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The Tyranny of the Majority

Tyranny of the Majority   Here is de Tocqueville in Democracy in America (1835): “But the dominating power in the United States [the majority] does not understand being mocked like that. The slightest reproach offends it, the smallest sharp truth stimulates its angry response and it must be praised from the style of its language […]

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Oh America!

I have lived in this country for 30 years, but I count myself an outsider. What we have witnessed in the last week, and in the last few years, has undoubtedly been ugly in the extreme, but to my eye it is not so far removed from business as usual in America. The same tendencies […]

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Self-Blindness and “I”

  Self-Blindness and “I”   Hume’s point that the self is not introspectively detectable has always been met with intuitive acceptance. Its significance is more contentious. Does it show that the self does not exist, or that introspection is limited, or that the self is really just a congeries of mental states? A possible view […]

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Death, Time, and Other Minds

  Death, Time, and Other Minds   It is often said that we are “social animals”. What seems to be intended is twofold: we have an emotional craving for human contact, and we are similar to other social animals in this respect.  [1] Both observations are surely correct, but could there be anything more to our […]

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Cognitive Closure De Dicto and De Re

  Cognitive Closure De Dicto and De Re   De dicto belief does not entail de re belief and vice versa. The two have different conditions of possibility. Someone could believe de dicto that the tallest man in the world is over 8 feet without believing de re of the tallest man that he is […]

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Physiological Investigations

    Physiological Investigations   It would be wrong to think that all the organs of the body are pumps. The heart is a pump and it features prominently in our picture of the body, but not every organ resembles the heart. We might be tempted to think that the lungs, stomach, and kidneys are […]

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Language, Truth, and Grammar

    Language, Truth, and Grammar   It would be convenient if only true statements were grammatical. Then we would be able to read truth-value off grammar. Falsehood would be signaled by ungrammaticality. But of course false statements are as grammatical as true ones. Grammar is completely indifferent to truth. The world is what determines […]

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Two Dogmas of Rationalism

  Two Dogmas of Rationalism   We may suppose the rationalist to hold two theses: (a) there is an analytic-synthetic distinction, and (b) the meaning of statements can be reduced to the innate ideas expressed or denoted by the terms in them. Since rationalism accords priority to a priori statements, the odd member of the […]

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