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David Chalmers
New York University
Douglas Chalmers
Columbia University
  1. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (2nd edition).David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
    The book is an extended study of the problem of consciousness. After setting up the problem, I argue that reductive explanation of consciousness is impossible , and that if one takes consciousness seriously, one has to go beyond a strict materialist framework. In the second half of the book, I move toward a positive theory of consciousness with fundamental laws linking the physical and the experiential in a systematic way. Finally, I use the ideas and arguments developed earlier to defend (...)
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  2. The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
    Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? The question invites two standard replies. Some accept the demarcations of skin and skull, and say that what is outside the body is outside the mind. Others are impressed by arguments suggesting that the meaning of our words "just ain't in the head", and hold that this externalism about meaning carries over into an externalism about mind. We propose to pursue a third position. We advocate a very different (...)
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  3. Philosophers on Philosophy: The 2020 PhilPapers Survey.David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
    What are the philosophical views of professional philosophers, and how do these views change over time? The 2020 PhilPapers Survey surveyed around 2000 philosophers on 100 philosophical questions. The results provide a snapshot of the state of some central debates in philosophy, reveal correlations and demographic effects involving philosophers' views, and reveal some changes in philosophers' views over the last decade.
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  4. What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
    What are the philosophical views of contemporary professional philosophers? We surveyed many professional philosophers in order to help determine their views on 30 central philosophical issues. This article documents the results. It also reveals correlations among philosophical views and between these views and factors such as age, gender, and nationality. A factor analysis suggests that an individual's views on these issues factor into a few underlying components that predict much of the variation in those views. The results of a metasurvey (...)
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  5. Could a large language model be conscious?David J. Chalmers - 2023 - Boston Review 1.
    [This is an edited version of a keynote talk at the conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) on November 28, 2022, with some minor additions and subtractions.] -/- There has recently been widespread discussion of whether large language models might be sentient or conscious. Should we take this idea seriously? I will break down the strongest reasons for and against. Given mainstream assumptions in the science of consciousness, there are significant obstacles to consciousness in current models: for example, their (...)
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  6. The Meta-Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (9-10):6-61.
  7. Facing up to the problem of consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
    To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the (...)
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  8. The character of consciousness.David John Chalmers - 2010 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    What is consciousness? How does the subjective character of consciousness fit into an objective world? How can there be a science of consciousness? In this sequel to his groundbreaking and controversial The Conscious Mind, David Chalmers develops a unified framework that addresses these questions and many others. Starting with a statement of the "hard problem" of consciousness, Chalmers builds a positive framework for the science of consciousness and a nonreductive vision of the metaphysics of consciousness. He replies to many critics (...)
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  9. Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
    There is a long tradition in philosophy of using a priori methods to draw conclusions about what is possible and what is necessary, and often in turn to draw conclusions about matters of substantive metaphysics. Arguments like this typically have three steps: first an epistemic claim , from there to a modal claim , and from there to a metaphysical claim.
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  10. Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem.David Chalmers - 2019 - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge. pp. 353-373.
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  11. Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology.Ryan Wasserman, David Manley & David Chalmers (eds.) - 2009 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  12. Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
    The philosophical interest of verbal disputes is twofold. First, they play a key role in philosophical method. Many philosophical disagreements are at least partly verbal, and almost every philosophical dispute has been diagnosed as verbal at some point. Here we can see the diagnosis of verbal disputes as a tool for philosophical progress. Second, they are interesting as a subject matter for first-order philosophy. Reflection on the existence and nature of verbal disputes can reveal something about the nature of concepts, (...)
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  13. Conceptual analysis and reductive explanation.David J. Chalmers & Frank Jackson - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):315-61.
    Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no.
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  14. The representational character of experience.David J. Chalmers - 2004 - In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 153--181.
    This chapter analyzes aspects of the relationship between consciousness and intentionality. It focuses on the phenomenal character and the intentional content of perceptual states, canvassing various possible relations among them. It argues that there is a good case for a sort of representationalism, although this may not take the form that its advocates often suggest. By mapping out some of the landscape, the chapter tries to open up territory for different and promising forms of representationalism to be explored in the (...)
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  15. Phenomenal Structuralism.David J. Chalmers - 2012 - In Constructing the World. pp. 412-422.
  16. The Combination Problem for Panpsychism.David Chalmers - 2017 - In Brüntrup Godehard & Jaskolla Ludwig (eds.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.
  17. Facing up to the problem of consciousness.D. J. Chalmers - 1996 - Toward a Science of Consciousness:5-28.
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  18. Consciousness and its place in nature.David Chalmers - 2003 - In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 102--142.
    Consciousness fits uneasily into our conception of the natural world. On the most common conception of nature, the natural world is the physical world. But on the most common conception of consciousness, it is not easy to see how it could be part of the physical world. So it seems that to find a place for consciousness within the natural order, we must either revise our conception of consciousness, or revise our conception of nature. In twentieth-century philosophy, this dilemma is (...)
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  19. Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function.David J. Chalmers & Kelvin J. McQueen - 2022 - In Shan Gao (ed.), Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press.
    Does consciousness collapse the quantum wave function? This idea was taken seriously by John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner but is now widely dismissed. We develop the idea by combining a mathematical theory of consciousness (integrated information theory) with an account of quantum collapse dynamics (continuous spontaneous localization). Simple versions of the theory are falsified by the quantum Zeno effect, but more complex versions remain compatible with empirical evidence. In principle, versions of the theory can be tested by experiments with (...)
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  20. Perception and the fall from Eden.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 49--125.
    In the Garden of Eden, we had unmediated contact with the world. We were directly acquainted with objects in the world and with their properties. Objects were simply presented to us without causal mediation, and properties were revealed to us in their true intrinsic glory.
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  21. The content and epistemology of phenomenal belief.David Chalmers - 2002 - In Aleksandar Jokic & Quentin Smith (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 220--72.
    Experiences and beliefs are different sorts of mental states, and are often taken to belong to very different domains. Experiences are paradigmatically phenomenal, characterized by what it is like to have them. Beliefs are paradigmatically intentional, characterized by their propositional content. But there are a number of crucial points where these domains intersect. One central locus of intersection arises from the existence of phenomenal beliefs: beliefs that are about experiences.
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  22. Constructing the World.David John Chalmers (ed.) - 2012 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Inspired by Rudolf Carnap's Der Logische Aufbau Der Welt, David J. Chalmers argues that the world can be constructed from a few basic elements. He develops a scrutability thesis saying that all truths about the world can be derived from basic truths and ideal reasoning. This thesis leads to many philosophical consequences: a broadly Fregean approach to meaning, an internalist approach to the contents of thought, and a reply to W. V. Quine's arguments against the analytic and the a priori. (...)
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  23. Ontological anti-realism.David J. Chalmers - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    The basic question of ontology is “What exists?”. The basic question of metaontology is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ontology? Here ontological realists say yes, and ontological anti-realists say no. (Compare: The basic question of ethics is “What is right?”. The basic question of metaethics is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ethics? Here moral realists say yes, and moral anti-realists say no.) For example, the ontologist may ask: Do numbers exist? The Platonist (...)
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  24. The Foundations of Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macia (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics: Foundations and Applications. Oxford University Press. pp. 55-140.
    Why is two-dimensional semantics important? One can think of it as the most recent act in a drama involving three of the central concepts of philosophy: meaning, reason, and modality. First, Kant linked reason and modality, by suggesting that what is necessary is knowable a priori, and vice versa. Second, Frege linked reason and meaning, by proposing an aspect of meaning (sense) that is constitutively tied to cognitive signi?cance. Third, Carnap linked meaning and modality, by proposing an aspect of meaning (...)
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  25. The singularity: A philosophical analysis.David J. Chalmers - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10):9 - 10.
    What happens when machines become more intelligent than humans? One view is that this event will be followed by an explosion to ever-greater levels of intelligence, as each generation of machines creates more intelligent machines in turn. This intelligence explosion is now often known as the “singularity”. The basic argument here was set out by the statistician I.J. Good in his 1965 article “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”: Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far (...)
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  26. The Virtual and the Real.David J. Chalmers - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (46):309-352.
    I argue that virtual reality is a sort of genuine reality. In particular, I argue for virtual digitalism, on which virtual objects are real digital objects, and against virtual fictionalism, on which virtual objects are fictional objects. I also argue that perception in virtual reality need not be illusory, and that life in virtual worlds can have roughly the same sort of value as life in non-virtual worlds.
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  27. Why Isn't There More Progress in Philosophy?David J. Chalmers - 2015 - Philosophy 90 (1):3-31.
    Is there progress in philosophy? A glass-half-full view is that there is some progress in philosophy. A glass-half-empty view is that there is not as much as we would like. I articulate a version of the glass-half-empty view, argue for it, and then address the crucial question of what explains it.
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  28. The components of content.David Chalmers - 2002 - In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press.
    [[This paper appears in my anthology _Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings_ (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633. It is a heavily revised version of a paper first written in 1994 and revised in 1995. Sections 1, 7, 8, and 10 are similar to the old version, but the other sections are quite different. Because the old version has been widely cited, I have made it available (in its 1995 version) at http://consc.net/papers/content95.html.
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  29. Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 118 (1-2):153-226.
  30. Strong and weak emergence.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Philip Clayton & Paul Davies (eds.), The re-emergence of emergence: the emergentist hypothesis from science to religion. New York: Oxford University Press.
    The term ‘emergence’ often causes confusion in science and philosophy, as it is used to express at least two quite different concepts. We can label these concepts _strong_ _emergence_ and _weak emergence_. Both of these concepts are important, but it is vital to keep them separate.
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  31. The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Materialism.David Chalmers - 2009 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    A number of popular arguments for dualism start from a premise about an epistemic gap between physical truths about truths about consciousness, and infer an ontological gap between physical processes and consciousness. Arguments of this sort include the conceivability argument, the knowledge argument, the explanatory-gap argument, and the property dualism argument. Such arguments are often resisted on the grounds that epistemic premises do not entail ontological conclusion. My view is that one can legitimately infer ontological conclusions from epistemic premises, if (...)
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  32. Extended Cognition and Extended Consciousness.David Chalmers - 2019 - In Matteo Colombo, Elizabeth Irvine & Mog Stapleton (eds.), Andy Clark and his Critics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  33. The nature of epistemic space.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    A natural way to think about epistemic possibility is as follows. When it is epistemically possible (for a subject) that p, there is an epistemically possible scenario (for that subject) in which p. The epistemic scenarios together constitute epistemic space. It is surprisingly difficult to make the intuitive picture precise. What sort of possibilities are we dealing with here? In particular, what is a scenario? And what is the relationship between scenarios and items of knowledge and belief? This chapter tries (...)
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  34. A computational foundation for the study of cognition.David Chalmers - 2011 - Journal of Cognitive Science 12 (4):323-357.
    Computation is central to the foundations of modern cognitive science, but its role is controversial. Questions about computation abound: What is it for a physical system to implement a computation? Is computation sufficient for thought? What is the role of computation in a theory of cognition? What is the relation between different sorts of computational theory, such as connectionism and symbolic computation? In this paper I develop a systematic framework that addresses all of these questions. Justifying the role of computation (...)
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  35. Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions: A Fregean Account.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):595-639.
    When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
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  36. On sense and intension.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - Philosophical Perspectives 16:135-82.
    What is involved in the meaning of our expressions? Frege suggested that there is an aspect of an expression.
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  37. Does a rock implement every finite-state automaton?David J. Chalmers - 1996 - Synthese 108 (3):309-33.
    Hilary Putnam has argued that computational functionalism cannot serve as a foundation for the study of the mind, as every ordinary open physical system implements every finite-state automaton. I argue that Putnam's argument fails, but that it points out the need for a better understanding of the bridge between the theory of computation and the theory of physical systems: the relation of implementation. It also raises questions about the class of automata that can serve as a basis for understanding the (...)
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  38. What is a neural correlate of consciousness?David J. Chalmers - 2000 - In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness. MIT Press. pp. 17--39.
    The search for neural correlates of consciousness (or NCCs) is arguably the cornerstone in the recent resurgence of the science of consciousness. The search poses many difficult empirical problems, but it seems to be tractable in principle, and some ingenious studies in recent years have led to considerable progress. A number of proposals have been put forward concerning the nature and location of neural correlates of consciousness. A few of these include.
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  39. Phenomenal concepts and the explanatory gap.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Torin Andrew Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    Confronted with the apparent explanatory gap between physical processes and consciousness, there are many possible reactions. Some deny that any explanatory gap exists at all. Some hold that there is an explanatory gap for now, but that it will eventually be closed. Some hold that the explanatory gap corresponds to an ontological gap in nature.
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  40. Two-dimensional semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In E. Lepore & B. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    Two-dimensional approaches to semantics, broadly understood, recognize two "dimensions" of the meaning or content of linguistic items. On these approaches, expressions and their utterances are associated with two different sorts of semantic values, which play different explanatory roles. Typically, one semantic value is associated with reference and ordinary truth-conditions, while the other is associated with the way that reference and truth-conditions depend on the external world. The second sort of semantic value is often held to play a distinctive role in (...)
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  41. The matrix as metaphysics.David J. Chalmers - 2005 - In Christopher Grau (ed.), Philosophers Explore the Matrix. Oxford University Press. pp. 132.
    The Matrix presents a version of an old philosophical fable: the brain in a vat. A disembodied brain is floating in a vat, inside a scientist’s laboratory. The scientist has arranged that the brain will be stimulated with the same sort of inputs that a normal embodied brain receives. To do this, the brain is connected to a giant computer simulation of a world. The simulation determines which inputs the brain receives. When the brain produces outputs, these are fed back (...)
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  42. The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis.David Chalmers - 2016 - In U. Awret (ed.), The Singularity: Could Artificial Intelligence Really Out-Think Us ? Imprint Academic. pp. 12-88.
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  43. What is Conceptual Engineering and What Should it Be?David Chalmers - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63.
    Conceptual engineering is the design, implementation, and evaluation of concepts. Conceptual engineering includes or should include de novo conceptual engineering (designing a new concept) as well as conceptual re-engineering (fixing an old concept). It should also include heteronymous (different-word) as well as homonymous (same-word) conceptual engineering. I discuss the importance and the difficulty of these sorts of conceptual engineering in philosophy and elsewhere.
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  44. Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism.David J. Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (12):625-660.
    Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses have been motivated using verificationism, (...)
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  45. Inferentialism, Australian style.David J. Chalmers - 2021 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 92.
  46. What is the unity of consciousness?Timothy J. Bayne & David J. Chalmers - 2003 - In Axel Cleeremans (ed.), The Unity of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    At any given time, a subject has a multiplicity of conscious experiences. A subject might simultaneously have visual experiences of a red book and a green tree, auditory experiences of birds singing, bodily sensations of a faint hunger and a sharp pain in the shoulder, the emotional experience of a certain melancholy, while having a stream of conscious thoughts about the nature of reality. These experiences are distinct from each other: a subject could experience the red book without the singing (...)
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  47. Materialism and the metaphysics of modality.David J. Chalmers - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):473-96.
    This appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59:473-93, as a response to four papers in a symposium on my book The Conscious Mind . Most of it should be comprehensible without having read the papers in question. This paper is for an audience of philosophers and so is relatively technical. It will probably also help to have read some of the book. The papers I’m responding to are: Chris Hill & Brian McLaughlin, There are fewer things in reality than are (...)
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  48. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings.David John Chalmers (ed.) - 2002 - New York: Oxford University Press USA.
    What is the mind? Is consciousness a process in the brain? How do our minds represent the world? Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings is a grand tour of writings on these and other perplexing questions about the nature of the mind. The most comprehensive collection of its kind, the book includes sixty-three selections that range from the classical contributions of Descartes to the leading edge of contemporary debates. Extensive sections cover foundational issues, the nature of consciousness, and the (...)
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  49. The computational and the representational language-of-thought hypotheses.David J. Chalmers - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e269.
    There are two versions of the language-of-thought hypothesis (LOT): Representational LOT (roughly, structured representation), introduced by Ockham, and computational LOT (roughly, symbolic computation) introduced by Fodor. Like many others, I oppose the latter but not the former. Quilty-Dunn et al. defend representational LOT, but they do not defend the strong computational LOT thesis central to the classical-connectionist debate.
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  50. Intuitions in philosophy: a minimal defense.David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):535-544.
    In Philosophy Without Intuitions, Herman Cappelen focuses on the metaphilosophical thesis he calls Centrality: contemporary analytic philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence for philosophical theories. Using linguistic and textual analysis, he argues that Centrality is false. He also suggests that because most philosophers accept Centrality, they have mistaken beliefs about their own methods.To put my own views on the table: I do not have a large theoretical stake in the status of intuitions, but unreflectively I find it fairly obvious that (...)
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