Philosophy

Curry's Paradox

[Revised entry by Lionel Shapiro and Jc Beall on January 19, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] "Curry's paradox", as the term is used by philosophers today, refers to a wide variety of paradoxes of self-reference or circularity that trace their modern ancestry to Curry (1942b) and Lob (1955).[1] The common characteristic of these so-called Curry paradoxes is the way they exploit a notion of implication, entailment or consequence,...

William Heytesbury

[Revised entry by Miroslav Hanke and Elzbieta Jung on January 19, 2018. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Miroslav Hanke and Elzbieta Jung replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] William Heytesbury (c. 1313 - 1372/3), a member of Oxford's Merton College and the School of "Oxford Calculators", was...

Georg [György] Lukács

[Revised entry by Titus Stahl on January 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Georg (Gyorgy) Lukacs (1885 - 1971) was a literary theorist and philosopher who is widely viewed as one of the founders of "Western Marxism". Lukacs is best known for his pre-World War II writings in literary theory, aesthetic theory and Marxist philosophy. Today, his most widely read works are the Theory of the Novel of 1916 and History and Class Consciousness of 1923. In History and Class Consciousness, Lukacs laid out a wide-ranging critique of the phenomenon of "reification" in capitalism and...

Privacy

[Revised entry by Judith DeCew on January 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The term "privacy" is used frequently in ordinary language as well as in philosophical, political and legal discussions, yet there is no single definition or analysis or meaning of the term. The concept of privacy has broad historical roots in sociological and anthropological discussions about how extensively it is valued and preserved in various cultures. Moreover, the concept has historical origins in well known philosophical discussions, most notably...

Platonism in the Philosophy of Mathematics

[Revised entry by Øystein Linnebo on January 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Platonism about mathematics (or mathematical platonism) is the metaphysical view that there are abstract mathematical objects whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices. Just as electrons and planets exist independently of us, so do numbers and sets. And just as statements about electrons and planets are made true or false by the objects with which they are concerned and these objects' perfectly objective properties, so are statements about...

Axiomatic Theories of Truth

[Revised entry by Volker Halbach and Graham E. Leigh on January 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] An axiomatic theory of truth is a deductive theory of truth as a primitive undefined predicate. Because of the liar and other paradoxes, the axioms and rules have to be chosen carefully in order to avoid inconsistency. Many axiom systems for the truth predicate have been discussed in the literature and their respective properties been analysed. Several philosophers, including many deflationists, have endorsed axiomatic theories of truth in their accounts of truth. The logical properties of the formal theories are relevant to various philosophical questions, such as questions about the ontological status of properties, Godel's theorems,...

Skepticism About Moral Responsibility

[New Entry by Gregg Caruso on January 18, 2018.] Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics wholly reject this notion...

Ibn Bâjja [Avempace]

[Revised entry by Josép Puig Montada on January 17, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, aristotle-soul-arabic.html, ibn-bajja-biography.html, notes.html] Philosophy in Al-Andalus developed later than in the East; it grew among Muslims and Jews, since both communities were nurtured by a common Arabic. The Muslim community was much larger and it defined the cultural space, a significant part of which was made by Arabic translations of Greek scientifical and philosophical works. By the midst of the 10th century CE, materials related to...

Sociobiology

[Revised entry by Catherine Driscoll on January 16, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The term 'sociobiology' was introduced in E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) as the "systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior" (Wilson, 1975, 4). Wilson seems to intend "the biological basis of behavior" to refer to the social and ecological causes driving the evolution of behavior in animal populations, rather than the neurological or psychological causes of...

Descartes' Modal Metaphysics

[Revised entry by David Cunning on January 12, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Descartes sometimes speaks of things that have possible existence, in addition to speaking of things as having actual existence. He also speaks of eternal and necessary truths that are the product of God's free and wholly unconstrained activity. One of the interpretive projects that is inspired by Descartes' sometimes provocative claims about possibility and necessity is the construction of a general Cartesian theory of modality. Any such theory would of course need to be sensitive to all of the claims that Descartes makes...

The Normativity of Meaning and Content

[Revised entry by Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss on January 12, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] There is a long tradition of thinking of language as conventional in its nature, dating back at least to Aristotle (De Interpretatione). By appealing to the role of conventions, it is thought, we can distinguish linguistic signs, the meaningful use of words, from mere natural 'signs'. During the last century the thesis that language is essentially conventional has played a central role within philosophy of language, and has even been called...

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Properties

[Revised entry by Brian Weatherson and Dan Marshall on January 11, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] We have some of our properties purely in virtue of the way we are. (Our mass is an example.) We have other properties in virtue of the way we interact with the world. (Our weight is an example.) The former are the intrinsic properties, the latter are the extrinsic properties. This seems to be an intuitive enough distinction to grasp, and hence the intuitive distinction has made its way into many discussions in philosophy, including discussions in ethics, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of physics. Unfortunately,...

Supervenience

[Revised entry by Brian McLaughlin and Karen Bennett on January 10, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] A set of properties A supervenes upon another set B just in case no two things can differ with respect to A-properties without also differing with respect to their B-properties. In slogan form, "there cannot be an A-difference without a B-difference". As we shall see, this slogan can be cashed out in many different ways....

The Grounds of Moral Status

[Revised entry by Agnieszka Jaworska and Julie Tannenbaum on January 10, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] An entity has moral status if and only if it or its interests morally matter to some degree for the entity's own sake. For instance, an animal may be said to have moral status if its suffering is at least somewhat morally bad, on account of this animal itself and regardless of the consequences for other beings....

Possible Objects

[Revised entry by Takashi Yagisawa on January 9, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Deep theorizing about possibility requires theorizing about possible objects. One popular approach regards the notion of a possible object as intertwined with the notion of a possible world. There are two widely discussed types of theory concerning the nature of possible worlds: actualist representationism and possibilist realism. They support two opposing views about possible objects. Examination of the ways in which they do so reveals difficulties on both sides. There is another popular approach, which has been influenced by the philosophy...

Samuel Alexander

[Revised entry by Emily A. E. Thomas on January 8, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The Australian-born philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859 - 1938) was a prominent figure in early twentieth-century British philosophy. He is best known as one of the progenitors of British Emergentism, a movement that claimed that mind "emerges" from matter. Alexander rejected idealism, and accordingly can also be labelled a "new realist" alongside the likes of Bertrand Russell; however, unlike other new realists,...

Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

[Revised entry by Istvan Bodnar on January 8, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Aristotle had a lifelong interest in the study of nature. He investigated a variety of different topics, ranging from general issues like motion, causation, place and time, to systematic explorations and explanations of natural phenomena across different kinds of natural entities. These different inquiries are integrated into the framework of a single overarching enterprise describing the domain of natural entities. Aristotle provides the general theoretical...

Marcus Aurelius

[Revised entry by Rachana Kamtekar on December 22, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] The second century CE Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was also a Stoic philosopher, and his Meditations, which he wrote to and for himself, offers readers a unique opportunity to see how an ancient person (indeed an emperor) might try to live a Stoic life, according to which only virtue is good, only vice is bad, and the things which we normally busy ourselves with are all indifferent to our happiness (for our lives are not made good or bad by our having or lacking them). The difficulties Marcus faces putting Stoicism into practice are philosophical as well as practical, and...

Constitutionalism

[Revised entry by Wil Waluchow on December 20, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Constitutionalism is the idea, often associated with the political theories of John Locke and the founders of the American republic, that government can and should be legally limited in its powers, and that its authority or legitimacy depends on its observing these limitations. This idea brings with it a host of vexing questions of interest not only to legal scholars, but to anyone keen to explore the legal and philosophical foundations of the state. How can a government be legally limited if law is the creation of government? Does this...

Experimental Philosophy

[New Entry by Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols on December 19, 2017.] Experimental philosophy is an interdisciplinary approach that brings together ideas from what had previously been regarded as distinct fields. Specifically, research in experimental philosophy brings together two key elements: the kinds of questions and theoretical frameworks traditionally...

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