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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 Apr 2017 18:00:58 -0800

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:00:58 -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 http://plato.stanford.edu/info.html. 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.)
 



Political Legitimacy

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:58:02 -0800

[Revised entry by Fabienne Peter on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Political legitimacy is a virtue of political institutions and of the decisions - about laws, policies, and candidates for political office - made within them. This entry will survey the main answers that have been given to the following questions. First, how should legitimacy be defined? Is it primarily a descriptive or a normative concept? If legitimacy is understood normatively, what does it entail? Some associate legitimacy with the justification of coercive power and with the creation of political authority. Others associate it with the...



Memory

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:45:08 -0800

[Revised entry by Kourken Michaelian and John Sutton on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Memory plays important roles in many areas of philosophy. It is vital to our knowledge of the world in general and of the personal past in particular. It underwrites our identities as individuals and our ties to other people. Philosophical interest in memory thus dates back to antiquity and has remained prominent throughout the history of philosophy (Aho 2014; Bloch 2014; Burnham 1888; Herrmann a Chaffinn 1988; Nikulin 2015). More recently, memory has come to be recognized as a topic of major philosophical...



Peter John Olivi

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:27:41 -0800

[Revised entry by Robert Pasnau and Juhana Toivanen on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Peter John Olivi was one of the most original and interesting philosophers and theologians of the thirteenth century. Although not as clear and systematic as Thomas Aquinas, and not as brilliantly analytical as John Duns Scotus, Olivi's ideas are equally original and provocative, and their philosophical value is nowadays recognized among the specialists in medieval philosophy. He is probably best known for his psychological theories, especially his voluntarist conception of the freedom of the will, but his influence...



John Locke

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:16:15 -0800

[Revised entry by William Uzgalis on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] John Locke (b. 1632, d. 1704) was a British philosopher, Oxford academic and medical researcher. Locke's monumental An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) is one of the first great defenses of modern empiricism and concerns itself with determining the limits of human understanding in respect to a wide spectrum of topics. It thus tells us in some detail what one can legitimately claim to know and what one cannot. Locke's association with Anthony Ashley Cooper (later the First Earl of Shaftesbury) led him to become...



Antoine Arnauld

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:53:08 -0800

[Revised entry by Elmar Kremer on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Antoine Arnauld (1612 - 1694) was a powerful figure in the intellectual life of seventeenth-century Europe. He had a long and highly controversial career as a theologian, and was an able and influential philosopher. His writings were published and widely read over a period of more than fifty years and were assembled in 1775 - 1782 in forty-two large folio volumes....



Two-Dimensional Semantics

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:31:41 -0800

[Revised entry by Laura Schroeter on April 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Two-dimensional (2D) semantics is a formal framework that is used to characterize the meaning of certain linguistic expressions and the entailment relations among sentences containing them. Two-dimensional semantics has also been applied to thought contents. In contrast with standard possible worlds semantics, 2D semantics assigns extensions and truth-values to expressions relative to two possible world parameters, rather than just one. So a 2D semantic framework provides finer-grained semantic values than those available within standard...



Friedrich Schiller

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:22:57 -0800

[New Entry by Lydia L. Moland on April 21, 2017.] Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller (1759 - 1805) is best known for his immense influence on German literature. In his relatively short life, he authored an extraordinary series of dramas, including The Robbers, Maria Stuart, and the trilogy Wallenstein. He was also a prodigious poet, composing perhaps most famously the "Ode to Joy" featured in the culmination of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and enshrined, some two centuries later, in the European...



Medieval Theories of Modality

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:47:34 -0800

[Revised entry by Simo Knuuttila on April 19, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] There are four modal paradigms in ancient philosophy: the frequency interpretation of modality, the model of possibility as a potency, the model of antecedent necessities and possibilities with respect to a certain moment of time (diachronic modalities), and the model of possibility as non-contradictoriness. None of these conceptions, which were well known to early medieval thinkers through the works of Boethius, was based on the idea of modality as involving reference to simultaneous alternatives. This new paradigm was introduced into...



Causal Theories of Mental Content

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:47:26 -0800

[Revised entry by Fred Adams and Ken Aizawa on April 18, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Causal theories of mental content attempt to explain how thoughts can be about things. They attempt to explain how one can think about, for example, dogs. These theories begin with the idea that there are mental representations and that thoughts are meaningful in virtue of a causal connection between a mental representation and some part of the world that is represented. In other words, the point of departure for these theories is that thoughts of dogs are about dogs because dogs cause the mental representations of dogs....



Epictetus

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 18:00:03 -0800

[Revised entry by Margaret Graver on April 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] A Greek philosopher of 1st and early 2nd centuries C.E., and an exponent of Stoic ethics notable for the consistency and power of his ethical thought and for effective methods of teaching. Epictetus's chief concerns are with integrity, self-management, and personal freedom, which he advocates by demanding of his students a thorough examination of two central ideas, the capacity he terms 'volition' (prohairesis) and the...



Units and Levels of Selection

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 16:39:42 -0800

[Revised entry by Elisabeth Lloyd on April 14, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] The theory of evolution by natural selection is, perhaps, the crowning intellectual achievement of the biological sciences. There is, however, considerable debate about which entity or entities are selected and what it is that fits them for that role. This article aims to clarify what is at issue in these debates by identifying four distinct, though often confused, concerns and then identifying how the debates on what constitute the units of selection depend to a significant degree on which of these four questions a thinker regards...



Foreknowledge and Free Will

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:18:09 -0800

[Revised entry by Linda Zagzebski on April 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Fatalism is the thesis that human acts occur by necessity and hence are unfree. Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree. If there is a being who knows the entire future infallibly, then no human act is free....



The Traditional Square of Opposition

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:53:48 -0800

[Revised entry by Terence Parsons on April 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] This entry traces the historical development of the Square of Opposition, a collection of logical relationships traditionally embodied in a square diagram. This body of doctrine provided a foundation for work in logic for over two millenia. For most of this history, logicians assumed that negative particular propositions ("Some S is not P") are vacuously true if their subjects are empty. This validates the logical laws embodied...



Karl Marx

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 07:56:24 -0800

[Revised entry by Jonathan Wolff on April 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) is best known not as a philosopher but as a revolutionary, whose works inspired the foundation of many communist regimes in the twentieth century. It is hard to think of many who have had as much influence in the creation of the modern world. Trained as a philosopher, Marx turned away from philosophy in his mid-twenties, towards economics and politics. However, in addition to his overtly philosophical early work, his later writings have many points of...



Science and Pseudo-Science

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 15:15:43 -0800

[Revised entry by Sven Ove Hansson on April 11, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The demarcation between science and pseudoscience is part of the larger task of determining which beliefs are epistemically warranted. This entry clarifies the specific nature of pseudoscience in relation to other categories of non-scientific doctrines and practices, including science denial(ism) and resistance to the facts. The major proposed demarcation criteria for pseudo-science are discussed and some of their weaknesses are pointed out. In conclusion, it is emphasized that there is much more agreement on particular cases of...