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Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1998 'for his contributions in welfare economics'. Although his primary academic appointments have been mostly in economics, Sen is also an important and influential social theorist and philosopher. His work on social choice theory is seminal, and his writings on poverty, famine, and development, as well his contributions to moral and political philosophy, are important and influential. Sen's views about the nature and primacy of liberty also make him a major contemporary liberal thinker. This volume of essays on aspects of Sen's work is aimed at a broad audience of readers interested in social theory, political philosophy, ethics, public policy, welfare economics, the theory of rational choice, poverty, and development. Written by a team of well-known experts, each chapter provides an overview of Sen's work in a particular area and a critical assessment of his contributions to the field.
This volume provides a systematic overview and comprehensive assessment of Bernard Williams' contribution to moral philosophy, a field in which Williams was one of the most influential of contemporary philosophers. The seven essays, which were specially commissioned for this volume, examine his work on moral objectivity, the nature of practical reason, moral emotion, the critique of the 'morality system', Williams' assessment of the ethical thought of the ancient world, and his later adoption of Nietzsche's method of 'genealogy'. Collectively, the essays not only engage with Williams' work, but also develop independent philosophical arguments in connection with those topics that have, over the last thirty years, particularly reflected Williams' influence.
Few thinkers have had as much impact on contemporary philosophy as has Alvin Plantinga. The work of this quintessential analytic philosopher has in many respects set the tone for the debate in the fields of modal metaphysics and epistemology and he is arguably the most important philosopher of religion of our time. In this volume, a distinguished team of today's leading philosophers address the central aspects of Plantinga's philosophy - his views on natural theology; his responses to the problem of evil; his contributions to the field of modal metaphysics; the controversial evolutionary argument against naturalism; his model of epistemic warrant and his view of epistemic defeat; and his recent work on mind-body dualism. Also included is an appendix containing Plantinga's often referred to, but previously unpublished, lecture notes entitled 'Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments', with a substantial preface to the appendix written by Plantinga specifically for this volume.
Ronald Dworkin occupies a distinctive place in both public life and philosophy. In public life, he is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and other widely read journals. In philosophy, he has written important and influential works on many of the most prominent issues in legal and political philosophy. In both cases, his interventions have in part shaped the debates he joined. His opposition to Robert Bork's nomination for the United States Supreme Court gave new centrality to debates about the public role of judges and the role of original intent in constitutional interpretation. His writings in legal philosophy have reoriented the modern debate about legal positivism and natural law. In political philosophy, he has shaped the ways in which people debate the nature of equality and has reframed debates about the sanctity of life.
For over three decades, Paul Churchland has been a provocative and controversial philosopher of mind and of science. He is most famous as an advocate of 'eliminative materialism', whereby he suggests that our commonsense understanding of our own minds is radically defective and that the science of brain demonstrates this (just as an understanding of physics reveals that our commonsense understanding of a flat and motionless earth is similarly false). This collection offers an introduction to Churchland's work, as well as a critique of some of his most famous philosophical positions. Including contributions by both established and promising young philosophers, it is intended to complement the growing literature on Churchland, focusing on his contributions in isolation from those of his wife and philosophical partner, Patricia Churchland, as well as on his contributions to philosophy as distinguished from those to Cognitive Science.
The richness of Putnam's philosophical oeuvre consists not only in the broad spectrum of problems addressed, but also in the transformations and restructuring his positions have undergone over the years. The essays collected in this volume are sensitive to both these dimensions. They discuss Putnam's major philosophical contributions to the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science and mathematics, and moral theory. But, in addition, tracing threads of change and continuity, they analyze the dynamics underlying the unfolding of Putnam's thought. The volume also constitutes a critical introduction to a number of central issues in contemporary philosophy, including quantum logic, realism, functionalism, the 'minds as computer' metaphor, and the fact/value dichotomy.
Charles Taylor is beyond question one of the most distinctive figures in the landscape of contemporary philosophy. In a time of increasing specialization Taylor's ability to contribute to philosophical conversations across a wide spectrum of ideas is distinctive and impressive. These areas include moral theory, theories of subjectivity, political theory, epistemology, hermeneutics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and aesthetics. His most recent writings have seen him branching into the study of religion. Written by a team of international authorities, this collection will be read primarily by students and professionals in philosophy, political science and religious studies, but will appeal to a broad swathe of professionals across the humanities and social sciences.
From his groundbreaking book Speech Acts to his most recent studies of consciousness, freedom and rationality John Searle has been a dominant and highly influential figure amongst contemporary philosophers. This systematic introduction to the full range of Searle's work begins with the theory of speech acts and proceeds with expositions of Searle's writings on intentionality, consciousness and perception, as well as a careful presentation of the so-called Chinese Room argument. The volume considers Searle's recent work on social ontology and his views on the nature of law and obligation. It concludes with an appraisal of Searle's spirited defence of truth and scientific method in the face of the criticisms of Derrida and other postmodernists. This is the only comprehensive introduction to Searle's work, and as such it will be of particular value to advanced undergraduates, graduates and professionals in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, cognitive and computer science and literary theory.
Arguably the most influential of all contemporary English-speaking philosophers, Richard Rorty has transformed the way many inside and outside philosophy think about the discipline and the traditional ways of practising it. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers from Darwin and James to Quine, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Derrida, Rorty has injected a bold anti-foundationalist vision into philosophical debate, into discussions in literary theory, communication studies, political theory and education, and, as public intellectual, into national debates about the responsibilities of America in the modern world. The essays in this volume offer a balanced exposition and critique of Rorty's views on knowledge, language, truth, science, morality and politics. The editorial introduction presents a valuable overview of Rorty's philosophical vision. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume will have an unusual appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, literary studies, cultural studies and political theory.
Donald Davidson has been one of the most influential figures in modern analytic philosophy and has made seminal contributions in a wide range of subjects: philosophy of language, philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics and the theory of rationality. His principal work, embodied in a series of landmark essays stretching over nearly forty years, exhibits a unity rare among philosophers contributing on so many diverse fronts. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume includes chapters on truth and meaning, the philosophy of action, radical interpretation, philosophical psychology, knowledge of the external world, other minds and our own minds, and the implications of Davidson's work for literary theory. This book is a comprehensive introduction to the full range of Davidson's work, and as such it will be of particular value to advanced undergraduates, graduates and professionals in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literary theory.
The contribution to contemporary philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre is enormous. His writings on ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of the social sciences and the history of philosophy have established him as one of the philosophical giants of the last fifty years. His best-known book, After Virtue (1981), spurred the profound revival of virtue ethics. Moreover, MacIntyre, unlike so many of his contemporaries, has exerted a deep influence beyond the bourns of academic philosophy. This volume focuses on the major themes of MacIntyre's work with critical expositions of MacIntyre's views on the history of philosophy, the role of tradition in philosophical inquiry, the philosophy of the social sciences, moral philosophy, political theory, and his critique of the assumptions and institutions of modernity. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume will have a wide appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, law, theology, and political theory.
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus offers a series of introductory volumes on many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Stanley Cavell has been one of the most creative and independent of contemporary philosophical voices. At the core of his thought is the view that skepticism is not a theoretical position to be refuted by philosophical theory but is a reflection of the fundamental limits of human knowledge of the self, of others and of the external world that must be accepted. This volume is the first attempt systematically and accessibly to describe and assess the full range of Cavell's work. There are new accounts of Cavell's contribution to the philosophy of mind and language, the theory of action, ethics, aesthetics, Romanticism, American philosophy, Shakespeare, and film and opera. Outside philosophy the appeal of this volume will be unusually broad.
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus offers a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Thomas Kuhn (1922–96), the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is probably the best-known and most influential historian and philosopher of science of the last 25 years, and has become something of a cultural icon. His concepts of paradigm, paradigm change and incommensurability have changed the way we think about science. This volume offers an introduction to Kuhn's life and work and then considers the implications of Kuhn's work for philosophy, cognitive psychology, social studies of science and feminism. The volume is more than a retrospective on Kuhn, exploring future developments of cognitive and information services along Kuhnian lines. Outside of philosophy the volume will be of particular interest to professionals and students in cognitive science, history of science, science studies and cultural studies.
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