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February 07 2018


Robert Desgabets

[Revised entry by Patricia Easton on February 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Dom Robert Desgabets (1610 - 1678) was an early defender and teacher of the Cartesian philosophy at St. Maur in the region of Lorraine, France. He was born in Ancemont and in 1636 became a monk in the Benedictine order. He taught theology at Saint-Evre at Toul between 1635 - 1655, and served as Procurer General of Mihiel to Paris during 1648 - 49. Although he is little-known today, he played an important role in the development and transmission of the Cartesian...

Value Pluralism

[Revised entry by Elinor Mason on February 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] The word 'pluralism' generally refers to the view that there are many of the things in question (concepts, scientific world views, discourses, viewpoints etc.) The issues arising from there being many differ widely from subject area to subject area. This entry is concerned with moral pluralism - the view that there are many different moral values....


[Revised entry by Christian Barry on February 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] When philosophers, social scientists, and politicians seek to determine the justice of institutional arrangements, their discussions have often taken the form of questioning whether and under what circumstances the redistribution of wealth or other valuable goods is justified. This essay examines the different ways in which redistribution can be understood, the diverse political contexts in which it has been employed, and whether or not it is a useful concept...

The Kochen-Specker Theorem

[Revised entry by Carsten Held on February 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html, srprfunc.html] The Kochen-Specker theorem is an important and subtle topic in the foundations of quantum mechanics (QM). The theorem demonstrates the impossibility of a certain type of interpretation of QM in terms of hidden variables (HV) that naturally suggests itself when one begins to consider the project of interpretating QM.We here present the theorem/argument and the foundational discussion surrounding it at different levels. The reader looking for a quick overview should read...

Antoine Le Grand

[Revised entry by Patricia Easton on February 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Antoine Le Grand (1629 - 1699) was a philosopher and catholic theologian who played an important role in propagating the Cartesian philosophy in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century. He was born in Douai, (at the time under rule by the Spanish Hapsburgs), and early in life was associated with an English community of Franciscans who had a college there. Le Grand became a Franciscan Recollect friar prior to leaving for England as a missionary in 1656. In England, he taught...

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

[Revised entry by Dan Breazeale on February 6, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Inspired by his reading of Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762 - 1814) developed during the final decade of the eighteenth century a radically revised and rigorously systematic version of transcendental idealism, which he called Wissenschaftslehre of "Doctrine of Scientific Knowledge." Perhaps the most characteristic, as well as most controversial, feature of the Wissenschaftslehre (at least in its earlier and most...


[Revised entry by Debra Nails on February 6, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, supplement2.html] Constantin Brancusi. Socrates Image c The Museum of Modern Art; Licensed by Scala/Art Resource, NY c2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris...

February 06 2018


Philo of Alexandria

[New Entry by Carlos Lévy on February 5, 2018.] Philo of Alexandria is a Jewish thinker who lived in Alexandria in the first half of the first century BCE. Whether he really was a philosopher is a question still debated at length. At the beginning of the Roman Empire, especially for the Stoics and the Cynics, the fundamental task of a philosopher was the construction of his own self. A man who sought to improve himself had to first regulate his own nature, controlling his passions and emotions and eliminating any gap between theory and practice. He was thus supposed to approach the...

Levels of Organization in Biology

[New Entry by Markus I. Eronen and Daniel Stephen Brooks on February 5, 2018.] Levels of organization are structures in nature, usually defined by part-whole relationships, with things at higher levels being composed of things at the next lower level. Typical levels of organization that one finds in the literature include the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, organismal, group, population, community, ecosystem, landscape, and biosphere levels. References to levels of organization and related hierarchical depictions of nature are prominent in the life sciences and their philosophical study, and appear not only in...

Plato on utopia

[Revised entry by Chris Bobonich and Katherine Meadows on February 5, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] The Laws is one of Plato's last dialogues. In it, he sketches the basic political structure and laws of an ideal city named Magnesia. Despite the fact that the Laws treats a number of basic issues in political and ethical philosophy as well as theology, it has suffered neglect compared with the Republic. In recent years, however, more scholarly attention has been paid to the Laws. This entry discusses some of the most important issues arising in...

February 03 2018


Lucrezia Marinella

[Revised entry by Marguerite Deslauriers on February 2, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Lucrezia Marinella was a Venetian author of the sixteenth century, who published prolifically in a range of genres, primarily devotional literature (in prose and verse) and philosophical polemics. Her work, La nobilta et l'eccellenza delle donne, co' difetti et mancamenti de gli uomini, (The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men), published in 1600, was one of the first polemical treatises written by a woman in Italian as part of an ongoing debate about the nature and worth of...

February 01 2018


Proof-Theoretic Semantics

[Revised entry by Peter Schroeder-Heister on February 1, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, definitional-reflection.html, examples.html] Proof-theoretic semantics is an alternative to truth-condition semantics. It is based on the fundamental assumption that the central notion in terms of which meanings are assigned to certain expressions of our language, in particular to logical constants, is that of proof rather than truth. In this sense proof-theoretic semantics is semantics in terms of proof . Proof-theoretic semantics also means the semantics of proofs,...


[New Entry by Nilanjan Das on February 1, 2018.] Śrīharṣa was an Indian philosopher and poet, who lived in northern India in the 12th century CE.[1] Śrīharṣa didn't affiliate himself explicitly to any philosophical text tradition active in classical India. Some have argued that he was an advocate of Advaita Vedānta (Phillips 1995; Ram-Prasad 2002). Vedānta (literally, the end of the Vedas) is a family of competing philosophical interpretations of the texts called...

Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics

[Revised entry by Victor Rodych on January 31, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics is undoubtedly the most unknown and under-appreciated part of his philosophical opus. Indeed, more than half of Wittgenstein's writings from 1929 through 1944 are devoted to mathematics, a fact that Wittgenstein himself emphasized in 1944 by writing that his "chief contribution has been in the philosophy of mathematics" (Monk 1990: 466)....

January 31 2018


Leibniz's Influence on Kant

[Revised entry by Catherine Wilson on January 30, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Kant's interest in the physics, metaphysics, epistemology, and theology of his predecessor G.W. Leibniz is evident in his writings in the philosophy of natural science as well as in the passages of the Critique of Pure Reason dealing with transcendental ideas. The conventional view that Kant sought to steer a middle course between the rationalism of 18th century German school philosophy initiated by Leibniz's follower Christian Wolff and the...

January 29 2018



[Revised entry by Lisa Bortolotti on January 29, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] This entry focuses on the phenomenon of clinical delusions. Although the nature of delusions is controversial, as we shall see, delusions are often characterised as strange beliefs that appear in the context of mental distress. Indeed, clinical delusions are a symptom of psychiatric disorders such as dementia and schizophrenia, and they also characterize delusional disorders. The following case descriptions include one instance of erotomania, the delusion that...

January 26 2018



[Revised entry by Matthew McGrath and Devin Frank on January 25, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, multiple-relations.html] The term 'proposition' has a broad use in contemporary philosophy. It is used to refer to some or all of the following: the primary bearers of truth-value, the objects of belief and other "propositional attitudes" (i.e., what is believed, doubted, etc.[1]), the referents of that-clauses, and the meanings of sentences....

January 25 2018



[Revised entry by James Lesher on January 24, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Xenophanes of Colophon was a philosophically-minded poet who lived in various parts of the ancient Greek world during the late 6th and early 5th centuries BCE He is best remembered for a novel critique of anthropomorphism in religion, a partial advance toward monotheism, and some pioneering reflections on the conditions of knowledge. Many later writers, perhaps influenced by two brief characterizations of Xenophanes by Plato (Sophist...

January 23 2018



[Revised entry by Gerald Gaus, Shane D. Courtland, and David Schmidtz on January 22, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Liberalism is more than one thing. On any close examination, it seems to fracture into a range of related but sometimes competing visions. In this entry we focus on debates within the liberal tradition. (1) We contrast three interpretations of liberalism's core commitment to liberty. (2) We contrast 'old' and 'new' liberalism. (3) We ask whether liberalism is a 'comprehensive' or a 'political' doctrine. (4)...


[New Entry by David Ingram and Jonathan Tallant on January 22, 2018.] Presentism is the view that only present things exist (Hinchliff 1996: 123; Crisp 2004: 15; Markosian 2004: 47 - 48). So understood, presentism is an ontological doctrine; it's a view about what exists (what there is), absolutely and unrestrictedly. The view is the subject of extensive discussion in the literature, with much of it focused on the problems that presentism allegedly faces. Thus, much of the literature that frames the development of presentism has grown up either in formulating objections to the view...
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