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Updated: 6 years 6 months ago


Mon, 04/22/2013 - 17:01
[Revised entry by Michael Tye on April 22, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, Internet resources] Feelings and experiences vary widely. For example, I run my fingers over sandpaper, smell a skunk, feel a sharp pain in my finger, seem to see bright purple, become extremely angry. In each of these cases, I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is like for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has. Philosophers often use the...
Categories: Philosophy

Lorenzo Valla

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 14:30
[Revised entry by Lodi Nauta on April 19, 2013. Changes to: Bibliography] Lorenzo Valla (c. 1406 - 1457) was one of the most important humanists of his time. In his Elegantiae linguae Latinae, an advanced handbook of Latin language and style, he gave the humanist program some of its most trenchant and combative formulations, bringing the study of Latin to an unprecedented level. He made numerous contributions to classical scholarship. But he also used his vast...
Categories: Philosophy


Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:09
[Revised entry by Frank Griffel on April 17, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Al-Ghazali (c.1056 - 1111) was one of the most prominent and influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics of Sunni Islam. He was active at a time when Sunni theology had just passed through its consolidation and entered a period of intense challenges from Shiite Isma'ilite theology and the Arabic tradition of Aristotelian philosophy (falsafa)....
Categories: Philosophy

Logical Pluralism

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 16:20
[New Entry by Gillian Russell on April 17, 2013.] Logical pluralism is the thesis that there is more than one correct logic. The main opposing view, logical monism, is the thesis that there is only one. In fact there are many pairs of such opposed theses - and so, many different versions of the thesis of logical pluralism - corresponding to the different ways in which one can specify more carefully what a logic is, and what it would be for one to be correct. Some of these further specifications result in versions of logical pluralism that seem relatively anodyne:...
Categories: Philosophy

Eliminative Materialism

Tue, 04/16/2013 - 17:09
[Revised entry by William Ramsey on April 16, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, Internet resources] Eliminative materialism (or eliminativism) is the radical claim that our ordinary, common-sense understanding of the mind is deeply wrong and that some or all of the mental states posited by common-sense do not actually exist. Descartes famously challenged much of what we take for granted, but he insisted that, for the most part, we can be confident about the content of our own minds....
Categories: Philosophy

Peter John Olivi

Mon, 04/15/2013 - 02:14
[Revised entry by Robert Pasnau and Juhana Toivanen on April 15, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, Internet resources] Peter John Olivi was an original and interesting philosopher of the later Middle Ages. Although not as clear and systematic as Thomas Aquinas, and not as brilliantly analytical as John Duns Scotus, Olivi's ideas are equally original and provocative, and scarcely known even to specialists in medieval philosophy....
Categories: Philosophy

Ibn Kammuna

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 14:52
[Revised entry by Tzvi Langermann on April 11, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The centuries following the remarkable achievement of Ibn Sina (Avicenna; d. 1037) were a remarkably creative period in the sciences and philosophy. Sa'd ibn Mansur Ibn Kammuna, a Jew from Baghdad, actively participated in the lively discourse of his day. In his copious writings he takes up the entire gamut of philosophical issues discussed by his contemporaries. Editions, translations and studies of...
Categories: Philosophy

Moral Luck

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 15:40
[Revised entry by Dana K. Nelkin on April 10, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Moral luck occurs when an agent can be correctly treated as an object of moral judgment despite the fact that a significant aspect of what she is assessed for depends on factors beyond her control. Bernard Williams writes, "when I first introduced the expression moral luck, I expected to suggest an oxymoron" (Williams 1993, 251). Indeed, immunity from luck has been thought by...
Categories: Philosophy


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 11:55
[New Entry by David Blank on April 10, 2013.] Philodemus of Gadara (ca. 110 - ca. 30 BCE) was an Epicurean philosopher and epigrammatist who, having studied in the Epicurean school at Athens led by Zeno of Sidon, moved to Italy, probably in the 70's BCE. There he may have lived in the Greek town of Naples, and perhaps also in Rome. Some of Philodemus' poems, praised by Cicero, were preserved in the Palatine Anthology, and these...
Categories: Philosophy


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 00:22
[Revised entry by Katrien Devolder on April 9, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, Internet resources] Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from a somatic (body) cell, came into the world innocent as a lamb. However, soon after the announcement of her birth in February 1997 (Wilmut et al., 1997) she caused panic and controversy. An important, and for many people troubling question arose: if the cloning of sheep is possible, will scientists soon start cloning humans as well; and if they did, would this be wrong or unwise?...
Categories: Philosophy

Material Constitution

Fri, 04/05/2013 - 20:12
[Revised entry by Ryan Wasserman on April 5, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] What is the relationship between a clay statue and the lump of clay from which it is formed? We might say that the lump constitutes the statue, but what is this relation of material constitution? Some insist that constitution is identity, on the grounds that distinct material objects cannot occupy the same place at the same...
Categories: Philosophy


Fri, 04/05/2013 - 19:26
[Revised entry by Allen Buchanan on April 5, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Until fairly recently secession has been a neglected topic among philosophers. Two factors may explain why philosophers have now begun to turn their attention to secession. First, in the past two decades there has been a great increase not only in the number of attempted secessions, but also in successful secessions, and philosophers may simply be reacting to this new reality, attempting to make normative...
Categories: Philosophy

Paraconsistent Logic

Fri, 04/05/2013 - 17:55
[Revised entry by Graham Priest, Koji Tanaka, and Zach Weber on April 5, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The contemporary logical orthodoxy has it that, from contradictory premises, anything can be inferred. Let ⊨ be a relation of logical consequence, defined either semantically or proof-theoretically. Call ⊨ explosive if it validates {A , nA} ⊨ B for every A and B (ex contradictione quodlibet (ECQ)). Classical logic, and most standard 'non-classical' logics too such as intuitionist logic, are explosive. Inconsistency, according to received wisdom, cannot be coherently reasoned about....
Categories: Philosophy

John Duns Scotus

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 17:15
[Revised entry by Thomas Williams on April 4, 2013. Changes to: Bibliography] John Duns Scotus (1265/66 - 1308) was one of the most important and influential philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. His brilliantly complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. This...
Categories: Philosophy

Medieval Theories of Transcendentals

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 13:57
[New Entry by Wouter Goris and Jan Aertsen on April 4, 2013.] Medieval theories of the transcendentals present an explication of the concept of 'being' (ens) in terms of the so-called 'most common notions' (communissima), such as 'one' (unum), 'true' (verum), and 'good' (bonum), and explain the inner relations and order between these concepts. In contrast to...
Categories: Philosophy

The Logic of Action

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 21:10
[Revised entry by Krister Segerberg, John-Jules Meyer, and Marcus Kracht on April 2, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In this article we provide a brief overview of the logic of action in philosophy, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence. The logic of action is the formal study of action in which formal languages are the main tool of analysis. The concept of action is of central interest to many disciplines: the...
Categories: Philosophy

Jacques Lacan

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 19:36
[New Entry by Adrian Johnston on April 2, 2013.] Jacques Lacan (April 13, 1901 to September 9, 1981) was a major figure in Parisian intellectual life for much of the twentieth century. Sometimes referred to as "the French Freud," he is an important figure in the history of psychoanalysis. His teachings and writings explore the significance of Freud's discovery of the unconscious both within the theory and practice of analysis itself as...
Categories: Philosophy

Political Realism in International Relations

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 15:16
[Revised entry by W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz on April 2, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In the discipline of international relations there are contending general theories or theoretical perspectives. Realism, also known as political realism, is a view of international politics that stresses its competitive and conflictual side. It is usually contrasted with idealism or liberalism, which tends to emphasize cooperation. Realists consider the principal actors in the international arena to be states,...
Categories: Philosophy

Continental Feminism

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:07
[Revised entry by Jennifer Hansen on March 29, 2013. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Jennifer Hansen replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.]...
Categories: Philosophy

Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 22:53
[Revised entry by Ian Proops on March 28, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Although it has few adherents today, logical atomism was once a leading movement within early twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Different, though related, versions of the view were developed by Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Russell's logical atomism is set forth chiefly in his 1918 work "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism" (Russell 1956), Wittgenstein's in his Tractatus...
Categories: Philosophy
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