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Bertrand Russell: Science and philosophy

My chum and Russell scholar par excellence has this piece in the TLS. As Wittgenstein sums up Russell’s insight, “Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity”. Something similar might be said of science as well. Analytic philosophyAndrew Irvinebertrand russellLiberalismphilosophical logicPhilosophyscience

The State of German Philosophy

This very unusual piece on the state of German philosophy in the thoughtful Foreign Policy, still one of the better mags given how noticeably downhill The Economist and The Atlantic have gone. On the whole there is nothing wrong with popular philosophy so long as it is not peddling yet more reheated neo-Marxist Frankfurt School postmodern shite…

The Web of Belief

While doing some work on Quine I came across Quine and Ullian’s minor classic The Web of Belief which has been made freely available online. (Another great portrait by Steve Pyke as with the previous post on Parfit). Analytic philosophyJ. S. Ullianphilosophical logicpragmatismquinesteve pykeweb of belief

Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline

Bernard Williams’ Annual Lecture, Royal Institute of Philosophy, 16 February 2000. I think Jonathan Haidt says as much (per Williams’ quote below) in his The Righteous Mind. It is not a reproach to these liberals that they cannot see beyond the outer limits of what they find acceptable: no-one can do that. But it is more of a…

Willard Van Orman Quine

Died on this day. Here’s a terrific resource for all things Quine. I wonder what he’d think about current campus illiberal fuckery? The Guardian The Economist The Telegraph Analytic philosophyEpistemologylogicquine

Nagel reviews the posthumous Williams

Reprinted here in case paywall is reinstated. The View from Here and Now Thomas Nagel The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy by Bernard Williams, edited by Myles Burnyeat Princeton, 393 pp, £26.95, March 2006, ISBN 0 691 12477 9 In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political…

Bernard Williams: Why Philosophy Needs History

Bernard Williams’ piece originally from the LRB and reprinted in Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002 along with Colin Koopman’s commentary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ‘Lack of a historical sense is the hereditary defect of philosophers . . . So what is needed from now on is historical philosophising, and with it the virtue of modesty.’ Nietzsche wrote this in 1878, but it…

Frank Plumpton Ramsey

Here is David Papineau’s review of PF Ramey’s sister’s memoir. (See also David Mellor, 1998. Ramsey, Frank Plumpton. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge.) For some geniuses, an early death accelerates the route to canonization. But for Ramsey it had the opposite effect. Ramsey’s death coincided with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s return to Cambridge after…

William Barrett on Existentialism

Here is a three part interview led by the ever reliable and precise expositor, Bryan Magee. I’m not sure that things have changed that much since this programme in 1978 in that while Heidegger is fully accepted (and suggestively reinterpreted) by those of us in cognitive science, mainstream analytical  philosophy still sees him as a…