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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: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:33:19 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:33:19 -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.)

Temporal Consciousness

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:32:10 -0800

[Revised entry by Barry Dainton on June 28, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, empirical-findings.html, notes.html, specious-present.html] In ordinary conscious experience, consciousness of time seems to be ubiquitous. For example, we seem to be directly aware of change, movement, and succession across brief temporal intervals. How is this possible? Many different models of temporal consciousness have been proposed. Some philosophers have argued that consciousness is confined to a momentary interval and that we are not in fact directly aware of change. Others have argued that...

Externalism and Self-Knowledge

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:10:13 -0800

[Revised entry by T. Parent on June 27, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, supplement1.html, supplement2.html, supplement3.html] Externalism in the philosophy of mind contends that the meaning or content of a thought[1] is partly determined by the environment. The view has garnered attention since it denies the traditional assumption, associated with Descartes, that thought content is fixed independently of the external world. Apparently under this assumption, Descartes also believed that he could know the content of his thoughts while suspending all...

Medieval Skepticism

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:48:26 -0800

[Revised entry by Charles Bolyard on June 27, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Overarching surveys of the history of philosophy often leave the impression that philosophical skepticism - roughly, the position that nothing can be known - had many adherents in the Ancient and Hellenistic Periods, disappeared completely as a topic of intellectual interest during the Middle Ages, and returned as a viable position in the Renaissance and Early Modern Periods....

Voluntary Euthanasia

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:58:34 -0800

[Revised entry by Robert Young on June 26, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] The entry sets out five conditions often said to be necessary for anyone to be a candidate for legalized voluntary euthanasia (and, with appropriate qualifications, physician-assisted suicide), outlines the moral case advanced by those in favor of legalizing voluntary euthanasia, and discusses the five most important objections made by those who deny that voluntary euthanasia is morally permissible and who are, in consequence, opposed to its being legalized....


Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:28:05 -0800

[New Entry by David Miller on June 26, 2017.] The idea of justice occupies centre stage both in ethics, and in legal and political philosophy. We apply it to individual actions, to laws, and to public policies, and we think in each case that if they are unjust this is a strong, maybe even conclusive, reason to reject them. Classically, justice was counted as one of the four cardinal virtues (and sometimes as the most important of the four); in modern times John Rawls famously described it as 'the first virtue of social institutions' (Rawls 1971, p.3; Rawls,...

Constructivism in Metaethics

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:35:20 -0800

[Revised entry by Carla Bagnoli on June 23, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Metaethical constructivism is the view that insofar as there are normative truths, they are not fixed by normative facts that are independent of what rational agents would agree to under some specified conditions of choice. The appeal of this view lies in the promise to explain how normative truths are objective and independent of our actual judgments, while also binding and authoritative for us....


Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:54:20 -0800

[Revised entry by Allen Buchanan on June 22, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Until fairly recently secession has been a neglected topic among philosophers. Two factors may explain why philosophers have now begun to turn their attention to secession. First, in the past two decades there has been a great increase not only in the number of attempted secessions, but also in successful secessions, and philosophers may simply be reacting to this new reality, attempting to make normative sense of it. The reasons for the frequency of attempts to secede are complex, but there are two recent developments that make the prospect...


Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:24:45 -0800

[Revised entry by Joshua Hoffman and Gary Rosenkrantz on June 22, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography, notes.html] Omnipotence is maximal power. Maximal greatness (or perfection) includes omnipotence. According to traditional Western theism, God is maximally great (or perfect), and therefore is omnipotent. Omnipotence seems puzzling, even paradoxical, to many philosophers. They wonder, for example, whether God can create a spherical cube, or make a stone so massive that he cannot move it. Is there a consistent analysis of omnipotence? What are the implications of such an analysis for the nature of God?...

Albert the Great

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:09:39 -0800

[Revised entry by Markus Führer on June 21, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] Albertus Magnus, also known as Albert the Great, was one of the most universal thinkers to appear during the Middle Ages. Even more so than his most famous student, St. Thomas of Aquinas, Albert's interests ranged from natural science all the way to theology. He made contributions to logic, psychology, metaphysics, meteorology, mineralogy, and zoology. He was an avid commentator on nearly all the great authorities read during the 13th Century. He was...

Feminist Perspectives on Rape

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:48:40 -0800

[Revised entry by Rebecca Whisnant on June 21, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Although the proper definition of 'rape' is itself a matter of some dispute, rape is generally understood to involve sexual penetration of a person by force and/or without that person's consent. Rape is committed overwhelmingly by men and boys, usually against women and girls, and sometimes against other men and boys. (For the most part, this entry will assume male perpetrators and female victims.)...

Virtue Epistemology

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:33:10 -0800

[Revised entry by John Turri, Mark Alfano, and John Greco on June 16, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter 'VE') is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities....

The Donation and Sale of Human Eggs and Sperm

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 15:35:21 -0800

[New Entry by Reuven Brandt, Stephen Wilkinson, and Nicola Williams on June 15, 2017.] The donation and transfer of human gametes (eggs and sperm) for reproductive purposes raises many important and difficult questions. Some of these relate directly to policy and practice; others are more conceptual. Gamete donation occupies an interesting position within bioethics, having something in common both with other forms of donation (blood and organs, for example) and with reproductive technologies not involving donation (ranging from IVF through to more controversial areas like cloning, embryo...

Historicist Theories of Scientific Rationality

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 17:42:09 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas Nickles on June 14, 2017. Changes to: 0] [Editor's Note: The following new entry by Thomas Nickles replaces the former entry on this topic by the previous authors.] Many scientists, philosophers, and laypersons have regarded science as the one human enterprise that successfully escapes the contingencies...

Descartes' Theory of Ideas

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 15:21:04 -0800

[Revised entry by Kurt Smith on June 14, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Ideas are among the most important items in Descartes' philosophy. They serve to unify his ontology and epistemology. As he says in a letter to Guillaume Gibieuf (1583 - 1650), dated 19 January 1642, "I am certain that I can have no knowledge of what is outside me except by means of the ideas I have within me."[1] Descartes never published anything that specifically worked out a theory of ideas. Even so, he said enough in published and unpublished...

Logics for Analyzing Power in Normal Form Games

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 01:57:59 -0800

[New Entry by Paolo Turrini on June 14, 2017.] This entry discusses the use of mathematical languages to express and analyze the formal properties of power in normal form games. The mathematical languages discussed in this entry will be referred to as logics, and classified according to their ability to express game-related concepts. The material in this entry will be limited to the logical analysis of...