The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
A Satisfactory discussion in depth of all the philosophical problems that could be raised concerning musical representation would require much more space as well as more ability than I have at my disposal. Nobody should believe, or believe that I believe, that what follows is more than a rather sketchy examination of a few central issues.
It might seem that there are two separate questions about universals, the question of what they are and the question why we should believe that there are such things, and that the former question should be taken first; it might seem that until you know what they are it cannot be sensible to ask whether one should believe in them. How, for example, could one know whether it was sensible or even possible to believe in Father Christmas until one knew (...) who or what he was supposed to be? But appearances could be deceptive. In the case of universals the position is different. What happened was that philosophers found themselves faced with certain problems of which they were inclined to say: this problem is insoluble unless there are some entities which have certain characteristics, the characteristics which would enable the problem to be solved. The things which, if they existed, would solve their problems they called forms or universals. So universals are things which have whatever properties they need to have to solve certain problems. This being so, it is clearly sensible to approach the theory of universals from the problems which led to philosophers postulating their existence. (shrink)
Aristotle's doctrine of the mean is not a counsel to perform mean or moderate actions. It states that excellence of character is a mean state with regard to the having and displaying of emotions. All emotions are morally neutral; character is shown by displaying emotions on the right occasions, Not too often or too rarely, Not too strongly or too weakly, For sufficient and only sufficient reasons, Etc. The difficulties for such a view presented by justice and such bad emotions (...) as envy are discussed. The conclusion is that basically aristotle's theory can resist critical scrutiny. (shrink)
On its first appearance in 1960, J.O. Urmson's Concise encyclopedia of Western philosophy and philosophers established itself as a classic. Its contributors included many of the leading philosophers of the English-speaking world: Ryle, Hare, Strawson, Ayer, Dummett, Williams and many others. They wrote with an authority and individuality which made the Encyclopedia into a lively and engaging introduction to philosophy as well as a convenient reference work. For this edition, supervised by Jonathan Rée, the original articles have been revised and (...) updated, and eighty articles by thirty one new authors have been added. The additions take account of recent developments in philosophy, of literary, historical and political issues in philosophy, and of developments in continental thought, including in Marxism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism and deconstruction. There is a clear, integral cross-referencing system which allows the reader to identify points of overlap between philosophical traditions and their personalities at a glance. (shrink)
Originally published in 1952. This book is a critical survey of the views of scientific inference that have been developed since the end of World War I. It contains some detailed exposition of ideas – notably of Keynes – that were cryptically put forward, often quoted, but nowhere explained. Part I discusses and illustrates the method of hypothesis. Part II concerns induction. Part III considers aspects of the theory of probability that seem to bear on the problem of induction and (...) Part IV outlines the shape of this problem and its solution take if transformed by the present approach. (shrink)
The influence of J. L. Austin on contemporary philosophy was substantial during his lifetime, and has grown greatly since his death, at the height of his powers, in 1960. Philosophical Papers, first published in 1961, was the first of three volumes of Austin's work to be edited by J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock. Together with Sense and Sensibilia and How to do things with Words, it has extended Austin's influence far beyond the circle who knew him or read (...) the handful of papers he published in journals. (shrink)
Instrumentalism is an approach to science that treats a theory as a tool and only as a tool for computation; it dispenses with the concept of truth.Conventionalism treats a theory as true by convention if it forms a pattern of observations from which correct predictions can be made.Operationalism denies meaning to the concepts of a theory unless they can be defined operationally. It is argued in this paper that truth-value is indispensable to science, because a theory can be rejected only (...) if an empirical consequence is false and if falsity of a conclusion entails falsity of a premise. This undermines the above positions. The fourth interpretation isinduction. Induction, by contrast, uses the notion of truth-value. What is focused on here is its reliance on the ultimacy ofobservation. The present thesis is that instrumentalism, conventionalism, and induction are different attempts to handle observations. The common problem is the gap between data and theory.All these interpretations share a philosophy of observationalism. The aim of this paper is to show that the several orthodox interpretations of science all fail to solve the problem of the data-theory gap, and to show that they all presuppose a philosophy of observation. (shrink)
J.O. Urmson's The Greek Philosophical Vocabulary contains some five hundred alphabetically arranged entries, each aiming to provide useful information on a particular word used by Greek philosophers. The book includes a wealth of quotations ranging from the fifth century BC to the sixth century AD.
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of Philosophy and (...) Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)