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

Areas of specialization

Areas of interest

My philosophical views


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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:

QuestionAnswerComments
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, 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.