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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This channel provides information about new and revised entries as they are published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Published: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:24:02 -0800

Last Build Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:24:02 -0800

Copyright: Copyright Notice. Authors contributing an entry or entries to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, except as provided herein, retain the copyright to their entry or entries. By contributing an entry or entries, the author grants to the Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University an exclusive license to publish their entry or entries on the Internet and the World Wide Web, including any future technologies or media that develop to supplement or replace the Internet or World Wide Web, on the terms of the Licensing Agreement set forth in The rights granted to the Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University include the right to enforce such rights in any forum, administrative, judicial, or otherwise. All rights not expressly granted to the Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University, including the right to publish an entry or entries in other print media, are retained by the authors. Copyright of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy itself is held by the Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University. All rights are reserved. No part of the Encyclopedia (excluding individual contributions and works derived solely from those contributions, for which rights are reserved by the individual authors) may be reprinted, reproduced, stored, or utilized in any form, by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including printing, photocopying, saving (on disk), broadcasting or recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, other than for purposes of fair use, without written permission from the copyright holder. (All communications should be directed to the Principal Editor.)

Aristotle's Logic

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:15:06 -0800

[Revised entry by Robin Smith on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Aristotle's logic, especially his theory of the syllogism, has had an unparalleled influence on the history of Western thought. It did not always hold this position: in the Hellenistic period, Stoic logic, and in particular the work of Chrysippus, took pride of place. However, in later antiquity, following the work of Aristotelian Commentators, Aristotle's logic became dominant, and Aristotelian logic was what was transmitted to the Arabic and the Latin medieval traditions, while the works of Chrysippus have not...

Heaven and Hell in Christian Thought

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:53:59 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas Talbott on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Behind the various Christian ideas about heaven and hell lies the more basic belief that our lives extend beyond the grave (see the entry on afterlife). For suppose that our lives do not extend beyond the grave. In addition to excluding a variety of ideas about reincarnation and karma, this would also preclude the very possibility of future compensation of any kind for those who experience horrendous evil during their earthly lives. Indeed, despite their profound...

Formal Learning Theory

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:43:33 -0800

[Revised entry by Oliver Schulte on February 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Formal learning theory is the mathematical embodiment of a normative epistemology. It deals with the question of how an agent should use observations about her environment to arrive at correct and informative conclusions. Philosophers such as Putnam, Glymour and Kelly have developed learning theory as a normative framework for scientific reasoning and inductive inference....

Incompatibilist (Nondeterministic) Theories of Free Will

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:18:00 -0800

[Revised entry by Randolph Clarke and Justin Capes on February 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] To have free will is to have what it takes to act freely. When an agent acts freely - when she exercises free will - it is up to her whether she does one thing or another on that occasion. A plurality of alternatives is open to her, and she determines which she pursues. When she does, she is an ultimate source or origin of her action. So runs a familiar conception of free will....

William Godwin

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:43:34 -0800

[Revised entry by Mark Philp on February 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] William Godwin (1756 - 1836) was the founder of philosophical anarchism. In his An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) he argued that government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance, but that it will be rendered increasingly unnecessary and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge and the expansion of the human understanding. Politics will be displaced by an enlarged personal morality as truth conquers error and mind subordinates matter. In this development the rigorous...

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:39:41 -0800

[Revised entry by Vittoria Perrone Compagni on February 15, 2017. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Vittoria Perrone Compagni replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous author.] The intellectual biography of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486 - 1535) provides us with significant proof of a...

Natural Kinds

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:58:25 -0800

[Revised entry by Alexander Bird and Emma Tobin on February 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Scientific disciplines frequently divide the particulars they study into kinds and theorize about those kinds. To say that a kind is natural is to say that it corresponds to a grouping that reflects the structure of the natural world rather than the interests and actions of human beings. We tend to assume that science is often successful in revealing these kinds; it is a corollary of scientific realism that when all goes well the classifications and taxonomies...

Francis Herbert Bradley's Moral and Political Philosophy

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:52:02 -0800

[Revised entry by David Crossley on February 15, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] The ethical writings of the Oxford Idealists, T. H. Green and F. H. Bradley, reflect the influence of Kant and Hegel on English moral philosophy in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. To the extent that either draws on other sources it is to Aristotle that they turn rather than to British moral philosophers such as Butler, Hume or Reid; a point which is evident both from the fact that Green and Bradley offer a type of perfectionist account of morality that is articulated in terms of the concept of self-realization and from the appearance of Aristotle's man of practical wisdom (the...

Robert Holkot

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 06:46:45 -0800

[Revised entry by Hester Gelber and John T. Slotemaker on February 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Robert Holkot, OP (d. 1349) belonged to the first generation of scholars to absorb and develop the views of William Ockham. He is particularly known for his "covenantal theology" and his views on human freedom within the framework of a divine command ethics. He developed an original theology grounded in Ockham's logic and metaphysics, and his works were influential into the sixteenth century....

Abstract Objects

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:51:29 -0800

[Revised entry by Gideon Rosen on February 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] It is widely supposed that every entity falls into one of two categories: Some are concrete; the rest abstract. The distinction is supposed to be of fundamental significance for metaphysics and epistemology. This article surveys a number of recent attempts to say how it should be drawn. Open Questions in the Theory of Abstract Objects-->...


Sun, 12 Feb 2017 22:33:33 -0800

[Revised entry by Gerald Dworkin on February 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Paternalism is the interference of a state or an individual with another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm. The issue of paternalism arises with respect to restrictions by the law such as anti-drug legislation, the compulsory wearing of seatbelts, and in medical contexts by the withholding of relevant information concerning a patient's condition by physicians. At the theoretical level it raises questions of how...

Ramon Llull

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 20:12:27 -0800

[New Entry by Ernesto Priani on February 10, 2017.] Ramon Llull (1232 - 1316) is an amazing figure in the field of philosophy during the Middle Ages. He is currently recognized as the author of Ars Magna, a combining logical system to discover the truth, conceived as an instrument to be used in interfaith dialogue to convert infidels. In the Ars Llull's theological, metaphysical, and logical conceptions are amply illustrated, and they were developed throughout his more than 200 written works in Catalan, Arabic, and Latin. He is known for being...

Umar Khayyam

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:16:44 -0800

[Revised entry by Mehdi Aminrazavi and Glen Van Brummelen on February 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Umar Khayyam was a polymath, scientist, philosopher, and poet of the 11th century CE. Whereas his mathematical works and poetry have been the subject of much discussion, his recently edited and published philosophical works have remained a largely neglected area of study. In what follows, we shall review and comment on the salient features of Khayyam's poetry and philosophy, their relationship with one another, and Khayyam's pioneering views on...

Frege's Theorem and Foundations for Arithmetic

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:12:23 -0800

[Revised entry by Edward N. Zalta on February 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Over the course of his life, Gottlob Frege formulated two logical systems in his attempts to define basic concepts of mathematics and to derive mathematical laws from the laws of logic. In his book of 1879, Begriffsschrift: eine der arithmetischen nachgebildete Formelsprache des reinen Denkens, he developed a second-order predicate calculus and used it both to define interesting mathematical concepts and to state and prove mathematically interesting propositions. However, in his two-volume work of 1893/1903,...

John Wyclif

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 17:43:49 -0800

[Revised entry by Alessandro Conti on February 9, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] John Wyclif (ca. 1330 - 84) was one of the most important and authoritative thinkers of the Middle Ages. His activity is set in the very crucial period of late Scholasticism, when the new ideas and doctrines there propounded accelerated the transition to the modern way of thought. On the one hand, he led a movement of opposition to the medieval Church and to some of its dogmas and institutions, and was a forerunner of the Reformation; on the other, he was also the most prominent English philosopher of the second half of the...