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Profile: Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  1. Robert Pasnau (forthcoming). Disagreement and the Value of Self-Trust. Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    Controversy over the epistemology of disagreement endures because there is an unnoticed factor at work: the intrinsic value we give to self-trust. Even if there are many instances of disagreement where, from a strictly epistemic or rational point of view, we ought to suspend belief, there are other values at work that influence our all-things considered judgments about what we ought to believe. Hence those who would give equal-weight to both sides in many cases of disagreement may be right, from (...)
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  2. Robert Pasnau (2014). On Metaphysical Themes: Replies to Critics. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 171 (1):37-50.
    Reply to NormoreCalvin Normore offers a very interesting big-picture thesis about the later medieval period, one with multiple components. First, he thinks the first quarters of the thirteenth century—the era of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas—are “gobsmacked” by the recovery of Aristotle’s work, and hence are “anomalous.” Second he thinks that, once the gobsmacking is over, the philosophers—beginning with Peter John Olivi and onward into the fourteenth century—return to “building upon the insights of the twelfth century”—that is, back to (...)
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  3. Robert Pasnau (2013). Epistemology Idealized. Mind 122 (488):987-1021.
    Epistemology today centrally concerns the conceptual analysis of knowledge. Historically, however, this is a concept that philosophers have seldom been interested in analysing, particularly when it is construed as broadly as the English language would have it. Instead, the overriding focus of epistemologists over the centuries has been, first, to describe the epistemic ideal that human beings might hope to achieve, and then go on to chart the various ways in which we ordinarily fall off from that ideal. I discuss (...)
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  4. Robert Pasnau (ed.) (2013). Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Volume 1. Oup Oxford.
    Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy showcases the best new scholarly work on philosophy from the end of antiquity into the Renaissance. OSMP combines historical scholarship with philosophical acuteness, and will be an essential resource for anyone working in the area.
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  5. Robert Pasnau (2012). Mind and Hylomorphism. In John Marenbon (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    For later medieval philosophers, writing under the influence of Aristotle’s natural philosophy and metaphysics, the human soul plays two quite different roles, serving as both a substantial form and a mind. To ask the natural question of why we need a soul at all – why we might not instead simply be a body, a material thing – therefore requires considering two very different sets of issues. The first set of issues is metaphysical, and revolves around the central question of (...)
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  6. Robert Pasnau (2011). A Realistic Theory of Categories. Review of Metaphysics 51 (3):666-667.
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  7. Robert Pasnau (2011). And Secondary. In Lawrence Nolan (ed.), Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate. Oxford University Press. 41.
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  8. Robert Pasnau (2011). Metaphysical Themes, 1274-1671. Oxford University Press.
    The thirty chapters work through various fundamental metaphysical issues, sometimes focusing more on scholastic thought, sometimes on the seventeenth century.
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  9. Robert Pasnau (2011). On Existing All at Once. In C. Tapp (ed.), God, Eternity, and Time. Ashgate.
    It is important to distinguish between two ways in which God might be timelessly eternal: eternality as being wholly outside of time, versus the sort of timelessness that consists in lacking temporal parts, and so existing “all at once.” A prominent but neglected historical tradition, most clearly evident in Anselm, advocates putting God in time, but in an all-at-once sort of way that makes God immune to temporal change. This is an intrinsically plausible conception of divine eternality, which also sheds (...)
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  10. Robert Pasnau (2011). Philosophy of Mind and Human Nature. In Brian Davies & Eleonore Stump (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas. Oxford University Press.
    A theory of human nature must consider from the start whether it sees human beings in fundamentally biological terms, as animals like other animals, or else in fundamentally supernatural terms, as creatures of God who are like God in some special way, and so importantly unlike other animals. Many of the perennial philosophical disputes have proved so intractable in part because their adherents divide along these lines. The friends of materialism, seeing human beings as just a particularly complex example of (...)
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  11. Robert Pasnau (2011). Scholastic Qualities, Primary and Secondary. In Lawrence Nolan (ed.), Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate. Oxford University Press.
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  12. Robert Pasnau (2010). Form and Matter. In , Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
    The first unquestionably big idea in the history of philosophy was the idea of form. The idea of course belonged to Plato, and was then domesticated at the hands of Aristotle, who paired form with matter as the two chief principles of his metaphysics and natural philosophy. In the medieval period, it was Aristotle’s conception of form and matter that generally dominated. This was true for both the Islamic and the Christian tradition, once the entire Aristotelian corpus became available. For (...)
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  13. Robert Pasnau (2010). Medieval Social Epistemology:Scientia for Mere Mortals. Episteme 7 (1):23-41.
    Medieval epistemology begins as ideal theory: when is one ideally situated with regard to one's grasp of the way things are? Taking as their starting point Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, scholastic authors conceive of the goal of cognitive inquiry as the achievement of scientia, a systematic body of beliefs, grasped as certain, and grounded in demonstrative reasons that show the reason why things are so. Obviously, however, there is not much we know in this way. The very strictness of this ideal (...)
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  14. Robert Pasnau (2010). On Evil. Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):599-601.
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  15. Robert Pasnau (2010). Review of John Cottingham, Peter Hacker (Eds.), Mind, Method, and Morality: Essays in Honour of Anthony Kenny. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (6).
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  16. Robert Pasnau (2010). Science and Certainty. In , Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
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  17. Robert Pasnau & Christina Van Dyke (eds.) (2010). The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
  18. Robert Pasnau (2009). The Event of Color. Philosophical Studies 142 (3):353 - 369.
    When objects are illuminated, the light they reflect does not simply bounce off their surface. Rather, that light is entirely reabsorbed and then reemitted, as the result of a complex microphysical event near the surface of the object. If we are to be physicalists regarding color, then we should analyze colors in terms of that event, just as we analyze heat in terms of molecular motion, and sound in terms of vibrations. On this account, colors are not standing properties of (...)
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  19. Robert Pasnau, Divine Illumination. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  20. Robert Pasnau (2008). Id Quo Cognoscimus. In Kärkkäinen Knuuttila (ed.), Theories of Perception in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. 131--149.
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  21. Robert Pasnau, Peter John Olivi. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  22. Robert Pasnau (2007). Democritus and Secondary Qualities. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2):99-121.
    Democritus is generally understood to have anticipated the seventeenthcentury distinction between primary and secondary qualities. I argue that this is not the case, and that instead for Democritus all sensible qualities are conventional.
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  23. Robert Pasnau (2006). A Theory of Secondary Qualities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):568–591.
    No philosophical intuition has a longer history than that which divides sensible qualities into two kinds, primary and secondary. Something like it appears in Democritus, nearly 2500 years ago, and has been continuously maintained in some form or another ever since then. Philosophers today largely continue to think that there is something right about the distinction, even while it remains notoriously difficult to find agreement on just where its ultimate basis lies. As Mark Johnston (1992) puts it, the primary–secondary distinction (...)
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  24. Leonard Boyle, Victor White, John Wippel, Peter Geach, Robert Pasnau, Anthony Kenny, Herbert McCabe, Eleonore Stump, Bonnie Kent & Fergus Kerr (2005). Aquinas's Summa Theologiae. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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  25. Robert Pasnau (2005). Review: Aquinas. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (453):203-206.
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  26. Robert Pasnau (2004). Form, Substance, and Mechanism. Philosophical Review 113 (1):31-88.
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  27. Robert Pasnau (2004). Review of Thomas Aquinas, "On Evil&Quot;. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):599-601.
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  28. Robert Pasnau & Christopher Shields (2004). The Philosophy of Aquinas. Westview.
    Beginning with a brief overview of Aquinas’ life and philosophical career, the authors introduce his overarching explanatory framework in order to provide the necessary background to his substantive theorizing in a wide range of areas: rational theology, metaphysics, philosophy of human nature, philosophy of mind, and ethical and political theory. Although not intended to provide a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of Aquinas’ far-reaching writings, the volume does present a systematic introduction to the principal areas of his philosophy, attending no (...)
     
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  29. Robert Pasnau (2003). Human Nature. In Arthur Stephen McGrade (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
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  30. Robert Pasnau (2003). Of the Thirteenth Century. In Many Ways, He Sees the Issues in More Depth Than Had Anyone Before Him. In Thomas Williams (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge University Press. 285.
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  31. Robert Pasnau (2003). Review of Anthony Kenny, Aquinas on Being. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (12).
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  32. Robert Pasnau (2003). Review of Stephen J. Pope (Ed.), The Ethics of Aquinas. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (1).
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  33. Robert Pasnau (2003). Souls and the Beginning of Life (a Reply to Haldane and Lee). Philosophy 78 (4):521-531.
    In a recent book, I attempt to use the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas to defend a moderate view regarding abortion: that an abortion at any time during a pregnancy should be considered a grave loss, but that it should be considered murder only after roughly the middle of the second trimester. John Haldane and Patrick Lee contend that I have misunderstood the implications of Aquinas's view, and that in fact his metaphysics supports the conclusion that a human being comes into (...)
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  34. Robert Pasnau (2002). Life's Form: Late Aristotelian Conceptions of the Soul. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 111 (2):308-310.
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  35. Robert Pasnau (ed.) (2002). Mind and Knowledge. Cambridge University Press.
    The third volume of The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts will allow scholars and students access, for the first time in English, to major texts that form the debate over mind and knowledge at the center of medieval philosophy. Beginning with thirteenth-century attempts to classify the soul's powers and to explain the mind's place within the soul, the volume proceeds systematically to consider the scope of human knowledge and the role of divine illumination, intentionality and mental representation, and attempts (...)
     
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  36. Robert Pasnau (2002). Richard Cross, The Physics of Duns Scotus: The Scientific Context of a Theological Vision. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Pp. Xv, 303; Black-and-White Figures. $80. [REVIEW] Speculum 77 (4):1268-1270.
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  37. Robert Pasnau (2002). Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa Theologiae 1a, 75-89. Cambridge University Press.
    This is a major new study of Thomas Aquinas, the most influential philosopher of the Middle Ages. The book offers a clear and accessible guide to the central project of Aquinas' philosophy: the understanding of human nature. Robert Pasnau sets the philosophy in the context of ancient and modern thought, and argues for some groundbreaking proposals for understanding some of the most difficult areas of Aquinas' thought: the relationship of soul to body, the workings of sense and intellect, the will (...)
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  38. Robert Pasnau (2002). What Is Cognition? A Reply to Some Critics. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (3):483-490.
    In an earlier work, I proposed understanding Aquinas’s theory of cognition in terms of the possession of information about the world. This proposal has seemed problematic in various ways. It has been said to include too much, and too little, and to be the wrong sort of account altogether. Nevertheless, I continue to think of it as the most plausible interpretation of Aquinas’s theory.
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  39. Myles Burnyeat, Richard Gaskin, Joël Biard, Peter Simons, Victor Caston, Richard Sorabji, Christof Rapp, Hermann Weidemann, Dorothea Frede, Claude Panaccio, Elizabeth Karger, Robert Pasnau & Cyrille Michon (2001). Ancient and Medieval Theories of Intentionality. Brill.
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  40. Robert Pasnau (2001). Intentionality and Final Causes. In Dominik Perler (ed.), Ancient and Medieval Theories of Intentionality. Brill. 301--24.
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  41. Robert Pasnau (2000). Aquinas. Faith and Philosophy 17 (3):407-413.
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  42. Robert Pasnau (2000). Review of John Finnis, Aquinas: &Quot;aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory&Quot;. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 17 (3):407-413.
  43. Robert Pasnau (2000). Plotting Augustine's Confessions. Logos 3 (2).
    Some ideas on how to teach the Confessions in an introductory philosophy class.
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  44. Robert Pasnau (2000). Sensible Qualities: The Case of Sound. Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (1):27-40.
  45. Robert Pasnau (2000). The Philosophy of William of Ockham in the Light of Its Principles (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (4):590-591.
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  46. Robert Pasnau (1999). What is Sound? Philosophical Quarterly 50 (196):309-24.
    Our standard view about sound is incoherent. On the one hand, we suppose that sound is a quality, not of the object that makes the sound, but of the surrounding medium. This is the supposition of our ordinary language, modern science and a long philosophical tradition. On the other hand, we suppose that sound is the object of hearing. This too is the assumption of ordinary language, modern science and a long philosophical tradition. Yet these two assumptions cannot both be (...)
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  47. Robert Pasnau (1998). Aquinas and the Content Fallacy. Modern Schoolman 75 (4):293-314.
  48. Robert Pasnau (1998). Review of Chisholm, "A Realistic Theory of Categories&Quot;. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 51 (3):666-667.
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  49. Robert Pasnau (1998). Review of Gellman, "Experience of God and the Rationality of Theistic Belief&Quot;. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 107 (4):624-626.
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