Entries by Colin McGinn

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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The Inefficacy of Skepticism

      The Inefficacy of Skepticism     There is something peculiar about skepticism, psychologically speaking. It seems both cogent and ineffectual. Our epistemic practices are roundly criticized, convincingly so, and yet we decline to modify them; we soldier on regardless. We don’t refute the skeptic, but we don’t heed him either. Why are […]

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Ideas of Time

Ideas of Time     It is well known that Einstein was influenced by Hume and Mach (who was also influenced by Hume). In particular, his treatment of simultaneity was influenced by Hume’s discussion of ideas of time in the Treatise. So it might be useful to revisit that discussion to see how well it […]

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Physiology of Mind

    Physiology of Mind   Physiology lacks a philosophy to call its own. There is no philosophy of physiology to speak of. Perhaps this is because physiology is a sub-discipline of biology and we already have a philosophy of biology. But this neglects the possibility that physiology works with concepts and theoretical constructions specific […]

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The Motion-Body Problem

  The Motion-Body Problem     “For I would fain know what substance exists that has not something in it, which manifestly baffles our understanding. Other spirits, who see and know the nature and inward constitution of things, how much must they exceed us in knowledge?” John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 4, chapter […]

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