Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

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Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches

Sat, 2017-11-18 01:37
[Revised entry by John Doris, Stephen Stich, Jonathan Phillips, and Lachlan Walmsley on November 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Moral psychology investigates human functioning in moral contexts, and asks how these results may impact debate in ethical theory. This work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on both the empirical resources of the human sciences and the conceptual resources of philosophical ethics. The present article discusses several topics that illustrate this type of inquiry: thought experiments, responsibility, character, egoism v. altruism, and moral disagreement....
Categories: Philosophy

Karl Jaspers

Thu, 2017-11-16 02:01
[Revised entry by Chris Thornhill and Ronny Miron on November 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Karl Jaspers (1883 - 1969) began his academic career working as a psychiatrist and, after a period of transition, he converted to philosophy in the early 1920s. Throughout the middle decades of the twentieth century he exercised considerable influence on a number of areas of philosophical inquiry: especially on epistemology, the philosophy of religion, and political theory....
Categories: Philosophy


Wed, 2017-11-15 03:49
[Revised entry by Sven Ove Hansson and Till Grüne-Yanoff on November 14, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html, revealed-preference.html] The notion of preference has a central role in many disciplines, including moral philosophy and decision theory. Preferences and their logical properties also have a central role in rational choice theory, a subject that in its turn permeates modern economics, as well as other branches of formalized social science. The notion of preference and the way it is analysed vary between these disciplines. A treatment is still lacking that takes into account the needs of all usages and tries to combine them in a unified approach. This entry surveys the...
Categories: Philosophy

Mary Shepherd

Tue, 2017-11-14 04:59
[Revised entry by Martha Bolton on November 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Mary Shepherd (1777 - 1847) is the author of several works advocating a systematic metaphysics and theory of knowledge which were highly regarded by her contemporaries. Born and raised a short distance from Edinburgh and well versed in the intellectual life of the city, she urges a philosophy adamantly opposed to main tenets of the Scottish school. She finds them unable to sustain scientific inquiry, everyday practical reasoning, and belief in an almighty deity. Her aim is to replace them with a metaphysics consisting of...
Categories: Philosophy

The Church-Turing Thesis

Sat, 2017-11-11 04:23
[Revised entry by B. Jack Copeland on November 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] There are various equivalent formulations of the Church-Turing thesis. A common one is that every effective computation can be carried out by a Turing machine. The Church-Turing thesis is often misunderstood, particularly in recent writing in the philosophy of mind....
Categories: Philosophy

Bruno Bauer

Sat, 2017-11-11 04:08
[Revised entry by Douglas Moggach on November 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Bruno Bauer (6 September 1809 - 13 April 1882), philosopher, historian, and theologian. His career falls into two main phases, divided by the Revolutions of 1848. In the 1840s, the period known as the Vormarz or the prelude to the German revolutions of March 1848, Bauer was a leader of the Left-Hegelian movement, developing a republican interpretation of Hegel, which combined ethical and aesthetic motifs. His theory of infinite self-consciousness, derived from Hegel's account of subjective spirit, stressed rational autonomy and historical progress. Investigating the textual sources of...
Categories: Philosophy


Sat, 2017-11-11 02:31
[Revised entry by David Blank on November 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Ammonius (ca. 435/445 - 517/526) taught philosophy at Alexandria, where his father Hermeias had taught earlier. Known primarily for his commentaries on Aristotle, which were said to be of greater benefit than anyone else's, he was also distinguished in geometry and astronomy. Himself a pupil of Proclus at Athens, at Alexandria Ammonius taught most of the important Platonists of the late 5th and early 6th centuries: Asclepius, Damascius and Simplicius, Eutocius, and Olympiodorus; Elias and David...
Categories: Philosophy

Søren Kierkegaard

Sat, 2017-11-11 02:24
[Revised entry by William McDonald on November 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (b. 1813, d. 1855) was a profound and prolific writer in the Danish "golden age" of intellectual and artistic activity. His work crosses the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, literary criticism, devotional literature and fiction. Kierkegaard brought this potent mixture of discourses to bear as social critique and for the purpose of renewing Christian faith within Christendom. At the same time he made many original conceptual contributions to each of the disciplines he employed. He is known as...
Categories: Philosophy

Creation and Conservation

Fri, 2017-11-10 03:12
[Revised entry by Jonathan Kvanvig and David Vander Laan on November 9, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In the philosophy of religion, creation is the action by which God brings an object into existence, while conservation is the action by which God maintains the existence of an object over time. The major monotheisms unambiguously affirm that God both created the world and conserves it. It is less clear, however, whether creation and conservation are to be conceived as distinct kinds of actions. The question has its roots in medieval and early modern characterizations of divine action, and it has received renewed...
Categories: Philosophy

The Development of Intuitionistic Logic

Thu, 2017-11-09 02:45
[Revised entry by Mark van Atten on November 8, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Intuitionistic logic is an offshoot of L.E.J. Brouwer's intuitionistic mathematics. A widespread misconception has it that intuitionistic logic is the logic underlying Brouwer's intuitionism; instead, the intuitionism underlies the logic, which is construed as an application of intuitionistic mathematics to language. Intuitionistic mathematics consists in the act of effecting mental constructions of a certain kind. These are themselves not linguistic in nature, but when acts of construction and their results are...
Categories: Philosophy


Thu, 2017-11-09 01:30
[Revised entry by Kevin Mulligan and Fabrice Correia on November 8, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Internet resources, history-facts.html] Facts, philosophers like to say, are opposed to theories and to values (cf. Rundle 1993) and are to be distinguished from things, in particular from complex objects, complexes and wholes, and from relations. They are the objects of certain mental states and acts, they make truth-bearers true and correspond to truths, they are part of the furniture of the world. We present and discuss some philosophical and formal accounts of facts....
Categories: Philosophy

Transworld Identity

Wed, 2017-11-08 06:15
[Revised entry by Penelope Mackie and Mark Jago on November 7, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The notion of transworld identity - 'identity across possible worlds' - is the notion that the same object exists in more than one possible world (with the actual world treated as one of the possible worlds). It therefore has its home in a 'possible-worlds' framework for analysing, or at least paraphrasing, statements about what is possible or necessary....
Categories: Philosophy

Pietro Pomponazzi

Wed, 2017-11-08 02:46
[Revised entry by Craig Martin on November 7, 2017. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Craig Martin replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] Pietro Pomponazzi (1462 - 1525) was a leading philosopher of Renaissance Italy. Teaching primarily at the universities at Padua and...
Categories: Philosophy

Aristotle's Political Theory

Wed, 2017-11-08 01:57
[Revised entry by Fred Miller on November 7, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, supplement1.html, supplement2.html, supplement3.html] Aristotle (b. 384 - d. 322 BCE), was a Greek philosopher, logician, and scientist. Along with his teacher Plato, Aristotle is generally regarded as one of the most influential ancient thinkers in a number of philosophical fields, including political theory. Aristotle was born in Stagira in northern Greece, and his father was a court physician to the king of Macedon. As a young man he studied in Plato's Academy in Athens. After Plato's death he left Athens to conduct philosophical and biological research in Asia Minor and...
Categories: Philosophy

Virtue Epistemology

Wed, 2017-11-08 01:22
[Revised entry by John Turri, Mark Alfano, and John Greco on November 7, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter 'VE') is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities....
Categories: Philosophy

Continental Rationalism

Tue, 2017-11-07 00:21
[Revised entry by Shannon Dea, Julie Walsh, and Thomas M. Lennon on November 6, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The expression "continental rationalism" refers to a set of views more or less shared by a number of philosophers active on the European continent during the latter two thirds of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. Rationalism is most often characterized as an epistemological position. On this view, to be a rationalist requires at least one of the following: (1) a privileging of reason and intuition over sensation and experience, (2) regarding...
Categories: Philosophy

Legal Rights

Sat, 2017-11-04 08:00
[Revised entry by Kenneth Campbell on November 4, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Legal rights are, clearly, rights which exist under the rules of legal systems or by virtue of decisions of suitably authoritative bodies within them. They raise a number of different philosophical issues. (1) Whether legal rights are conceptually related to other types of rights, principally moral rights; (2) What the analysis of the concept of a legal right is; (3) What kinds of entities can be legal right-holders; (4) Whether there any kinds of rights which are...
Categories: Philosophy


Sat, 2017-11-04 01:24
[Revised entry by Andrew Fiala on November 3, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Anarchism is a political theory, which is skeptical of the justification of authority and power, especially political power. Anarchism is usually grounded in moral claims about the importance of individual liberty. Anarchists also offer a positive theory of human flourishing, based upon an ideal of non-coercive consensus building. Anarchism has inspired practical efforts at establishing utopian communities, radical and revolutionary political agendas, and various forms of direct action. This entry primarily describes...
Categories: Philosophy

Logicism and Neologicism

Sat, 2017-11-04 00:27
[Revised entry by Neil Tennant on November 3, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Logicism is a philosophical, foundational, and foundationalist doctrine that can be advanced with respect to any branch of mathematics. Traditionally, logicism has concerned itself especially with arithmetic and real analysis. It comes in a stronger and a weaker version. The strong version of logicism maintains that all...
Categories: Philosophy

Bradley's Regress

Thu, 2017-11-02 01:08
[New Entry by Katarina Perovic on November 1, 2017.] "Bradley's Regress" is an umbrella term for a family of arguments that lie at the heart of the ontological debate concerning properties and relations. The original arguments were articulated by the British idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley, who, in his work Appearance and Reality (1893), outlined three distinct regress arguments against the relational unity of properties. Bradley argued that a particular thing (a lump of sugar) is nothing more than a bundle of qualities (whiteness,...
Categories: Philosophy