This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
Dretske’s Naturalizing the Mind sets out the case for holding that mental states in general are natural representers of reality. Mental states have functions; for many states the function is to indicate what is going on in the world. Among such indicator states are beliefs. The content of these states is given by what they are supposed to represent. So if a state is supposed to indicate that it’s dark, then “it’s dark” is the content of the state. Thus we (...) can characterize how the organism takes things to be, its subjectivity, by noting first what physical (neural) state it is in, and second what the biological indicator function of that state is. Thus the mind and meaning are naturalized. (shrink)
New Waves in Philosophy, a book collection that stands out for giving a snapshot of research in all areas of philosophy is a successful editorial project addressed by Vincent F. Hendricks and Duncan Pritchard. New Waves in Philosophy of Action is one of its last titles, edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff and Keith Frankish. -/- The book is aimed at the researchers of all fields and readers in general interested in this sub-discipline of philosophy very difficult (...) to localize (is it part of a sub-discipline such as metaphysics or maybe part of the philosophy of mind?). What is and how can we know the nature of intentions and its role in action? (shrink)
Keith Donnellan (1931 – ) began his studies at the University of Maryland, and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. He stayed on at Cornell, earning a Master’s and a PhD in 1961. He also taught at there for several years before moving to UCLA in 1970, where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. Donnellan’s work is mainly in the philosophy of language, with an emphasis on the connections between semantics and pragmatics. His most influential work was (...) his 1966 paper “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. In this paper, he challenges the canonical view, due to Bertrand Russell, about definite descriptions. Russell had argued that the proper semantic treatment of a definite description such as “the present king of France” was quantificational. Thus, a sentence like “the present king of France is bald” should be analyzed as “There exists one and only one entity x that is the present king of France, and x is bald”. Donnellan argues that in natural languages, there are actually two different kinds of uses of definite descriptions. Russell’s analysis picks out the “attributive” use of definite descriptions. When we use a definite description (“the F”) this way, we mean to make statements about the unique entity x that is F. However, Donnellan notes that we also sometimes use definite descriptions “referentially” to pick out a given entity and say something about it. To see this, imagine you are at a party where virtually everyone is drinking beer. However, you and your friend are observing a man in a corner of the room holding a martini glass. Unbeknownst to you, the man’s glass is filled with water. You turn to your friend and ask, “who is the man drinking a martini?” Suppose further that your friend knows that the man in question is Fred and that Fred’s glass is filled with water. According to the Russellian attributive analysis, such a question would amount to asking for the identity of the one and only one man drinking a martini. But the presupposition that there is a man drinking a martini is false, and so there should be no answer to the question.. (shrink)
This year's book award committee reviewed thirty nominated books. We identified seven finalists, each well worth our special attention: Milton Fisk's impressive Towards a Healthy Society, Gary Francione's feisty Introduction to Animal Rights, Timothy Gaffaney's engaging Freedom for the Poor, David Ingram's historically insightful Group Rights, Rachel Roth's poignant Making Women Pay, Karen Warren's finely articulated Ecofeminist Philosophy, and the eventual winning entry, Phillip Cole's Philosophies of Exclusion: Liberal Political Theory and Immigration. We're here today to discuss this important (...) book. (shrink)