Pathological Belief There is something funny about belief: belief isn’t quite right in the head. The human belief system leaves a lot to be desired. Philosophers have been onto this for a while, noting the peculiarities of belief. Early on it was noticed that belief reports are referentially opaque: you can’t substitute […]
About Colin McGinn
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Why Does Consciousness Exist? I mean this question to be a question of biology: what adaptive purpose was served by the evolution of consciousness? Consciousness, like other biological traits, evolved because it contributed to the survival of the organisms that possess it, so there must be an answer to the question of […]
Mind and Behavior Philosophical behaviorism has a curious reputation: on the one hand, it can seem eminently reasonable, on the other, completely wrong. Thus it is natural to be uncomfortably ambivalent about it, veering from acceptance to rejection as the mood strikes. On the side of rejection we have the inverted spectrum, […]
Religion as Science I wish to put forward an unfashionable and provokingly simple point of view: religion is just outmoded science. Religion is the science of an earlier age, yet still clinging on in some places. I don’t just mean the cosmological parts; I also include ethics. That is, religion consists of […]
Objects The word “object” occupies a prominent place in philosophy, but it is seldom scrutinized in any depth. What is an object exactly? On the face of it the word has two uses or meanings: it may be used as a descriptor of a certain type of entity in contrast to other types, […]
Empty Materialism As everyone knows, Newton abandoned the materialism of his day by introducing the “occult” force of gravity. Clerk Maxwell expanded physics further into the immaterialist camp with his theory of electromagnetic fields of force. These developments cast the whole notion of materialism (or physicalism) into doubt. But was physics before […]
Qualia When philosophers talk about qualia they are typically discussing the mind-body problem and the prospects for materialism. They are not interested in the general theory of qualia. They may cite some examples of qualia, but they don’t enquire into the general structure and function of qualia—as a linguist might study the […]
An Identity Theory of Identity The identity theory I have in mind says simply this: identity is identical to indiscernibility. That is, the identity relation reduces to the indiscernibility relation. Why would anyone endorse this theory? First, there is a very clear connection between identity and indiscernibility, enshrined in Leibniz’s Law: x […]