Articles #Philosophy


Quine's Naturalism

I find Quine’s variant of naturalism fascinating because he is not particularly interested in these big, often very polarized, debates between naturalists and supernaturalists. Rather, he pretty much assumes that these debates have been settled and he seeks to advance our scientific worldview by showing that a truly naturalistic picture of reality also requires that we radically rethink our philosophical views about truth, justification, mind, reference, and meaning. In short, Quine argues that traditional philosophical disciplines like metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language need to be naturalized as well. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sander Verhaegh Published on: Dec 22, 2018 @ 09:12

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Augustine, Anselm and Duns Scotus Revisited

Augustine, Anselm and Duns Scotus Revisited

'Can God make a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it? If you say yes, there’s something God can’t do: he can’t lift the stone. If you say no, there’s something God can’t do: he can’t make the stone. So either way, there’s something God can’t do. Although Anselm doesn’t consider the paradox of the stone (as it’s called) specifically, he does have an answer. That God is omnipotent doesn’t mean that any sentence that starts out “God can” comes out true.' 'In addition to the paradox of the stone, there is the lesser-known paradox of the burrito, from The Simpsons: can Jesus Christ microwave a burrito so hot that he himself cannot eat it? My philosophy of religion students usually see quite quickly that there’s no real paradox here: according to orthodox Christology, Jesus is fully human, so of course the answer is yes.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Thomas Williams.

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Pursuing Kierkegaard

Pursuing Kierkegaard

I think it’s wrong to assimilate Climacus’ own philosophical activity to the Hegelian manner of doing philosophy that is on the receiving end of many of his jokes. What Climacus does, rather, is to discuss (and enact) an alternative manner of doing philosophy, one which he associates closely with Socrates and which he thinks can be practiced without interfering with an individual’s ability to live an ethical or religious life. He characterizes this Socratic conception of philosophy as ‘that simpler philosophy, which is delivered by an existing individual for existing individuals. Contininuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Muench.

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No Fulfillment Without Anticipations and VRs Place Of Illusions

Michael Madary works on the philosophy of mind and the ethics of emerging technology, especially immersive technology such as virtual reality. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing from psychology and neuroscience. In February of 2016, he published with Thomas Metzinger the first code of ethics for research and consumer use of VR, which has received widespread media attention. In addition to the ethics of technology, he has also published widely in the philosophy of perception. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Michael Madary.

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Aristotle, Metaphysics and the Delicacy of Anachronism

Aristotle, Metaphysics and the Delicacy of Anachronism

Aristotle opens his great Metaphysicswith the observation that ‘all humans by nature desire to know.’ Although easy sounding, this claim is in fact complex and contentious: it implicates Aristotle in a series of controversial claims, including not least that human beings have a nature, which nature he will later identify as their essence, with a concomitant commitment, then, to essentialism about species. What is more, Aristotle here implies that the essences human beings have of a highly distinctive character: to be is human to seek to know. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Christopher Shields.

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Legal Oughts and Stuff

Legal Oughts and Stuff

The conceptual question whether trans-women count as women is another matter. (So too, the ‘metaphysical’ question, if there is such a thing, whether trans-women are women.) On this issue, I hew to Simone de Beauvoir’s view that our concept ‘woman’ includes an important path-dependent element, and I think that most trans-women lack the life histories that constitute woman-hood. But there is room for argument about that. ‘Woman’ is a cluster concept, and anyway it is not as if ‘man’ or ‘woman’ have sharp boundaries. There is also room for argument about whether, if Beauvoir is right, we ought to revise or abandon the concept ‘woman’. This is really a question of whether we should ditch our gender concepts altogether. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Les Green

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A Certain Distance

Meir Dan-Cohen is a hard-core Harvard-tough philosopher of law. He has written the books Rights, Persons and Organisations: A legal Theory for Bureaucratic Society and Harmful Thoughts: Essays on Law, Self, and Morality. He is inspired by Kant’s Kingdom of Ends, and thinks that the ideas that we create create us. He thinks legal positivism is a bad thing and dignity better than autonomy. His armchair is definitely not burning. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Meir Dan-Cohen

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Making a Difference

Well, one way to put the difference between laws and accidental regularities is to say that they differ with respect to their ‘modal status’. Modal status has to do with what’s necessary or possible – what could and could not be the case. For example, it’s a contingent truth that I just ate a burrito – I could easily have had tacos instead, or pizza, or nothing at all. Come to think of it, the world could have panned out in such a way that my parents never met, in which case I wouldn’t have existed at all. By contrast, it’s (arguably) a necessary truth that 2+2 = 4. There’s no way things might have panned out such that it would have been false that 2+2 = 4. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Helen Beebee.

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