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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: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:17:00 -0800

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:17:00 -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.)


Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:15:24 -0800

[Revised entry by John Kleinig on October 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Loyalty is usually seen as a virtue, albeit a problematic one. It is constituted centrally by perseverance in an association to which a person has become intrinsically committed as a matter of his or her identity. Its paradigmatic expression is found in close friendship, to which loyalty is integral, but many other relationships and associations seek to encourage it as an aspect of affiliation or membership: families expect it, organizations often demand it, and...

Moritz Schlick

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 18:53:33 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas Oberdan on October 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Although Moritz Schlick (1882 - 1936) made a lasting mark in the philosophical memory by his role as the nominal leader of the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivists, his most lasting contribution includes a broad range of philosophical achievements. Indeed, Schlick's reputation was established well before the Circle went public. In 1917, he published Space and Time in Contemporary Physics, a philosophical introduction to the new physics of Relativity which was...

Underdetermination of Scientific Theory

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:06:25 -0800

[Revised entry by Kyle Stanford on October 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple idea that the evidence available to us at a given time may be insufficient to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it. In a textbook example, if all I know is that you spent $10 on apples and oranges and that apples cost $1 while oranges cost $2, then I know that you did not buy six oranges, but I do not know whether you bought one orange and eight apples, two oranges and six apples, and so on. A simple scientific example can be...

The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 17:41:44 -0800

[Revised entry by Georges Rey on October 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] An "analytic" sentence, such as "Ophthalmologists are doctors," has historically been characterized as one whose truth depends upon the meanings of its constituent terms (and how they're combined) alone, as opposed to a more usual "synthetic" sentence, such as "Ophthalmologists are rich," whose truth depends also upon the facts about the world that the sentence represents, e.g., that ophthalmologists are rich. This is sometimes called the "metaphysical"...

Molyneux's Problem

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:46:04 -0800

[Revised entry by Marjolein Degenaar and Gert-Jan Lokhorst on October 11, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] On 7 July 1688 the Irish scientist and politician William Molyneux (1656 - 1698) sent a letter to John Locke in which he put forward a problem which was to awaken great interest among philosophers and other scientists throughout the Enlightenment and up until the present day. In brief, the question Molyneux asked was whether a man who has been born blind and who has learnt to distinguish and name a globe and a cube by touch, would be able to distinguish and name these objects simply by sight, once he had been enabled to see....

Cosmological Argument

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:09:27 -0800

[Revised entry by Bruce Reichenbach on October 11, 2017. Changes to: Main text] The cosmological argument is less a particular argument than an argument type. It uses a general pattern of argumentation (logos) that makes an inference from particular alleged facts about the universe (cosmos) to the existence of a unique being, generally identified with or referred to as God. Among these initial facts are that particular beings or events in the universe are causally dependent or contingent, that the universe (as the totality of contingent things) is contingent in that it could have been other...

Logic and Ontology

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:56:35 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas Hofweber on October 11, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] A number of important philosophical problems are at the intersection of logic and ontology. Both logic and ontology are diverse fields within philosophy and, partly because of this, there is not one single philosophical problem about the relation between them. In this survey article we will first discuss what different philosophical projects are carried out under the headings of "logic" and "ontology" and then we will look at several areas where logic and ontology overlap....

Henri Poincaré

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 19:16:00 -0800

[Revised entry by Gerhard Heinzmann and David Stump on October 10, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Henri Poincare was a mathematician, theoretical physicist and a philosopher of science famous for discoveries in several fields and referred to as the last polymath, one who could make significant contributions in multiple areas of mathematics and the physical sciences. This survey will focus on Poincare's philosophy. Concerning Poincare's scientific legacy, see Browder (1983) and Charpentier, Ghys, Lesne (2010)....

Paul Grice

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 21:02:58 -0800

[Revised entry by Richard E. Grandy and Richard Warner on October 9, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Herbert Paul Grice, universally known as Paul, was born on March 13, 1913 in Birmingham, England and died on August 28, 1988 in Berkeley CA. Grice received firsts in classical honours moderation (1933) and literae humaniores (1935) from Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After a year teaching in a public school, he returned to Oxford where, with a nearly five year interruption for service in the Royal Navy, he taught in various positions until 1967 when he moved to...

Japanese Pure Land Philosophy

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:47:24 -0800

[Revised entry by Dennis Hirota on October 9, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Pure Land Buddhist teachings have played a major role in Japanese intellectual and social life from the sixth century CE, when emissaries from the Korean peninsula first officially introduced Buddhist images and texts to the Japanese court, down to the present. While the influence of the Zen tradition on Japanese thought and culture is widely acknowledged, the role of Pure Land Buddhist concepts and sensibilities have tended to...


Tue, 03 Oct 2017 20:14:22 -0800

[New Entry by Andrew Fiala on October 3, 2017.] Anarchism is a political theory, which is skeptical of the justification of authority and power, especially political power. Anarchism is usually grounded in moral claims about the importance of individual liberty. Anarchists also offer a positive theory of human flourishing, based upon an ideal of non-coercive consensus building. Anarchism has inspired practical efforts at establishing utopian communities, radical and revolutionary political agendas, and various forms of direct action. This entry primarily describes...

Croce's Aesthetics

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 16:39:53 -0800

[Revised entry by Gary Kemp on September 28, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The Neapolitan Benedetto Croce (1860 - 1952) was a dominant figure in the first half of the twentieth century in aesthetics and literary criticism, as well as philosophy generally. But his fame did not last, either in Italy or in the English speaking world. He did not lack promulgators and willing translators into English: H. Carr was an early example of the former, R. G. Collingwood was both, and D. Ainslie did the latter service for most of Croce's principal...

Ancient and Medieval Empiricism

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:14:08 -0800

[New Entry by Gregory W. Dawes on September 27, 2017.] Although empiricism is often thought to be a modern doctrine, it has ancient roots, and its modern forms are built on late medieval developments. This article will begin by outlining three different forms of empiricism. It will examine the Presocratic and Hippocratic origins of the empiricist attitude, and discuss its development in the work of Aristotle, the Hellenistic medical writers, sceptics, and Epicureans. It will then examine the combination of Aristotelian and Augustinian views in the work of thirteenth and fourteenth-century...

Desiderius Erasmus

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:35:11 -0800

[Revised entry by Erika Rummel on September 27, 2017. Changes to: 0] Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1467? - 1536) was not a systematic philosopher although we discern in the large body of his writings a certain Erasmian habit of mind. He often reflected on subjects that invite philosophical inquiry: the influence of nature versus nurture, the relationship between word and thing, the ideal form of government, the nature of faith, and the theory of knowledge. Erasmus' views on these subjects are of interest to historians today, even if they are unstructured, because his works circulated...

Philosophy of Mathematics

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 18:21:23 -0800

[Revised entry by Leon Horsten on September 26, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] If mathematics is regarded as a science, then the philosophy of mathematics can be regarded as a branch of the philosophy of science, next to disciplines such as the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of biology. However, because of its subject matter, the philosophy of mathematics occupies a special place in the philosophy of science. Whereas the natural sciences investigate entities that are located in space in time, it is not at all obvious that this also the...