Christopher Hitchcock California Institute of Technology

  • Faculty, California Institute of Technology
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1993.

Areas of specialization

Areas of interest

My philosophical views


My philosophical views

The answers shown here are not necessarily the same provided as part of the 2009 PhilPapers Survey. These answers can be updated at any time.

See also:

A priori knowledge: yes or no?Accept: yes
Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?Lean toward: PlatonismBut I lean toward 'plenitudinist' Platonism -- all consistent abstract structures exist. So there is still no answer to the Continuum problem, since 'set' and 'number' don't uniquely refer to one structure.
Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?Lean toward: subjective
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?Accept: yesBut no philosophically interesting synonymy: e.g. 'X knows that P' just means...
Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?Lean toward: externalism
External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?Accept: non-skeptical realism
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?Accept: compatibilism
God: theism or atheism?Accept: atheism
Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?Accept: empiricism
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?Accept: contextualismI'm skeptical that 'knowledge' picks out a unified and useful concept.
Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?Lean toward: non-HumeanThere are only genuine laws in fundamental physics -- no laws of biology, psychology, meteorology, or even chemistry or solid-state physics.
Logic: classical or non-classical?Accept bothPluralist.
Mental content: internalism or externalism?Accept: externalism
Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?Lean toward: moral realism
Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?Accept: naturalism
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?Accept: physicalism
Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?Lean toward: cognitivism
Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?Accept: externalism
Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?Accept: two boxesBut if I could take a pill to become a one-boxer *before the predictor interviews me*, I would
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?Lean toward: consequentialism
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?Lean toward: representationalism
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?Reject allParfitian. It's a matter of degree and there needn't be a fact of the matter.
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?Lean toward: communitarianism
Proper names: Fregean or Millian?Accept: Millian
Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?Accept an intermediate viewThe question should be addressed locally. I'm a realist about atoms and viruses; an anti-realist about Coriolis forces; agnostic about superstrings
Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?Lean toward: death
Time: A-theory or B-theory?Accept: B-theory
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?Lean toward: switchIt might depend on whether any of the actors voluntarily undertook the risk. Also, there is something to be said for rolling a die to determine who decides (i.e. switch five times out of six).
Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?Lean toward: deflationary
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?Lean toward: inconceivableDavid Hull once said: 'You think you can conceive of a centaur? How many stomachs does it have?' That's how I feel about zombies.