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March 17 2017


Nietzsche's Life and Works

[Revised entry by Robert Wicks on March 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text] [Editor's Note: The following entry was previously published under the title "Friedrich Nietzsche". A new entry on that topic has now been published.]...

Friedrich Nietzsche

[Revised entry by R. Lanier Anderson on March 17, 2017. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by R. Lanier Anderson replaces the former entry on this topic. The former entry is now published as Nietzsche's Life and Works.]...

March 15 2017



[Revised entry by Ann Cudd and Seena Eftekhari on March 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] "Contractarianism" names both a political theory of the legitimacy of political authority and a moral theory about the origin or legitimate content of moral norms. The political theory of authority claims that legitimate authority of government must derive from the consent of the governed, where the form and content of this consent derives from the idea of contract or mutual agreement. The moral theory of contractarianism claims that moral norms derive their normative force from the idea of contract or mutual agreement....


[Revised entry by Kenneth Seeskin on March 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Moses ben Maimon [known to English speaking audiences as Maimonides and Hebrew speaking as Rambam] (1138 - 1204) is the greatest Jewish philosopher of the medieval period and is still widely read today. The Mishneh Torah, his 14-volume compendium of Jewish law, established him as the leading rabbinic authority of his time and quite possibly of all time. His philosophic masterpiece, the Guide of the Perplexed, is a sustained treatment of Jewish thought and practice...

Juan Luis Vives [Joannes Ludovicus Vives]

[Revised entry by Lorenzo Casini on March 14, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] Juan Luis Vives (1493 - 1540) was a Spanish humanist and educational theorist who strongly opposed scholasticism and made his mark as one of the most influential advocates of humanistic learning in the early sixteenth century. His works are not limited to education but deal with a wide range of subjects including philosophy, psychology, politics, social reform and religion. Vives was not a systematic writer, which makes it difficult to classify him as a philosopher. His thought is eclectic and pragmatic, as well as...

March 13 2017



[Revised entry by Edward Wierenga on March 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Omniscience is the property of having complete or maximal knowledge. Along with omnipotence and perfect goodness, it is usually taken to be one of the central divine attributes. Once source of the attribution of omniscience to God derives from the numerous biblical passages that ascribe vast knowledge to him. St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae I, q. 14), in his discussion of the knowledge of God, cites such texts as Job 12:13: "With God are wisdom and strength; he has counsel and understanding" and Rom. 11:13:...

March 10 2017



[Revised entry by Carl Huffman on March 9, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Alcmaeon of Croton was an early Greek medical writer and philosopher-scientist. His exact date, his relationship to other early Greek philosopher-scientists, and whether he was primarily a medical writer/physician or a typical Presocratic cosmologist, are all matters of controversy. He is likely to have written his book sometime between 500 and 450 BCE. The surviving fragments and testimonia focus primarily on issues of physiology, psychology, and epistemology and reveal Alcmaeon to be a thinker of considerable originality. He was...

March 09 2017



[New Entry by Titus Stahl and Claudia Bloeser on March 8, 2017.] Discussions of hope can be found throughout the history of philosophy and across all Western philosophical traditions, even though philosophy has traditionally not paid the same attention to hope as it has to attitudes like belief and desire. However, even though hope has historically only rarely been discussed systematically - with important exceptions, such as Aquinas, Bloch and Marcel - almost all major philosophers acknowledge that hope plays an important role in regard to human motivation, religious belief or politics....

March 07 2017


John Langshaw Austin

[Revised entry by Guy Longworth on March 7, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] John Langshaw Austin (1911 - 1960) was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He made a number of contributions in various areas of philosophy, including important work on knowledge, perception, action, freedom, truth, language, and the use of language in speech acts. Distinctions that Austin draws in his work on speech acts - in particular his distinction between locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts - have assumed something like canonical status in more recent work. His work on...

The Analysis of Knowledge

[Revised entry by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa and Matthias Steup on March 7, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] For any person, there are some things they know, and some things they don't. What exactly is the difference? What does it take to know something? It's not enough just to believe it - we don't know the things we're wrong about. Knowledge seems to be more like a way of getting at the truth. The analysis of knowledge concerns the attempt to articulate in what exactly this kind of "getting at the truth" consists....

March 06 2017


Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

[Revised entry by Olimpia Lombardi and Dennis Dieks on March 6, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The original "modal interpretation" of non-relativistic quantum theory was born in the early 1970s, and at that time the phrase referred to a single interpretation. The phrase now encompasses a class of interpretations, and is better taken to refer to a general approach to the interpretation of quantum theory. We shall describe the history of modal interpretations, how the phrase has come to be used in this way, and the general program of (at least some of) those who advocate this approach....

March 04 2017


Henry David Thoreau

[Revised entry by Rick Anthony Furtak on March 3, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) was an American philosopher, poet, and environmental scientist whose major work, Walden, draws upon each of these identities in meditating on the concrete problems of living in the world as a human being. He sought to revive a conception of philosophy as a way of life, not only a mode of reflective thought and discourse. Thoreau's work was informed by an eclectic variety of sources. He was well-versed in classical Greek and Roman philosophy, ranging from the pre-Socratics through the...

March 02 2017


Marsilius of Inghen

[Revised entry by Maarten Hoenen on March 2, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Marsilius of Inghen, master at the Universities of Paris (1362 - 1378) and Heidelberg (1386 - 1396), wrote a number of treatises on logic, natural philosophy and theology popular at many late medieval and early modern universities. He adopted the logico-semantic approach of William of Ockham and John Buridan while at the same time defending the traditional views of Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure. His thinking sheds light on the discussion between nominalists and realists and...


[Revised entry by Alex Barber and Eduardo Garcia Ramirez on March 1, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] For the purposes of this entry an idiolect is a language the linguistic (i. e. syntactic, phonological, referential, etc.) properties of which can be exhaustively specified in terms of the intrinsic properties of some single individual, the person whose idiolect it is. The force of "intrinsic" is to exclude essential reference to features of the person's wider environment, and in particular to their linguistic community....

February 28 2017


The Ethics of Clinical Research

[Revised entry by David Wendler on February 27, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Clinical research attempts to address a relatively straightforward, and extremely important challenge: how do we determine whether one medical intervention is better than another, whether it offers greater clinical benefit and/or poses fewer risks? Clinicians may one day be able to answer these questions by relying on computer models, thereby avoiding reliance on clinical research and the ethical concerns it raises. Until that day, clinical researchers begin by testing potential new medical interventions in the laboratory, and often in animals. While these methods can provide valuable information and, in the case of animal research, raise important ethical issues of their...

February 25 2017


Frege's Theorem and Foundations for Arithmetic

[Revised entry by Edward N. Zalta on February 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Over the course of his life, Gottlob Frege formulated two logical systems in his attempts to define basic concepts of mathematics and to derive mathematical laws from the laws of logic. In his book of 1879, Begriffsschrift: eine der arithmetischen nachgebildete Formelsprache des reinen Denkens, he developed a second-order predicate calculus and used it both to define interesting mathematical concepts and to state and prove mathematically interesting propositions. However, in his two-volume work of 1893/1903,...

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...
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