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Across public discourse, in the media, politics, many branches of academic inquiry, and ordinary daily interactions, we spend a lot time talking about race: race relations, racial violence, discrimination based on race, racial integration, racial progress. It is fair to say that questions about race have vexed our social life. But for all we speak about race, do we know what race is? Is it a social construct or a biological object? Is it a bankrupt holdover from a time before sophisticated scientific understanding and genetics, or can it still hold up in biological, genetic, and other types of research? Most fundamentally, is race real? In this book, four prominent philosophers and race theorists debate how best to answer these difficult questions, applying philosophical tools and the principles of social justice to cutting-edge findings from the biological and social sciences. Each presents a distinct view of race: Sally Haslanger argues that race is a socio-political reality. Chike Jeffers maintains that race is not only political but also, importantly, cultural. Quayshawn Spencer pursues the idea that race is biologically real. And Joshua Glasgow argues that either race is not real, or if it is, it must be real in a way that is neither social nor biological. Each offers an argument for their own view and then replies to the others. Woven together, the result is a lively debate that opens up numerous ways of understanding race. Above all, it is call for sophisticated and principled discussion of something that significantly permeates our lives.
The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world, it seems to make crazy claims: particles are in two places at once; cats are alive and dead at the same time. So physicists and philosophers have often been led either to give up on the idea that quantum theory describes reality, or to modify or augment the theory. The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics takes the apparent craziness seriously, and asks, 'what would it be like if particles really were in two places at once, if cats really were alive and dead at the same time'? The answer, it turns out, is that if the world were like that-if it were as quantum theory claims-it would be a world that, at the macroscopic level, was constantly branching into copies-hence the more sensationalist name for the Everett interpretation, the 'many worlds theory'. But really, the interpretation is not sensationalist at all: it simply takes quantum theory seriously, literally, as a description of the world. Once dismissed as absurd, it is now accepted by many physicists as the best way to make coherent sense of quantum theory. David Wallace offers a clear and up-to-date survey of work on the Everett interpretation in physics and in philosophy of science, and at the same time provides a self-contained and thoroughly modern account of it-an account which is accessible to readers who have previously studied quantum theory at undergraduate level, and which will shape the future direction of research by leading experts in the field.
A riveting, original book about the creation of the modern American mind. The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., founder of modern jurisprudence; William James, the father of modern American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, logician, scientist, and the founder of semiotics. The Club was probably in existence for about nine months. No records were kept. The one thing we know that came out of it was an idea - an idea about ideas. This book is the story of that idea. Holmes, James, and Peirce all believed that ideas are not things "out there" waiting to be discovered but are tools people invent - like knives and forks and microchips - to make their way in the world. They thought that ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals - that ideas are social. They do not develop according to some inner logic of their own but are entirely dependent - like germs - on their human carriers and environment. And they thought that the survival of any idea depends not on its immutability but on its adaptability. `The Metaphysical Club' is written in the spirit of this idea about ideas. It is not a history of philosophy but an absorbing narrative about personalities and social history, a story about America. It begins with the American Civil War and ends with World War I. This is a book about the evolution of the American mind during the crucial period that formed the world we now inhabit.
An exceptionally clear, concise, and affordable introduction to
logic, The Logic Manual carefully walks beginning philosophy
students through the fundamentals, offering them a real
understanding of how and why logic works. Author Volker Halbach
presents essential concepts through examples, informal
explanations, and abstract definitions. Topics covered include
propositional and predicate logic (with and without identity) and
an account of the semantics of these languages, including
definitions of truth and satisfaction. In addition, natural
deduction is used as a proof system.
Dispositionalism is the view that causal powers are among the irreducible properties of nature. It has long been among the core competing positions in the metaphysics of laws, but its potential implications for other key debates within metaphysics and the philosophy of science have remained under-explored. Travis Dumsday fills this major gap in the literature by establishing new connections between dispositionalism and such topics as substance ontology, ontic structural realism, material composition, emergentism, natural-kind essentialism, perdurantism, time travel, and spacetime substantivalism. He also puts forward a novel view concerning the precise relationship between causal powers and the fundamental laws of nature. His rich and accessible study will appeal to readers interested in contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science.
In Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism David Enoch develops, argues for, and defends a strongly realist and objectivist view of ethics and normativity more broadly. This view-according to which there are perfectly objective, universal, moral and other normative truths that are not in any way reducible to other, natural truths-is familiar, but this book is the first in-detail development of the positive motivations for the view into reasonably precise arguments. And when the book turns defensive-defending Robust Realism against traditional objections-it mobilizes the original positive arguments for the view to help with fending off the objections. The main underlying motivation for Robust Realism developed in the book is that no other metaethical view can vindicate our taking morality seriously. The positive arguments developed here-the argument from the deliberative indispensability of normative truths, and the argument from the moral implications of metaethical objectivity (or its absence)-are thus arguments for Robust Realism that are sensitive to the underlying, pre-theoretical motivations for the view.
The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant's depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development. Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant's aesthetics and his views on moral development Reveals the links between Kant's aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology Explores Kant's notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development Addresses aspects of Kant's ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology
Indigenous Education and the Metaphysics of Presence: A worlded philosophy explores a notion of education called 'worldedness' that sits at the core of indigenous philosophy. This is the idea that any one thing is constituted by all others and is, therefore, educational to the extent that it is formational. A suggested opposite of this indigenous philosophy is the metaphysics of presence, which describes the tendency in dominant Western philosophy to privilege presence over absence. This book compares these competing philosophies and argues that, even though the metaphysics of presence and the formational notion of education are at odds with each other, they also constitute each other from an indigenous worlded philosophical viewpoint. Drawing on both Maori and Western philosophies, this book demonstrates how the metaphysics of presence is both related and opposed to the indigenous notion of worldedness. Mika explains that presence seeks to fragment things in the world, underpins how indigenous peoples can represent things, and prevents indigenous students, critics, and scholars from reflecting on philosophical colonisation. However, the metaphysics of presence, from an indigenous perspective, is constituted by all other things in the world, and Mika argues that the indigenous student and critic can re-emphasise worldedness and destabilise presence through creative responses, humour, and speculative thinking. This book concludes by positioning well-being within education, because education comprises acts of worldedness and presence. This book will be of key interest to indigenous as well as non-indigenous academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of philosophy of education, indigenous and Western philosophy, political strategy and post-colonial studies. It will also be relevant for those who are interested in philosophies of language, ontology, metaphysics and knowledge.
Riddles of Existence makes metaphysics genuinely accessible, even fun. Its lively, informal style brings the riddles to life and shows how stimulating they can be to think about. No philosophical background is required to enjoy this book. It is ideal for beginning students. Anyone wanting to think about life's most profound questions will find Riddles of Existence provocative and entertaining. This new edition is updated throughout, and features two extra, specially written chapters: one on metaphysical questions to do with morality, and the other on questions about the nature of metaphysics itself.
Distinguished metaphysicians examine issues central to the high-profile debate between philosophers over how to classify the natural world, and discuss issues in applied ontology such as the classification of diseases.Leading metaphysicians explore fundamental questions related to the classification and structure of the natural worldAn essential commentary on issues at the heart of the contemporary debate between philosophy and scienceInterweaves discussion of overarching themes with detailed material on applied ontology
Blossoming from a correspondence between Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder, Through Vegetal Being is an intense personal, philosophical, and political meditation on the significance of the vegetal for our lives, our ways of thinking, and our relations with human and nonhuman beings. The vegetal world has the potential to rescue our planet and our species and offers us a way to abandon past metaphysics without falling into nihilism. Luce Irigaray has argued in her philosophical work that living and coexisting are deficient unless we recognize sexuate difference as a crucial dimension of our existence. Michael Marder believes the same is true for vegetal difference. Irigaray and Marder consider how plants contribute to human development by sustaining our breathing, nourishing our senses, and keeping our bodies and minds alive. They note the importance of returning to ancient Greek tradition and engaging with Eastern teachings to revive a culture closer to nature. As a result, we can reestablish roots when we are displaced and recover the vital energy we need to improve our sensibility and relation to others. This generative discussion points toward a more universal way of becoming human that is embedded in the vegetal world.
A systematic overview of modern metaphysics, covering all of the most important topics in the subject likely to be encountered on a metaphysics course. The emphasis is on contemporary views and issues rather than on the history of metaphysics.
This book provides a new argument for the tensed theory of time and emergentism about the self. This argument derives in part from theories which establish our nature as rational and emotional beings whose behavior is responsive to reasons which are facts. It is argued that there must be reasons, hence facts, that can only be captured by tensed and/or first-personal language if our behavior is to be by and large rational and appropriate. This establishes the tensed theory of time and emergentism or dualism about the self, given the physical body can plausibly be fully described non-first-personally. In the course of this discussion the book also clarifies and defends a notion of fact and responds to McTaggart's paradox and Wittgenstein's private language argument.
We typically think we have free will. But how could we have free will, if for anything we do, it was already true in the distant past that we would do that thing? Or how could we have free will, if God already knows in advance all the details of our lives? Such issues raise the specter of "fatalism". This book collects sixteen previously published articles on fatalism, truths about the future, and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, and includes a substantial introductory essay and bibliography. Many of the pieces collected here build bridges between discussions of human freedom and recent developments in other areas of metaphysics, such as philosophy of time. Ideal for courses in free will, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge will encourage important new directions in thinking about free will, time, and truth.
According to the received view in epistemology, inferential knowledge from non-knowledge is impossible - that is, in order for a subject to know the conclusion of their inference, they must know the essential premises from which that conclusion is drawn. In this book, Federico Luzzi critically examines this view, arguing that it is less plausible than intuition suggests and that it can be abandoned without substantial cost. In a discussion that ranges across inference, testimony and memory he analyses the full range of challenges to the view, connecting them to epistemological cases that support those challenges. He then proposes a defeater-based framework which allows the phenomenon of knowledge from non-knowledge across these three epistemic areas to be better understood. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in epistemology.
The Fragmentation of Being offers answers to some of the most fundamental questions in ontology. There are many kinds of beings but are there also many kinds of being? The world contains a variety of objects, each of which, let us provisionally assume, exists, but do some objects exist in different ways? Do some objects enjoy more being or existence than other objects? Are there different ways in which one object might enjoy more being than another? Most contemporary metaphysicians would answer "no" to each of these questions. So widespread is this consensus that the questions this book addressed are rarely even raised let alone explicitly answered. But Kris McDaniel carefully examines a wide range of reasons for answering each of these questions with a "yes". In doing so, he connects these questions with many important metaphysical topics, including substance and accident, time and persistence, the nature of ontological categories, possibility and necessity, presence and absence, persons and value, ground and consequence, and essence and accident. In addition to discussing contemporary problems and theories, McDaniel also discusses the ontological views of many important figures in the history of philosophy, including Aquinas, Aristotle, Descartes, Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Leibniz, Meinong, and many more.
A certain kind of talk is ubiquitous among both philosophers and so-called "ordinary people": talk of one phenomenon generating or giving rise to another, or talk of one phenomenon being based in or constructed from another. For example, your computer screen is built of atoms in a complex configuration, and the picture on the screen is based in the local illumination of various individual pixels. Karen Bennett calls the family of relations invoked by such talk 'building relations'. Grounding is one currently popular such relation; so too are composition, property realization, and-controversially-causation. In chapters 2 and 3 Bennett argues that despite their differences, building relations form an interestingly unified family, and characterizes what all building relations have in common. In chapter 4 she argues that it's a mistake to think there is a strict divide between causal and noncausal determination. Chapters 5 and 6 turn to the connections between building and fundamentality. Bennett argues at length that both absolute and relative fundamentality are best understood in terms of building, and that to say that one thing is more fundamental than another is to say no more than that certain patterns of building obtain. In chapter 7 Bennett argues that facts about what builds what must be themselves built: if a builds b, there is something in virtue of which that is the case. She also argues that the answer is a itself. Finally, in chapter 8 she defends an assumption that runs throughout the rest of the book, namely that there indeed are nonfundamental, built entities. Doing so involves substantive discussion about the scope of Ockham's Razor. Bennett argues that some nonfundamentalia are among the proper subject-matter of metaphysics, and thus that metaphysics is not best understood as the study of the fundamental nature of reality.
The world is populated with many different objects, to which we often attribute properties: we say, for example, that grass is green, that the earth is spherical, that humans are animals, and that murder is wrong. We also take it that these properties are things in their own right: there is something in which being green, or spherical, or an animal, or wrong, consists, and that certain scientific or normative projects are engaged in uncovering the essences of such properties. In light of this, an important question arises: what kind of things should we take properties themselves to be? In Properties, Douglas Edwards gives an engaging, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the many theories of properties available. Edwards charts the central positions in the debate over properties, including the views that properties are universals, that properties are constructed from tropes, and that properties are classes of objects, and assesses the benefits and disadvantages of each. Attempts to deny the existence of properties are also considered, along with pluralist proposals, which aim to accommodate the different kinds of properties that are found in various philosophical debates. Properties is the ideal introduction to this topic and will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students wishing to learn more about the important roles that properties have played, and continue to play, in contemporary philosophy.
Sally Sedgwick presents a fresh account of Hegel's critique of Kant's theoretical philosophy. She argues that Hegel offers a compelling critique of and alternative to the conception of cognition that Kant defended in his 'Critical' period. The book examines key features of what Kant identifies as the 'discursive' character of our mode of cognition, and considers Hegel's reasons for arguing that these features condemn Kant's theoretical philosophy to scepticism as well as dualism. Sedgwick goes on to present in a sympathetic light Hegel's claim to derive from certain Kantian doctrines clues to a superior form of idealism, a form of idealism that better captures the nature of our cognitive powers and their relation to objects.
The Subject of Experience is about the self, the person. It takes the form of a series of essays which draw on literature and psychology as well as philosophy. Galen Strawson discusses the phenomenology or experience of having or being a self (What is the character of self-experience?) and the fundamental metaphysics of the self (Does the self exist? If so, what is its nature? How long do selves last?): he develops an approach to the metaphysical questions out of the results of the phenomenological investigation. He argues that it is legitimate to say that there is such a thing as the self as distinct from the human being. At the same time he raises doubts about how long selves can be supposed to last, insofar as they are distinct from human beings. He also raises a doubt about whether a self (or indeed a human being) can really be said to lose anything in dying. He criticizes the popular notion of the narrative self, and considers the differences between 'Endurers' or 'Diachronic' people, who feel that they are the same person when they consider their past and future, and 'Transients' or 'Episodic' people, who do not feel this. He considers the first-person pronoun 'I' and a number of puzzles raised by the phenomena of self-reference and self-knowledge. He examines Locke's, Hume's and Kant's accounts of the mind and personal identity, and argues that Locke and Hume have been badly misunderstood.
These essays by A.W. Moore are all concerned with the business of representing how things are - its nature, its scope, and its limits. The essays in Part One deal with linguistic representation and discuss topics such as rules of representation and their nature, the sorites paradox, and the very distinction between sense and nonsense. Wittgenstein's work, both early and late, figures prominently. One thesis that surfaces at various points is that some things are beyond representation. The essays in Part Two deal with representation more generally and with the character of what is represented, and owe much to Bernard Williams's argument for the possibility of representation from no point of view. They touch more or less directly on the distinction between representation from a point of view and representation from no point of view-in some cases by exploring various consequences of Kant's belief that representation of how things are physically is always, eo ipso, representation from a point of view. One thesis that surfaces at various points is that nothing is beyond representation. Each of the essays in Part Three, which draw inspiration from the early work of Wittgenstein, indicate how the resulting tension between Parts One and Two is to be resolved: namely, by construing the first part as a thesis about states of knowledge or understanding, and the second part as a thesis about facts or truths.
While Kant is commonly regarded as one of the most austere philosophers of all time, this book provides quite a different perspective of the founder of transcendental philosophy. Kant is often thought of as being boring, methodical, and humorless. Yet the thirty jokes and anecdotes collected and illustrated here for the first time reveal a man and a thinker who was deeply interested in how humor and laughter shape how we think, feel, and communicate with fellow human beings. In addition to a foreword on Kant's theory of humor by Noel Carroll as well as Clewis's informative chapters, Kant's Humorous Writings contains new translations of Kant's jokes, quips, and anecdotes. Each of the thirty excerpts is illustrated and supplemented by historical commentaries which explain their significance.
Infinity is paradoxical in many ways. Some paradoxes involve deterministic supertasks, such as Thomson's Lamp, where a switch is toggled an infinite number of times over a finite period of time, or the Grim Reaper, where it seems that infinitely many reapers can produce a result without doing anything. Others involve infinite lotteries. If you get two tickets from an infinite fair lottery where tickets are numbered from 1, no matter what number you saw on the first ticket, it is almost certain that the other ticket has a bigger number on it. And others center on paradoxical results in decision theory, such as the surprising observation that if you perform a sequence of fair coin flips that goes infinitely far back into the past but only finitely into the future, you can leverage information about past coin flips to predict future ones with only finitely many mistakes. Alexander R. Pruss examines this seemingly large family of paradoxes in Infinity, Causation and Paradox. He establishes that these paradoxes and numerous others all have a common structure: their most natural embodiment involves an infinite number of items causally impinging on a single output. These paradoxes, he argues, can all be resolved by embracing 'causal finitism', the view that it is impossible for a single output to have an infinite causal history. Throughout the book, Pruss exposits such paradoxes, defends causal finitism at length, and considers connections with the philosophy of physics (where causal finitism favors but does not require discretist theories of space and time) and the philosophy of religion (with a cosmological argument for a first cause).
In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. In this ambitious and ground-breaking book, Theodore Sider argues that for a representation to be fully successful, truth is not enough; the representation must also use the right concepts-concepts that 'carve at the joints'-so that its conceptual structure matches reality's structure. There is an objectively correct way to 'write the book of the world'. According to Sider, metaphysics is primarily about fundamentality rather than necessity, conceptual analysis, or ontology. Fundamentality is understood in terms of structure: the fundamental truths are those truths that involve structural (joint-carving) concepts. Sider argues that part of the theory of structure is an account of how structure connects to other concepts. For example, structure can be used to illuminate laws of nature, explanation, reference, induction, physical geometry, substantivity, conventionality, objectivity, and metametaphysics. Another part is an account of how structure behaves. Since structure is a way of thinking about fundamentality, Sider's account implies distinctive answers to questions about the nature of fundamentality. These answers distinguish his theory of structure from other recent theories of fundamentality, including Kit Fine's theory of ground and reality, the theory of truthmaking, and Jonathan Schaffer's theory of ontological dependence.
An impassioned argument for the existence of evil from one of the most respected and influential critics of our day In this witty, accessible study, the prominent Marxist thinker Terry Eagleton launches a surprising defense of the reality of evil, drawing on literary, theological, and psychoanalytic sources to suggest that evil, no mere medieval artifact, is a real phenomenon with palpable force in our contemporary world. In a book that ranges from St. Augustine to alcoholism, Thomas Aquinas to Thomas Mann, Shakespeare to the Holocaust, Eagleton investigates the frightful plight of those doomed souls who apparently destroy for no reason. In the process, he poses a set of intriguing questions. Is evil really a kind of nothingness? Why should it appear so glamorous and seductive? Why does goodness seem so boring? Is it really possible for human beings to delight in destruction for no reason at all?
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