Entries by Colin McGinn

Grammatical Life

HOME ABOUT 1000+ INTERVIEWS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE COMPASSIONATE CITIES SUPPORT “LIFE” Excellence Reporter #1 MOST ‘MEANING FULL’ WEBSITE ON EARTH SEARCH FOR… ACADEMIA Colin McGinn: The Meaning of Life — Grammatical Life BY EXCELLENCE REPORTER ON MAY 15, 2019 Excellence Reporter: Prof. McGinn, what is the meaning of life? Colin McGinn: I prefer […]

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Speechless Language

  Speechless Language     Normally when a human being learns a language he or she learns to speak and be spoken to. Sounds are produced and understood. An acoustic ability is acquired. But this is not always so: some people learn language (e.g. the English language) without the aid of sound. They neither hear […]

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Differentiation and Integration

Differentiation and Integration     According to standard embryology, the process of ontogenesis is characterized by organic differentiation. From an initially homogeneous collection of cells tissues of various kinds are formed. This is no doubt powered by genetic instructions from within the original uniform cells. Maturation is thus a transformation from sameness to diversity as […]

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Phenomenological Ignorance

  Phenomenological Ignorance     We can’t know what it’s like to be a bat. This is an instance of a more general truth: no one can grasp the nature of experiences that are radically different from their own. We can grasp the nature of experiences similar to our own, but we can’t grasp experiences […]

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Biological Philosophy of Language

    Biological Philosophy of Language     Linguistics has grown accustomed to viewing human language as a biological phenomenon. This view stands opposed to two other views: supernaturalism and cultural determination. Ancient thought conceived of language as a gift from God, closely adjoined to the immaterial soul: this accounted for its origin, its seemingly […]

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Innate Blank Slates

  Innate Blank Slates     Even the most hardline nativist will agree that not everything that passes before the mind, or exists in it, is innately fixed. In particular, memory contains contents that derive from experience. Memory may be defined as the ability to learn, and animals with memory absorb information from the environment […]

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Attitudes to Reality

      Attitudes to Reality     I am interested in devising a general taxonomy of epistemic attitudes towards reality as a whole. This taxonomy can be expected to have an historical interpretation, and heuristically that is a good way to understand it. So let us consider the human attitude to reality in pre-historic […]

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Introspective Invariance

  Introspective Invariance     Our knowledge of the external world is subject to much variation in type and degree of access. We don’t always perceive accurately or clearly or with the same amount of revelation. There are illusions, occlusions, blurring, darkness, variations in appearance, constancy effects, blindness (partial or total), stimulus overload, perspectival disparities, […]

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