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February 24 2017


Dependence Logic

[New Entry by Pietro Galliani on February 23, 2017.] Dependence logic is an extension of first-order logic which adds to it dependence atoms, that is, expressions of the form (eqord(x_1 ldots x_n, y)) which assert that the value of (y) is functionally dependent on (in other words, determined by) the values of (x_1 ldots x_n). These atoms permit the specification of non-linearly ordered dependency patterns between variables, much in the same sense of IF-Logic slashed quantifiers; but, differently from IF-logic, dependence logic separates quantification...

Aquinas' Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy

[Revised entry by John Finnis on February 23, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] For Thomas Aquinas, as for Aristotle, doing moral philosophy is thinking as generally as possible about what I should choose to do (and not to do), considering my whole life as a field of opportunity (or misuse of opportunity). Thinking as general as this concerns not merely my own opportunities, but the kinds of good things that any human being can do and achieve, or be deprived of. Thinking about what to do is conveniently labeled "practical", and is concerned with what and how to choose and do what one intelligently...

February 23 2017


Phenomenal Intentionality

[Revised entry by David Bourget and Angela Mendelovici on February 22, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] Phenomenal intentionality is a kind of intentionality, or aboutness, that is grounded in phenomenal consciousness, the subjective, experiential feature of certain mental states. The phenomenal intentionality theory (PIT), is a theory of intentionality according to which there is phenomenal intentionality, and all other kinds of intentionality at least partly derive from it. In recent years, PIT has increasingly been seen as one of the main approaches to intentionality....

Paradoxes and Contemporary Logic

[Revised entry by Andrea Cantini and Riccardo Bruni on February 22, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] By "paradox" one usually means a statement claiming something which goes beyond (or even against) 'common opinion' (what is usually believed or held). Paradoxes form a natural object of philosophical investigation ever since the origins of rational thought; they have been invented as part of complex arguments and as tools for refuting philosophical theses (think of the celebrated paradoxes credited to Zeno of Elea, concerning motion, the continuum, the opposition between unity and plurality, or of the...

Francis Herbert Bradley

[Revised entry by Stewart Candlish and Pierfrancesco Basile on February 22, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] F. H. Bradley (1846 - 1924) was the most famous, original and philosophically influential of the British Idealists. These philosophers came to prominence in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, but their effect on British philosophy and society at large - and, through the positions of power attained by some of their pupils in the institutions of the British Empire, on much of the world - persisted well into the first half of the...

February 22 2017


Reductionism in Biology

[Revised entry by Ingo Brigandt and Alan Love on February 21, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relations between different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically at lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science,...

Charlie Dunbar Broad

[Revised entry by Kent Gustavsson on February 21, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887 - 1971) was an English philosopher who for the most part of his life was associated with Trinity College, Cambridge. Broad's early interests were in science and mathematics. Despite being successful in these he came to believe that he would never be a first-rate scientist, and turned to philosophy. Broad's interests were exceptionally wide-ranging. He devoted his philosophical acuity to the mind-body problem, the nature of...

February 21 2017



[Revised entry by Damian Cox, Marguerite La Caze, and Michael Levine on February 20, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Integrity is one of the most important and oft-cited of virtue terms. It is also perhaps the most puzzling. For example, while it is sometimes used virtually synonymously with 'moral,' we also at times distinguish acting morally from acting with integrity. Persons of integrity may in fact act immorally - though they would usually not know they are acting immorally. Thus one may acknowledge a person to have integrity even though that person may hold what one thinks are importantly mistaken moral views....

February 18 2017


Aristotle's Logic

[Revised entry by Robin Smith on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Aristotle's logic, especially his theory of the syllogism, has had an unparalleled influence on the history of Western thought. It did not always hold this position: in the Hellenistic period, Stoic logic, and in particular the work of Chrysippus, took pride of place. However, in later antiquity, following the work of Aristotelian Commentators, Aristotle's logic became dominant, and Aristotelian logic was what was transmitted to the Arabic and the Latin medieval traditions, while the works of Chrysippus have not...

Heaven and Hell in Christian Thought

[Revised entry by Thomas Talbott on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Behind the various Christian ideas about heaven and hell lies the more basic belief that our lives extend beyond the grave (see the entry on afterlife). For suppose that our lives do not extend beyond the grave. In addition to excluding a variety of ideas about reincarnation and karma, this would also preclude the very possibility of future compensation of any kind for those who experience horrendous evil during their earthly lives. Indeed, despite their profound...

Formal Learning Theory

[Revised entry by Oliver Schulte on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Formal learning theory is the mathematical embodiment of a normative epistemology. It deals with the question of how an agent should use observations about her environment to arrive at correct and informative conclusions. Philosophers such as Putnam, Glymour and Kelly have developed learning theory as a normative framework for scientific reasoning and inductive inference....

February 17 2017


Incompatibilist (Nondeterministic) Theories of Free Will

[Revised entry by Randolph Clarke and Justin Capes on February 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] To have free will is to have what it takes to act freely. When an agent acts freely - when she exercises free will - it is up to her whether she does one thing or another on that occasion. A plurality of alternatives is open to her, and she determines which she pursues. When she does, she is an ultimate source or origin of her action. So runs a familiar conception of free will....

William Godwin

[Revised entry by Mark Philp on February 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] William Godwin (1756 - 1836) was the founder of philosophical anarchism. In his An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) he argued that government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance, but that it will be rendered increasingly unnecessary and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge and the expansion of the human understanding. Politics will be displaced by an enlarged personal morality as truth conquers error and mind subordinates matter. In this development the rigorous...

February 16 2017


Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

[Revised entry by Vittoria Perrone Compagni on February 15, 2017. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Vittoria Perrone Compagni replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] The intellectual biography of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486 - 1535) provides us with significant proof of a...

Natural Kinds

[Revised entry by Alexander Bird and Emma Tobin on February 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Scientific disciplines frequently divide the particulars they study into kinds and theorize about those kinds. To say that a kind is natural is to say that it corresponds to a grouping that reflects the structure of the natural world rather than the interests and actions of human beings. We tend to assume that science is often successful in revealing these kinds; it is a corollary of scientific realism that when all goes well the classifications and taxonomies...

July 10 2015


Bernard Bosanquet

[Revised entry by William Sweet on July 9, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Bernard Bosanquet (1848 - 1923), British philosopher, political theorist and social reformer, was one of the principal exponents (with F.H. Bradley) of late nineteenth and early twentieth century 'Absolute Idealism'....

July 09 2015


Action-based Theories of Perception

[New Entry by Robert Briscoe and Rick Grush on July 8, 2015.] Action is a means of acquiring perceptual information about the environment. Turning around, for example, alters your spatial relations to surrounding objects and, hence, which of their properties you visually perceive. Moving your hand over an object's surface enables you to feel its shape, temperature, and texture. Sniffing and walking around a room enables you to track down the source of an unpleasant smell. Active or passive movements of the body can also generate useful sources of perceptual information (Gibson 1966, 1979). The pattern of optic flow in the retinal image produced by forward...

Belief Merging and Judgment Aggregation

[New Entry by Gabriella Pigozzi on July 8, 2015.] Groups often need to reach decisions and decisions can be complex, involving the assessment of several related issues. For example, in a university a hiring committee typically decides on a candidate on the basis of her teaching and research qualities. A city council confronted with the decision of building a bridge, may ask its members to state whether they are favorable or not and, at the same time, to provide reasons for their position (like economical and environmental impacts, or expenditure considerations). Lastly, jurors are required to decide on the liability of a defendant by expressing their...

July 07 2015


Natural Theology and Natural Religion

[New Entry by Andrew Chignell and Derk Pereboom on July 6, 2015.] The term "natural religion" is sometimes taken to refer to a pantheistic doctrine according to which nature itself is divine. "Natural theology", by contrast, originally referred to (and still sometimes refers to)[1] the project of arguing for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts. In contemporary philosophy, however, both "natural...

June 04 2015


Emergent Properties

[Revised entry by Timothy O'Connor and Hong Yu Wong on June 3, 2015. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Emergence is a notorious philosophical term of art. A variety of theorists have appropriated it for their purposes ever since George Henry Lewes gave it a philosophical sense in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind. We might roughly characterize the shared meaning thus: emergent entities (properties or substances) 'arise' out of more fundamental entities and yet are 'novel' or 'irreducible' with respect to them. (For example, it is...
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