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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....


[New Entry by Jeremy Heis on May 18, 2018.] Neo-Kantianism was the dominant philosophical movement in Germany from roughly 1870 until the First World War. This movement drew inspiration from a diverse cast of philosophers - principally, Kuno Fischer (Fischer 1860), Hermann von Helmholtz (Helmholtz 1867, 1878), Friedrich Lange (Lange 1866), Otto Liebmann (Liebmann 1865), and Eduard Zeller (Zeller 1862)) - who in the middle of the nineteenth century were calling for a return to Kant's philosophy as an alternative to both speculative metaphysics and materialism (Beiser...


[Revised entry by Christian Wildberg on May 18, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] 'David' is named in certain manuscripts of three works of philosophy as their author: a set of introductory lectures on philosophy, a commentary on Porphyry's Introduction, and a commentary on Aristotle's Categories that nowadays is attributed to Elias. The name is commonly taken, on the basis of evidence internal to these works, to refer to a Christian Neoplatonic philosopher and commentator who presumably worked in Alexandria in the...


[Revised entry by Christian Wildberg on May 18, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Olympiodorus of Alexandria, presumably a late pupil of Ammonius Hermeiou, the commentator on Aristotle and teacher of Simplicius and Philoponus, was one of the last pagans to teach philosophy at the school of Alexandria in the 6th century. In his lectures, he interpreted classical philosophical texts, mainly by Plato and Aristotle; we still possess three of his commentaries on Plato and two on Aristotle. At times, these seem to be carefully crafted pieces of...

May 17 2018


Experiment in Biology

[Revised entry by Marcel Weber on May 17, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Like the philosophy of science in general, the philosophy of biology has traditionally been mostly concerned with theories. For a variety of reasons, the theory that has by far attracted the most interest is evolutionary theory. There was a period in the philosophy of biology when this field was almost identical with the philosophy of evolutionary theory, especially if debates on the nature of species are included in this area. From the 1960s almost until the 1990s, basically the only non-evolutionary topic discussed was the issue of...

Arabic and Islamic Metaphysics

[Revised entry by Amos Bertolacci on May 16, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Among the philosophical disciplines transmitted to the Arabic and Islamic world from the Greeks, metaphysics was of paramount importance, as its pivotal role in the overall history of the transmission of Greek thought into Arabic makes evident. The beginnings of Arabic philosophy coincide with the production of the first extensive translation of Aristotle's Metaphysics, within the circle of translators associated with the founder of Arabic philosophy, al-Kindī. The so-called "early" or...

May 12 2018


Marin Mersenne

[New Entry by Philippe Hamou on May 11, 2018.] The Minim friar Marin Mersenne (1588 - 1648) played a central role in French intellectual life of the first half of the seventeenth century. At a time when scientific periodicals were still sorely lacking, he was rightly referred to as "The Secretary of Learned Europe" ("le secretaire de l'Europe savante", Haureau 1877, p. 177) thanks to his sprawling correspondence, which extended his network across the whole of learned Europe, to his role as translator, editor, disseminator of...


[Revised entry by Thomas D. Williams and Jan Olof Bengtsson on May 11, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Although it was only in the first half of the twentieth century that the term 'personalism' became known as a designation of philosophical schools and systems, personalist thought had developed throughout the nineteenth century as a reaction to perceived depersonalizing elements in Enlightenment rationalism, pantheism, Hegelian absolute idealism, individualism as well as collectivism in politics, and materialist, psychological, and evolutionary determinism. In its various strains, personalism always underscores the centrality of the person as the primary locus of investigation for...

Climate Science

[New Entry by Wendy Parker on May 11, 2018.] Climate science investigates the structure and dynamics of earth's climate system. It seeks to understand how global, regional and local climates are maintained as well as the processes by which they change over time. In doing so, it employs observations and theory from a variety of domains, including meteorology, oceanography, physics, chemistry and more. These resources also inform the development of computer models of the climate system, which are a mainstay of climate research today. This entry provides an overview of...

May 10 2018


Isaac Israeli

[Revised entry by Leonard Levin, R. David Walker, and Shalom Sadik on May 9, 2018. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Isaac ben Solomon Israeli (ca. 855 - 955 CE), not to be confused with Isaac Israeli the Younger (an astronomer of Spain, d. 1322 CE), served as physician to the founder of the Fatimid Dynasty in North Africa and wrote several philosophical and medical treatises in Arabic which were subsequently translated and widely read in Latin and Hebrew. Israeli was one of the earliest medieval Jewish Neoplatonist writers, though not as original in his thinking as later Jewish philosophers such as...

May 09 2018


Auguste Comte

[Revised entry by Michel Bourdeau on May 8, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention to the...

May 03 2018


Realism and Theory Change in Science

[New Entry by Stathis Psillos on May 3, 2018.] Scientific theories seem to have an expiry date. If we look at the history of science, a number of theories that once were dominant and widely accepted are currently taught in history of science courses. Will this be the fate of current scientific theories? Is there a pattern of radical theory-change as science grows? Are theories abandoned en bloc? Or are there patterns of retention in theory-change? That is, are some parts of theories more likely to survive than other parts? And what are the implications of all this...

Hannah Arendt

[Revised entry by Maurizio Passerin d'Entreves on May 2, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Hannah Arendt (1906 - 1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a number of academic positions at various American universities until...

Ludwig Wittgenstein

[Revised entry by Anat Biletzki and Anat Matar on May 2, 2018. Changes to: Bibliography] Considered by some to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein played a central, if controversial, role in 20th-century analytic philosophy. He continues to influence current philosophical thought in topics as diverse as logic and language, perception and intention, ethics and religion, aesthetics and culture. Originally, there were two commonly recognized stages of Wittgenstein's thought - the early and the later - both...
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