Peter Simpson City University of New York

  • Faculty, City University of New York
  • PhD, Victoria University of Manchester, 1983.

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?The question is too unclear to answerMore false dichotomies. How about per se nota truths?
Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?Accept another alternativeAbstractionism of the Scotist sort is preferable.
Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?The question is too unclear to answerBeauty is objective, but what particular people aesthetically value need not be.
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?Accept: noIts another false dichotomy.
Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?The question is too unclear to answerAgain there is a false dichotomy.
External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?Accept: non-skeptical realismSkepticism always begs the question by assuming that reality must be a matter of inference when in fact it could only ever be a matter of immediacy
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?Accept an intermediate viewHere there is a false trichotomy. Another answer -- all the possible actions one may do have sufficient causes but no such cause is necessitating -- is not even listed.
God: theism or atheism?Accept: theismThe argument from contingency is demonstrative.
Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?The question is too unclear to answerThe problem trades on a false dichotomy.
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?The question is too unclear to answerThe problem trades on ambiguity over the word know.
Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?The question is too unclear to answerLaws are, as such, mere observed correlations and so Hume is right. But regular correlations are impossible without a real cause behind them, so Hume is wrong. But the cause is not the correlation.
Logic: classical or non-classical?Reject bothAristotelian logic and medieval logic are preferable
Mental content: internalism or externalism?The question is too unclear to answerAnother false dichotomy.
Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?The question is too unclear to answerFalse dichotomy. There is an is/ought distinction but there is no fact/value distinction.
Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?Accept another alternativeFalse dichotomy again. If nature is divided into natura naturata and natura naturans, is the latter within the natural or not? The dichotomy leaves one no room to answer either yes or no.
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?The question is too unclear to answerAnother false dichotomy. Try hylomorphism instead.
Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?The question is too unclear to answerSame as previous.
Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?The question is too unclear to answerAnother false dichotomy
Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?Agnostic/undecided
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?Accept another alternativeNatural law theory fits none of these names and even virtue theory is a misnomer since it does not fit the classic account of virtue from Plato and Aristotle on.
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?Accept another alternativeDirect realism (e.g. colors are not qualia but properties of things).
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?Accept another alternativeIdentity is determined by haeceity.
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?Accept another alternativeLibertarian about the state, communitarian about society.
Proper names: Fregean or Millian?Accept another alternativeFregean psychologically, Millian ontologically.
Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?Accept another alternativeModern science is an abstraction from the real (it rejects 'secondary' qualities as they are called but these are as real as anything) and so not real as such though founded on what is real.
Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?Accept: deathResurrection is possible but death will have intervened.
Time: A-theory or B-theory?Accept another alternativeMcTaggart rejected both and accepted only the C series. His mistake anyway was to start with time and not with motion, when the puzzles that made him reject the A series and therewith also the B series would disappear
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?Accept another alternativeThere is no moral problem here at all. Neither action is intrinsically right or wrong.
Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?Accept: correspondence
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?Accept: inconceivableOne can imagine zombies but the concept is contradictory.