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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, 15 Dec 2017 18:58:28 -0800

Last Build Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:58:28 -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.)

Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:56:42 -0800

[Revised entry by Steven Wall on December 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Perfectionism has acquired a number of meanings in contemporary moral and political philosophy. The term is used to refer to an account of a good human life, an account of human well-being, a moral theory, and an approach to politics. Historically, perfectionism is associated with ethical theories that characterize the human good in terms of the development of human nature. Writers as diverse as Aristotle, Aquinas, Spinoza, Marx, and T.H. Green are perfectionists in...

Symmetry and Symmetry Breaking

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:17:44 -0800

[Revised entry by Katherine Brading, Elena Castellani, and Nicholas Teh on December 14, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Symmetry considerations dominate modern fundamental physics, both in quantum theory and in relativity. Philosophers are now beginning to devote increasing attention to such issues as the significance of gauge symmetry, quantum particle identity in the light of permutation symmetry, how to make sense of parity violation, the role of symmetry breaking, the empirical status of symmetry principles, and so forth. These issues relate directly to traditional problems in the philosophy of science, including the status of the laws of nature, the...

Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:05:39 -0800

[Revised entry by Ian Proops on December 14, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Although it has few adherents today, logical atomism was once a leading movement of early twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Different, though related, versions of the view were developed by Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Russell's logical atomism is set forth chiefly in his 1918 work "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism" (Russell 1956), Wittgenstein's in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of 1921 (Wittgenstein 1981). The core tenets of Wittgenstein's logical atomism may be stated...

Religious Experience

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:43:35 -0800

[Revised entry by Mark Webb on December 13, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Religious experiences can be characterized generally as experiences that seem to the person having them to be of some objective reality and to have some religious import. That reality can be an individual, a state of affairs, a fact, or even an absence, depending on the religious tradition the experience is a part of. A wide variety of kinds of experience fall under the general rubric of religious experience. The concept is vague, and the multiplicity of kinds of experiences that fall under it makes it difficult to capture in any general account. Part...

Plato's Ethics: An Overview

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:22:17 -0800

[Revised entry by Dorothea Frede on December 6, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Like most other ancient philosophers, Plato maintains a virtue-based eudaemonistic conception of ethics. That is to say, happiness or well-being (eudaimonia) is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct, and the virtues (arete: 'excellence') are the requisite skills and dispositions needed to attain it. If Plato's conception of happiness is elusive and his support for a morality of happiness seems somewhat subdued, there are several reasons. First, he nowhere defines the...

Pierre Bayle

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 21:13:23 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas M. Lennon and Michael Hickson on December 5, 2017. Changes to: Bibliography] Pierre Bayle (1647 - 1706) was a Huguenot, i.e., a French Protestant, who spent almost the whole of his productive life as a refugee in Holland. His life was devoted entirely to scholarship, and his erudition was second to none in his, or perhaps any, period. Although much of what he wrote was embedded in technical religious issues, for a century he was one the most widely read philosophers. In particular, his Dictionnaire historique et...

Sakya Paṇḍita [sa skya paṇ ḍi ta]

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:33:34 -0800

[New Entry by Jonathan C. Gold on December 1, 2017.] Sakya Paṇḍita (Sa-skya Paṇḍita Kun-dga' Rgyal-mtshan, 1182 - 1251, abbreviated Sapaṇ) is one of Tibet's greatest and most influential philosophers. He is the intellectual giant of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, famous among Tibetans for his learning - signified in his honorific title meaning "Paṇḍit from Sakya". His knowledge was broad, but his expertise is most noted in the areas of epistemology (pramāṇa), which included significant...

John Anderson

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 18:15:04 -0800

[Revised entry by Creagh McLean Cole on November 29, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] John Anderson (1893 - 1962) was a Scottish philosopher who worked primarily in Australia. In 1927 he was appointed to the Challis Chair of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and occupied this position until his retirement in 1958. In relative isolation he developed a distinctive realist philosophy which was inspirational for generations of students at Sydney. While developing this position, he carried most of the teaching load in philosophy at the university, wrote the articles for which he is primarily known, and as contributor and editor kept the Australasian Journal of Psychology and...

Nicolas Malebranche

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:24:17 -0800

[Revised entry by Tad Schmaltz on November 28, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The French Cartesian Nicolas Malebranche was hailed by his contemporary, Pierre Bayle, as "the premier philosopher of our age." Over the course of his philosophical career, Malebranche published major works on metaphysics, theology, and ethics, as well as studies of optics, the laws of motion and the nature of color. He is known principally for offering a highly original synthesis of the views of his intellectual heroes, St. Augustine and Rene Descartes....

Scientific Revolutions

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 17:35:26 -0800

[Revised entry by Thomas Nickles on November 28, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The topic of scientific revolutions has been philosophically important since Thomas Kuhn's account in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, 1970). Kuhn's death in 1996 and the fiftieth anniversary of Structure in 2012 have renewed attention to the issues raised by his work. It is controversial whether or not there have been any revolutions in the strictly Kuhnian sense. It is also controversial what exactly a Kuhnian revolution is, or would be. Although talk of revolution is often exaggerated, most...

Greek Sources in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 17:22:15 -0800

[Revised entry by Cristina D'Ancona on November 28, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] To some extent, scholars disagree about the role of the Greek sources in Arabic and Islamic philosophy (henceforth falsafa, the Arabic loan word for pilosopίa).[1] While acknowledging the existence of a Greek heritage, those who consider the Qur'an and the Islamic tradition as the main source of inspiration for...

Max Weber

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 18:29:33 -0800

[Revised entry by Sung Ho Kim on November 27, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Arguably the foremost social theorist of the twentieth century, Max Weber is known as a principal architect of modern social science along with Karl Marx and Emil Durkheim. Weber's wide-ranging contributions gave critical impetus to the birth of new academic disciplines such as sociology as well as to the significant reorientation in law, economics, political science, and religious studies. His methodological writings were instrumental in establishing the self-identity of modern social science as a distinct field of...

José Ortega y Gasset

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:39:26 -0800

[Revised entry by Oliver Holmes on November 20, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883 - 1955) was a prolific and distinguished Spanish philosopher in the twentieth century. In the course of his career as philosopher, social theorist, essayist, cultural and aesthetic critic, educator, politician and editor of the influential journal, Revista de Occidente, he has written on a broad range of themes and issues. Among his many books are: Meditations on Quixote (1914), Invertebrate Spain (1921), The Theme of Our Time (1923), Ideas on the...

Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:37:01 -0800

[Revised entry by John Doris, Stephen Stich, Jonathan Phillips, and Lachlan Walmsley on November 17, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Moral psychology investigates human functioning in moral contexts, and asks how these results may impact debate in ethical theory. This work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on both the empirical resources of the human sciences and the conceptual resources of philosophical ethics. The present article discusses several topics that illustrate this type of inquiry: thought experiments, responsibility, character, egoism v. altruism, and moral disagreement....

Karl Jaspers

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:01:36 -0800

[Revised entry by Chris Thornhill and Ronny Miron on November 15, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Karl Jaspers (1883 - 1969) began his academic career working as a psychiatrist and, after a period of transition, he converted to philosophy in the early 1920s. Throughout the middle decades of the twentieth century he exercised considerable influence on a number of areas of philosophical inquiry: especially on epistemology, the philosophy of religion, and political theory....