Skip navigation


  • Page 1 of 10
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. Accessible and thorough, written with a unique combination of informality and careful formulation, the book addresses sense and reference, proper names, definite descriptions, indexicals, the definition of truth, truth and meaning, and the nature of speaker meaning, as addressed by Frege, Kripke, Russell, Donnellan, Kaplan, Evans, Putnam, Tarski, Davidson, and Grice. The explanations aim to be as simple as possible without sacrificing accuracy; critical assessments are included with the exposition in order to stimulate further thought and discussion.

Philosophy of Language will be an essential resource for undergraduates in a typical philosophy of language course or for graduate students with no background in the field. It can be used in conjunction with an anthology of classic texts, sparing the instructor much arduous exegesis.

Frege on Sense and Reference
Kripke on Names
Russell on Definite Descriptions
Donnellan’s Distinction
Kaplan on Demonstratives
Evans on Understanding Demonstratives
Putnam on Semantic Externalism
Tarski’s Theory of Truth
Davidson’s Semantics for Natural Language
Grice’s Theory of Speaker Meaning

In Matter and Consciousness, Paul Churchland presents a concise and contemporary overview of the philosophical issues surrounding the mind and explains the main theories and philosophical positions that have been proposed to solve them. Making the case for the relevance of theoretical and experimental results in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence for the philosophy of mind, Churchland reviews current developments in the cognitive sciences and offers a clear and accessible account of the connections to philosophy of mind.

For this third edition, the text has been updated and revised throughout. The changes range from references to the iPhone's "Siri" to expanded discussions of the work of such contemporary philosophers as David Chalmers, John Searle, and Thomas Nagel. Churchland describes new research in evolution, genetics, and visual neuroscience, among other areas, arguing that the philosophical significance of these new findings lies in the support they tend to give to the reductive and eliminative versions of materialism.

Matter and Consciousness, written by the most distinguished theorist and commentator in the field, offers an authoritative summary and sourcebook for issues in philosophy of mind. It is suitable for use as an introductory undergraduate text.

Contemporary Readings
Edited by John Greco and John Turri

Virtue epistemology is a diverse and flourishing field, one of the most exciting developments in epistemology to emerge over the last three decades. Virtue epistemology begins with the premise that epistemology is a normative discipline and, accordingly, a central task of epistemology is to explain the sort of normativity that knowledge, justified belief, and the like involve. A second premise is that a focus on the intellectual virtues (individual intellectual excellences) is essential to carrying out this central task. This collection offers some of the most influential and agenda-setting work at the heart of virtue epistemology’s research program. Taken together, they will equip the reader to enter the ongoing discussion and debate in the field.

The selections range from seminal contributions by Ernest Sosa, who introduced the notion of intellectual virtue into the contemporary literature, to a study of “epistemic justice” that draws on To Kill a Mockingbird and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The readings include overviews of the field that also serve to advance the discussion; investigations of the nature of knowledge; reflections on the value of knowledge; examinations of credit and luck; and explorations of future directions for research.

To philosophize is to communicate philosophically. From its inception, philosophy has communicated forcefully. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle talk a lot, and talk ardently. Because philosophy and communication have belonged together from the beginning--and because philosophy comes into its own and solidifies its stance through communication--it is logical that we subject communication to philosophical investigation. This collection of key works of classical, modern, and contemporary philosophers brings communication back into philosophy’s orbit. It is the first anthology to gather in a single volume foundational works that address the core questions, concepts, and problems of communication in philosophical terms.

The editors have chosen thirty-two selections from the work of Plato, Leibniz, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Lacan, Derrida, Sloterdijk, and others. They have organized these texts thematically, rather than historically, in seven sections: consciousness; intersubjective understanding; language; writing and context; difference and subjectivity; gift and exchange; and communicability and community. Taken together, these texts not only lay the foundation for establishing communication as a distinct philosophical topic but also provide an outline of what philosophy of communication might look like. .

Exploring the Controversy

An estimated 100 million nonhuman vertebrates worldwide--including primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds, rats, and mice--are bred, captured, or otherwise acquired every year for research purposes. Much of this research is seriously detrimental to the welfare of these animals, causing pain, distress, injury, or death. This book explores the ethical controversies that have arisen over animal research, examining closely the complex scientific, philosophical, moral, and legal issues involved.

Defenders of animal research face a twofold challenge: they must make a compelling case for the unique benefits offered by animal research; and they must provide a rationale for why these benefits justify treating animal subjects in ways that would be unacceptable for human subjects. This challenge is at the heart of the book. Some contributors argue that it can be met fairly easily; others argue that it can never be met; still others argue that it can sometimes be met, although not necessarily easily. Their essays consider how moral theory can be brought to bear on the practical ethical questions raised by animal research, examine the new challenges raised by the emerging possibilities of biotechnology, and consider how to achieve a more productive dialogue on this polarizing subject. The book’s careful blending of theoretical and practical considerations and its balanced arguments make it valuable for instructors as well as for scholars and practitioners.

Case Studies of Policy Challenges from New Technologies

In recent years, advances in biological science and technology have outpaced policymakers’ attempts to deal with them. Current Controversies in the Biological Sciences examines the ways in which the federal government uses scientific information in reaching policy decisions, providing case studies of the interactions between science and government on different biomedical, biological, and environmental issues. These case studies document a broad range of complex issues in science policy—from the Human Genome Project to tobacco regulation—and provide an accessible overview of both the science behind the issues and the policy-making process.

The cases illustrate the different ways in which science and politics intersect in policy decisions, as well as the different forms policy itself may take—including not only regulatory action but the lack of regulation. Among the topics examined are public and private research funding, as seen in gene patenting; reluctance to regulate even when a product has been proven unhealthy, as in the case of tobacco; a comparison of U.S. and international policy responses to genetically modified organisms; and the competing interests at play in air pollution policy. Each chapter includes shorter side essays on related topics (for example, essays on issues raised by the SARS epidemic accompany the detailed case study of the public health response to the anthrax-laced mail received in the weeks after 9/11).

This clear and readable introduction to controversial issues in the biological sciences will be a valuable resource for students of science policy and bioethics and for professionals in industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations who need background on emerging issues in the biological sciences.

Edited by Elliott Sober

These essays by leading scientists and philosophers address conceptual issues that arise in the theory and practice of evolutionary biology. The third edition of this widely used anthology has been substantially revised and updated. Four new sections have been added: on women in the evolutionary process, evolutionary psychology, laws in evolutionary theory, and race as social construction or biological reality. Other sections treat fitness, units of selection, adaptationism, reductionism, essentialism, species, phylogenetic inference, cultural evolution, and evolutionary ethics.

Each of the twelve sections contains two or three essays that develop different views of the subject at hand. For example, the section on evolutionary psychology offers one essay by two founders of the field and another that questions its main tenets. One sign that a discipline is growing is that there are open questions, with multiple answers still in competition; the essays in this volume demonstrate that evolutionary biology and the philosophy of evolutionary biology are living, growing disciplines.

Robin O. Andreasen, Kwame Anthony Appiah, David A. Baum, John H. Beatty, David J. Buller, Leda Cosmides, James Donoghue, Steven J. Farris, Joseph Felsenstein, Susan K. Finsen, Joseph Fracchia, Stephen Jay Gould, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, David L. Hull, Philip Kitcher, R. C. Lewontin, Elisabeth Lloyd, Ernst Mayr, Michael Ruse, John Maynard Smith, Elliott Sober, John Tooby, C. Kenneth Waters, George C. Williams, David Sloan Wilson, E. O. Wilson

Moral Dilemmas of Medicine and War

Is medical ethics in times of armed conflict identical to medical ethics in times of peace, as the World Medical Association declares? In Bioethics and Armed Conflict, the first comprehensive study of medical ethics in conventional, unconventional, and low-intensity war, Michael Gross examines the dilemmas that arise when bioethical principles clash with military necessity—when physicians try to save lives during an endeavor dedicated to taking them—and describes both the conflicts and congruencies of military and medical ethics.

Gross describes how the principles of contemporary just war, unlike those of medical ethics, often go beyond the welfare of the individual to consider the collective interests of combatants and noncombatants and the general interests of the state. Military necessity plays havoc with such patients' rights as the right to life, the right to medical care, informed consent, confidentiality, and the right to die. The principles of triage in battle conditions dictate not need-based treatment but the distribution of resources that will return the greatest number of soldiers to active duty. And unconventional warfare, including current "wars" on terrorism, challenges the traditional concept of medical neutrality as physicians who have sworn to "do no harm" are called upon to lend their expertise to "interrogational" torture or to the development of biological or chemical weapons. Difficult dilemmas inevitably arise during armed conflict, and medicine, Gross concludes, is not above the fray. Medical ethics in time of war cannot be identical to medical ethics in peacetime.

This introduction to the interdisciplinary study of cognition takes the novel approach of bringing several disciplines to bear on the subject of communication. Using the perspectives of linguistics, logic, AI, philosophy, and psychology—the component fields of cognitive science—to explore topics in human communication in depth, the book shows readers and students from any background how these disciplines developed their distinctive views, and how those views interact.

The book introduces some sample phenomena of human communication that illustrate the approach of cognitive science in understanding the mind, and then considers theoretical issues, including the relation of logic and computation and the concept of representation. It describes the development of a model of natural language and explores the link between an utterance and its meaning and how this can be described in a formal way on the basis of recent advances in AI research. It looks at communication employing graphical messages and the similarities and differences between language and diagrams. Finally, the book considers some general philosophical critiques of computational models of mind.

The book can be used at a number of different levels. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a Web site with multiple-choice questions are provided for nonspecialist students; advanced students can supplement the material with readings that take the topics into greater depth.

Political Equality and the Welfare State

Since the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions of the 1980s, there has been little consensus on what welfare ought to do or how it ought to function. At the same time, post-Wall continental Europe searches for a "third way" between state-planned socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. In Reflexive Democracy, Kevin Olson takes on this contemporary conceptual crisis. He calls for a "political turn" in considerations of the welfare state, arguing that it should no longer be understood in primarily economic terms—as a redistributive and regulatory mechanism—but in political terms, as a means of living up to deep-seated values of political equality. Drawing on arguments by T. H. Marshall and Jürgen Habermas, Olson proposes a conception of political equality as the normative basis of the welfare state. He argues that there are inextricable connections between democracy and welfare: the welfare state both promotes political equality and depends on it for its own political legitimacy. The paradox of political equality as a precondition for political equality is best solved, Olson argues, by guaranteeing citizens the means for equal participation. This is a reflexive conception of democracy, in which democratic politics circles back to sustain the conditions of equality that make it possible.

This view, Olson writes, is meant not to replace traditional economic concerns but to reveal deep interconnections between democratic equality and economic justice. It counters paternalistic ideas of welfare reform by focusing on citizen participation. This conception moves beyond simple equality in the possession of goods and resources to propose a rich, materially grounded conception of democratic equality.

  • Page 1 of 10