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Colin McGinn

Colin McGinn has taught philosophy at institutions of higher learning including University College London, Rutgers University, and Oxford University. He is the author of The Character of Mind, Consciousness and Its Objects, The Meaning of Disgust, Philosophy of Language: The Classics Explained, Inborn Knowledge: The Mystery Within, Prehension: The Hand and the Emergence of Humanity (the last three published by the MIT Press), and other books.

Titles by This Author

55 Short Essays

In Philosophical Provocations, Colin McGinn offers a series of short, sharp essays that take on philosophical problems ranging from the concept of mind to paradox, altruism, and the relation between God and the Devil. Avoiding the usual scholarly apparatus and embracing a blunt pithiness, McGinn aims to achieve as much as possible in as short a space as possible while covering as many topics as possible. Much academic philosophical writing today is long, leaden, citation heavy, dense with qualifications, and painful to read.

The Mystery Within

In this book, Colin McGinn presents a concise, clear, and compelling argument that the origins of knowledge are innate—that nativism, not empiricism, is correct in its theory of how concepts are acquired. McGinn considers the particular case of sensible qualities—ideas of color, shape, taste, and so on. He argues that these, which he once regarded as the strongest case for the empiricist position, are in fact not well explained by the empiricist account that they derive from interactions with external objects.

The Hand and the Emergence of Humanity

“McGinn is an ingenious philosopher who thinks like a laser and writes like a dream.”
--Steven Pinker

The Classics Explained

Many beginning students in philosophy of language find themselves grappling with dense and difficult texts not easily understood by someone new to the field. This book offers an introduction to philosophy of language by explaining ten classic, often anthologized, texts.