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    ABSTRACT: Analytic philosophy is sometimes said to have particularly close connections to logic and to science, and no particularly interesting or close relation to its own history. It is argued here that although the connections to logic and science have been important in the development of analytic philosophy, these connections do not come close to characterizing the nature of analytic philosophy, either as a body of doctrines or as a philosophical method. We will do better to understand analytic philosophy—and its relationship to continental philosophy—if we see it as a historically constructed collection of texts, which define its key problems and concerns. It is true, however, that analytic philosophy has paid little attention to the history of the subject. This is both its strength—since it allows for a distinctive kind of creativity—and its weakness—since ignoring history can encourage a philosophical variety of “normal science.”
    Metaphilosophy 01/2012; 43(1-2):20 - 37.
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    ABSTRACT: According to one creation myth, analytic philosophy emerged in Cambridge when Moore and Russell abandoned idealism in favour of naive realism: every word stood for something; it was only after “the Fall,” Russell's discovery of his theory of descriptions, that they realized some complex phrases (“the present King of France”) didn't stand for anything. It has become a commonplace of recent scholarship to object that even before the Fall, Russell acknowledged that such phrases may fail to denote. But we need to go further: even before the Fall, Russell had taken an altogether more discerning approach to the ontology of logic and relations than is usually recognized.
    Metaphilosophy 01/2012; 43(1-2):135 - 146.
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    ABSTRACT: A singular thought can be characterized as a thought which is directed at just one object. The term ‘thought’ can apply to episodes of thinking, or to the content of the episode (what is thought). This paper argues that episodes of thinking can be just as singular, in the above sense, when they are directed at things that do not exist as when they are directed at things that do exist. In this sense, then, singular thoughts are not object-dependent.
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume. 05/2011; 85(1):21 - 43.
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    ABSTRACT: Can Bradley's Regress be solved by positing relational tropes as truth-makers? No, no more than Russell's paradox can be solved by positing Fregean extensions. To call a trope relational is to pack into its essence the relating function it is supposed to perform but without explaining what Bradley's Regress calls into question, viz. the capacity of relations to relate. This problem has been masked from view by the (questionable) assumption that the only genuine ontological problems that can be intelligibly raised are those that can be answered by providing a schedule of truthmakers.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Hardback) 03/2011; 111(1pt1):161 - 179.
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    The Journal of Value Inquiry 09/2010; 44(3):365-375.
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper I consider recent developments in neo-pragmatism, and in particular the degree of convergence between such approaches and those placing greater emphasis on truth and truth-makers. I urge that although a global pragmatism has its merits, it by no means closes the space for a more Wittgensteinian, finer-grained, approach to the diversity of functions served by modal, causal, moral, or other modes of thought.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Hardback) 04/2010; 110(1pt1):1 - 13.
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    ABSTRACT: Kant's essay Idea for a universal history with a cosmopolitan purpose differs in deep ways from standard Enlightenment views of human history. Although he agrees with many contemporaries that unsocial sociability can drive human progress, he argues that we know too little about the trends of history to offer either metaphysical defence or empirical vindication of the perfectibility of man or the inevitability of progress. However, as freely acting beings we can contribute to a better future, so have grounds for committing ourselves to human progress even if we cannot guarantee or know that it will continue indefinitely. As Kant sees, it, human progress is better seen as a practical assumption--an Idea of Reason--than as a theoretical claim.
    Studies In History and Philosophy of Science Part A 01/2009; 39(4):529-34.
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    ABSTRACT: I focus on two questions: what is knowledge, and how is knowledge possible? The latter is an example of a how-possible question. I argue that how-possible questions are obstacle-dependent and that they need to be dealt with at three different levels, the level of means, of obstacle-removal, and of enabling conditions. At the first of these levels the possibility of knowledge is accounted for by identifying means of knowing, and I argue that the identification of such means also contributes to a proper understanding of what knowledge is.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 09/2008; 77(2):507 - 509.
  • Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 09/2008; 77(2):532 - 538.
  • Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 09/2008; 77(2):525 - 531.
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