Entries by Colin McGinn

Against Family Resemblance

  Against Family Resemblance     After the well-known section on games in Philosophical Investigations(section 66), Wittgenstein writes: “I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than ‘family resemblances’; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, color of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and criss-cross in the […]

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Modal Objectivism

      Modal Objectivism     It is now almost fifty years since Kripke made his celebrated distinction between epistemic and metaphysical necessity.[1]He pointed out that not all necessary truths are known a priori: for example, it is not a priorithat this table is made of wood, but it is a necessary truth—this very […]

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Generative Economics

Darwin’s theory of evolution includes two generative components: mutation and natural selection. Mutation generates genetic variants and hence phenotypes; natural selection operates on these to produce differential survival. Neither of these generative processes involves intention or intelligence. Thus we have biological novelty without intentional intelligent design. Both processes are blind and driven by non-mental causes. […]

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Drumming Tutorials

Let me give this more prominence: my demonstration of two new drumming techniques on Youtube. Just go to “Colin McGinn drumming tutorials” on Youtube. My drumming is a bit ropey but you will see the lessons I’m trying to impart.

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Memes, Behavioral Contagion, and the Zeitgeist

    Memes, Behavioral Contagion, and the Zeitgeist     I want to bring these three concepts together to create a meme that will be contagious and contribute to the zeitgeist.[1]First a quick introduction to our principal players: a meme is an idea or action that spreads analogously to the gene; behavioral contagion is the […]

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Against the Argument from Design

  Against the Argument from Design   I have a parakeet, Emma, who developed a rather nasty infection about a year ago. Her feet became encrusted with some horrible-looking growth and her beak was discolored and deformed. I took her to the vet who diagnosed a parasite quite common in parakeets (but only in parakeets)—a […]

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Doomed

Doomed   I’m getting the distinct impression that we’re doomed. I can feel it in my bones. First, philosophy in America is doomed; indeed, it is now more or less defunct (relative to earlier times). Once the older generation dies off in five to ten years we will be left with a desert of mediocrity […]

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Truth-Value Gaps and Meaning

  Truth-Value Gaps and Meaning     Sentences exhibiting truth-value gaps would appear to pose a significant problem for truth-conditional semantics. Such sentences evidently have meaning, yet they are neither true nor false. In this respect they resemble non-indicative sentences such as imperatives. But imperatives can be handled by adopting a parallel concept like obedience […]

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