Entries by Colin McGinn

Physics and Physicalism

    Physics and the Physical     It sounds reasonable—indeed tautological–to say that physics is about the physical, as psychology is about the psychological. But that is not clearly true. Consider Newton’s physics: it includes not only physical things in the ordinary sense but also space and time—as well as gravitational force. That last […]

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Time

  Father Time     I liked it best when only I existed. That was a simpler time, a purer time. Good times. I stretched out to infinity in both directions with no beginning and no end. Nothing troubled me; nothing disturbed my peace. Moments, epochs, and eons—these were my                                   units. Oh, I was beautiful! I […]

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Space etc

    Space, Time, and Matter: A Note     It is sometimes said, jokingly, that it is fortunate time exists or else everything would happen simultaneously. We could also say, jokingly, that it is fortunate space exists or else everything would have to be in the same place. If space existed but time didn’t, […]

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A New Riddle of Induction

A New Riddle of Induction   Suppose that tomorrow the sun does not rise, bread does not nourish, and swans are blue. Does that show that nature is not uniform, that the past is not projectable to the future, and that induction has broken down? Can we conclude that what we observe tomorrow does not […]

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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 […]

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Jane Austen on Morality

    Jane Austen’s Moral Universe     Jane Austen is the most moral of writers, but what is her morality? What values does she espouse and promote? That is not an easy question, given the elusiveness of the authorial mind and the gap between life and art, but I propose to deal with an […]

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Jane Austen on Memory

  Memory Illusions     In Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Fanny Price, a thoughtful and unassuming young woman, makes the following observations to a certain Miss Crawford: “If any one faculty of our nature may be called morewonderful than the rest, I do believe it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the […]

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Semantics Politicized

  Multi-Dimensional (Inclusive) Semantics     I address you today in a spirit of inclusiveness and diversity. For too long semantics (theory of meaning) has been the confine of a single type of entity held to constitute all that meaning encompasses (or a couple of entities, closely related).  We must broaden our horizons and recognize […]

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