Appiah explores how the new empirical moral psychology relates to philosophical ethics. He elaborates a vision of naturalism that resists both temptations and traces an intellectual genealogy of the burgeoning discipline of 'experimental philosophy'.
Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them. In Thinking It Through, esteemed philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. (...) Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs, or being a follower of a particular thinker, Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More important, Appiah shows us not only what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving us examples we might use in our own attempts to navigate the complex issues that confront any reflective person in the 21st century. Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work and written in the liveliest prose, Thinking It Through guides readers through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges our understanding of the central questions of human life. (shrink)
The study of identity crosses all disciplinary borders to address such issues as the multiple interactions of race, class, and gender in feminist, lesbian, and gay studies, postcolonialism and globalization, and the interrelation of nationalism and ethnicity in ethnic and area studies. Identities will help disrupt the cliche-ridden discourse of identity by exploring the formation of identities and problem of subjectivity. Leading scholars in literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy explore such topics as "Gypsies" in the Western imagination, the mobilization (...) of the West in Chinese television, the lesbian identity and the woman's gaze in fashion photography, and the regulation of black women's bodies in early 20th-century urban areas. This collection of twenty articles brings together the special issue of Critical Inquiry entitled "Identities" (Summer 1992), two other previously published essays, and five previously published critical responses and rejoinders, all of which is interrogated in two new essays by Michael Gorra and Judith Butler. Contributors include Elizabeth Abel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Akeel Bilgrami, Daniel Boyarin, Jonathan Boyarin, Judith Butler, Hazel V. Carby, Xiaomei Chen, Diana Fuss, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Avery Gordon, Michael Gorra, Cheryl Herr, Saree S. Makdisi, Walter Benn Michaels, Christopher Newfield, Gananath Obeyesekere, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sara Suleri, Katie Trumpener, and Joseph Valente. (shrink)
If assertibility rules are to be important in semantic theory, hypotheses such as this one will need to beiinvestigated. And Slote's observation (see note 12) that what matters for assertibility is not belief but knowledge will turn out to have powerful consequences.Adams' rule is the first well understood assertibility rule in philosophical semantics. I think we should be led by its successes to look for more. In this paper, I have built on his assertibility rule and offered two more. But (...) it is worth observing, finally, that their interest lies, in part, in the contrast with semantic rules stated in terms of truth conditions. Much recent discussion of assertibility conditions derives from Dummett's “anti-realist” claim that we should perhaps substitute assertibility conditions for truth conditions in general; see Dummett (1973), Wright (1976). This notion of assertibility is not the one I have been working with here: for the anti-realist notion of an assertibility condition is of a condition whose obtaining provides epistemic warrant for the sentence asserted. Dummett and Wright's assertibility conditions are thus to do with the justification of the belief expressed by a sentence and not directly with the justification for asserting it. 17 But realists may be interested in a more modest role for assertibility conditions — in my sense — which are not derived, by way of ASS, from truth conditions. Realism need not be the claim that all declarative sentences can be given truth conditions; it requires only the view that truth conditions account for the central class of cases. The proposals in this paper presuppose a realist treatment of the antecedents and consequents of unembedded conditionals, and a realist view of the sentences within the scope of the epistemic modality. What could be more central than that? (shrink)