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Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism
Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong. Naturalistic analysis (sometimes known as “the Canberra Plan” because many of its proponents have been associated with Australian National University in Canberra) is a tool for locating in the scientifically given world objects and properties we quantify over in everyday discourse. This collection gathers work from a range of prominent philosophers who are working within this tradition, offering important new work as well as critical evaluations of the methodology. Its centerpiece is an important posthumous paper by David Lewis, “Ramseyan Humility,” published here for the first time. The contributors first address issues of philosophy of mind, semantics, and the new methodology’s a priori character, then turn to matters of metaphysics, and finally consider problems regarding normativity. Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism is one of the first efforts to apply this approach to such a wide range of philosophical issues.
Contributors: David Braddon-Mitchell, Mark Colyvan, Frank Jackson, Justine Kingsbury, Fred Kroon, David Lewis, Dustin Locke, Kelby Mason, Jonathan McKeown-Green, Peter Menzies, Robert Nola, Daniel Nolan, Philip Pettit, Huw Price, Denis Robinson, Steve Stich, Daniel Stoljar
About the Editors
David Braddon-Mitchell is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and the author (with Frank Jackson) of The Philosophy of Mind and Cognition.
Robert Nola is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland and the author of Rescuing Reason.
"This volume shows how the so-called 'Canberra Plan' of metaphysical research continues to inspire (and provoke) some of the most interesting work in modern metaphysics. The collective range of its contents, all published here for the first time, is as impressive as the depth, rigor, and clarity of the individual chapters. The authors' contributions and the editors' lucid introduction constitute an indispensable conspectus of the plan's progress and present prospects."
—Hugh Mellor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
"In this excellent volume, David Braddon-Mitchell and Robert Nola have brought together new essays by the most important contributors to the debate about the viability of the Canberra Plan, both defenders and skeptics. Anyone with a serious interest in metaphysics, a priori knowledge, the philosophy of mind, and metaethics will need to possess this book."
Tim Crane, Professor of Philosophy, University College London
"Though the method of conceptual analysis isn't much in favor these days, the essays in this volume show just how far our understanding of the method has come, how misguided many of the criticisms of the method have been, and how productive the method can still be. The essays, which include David Lewis's already much discussed though not previously published 'Ramseyian Humility,' make compulsory reading for everyone with a serious interest in how philosophy at its most exacting is done."
—Michael Smith, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University