Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872–1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most influential contributions include his championing of logicism (the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic), his refining of Gottlob Frege’s predicate calculus (which still forms the basis of most contemporary systems of logic), his defense of neutral monism (the view that the world consists of just one type of substance which is neither exclusively mental nor exclusively physical), and his theories of definite descriptions, logical atomism and logical types.

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The Philosophy of Sociality: The Shared Point of View

Concepts based on full-blown collective intentionality (aboutness), viz., we-mode intentionality, are central for understanding and explaining the social world. The book systematically studies social groups, acting in them as a group member, collective commitment, group intentions, beliefs, and actions, especially authority-based group attitudes and actions. There are also chapters on cooperation, social institutions, cultural evolution, and group responsibility.

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Michel Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge

In France, a country that awards its intellectuals the status other countries give their rock stars, Michel Foucault was part of a glittering generation of thinkers, one which also included Sartre, de Beauvoir and Deleuze. One of the great intellectual heroes of the twentieth century, Foucault was a man whose passion and reason were at the service of nearly every progressive cause of his time. From law and order, to mental health, to power and knowledge, he spearheaded public awareness of the dynamics that hold us all in thrall to a few powerful ideologies and interests. Arguably his finest work, Archaeology of Knowledge is a challenging but fantastically rewarding introduction to his ideas.

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Influence of Arabic and Islamic Philosophy on the Latin West

The Arabic-Latin translation movements in the Middle Ages, which paralleled that from Greek into Latin, led to the transformation of almost all philosophical disciplines in the medieval Latin world. The impact of Arabic philosophers such as al-Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroes on Western philosophy was particularly strong in natural philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics, but also extended to logic and ethics.

Among the influential Arabic theories are: the logical distinction between first and second intentions; the intention and remission of elementary forms; the soul’s faculty of estimation and its object, the intentions; the conjunction between human intellect and separate active intellect; the unicity of the material intellect (Averroism); naturalistic theories of miracles and prophecy; the eternity of the world and the concept of eternal creation; the active intellect as giver of forms; the first cause as necessary existent; the emanation of intelligences from the first cause; the distinction between essence and existence; the theory of primary concepts; the concept of human happiness as resulting from perfect conjunction of the human intellect with the active intellect.

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The Philosophy of Computer Science

The philosophy of computer science is concerned with those ontological, methodological, and ethical issues that arise from within the academic discipline of computer science as well as from the practice of software development. Thus, the philosophy of computer science shares the same philosophical goals as the philosophy of mathematics and the many subfields of the philosophy of science, such as the philosophy of biology or the philosophy of the social sciences. The philosophy of computer science also considers the analysis of computational artifacts, that is, human-made computing systems, and it focuses on methods involved in the design, specification, programming, verification, implementation, and testing of those systems. The abstract nature of computer programs and the resulting complexity of implemented artifacts, coupled with the technological ambitions of computer science, ensures that many of the conceptual questions of the philosophy of computer science have analogs in the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of empirical sciences, and the philosophy of technology. Other issues characterize the philosophy of computer science only. We shall concentrate on three tightly related groups of topics that form the spine of the subject. First, we discuss topics related to the ontological analysis of computational artifacts, in Sections 1–5 below. Second, we discuss topics involved in the methodology and epistemology of software development, in Sections 6–9 below. Third, we discuss ethical issues arising from computer science practice, in Section 10 below. Applications of computer science are briefly considered in section 11.

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Wittgenstein and Naturalism

This collection fills a lacuna, as the first volume focusing on the relationship between Wittgenstein and naturalism. It addresses important topics in current philosophical debates and is philosophical rather than exegetical in focus. The essays cover a wide variety of themes and are pertinent both to Wittgenstein scholarship and current debates concerning naturalism. All chapters address connections between naturalism and the later Wittgenstein’s philosophy, with the exception of Charles Travis’, which also concerns the early Wittgenstein. (Accordingly, in what follows ‘Wittgenstein’ denotes the later Wittgenstein, unless otherwise specified.)

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Thinking Between Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty

Judith Wambacq’s book, which explores resonances between the philosophies of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, is thoughtful, well-researched, and a good resource for scholars interested in the philosophies of either or both Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze, and in the development of twentieth-century Continental philosophy more broadly. Though the philosophical projects of Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze are often sharply contrasted, Wambacq makes a convincing case that the differences between the two are more stylistic and matters of emphases than they are substantial and central and argues that it is philosophically worthwhile to read Merleau-Ponty through a Deleuzian lens and Deleuze through a Merleau-Pontean lens. In what follows, I will (1) outline what I take to be Wambacq’s central thesis and argument; (2) provide a schematic outline of each of the book’s seven chapters; and (3) raise a concern regarding a tension between one of her central theses and the manner in which she at times engages with major figures in the history of philosophy.

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A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory And Social Complexity

Manuel DeLanda is a distinguished writer, artist, and philosopher. In his new book, he offers a fascinating look at how the contemporary world is characterized by an extraordinary social complexity. Since most social entities, from small communities to large nation-states, would disappear altogether if human minds ceased to exist, Delanda proposes a novel approach to social ontology that asserts the autonomy of social entities from the conceptions we have of them.

The purpose of this book is to introduce a novel approach to social ontology. Like any other ontological investigation, it concerns itself with the question of what kinds of entities we can legitimately commit ourselves to assert exist. The ontological stance taken here has traditionally been labeled ‘realist’: a stance usually defined by a commitment to the mind-independent existence of reality. In the case of social ontology, however, this definition must be qualified because most social entities, from small communities to large nation-states, would disappear altogether if human minds ceased to exist. In this sense, social entities are clearly not mind-independent.

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Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind

Enactivism is one of the central themes in current philosophy of cognitive science, and Shaun Gallagher is among the leading proponents of the approach. These reasons alone would be sufficient for this book to qualify as required reading for anyone wanting to stay current with the subfield. The book provides an excellent and easy-to-read introduction to core issues and overview of the central debates, and it provides some fascinating applications of the framework. And I’m not just saying that — I’ve already recommended it to a number of people. I do have a few gripes, but I’ll get to those.

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The Moral Foundations of Trust

The Moral Foundations of Trust seeks to explain why people place their faith in strangers, and why doing so matters. Trust is a moral value that does not depend upon personal experience or on interacting with people in civic groups or informal socializing. Instead, we learn to trust from our parents, and trust is stable over long periods of time. Trust depends on an optimistic worldview: the world is a good place and we can make it better. Trusting people are more likely to give through charity and volunteering. Trusting societies are more likely to redistribute resources from the rich to the poor. Trust has been in decline in the United States for over 30 years. The roots of this decline are traceable to declining optimism and increasing economic inequality, which Uslaner supports by aggregate time series in the United States and cross-sectional data across market economies.

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