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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, 24 Oct 2016 18:16:26 -0800

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:16:26 -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.)

Animal Consciousness

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:10:59 -0800

[Revised entry by Colin Allen and Michael Trestman on October 24, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Questions about animal consciousness - in particular, which animals have consciousness and what (if anything) that consciousness might be like - are both scientific and philosophical. They are scientific because answering them will require gathering information using scientific techniques - no amount of arm-chair pondering, conceptual analysis, logic, a priori theory-building, transcendental inference or introspection will tell us whether a platypus, an iguana, or a squid (to take a few examples)...

Pregnancy, Birth, and Medicine

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:41:26 -0800

[Revised entry by Rebecca Kukla and Katherine Wayne on October 24, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] When philosophers have turned their attention to the ethics of reproduction, they have mostly focused on abortion, and to a lesser extent on various assisted reproductive technologies used to create a pregnancy. However, a number of thorny ethical issues can arise during the course of a continuing pregnancy, labor, and birth, and these are receiving growing attention in bioethics. This article is restricted to a discussion of such issues. See the entries on feminist perspectives on reproduction and the family,...

Foundationalist Theories of Epistemic Justification

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:35:23 -0800

[Revised entry by Ali Hasan and Richard Fumerton on October 24, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Foundationalism is a view about the structure of justification or knowledge. The foundationalist's thesis in short is that all knowledge or justified belief rest ultimately on a foundation of noninferential knowledge or justified belief. A little reflection suggests that the vast majority of the propositions we know or justifiably believe have that status only...

The Theory of Two Truths in Tibet

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:50:44 -0800

[Revised entry by Sonam Thakchoe on October 24, 2016. Changes to: Bibliography] Tibetan philosophers argue that the two truths theory is not only core ontological doctrine as it is understood within the Indian Buddhist thought, it also makes the central theory behind epistemology and soteriology. The Indian Buddhist schools are named after the theories of the two truths they each upheld as in the entry on the theory of the two truths in India. The same cannot be said about the schools of thought in Tibet. All Tibetan philosophers and the...

The Theory of Two Truths in India

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:45:01 -0800

[Revised entry by Sonam Thakchoe on October 20, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The theory of the two truths has a twenty-five century long history behind it. It has its origin in the sixth century BCE[1] India with the emergence of the Siddhārtha Gautama. It is said, according to the Pitāpūtrasamāgama-sūtra, Siddhārtha became a buddha "awakened one" because he fully understood the meaning of the two truths - conventional truth (saṁvṛti-satya) and ultimate truth...

Nineteenth Century Geometry

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:13:10 -0800

[Revised entry by Roberto Torretti on October 20, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In the nineteenth century, geometry, like most academic disciplines, went through a period of growth verging on cataclysm. During this period, the content of geometry and its internal diversity increased almost beyond recognition; the axiomatic method, vaunted since antiquity by the admirers of geometry, finally attained true logical sufficiency, and the ground was laid for replacing, in the description of physical phenomena, the standard geometry of Euclid by Riemann's...

Genomics and Postgenomics

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:52:18 -0800

[New Entry by Stephan Guttinger and John Dupré on October 20, 2016.] About 30 years ago researchers and other stakeholders started setting up the first genomics initiative, the Human Genome Project (HGP) (see the link to All About the Human Genome Project (HGP) in the Other Internet Resources section below). What was conceived as an audacious plan in the 1980s turned into an official multi-centre, international program in 1990 and was brought to a conclusion in 2003....

Deontological Ethics

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 20:05:56 -0800

[Revised entry by Larry Alexander and Michael Moore on October 17, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The word deontology derives from the Greek words for duty (deon) and science (or study) of (logos). In contemporary moral philosophy, deontology is one of those kinds of normative theories regarding which choices are morally required, forbidden, or permitted. In other words, deontology falls within the domain of moral theories that guide and assess our choices of what we ought to do (deontic theories), in contrast to those that guide and assess what kind of person we are and should be (aretaic [virtue]...

Reflective Equilibrium

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 17:05:42 -0800

[Revised entry by Norman Daniels on October 14, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Many of us, perhaps all of us, have examined our moral judgments about a particular issue by looking for their coherence with our beliefs about similar cases and our beliefs about a broader range of moral and factual issues. In this everyday practice, we have sought "reflective equilibrium" among these various beliefs as a way of clarifying for ourselves just what we ought to do. In addition, we may also have been persuading ourselves that our conclusions were justifiable and ultimately acceptable to us by seeking coherence among...

Causation and Manipulability

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:55:43 -0800

[Revised entry by James Woodward on October 14, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, additional-criticisms.html, early-agency.html, notes.html, role-causal.html] Manipulability theories of causation, according to which causes are to be regarded as handles or devices for manipulating effects, have considerable intuitive appeal and are popular among social scientists and statisticians. This article surveys several prominent versions of such theories advocated by philosophers, and the many difficulties they face. Philosophical statements of the manipulationist approach are generally reductionist in aspiration and assign a central role to human action. These contrast with recent discussions employing a...

Philosophy of History

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 17:40:28 -0800

[Revised entry by Daniel Little on October 13, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The concept of history plays a fundamental role in human thought. It invokes notions of human agency, change, the role of material circumstances in human affairs, and the putative meaning of historical events. It raises the possibility of "learning from history." And it suggests the possibility of better understanding ourselves in the present, by understanding the forces, choices, and circumstances that brought us to our current situation. It is therefore unsurprising that philosophers have sometimes turned...

Reid's Ethics

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 01:46:28 -0800

[Revised entry by Terence Cuneo on October 12, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] We are often told that the moral theories defended by modern philosophers fall into two types. On the one hand are rationalist positions developed by thinkers such as Samuel Clarke, William Wollaston, and Richard Price. The rationalists, it is said, believe that reason is the basis of morality, as morality is (in some sense) both grounded in and grasped by reason. On the other hand are sentimentalist positions championed by philosophers such as the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson, and David Hume. The...

Jonathan Edwards

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 01:32:07 -0800

[Revised entry by William Wainwright on October 12, 2016. Changes to: Bibliography] Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758) is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes - the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's holiness. The first is articulated in Edwards' defense of theological determinism, in a doctrine of occasionalism, and in his insistence that physical objects are only collections of sensible "ideas" while finite minds are mere assemblages of "thoughts" or...

Kant's Views on Space and Time

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 20:19:02 -0800

[Revised entry by Andrew Janiak on October 10, 2016. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Even a casual reader of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, first published in 1781) will notice the prominence he gives to his discussion of space and time. So the reader will not be surprised to learn that scholars consider this discussion to be central to Kant's so-called critical philosophy. Given Kant's reputation for developing difficult, not to say obscure, philosophical views, it will also not surprise the reader to learn that there is no consensus on how Kant's conception of space and time ought to be...

Scientific Representation

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:42:42 -0800

[New Entry by Roman Frigg and James Nguyen on October 10, 2016.] Science provides us with representations of atoms, elementary particles, polymers, populations, genetic trees, economies, rational decisions, aeroplanes, earthquakes, forest fires, irrigation systems, and the world's climate. It's through these representations that we learn about the world. This entry explores various different accounts of scientific representation, with a particular focus on how scientific models represent their target systems. As philosophers of science are increasingly...