Philosophers of science are in the business of explaining the special features of science, like the unifying power of scientific explanation and the wonderful sense of understanding it produces. We try to explain the amazing success of modern scientific theories, the structure of inductive inference in the science, and extract systematic positions – like realism, constructivism, and empiricism – from the evidence of theoretical success.
Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers. He was famously a cynic, holding that human action was motivated entirely by selfish concerns, notably fear of death.
Insofar as Descartes’ philosophical project is an attempt to overcome self-doubt, it doesn’t seem successful. His original reason for self-doubt was a clash between theology and experience. It is hard to see why, if this clash gave him good reason to doubt himself, the clash between providence and freedom would not do so as well. He seems to disagree with himself about the ultimate lessons to learn from disagreement!
This April, the OUP Philosophy team honours Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) as their Philosopher of the Month. A teacher and professor of logic and metaphysics, this Enlightenment philosopher is today considered one of the most significant thinkers of all time. But how much do you really know about this Enlightenment thinker? Test your knowledge of Kant with our quiz below.
Buddhist literature is full of statements that sound paradoxical. This has led to the widespread idea that Buddhism, like some other religions, wants to point us in the direction of a reality transcending all intellectual understanding.
Disorientations—major life experiences that make it difficult for individuals to know how to go on—are deeply familiar, in part because they are common. It is rare to have never experienced some form of disorientation in one’s own life, perhaps in response to grief, illness, or other significant events.
By any common definition, Trump’s statements and policies are racist. Yet we are researchers on implicit bias—largely unconscious, mostly automatic social biases that can affect people’s behavior even when they intend to treat others fairly regardless of their social group identity.
One of the most famous, and most widely discussed, paradoxes is the Liar paradox. The Liar sentence is true if and only if it is false, and thus can be neither (unless it can be both). The variants of the Liar that I want to consider in this instalment arise by taking the implicit temporal aspect of the word “is” in the Liar paradox seriously.
You go to the museum. Stand in line for half an hour. Pay 20 bucks. And then, you’re there, looking at the exhibited artworks, but you get nothing out of it. You try hard. You read the little annoying labels next to the artworks. Even get the audio-guide. Still nothing. What do you do? Maybe you’re just not into this specific artist. Or maybe you’re not that into paintings in general. Or art.
What do the pamphlets of the English Civil War, imperial theorists of the eighteenth century, Nazi schoolteachers, and a left-wing American artist have in common? Correct! They all see themselves as in dialogue with classical antiquity, drawing on the political thought of ancient Greek writers. Nor are they alone in this; the idea that Western thought is a series of ‘footnotes to Plato’, as Alfred Whitehead suggested in 1929, is a memorable formulation of the extensive role of ancient Greece within modernity.
Pope Francis is boldly liberalizing Catholic teaching on sexual matters. Or so it is commonly believed. In earlier ages of the Christian Church, both East and West, its canons and its teachings always understood human sexuality as having a very powerful effect upon the human soul.
A teacher and professor of logic and metaphysics, Kant is today considered one of the most significant thinkers of all time. His influence is so great, European philosophy is generally divided into pre-Kantian and post-Kantian schools of thought.
For many years, the prevailing view among both cognitive scientists and philosophers has been that the brain is sufficient for cognition, and that once we discover its secrets, we will be able to unravel the mysteries of the mind. Recently however, a growing number of thinkers have begun to challenge this prevailing view that mentality is a purely neural phenomenon.
The Oxford Philosophy team is excited to see you in San Francisco for the upcoming 2016 American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting. We have some suggestions on sights to see during your time in California as well as our favorite sessions for the conference. We recommend visiting the following sights and attractions while in San Francisco.
Today is Easter Sunday for the majority of the world’s 2.4 billion Christians (most Orthodox Christians will wait until May 1st to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus). After the long penitential season of Lent, Christians are greeting each other with joyful exclamations of “He is risen,” and hearing in glad response, “He is risen indeed, hallelujah!”
This January, the OUP Philosophy team has chosen David Hume as their Philosopher of the Month. Born in Edinburgh, Hume is considered a founding figure of empiricism and the most significant philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment. With its strong critique of contemporary metaphysics, Hume’s ‘Treatise of Human Nature’ (1739–40) cleared the way for a genuinely empirical account of human understanding.