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June 11 2018



[Revised entry by Anna-Sofia Maurin on June 11, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Trope theory is the view that reality is (wholly or partly) made up from tropes. Tropes are things like the particular shape, weight, and texture of an individual object. Because tropes are particular, for two objects to 'share' a property (for them both to exemplify, say, a particular shade of green) is for each to contain (instantiate, exemplify) a greenness-trope, where those greenness-tropes, although numerically distinct, nevertheless exactly resemble each other....

Zeno's Paradoxes

[Revised entry by Nick Huggett on June 11, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Almost everything that we know about Zeno of Elea is to be found in the opening pages of Plato's Parmenides. There we learn that Zeno was nearly 40 years old when Socrates was a young man, say 20. Since Socrates was born in 469 BC we can estimate a birth date for Zeno around 490 BC. Beyond this, really all we know is that he was close to Parmenides (Plato reports the gossip that they were lovers when Zeno was young), and that he wrote a book of paradoxes defending Parmenides' philosophy. Sadly this book has not survived, and...

June 08 2018



[Revised entry by Jan Christoph Westerhoff on June 8, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] There is unanimous agreement that Nāgārjuna (ca 150 - 250 AD) is the most important Buddhist philosopher after the historical Buddha himself and one of the most original and influential thinkers in the history of Indian philosophy. His philosophy of the "middle way" (madhyamaka) based around the central notion of "emptiness" (śūnyatā) influenced the Indian philosophical...

June 07 2018



[Revised entry by Andreas Follesdal on June 7, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Federalism is the theory or advocacy of federal principles for dividing powers between member units and common institutions. Unlike in a unitary state, sovereignty in federal political orders is non-centralized, often constitutionally, between at least two levels so that units at each level have final authority and can be self governing in some issue area. Citizens thus have political obligations to, or have their rights secured by, two authorities. The division of...

June 05 2018


Scientific Discovery

[Revised entry by Jutta Schickore on June 5, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Scientific discovery is the process or product of successful scientific inquiry. Objects of discovery can be things, events, processes, causes, and properties as well as theories and hypotheses and their features (their explanatory power, for example). Most philosophical discussions of scientific discoveries focus on the generation of new hypotheses that fit or explain given data sets or allow for the derivation of testable consequences. Philosophical...

Albert the Great

[Revised entry by Markus Führer on June 4, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Albertus Magnus, also known as Albert the Great, was one of the most universal thinkers to appear during the Middle Ages. Even more so than his most famous student, St. Thomas of Aquinas, Albert's interests ranged from natural science all the way to theology. He made contributions to logic, psychology, metaphysics, meteorology, mineralogy, and zoology. He was an avid commentator on nearly all the great authorities read during the 13th Century. He was...


[Revised entry by Frank Lovett on June 4, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In political theory and philosophy, the term 'republicanism' is generally used in two different, but closely related, senses. In the first sense, republicanism refers to a loose tradition or family of writers in the history of western political thought, including especially: Machiavelli and his fifteenth-century Italian predecessors; the English republicans Milton, Harrington, Sidney, and others; Montesquieu and Blackstone;...

May 30 2018


Constructive Mathematics

[Revised entry by Douglas Bridges and Erik Palmgren on May 30, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, supplement1.html, supplement2.html] Constructive mathematics is distinguished from its traditional counterpart, classical mathematics, by the strict interpretation of the phrase "there exists" as "we can construct". In order to work constructively, we need to re-interpret not only the existential quantifier but all the logical connectives and quantifiers as instructions on how to construct a proof of the statement involving these logical expressions....

Logic and Information

[Revised entry by Maricarmen Martinez and Sebastian Sequoiah-Grayson on May 30, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] At their most basic, logic is the study of consequence, and information is a commodity. Given this, the interrelationship between logic and information will centre on the informational consequences of logical actions or operations conceived broadly. The explicit inclusion of the notion of information as an object of logical study is a recent development. It was by the beginning of the present century that a sizable body of existing technical and philosophical work (with precursors that can be traced back to the...

Moral Naturalism

[Revised entry by Matthew Lutz and James Lenman on May 30, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] While the term 'moral naturalism' has a number of different meanings, it is most frequently used to describe naturalistic versions of moral realism. Moral realists hold that there are objective, mind-independent facts and properties; moral naturalists hold that these objective, mind-independent moral facts are natural facts. 'Moral naturalism' can also be used as a label for views in normative ethics which hold that things are good if...

Giordano Bruno

[New Entry by Dilwyn Knox on May 30, 2018.] Giordano Bruno (1548 - 1600) was one of the most adventurous thinkers of the Renaissance. Supremely confident in his intellectual abilities, he ridiculed Aristotelianism, especially its contemporary adherents. Copernicus's heliocentric theory provided a starting point for his exposition of what he called a "new philosophy". It disproved the axioms of Aristotelian natural philosophy, notably the idea that sublunary elements occupied or strove to return to their natural places, that is, the elemental...


[Revised entry by Noa Ronkin on May 30, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] The first centuries after Śākyamuni Buddha's death saw the rise of multiple schools of thought and teacher lineages within the Buddhist community as it spread throughout the Indian subcontinent. These new forms of scholarly monastic communities had distinct theoretical and practical interests and, in their efforts to organize, interpret, and reexamine the Buddha's scattered teachings, they developed a particular system of thought and method of exposition...

May 25 2018



[Revised entry by Harold Noonan and Ben Curtis on May 25, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Much of the debate about identity in recent decades has been about personal identity, and specifically about personal identity over time, but identity generally, and the identity of things of other kinds, have also attracted attention. Various interrelated problems have been at the centre of discussion, but it is fair to say that recent work has focussed particularly on the following areas: the notion of a criterion of identity; the correct analysis of identity over time,...

May 24 2018


Medieval Theories of the Emotions

[New Entry by Simo Knuuttila on May 23, 2018.] One of the many uses of the Greek word pathos in ancient philosophy referred, roughly speaking, to what we call emotions. The corresponding Latin terms were passio, affectus or affectio. Medieval theories of emotions were essentially based on ancient sources. The new developments included the discussion of emotions from the point of view of Avicennian faculty psychology, the production of systematic taxonomies particularly in thirteenth-century Aristotelianism, the detailed studies of voluntary...

Jane Addams

[Revised entry by Maurice Hamington on May 23, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Jane Addams (1860 - 1935) can be labeled the first woman "public philosopher" in United States history. The dynamics of canon formation, however, resulted in her philosophical work being largely ignored until the 1990s.[1] Addams is best known for her pioneering work in the social settlement movement - the radical arm of the progressive movement...

Skepticism and Content Externalism

[New entry by Michael McKinsey on May 23, 2018.] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Michael McKinsey replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] A number of skeptical hypotheses or scenarios have been proposed which can be used as the basis for arguments to the effect that we lack knowledge of various propositions about objects in the external world,...


[Revised entry by Souleymane Bachir Diagne on May 23, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography, notes.html] Towards the end of his life, Aime Cesaire has declared that the question he and his friend Leopold Sedar Senghor came to raise after they first met was: "Who am I? Who are we? What are we in this white world?" And he commented: "That's quite a problem" (Cesaire 2005, 23). "Who am I?" is a question Descartes posed, and a reader of the French philosopher naturally understands such a question to be...

May 23 2018


Quine's New Foundations

[Revised entry by Thomas Forster on May 22, 2018. Changes to: Main text] Quine's system of axiomatic set theory, NF, takes its name from the title ("New Foundations for Mathematical Logic") of the 1937 article which introduced it (Quine [1937a]). The axioms of NF are extensionality: [ forall xforall y[x=y leftrightarrow forall z(z in x leftrightarrow z in y)]...

Michel Foucault

[Revised entry by Gary Gutting and Johanna Oksala on May 22, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Michel Foucault (1926 - 1984) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. He has had strong influence not only (or even primarily) in philosophy but also in a wide range of humanistic and social scientific disciplines....

May 18 2018


Paraconsistent Logic

[Revised entry by Graham Priest, Koji Tanaka, and Zach Weber on May 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Contemporary logical orthodoxy has it that, from contradictory premises, anything follows. A logical consequence relation is explosive if according to it any arbitrary conclusion (B) is entailed by any arbitrary contradiction (A), (neg A) (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....
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