Entries by Colin McGinn

What is Belief?

    What is Belief?     For all the work that has been done on the topic of belief, do we really know what belief is?[1] What kind of state (if state it be) is the belief state? Two suggestions have been prominent: belief is a feeling and belief is a disposition. Either belief […]

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Knowledge and Human Nature

    Knowledge and Human Nature     An alien observer of human cognitive development would be struck by a fact he might be tempted to describe as paradoxical. This is that in the first five years or so of life development is rapid and impressive while subsequent learning tends to be slow and laborious. […]

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Are There Subjective Reasons?

      Are There Subjective Reasons?     I like coffee and you like tea. This gives me a reason to choose coffee, but it doesn’t give you a reason to make that choice. The reason is relative to me—to my preferences. You would choose tea given the choice.  Thus we might say that […]

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A Problem In Hume

  A Problem in Hume       Early in the TreatiseHume sets out to establish what he calls a “general proposition”, namely: “That all our simple ideas in their first appearance are deriv’d from simple impressions, which are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent” (Book I, Section I, p.52).[1]What kind of proposition […]

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Is Solipsism Logically Possible?

    Is Solipsism Logically Possible?     It has been commonly assumed that solipsism is logically or metaphysically possible. I could exist without anything else existing. There are possible worlds in which I exist and nothing else does. I can imagine myself completely alone. Seductive as such thoughts may appear, I think they are […]

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The Mind-World Nexus

  The Mind-World Nexus     According to a dominant tradition, appearances are not “in” objects: that is, how an object appears is not (completely) determined by its objective properties but depends on the mode of sensibility employed to perceive it.  The classic example is color: objects are not colored independently of how they seem […]

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Al Franken

I just read the recent article in the New Yorker about Al Franken by Jane Mayer (July 29, 2019). It is a model of responsible journalism and lays the facts out admirably. He should clearly not have been forced to resign. It reminded me of when I met him in 2013 at George Soros’s wedding […]

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Modularity and the Self

    Modularity and the Self     We don’t always speak with one voice. We disagree with ourselves. The senses may say one thing while we say another. The classic case is visual illusion: the visual system may represent the world in a certain way, but reason says otherwise. The encapsulated visual module delivers […]

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