality. The motivating idea behind this requirement is roughly that an objective view is one that is not bound to a particular perspective. In this paper I ask whether the aperspectivality of our warrants is a precondition for securing the objectivity of our claims. I draw upon a Sellarsian account of perception in order to argue that it is not; rather, inquirers can have contingent properties and perspectives that give them access to forms of rational warrant and objective knowledge that others do not have. The universal accessibility of reasons, on my account, is not a precondition for the legitimacy of any actual warrant, but rather a regulative ideal governing inquiry and communication

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

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