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This Week’s Special: Meditation One, in Rene Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy.”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://selfpace.uconn.edu/class/percep/DescartesMeditations.pdf On tap this week is the (in)famous first Meditation, from Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy.  Specifically, I want to draw attention to the logic at the heart of what is – on its own merits – a critique of our claims to knowledge that is both simple and thought-provoking. Descartes’ self-described aim in the […]

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On Some Common Rationales for Liberal Education (and why they aren’t very good)

By Daniel A. Kaufman With the exception, perhaps, of those who teach at our most elite universities and liberal arts colleges, it should be apparent to everyone in the higher education business that the humanities and liberal arts are in trouble.  Deteriorating numbers and declining esteem tell the story of subjects that are increasingly perceived as being largely useless to […]

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Vision is (probably) Informationally Encapsulated from Flavor (Part II)

By Daniel Tippens Some notes on attention and sensory penetration I intend to argue that vision is informationally encapsulated (just “encapsulated” from here on out) from flavor. In the last post, we discussed the ideas of encapsulation and sensory penetration. The notion of encapsulation that I am working with takes place at the level of experience, and sensory penetration takes […]

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This Week’s Special: Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences (Or: the Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://fitelson.org/woodward/fodor.pdf On tap this week is one of the most influential essays in the philosophy of science, since the Second World War:  Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences,” which appeared in the journal Synthese, in 1974. The paper did two very important things.  First, it struck a crippling blow against a certain kind of positivist view of the […]

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Vision is (probably) Informationally Encapsulated from Flavour (Part I)

By: Daniel Tippens Introduction Let’s understand our sensory systems in a common sense way to refer to the 5 senses we are familiar with: vision, touch, audition, and so on. A sensory system, understood in this paper, is characterized by certain sense organs, specific brain-areas dedicated to processing the information that those sense organs receive, and a certain kind of […]

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Philosophy and Philosophobia

By David Ottlinger Philosophy, it would seem, has fallen on hard times. Or at least it is often said that philosophy has fallen on hard times. To philosophers themselves, philosophy has just completed an eventful century. And in spite of rumors one occasionally hears to the contrary, philosophers are in no way worried about the subject drying up or having […]

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This Week’s Special: Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/nmarkos/Zola/Thomson.Abortion.pdf It is rare that one will find near universal agreement as to the most important paper written on a particular subject, but that is exactly what we find with Judith Jarvis Thomson’s 1971 paper, “A Defense of Abortion,” whose impact on the discussion on the morality of abortion cannot be overstated. One enormous service that […]

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Obligations and Duties

By Mark English In an aside in a recent piece on moral intuitionism, Daniel Kaufman remarked that he was unsure whether “there really are such things as moral obligations and duties.” [1]. I think I understand what he is getting at here, but rather than trying directly to address his question, I want to sketch out – very briefly and […]

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This Week’s Special: Henry Kamen’s “The Decline of Spain: A Historical Myth?”

by Michael Boyle http://www.romanistik.uni-freiburg.de/raible/Lehre/2006_07/Materialien/1978_Kamen_Decline.pdf The story that is usually told about early-modern Spain involves depicting it as one of the great powers of Europe. Whether recounting tales of the voyages of exploration, the contributions of Velasquez, El Greco, and Cervantes, or the military power of Spain in Europe itself, Spain is seen as a major player in a number of […]

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