Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

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Link: Kant


Here’s a useful link to information about the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, or transcendental idealism.

Who is the greatest philosopher of all time? This is not a question to which we are likely to find a staightforward answer, but it remains an important one. The BBC ran a vote in 2005, and Karl Marx came out as the clear winner. But the list itself provdes a good starting point for […]



Think you’re open-minded? This interesting discussion of open-mindedness, the burden of proof and supernatural beliefs might interest you…

Hello All Many thanks to everyone who contributed to today’s class – I thinnk Tooley’s paper is a provocative piece and so makes for a good discussion.  Those of you who gave Tooly a rough ride in class had some interesting ideas that are well worth pursuing…you might be on to something… Next week is a reading […]

British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock has weighed into the current debate on euthanasia inspired by the death of Daniel James with this piece at Guardian Unlimited.  She argues that we must respect the autonomous wishes of others and not place our judgements of the value of another’s life above their own.  The article has provoked […]



Another direct response to this form of skepticism is behaviourism, which in philosophy is associated with Skinner, Carnap and Ryle. In psychology, behaviourism is the view that all human activities (including inner mental life) are exhaustively described by accounts of behaviour. In philosophy of mind behaviourism is the thesis that when we refer to psychological […]

The ‘Problem of Other Minds’ is an epistemological problem. It is based on the difference between the way we experience our own selves and the way we experience the selves of others. Consider the kinds of mental states that we have ourselves such as beliefs, desires, emotions and feelings.We have direct access to these for […]

This BBC documentary provides a useful introduction to Heidegger’s thought.

In what way is Kant’s ‘transcendental idealism dependent on ‘things-in themselves’? What problems are there with the doctrine of things in themselves? How might Kant defend this doctrine?

How can we tell when we are dreaming? Some people have such lucid, everyday dreams that they believe they are awake. When they are truly awake, however, they realize their mistake… how?

Is it possible that you are nothing more than a brain in a vat, cleverly linked up to a machine that stimulates your brain in such a way as to make you believe that you are a person with a body who can walk around, talk to other people and do all of the other […]

Kant, like Descartes and Berkeley, asks the following question: how can we distinguish appearances from reality? Rationalists (like Descartes) tried to escape the epistemological confines of the mind by constructing knowledge of the external world, the self, the soul, God, ethics, and science out of the simplest, indubitable ideas possessed innately by the mind while […]

Nietzsche gives his account of the origins of our moral prejudices in Zur Genealogie der Moral (‘On the Genealogy of Morals’).  You can find the whole text online at:  

 You might be interested in this BBC documentary about Nietzsche…  You can see striking footage of Nietzsche on his death-bed on my other website at 

A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defense. In every other case it is a source of danger. That which does not belong to our life menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in mere respect for the […]

The ‘eternal return’ is supposed to regulate how ‘life affirming’ or ‘life-denying’ an action or morality is. This is the classic formulation that Nietzsche offers: “The greatest weight.– What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live […]

“The mechanistic world is imagined only as sight and touch imagine a world (as “moved” ) –so as to be calculable– thus causal unities are invented, “things” (atoms) whose effect remains constant (–transference of the false concept of subject to the concept of the atom)… If we eliminate these additions, no things remain but only […]

Nietzsche began his career as a philologist (student of ancient text and languages) and developed an overriding interest in the Ancient Greeks, who he thought represented the peak of Western civilization before the onset of ‘slave’ or ‘herd’ morality which culminated in Christian, Utilitarian and Kantian systems of ethics (among others). Like Callicles, Nietzsche argued […]

The Open University has recently begun a series of podcasts on applied ethics, with discussion from leading philosophers including Peter Singer, Michael Sandel, Thomas Scanlon, Mary Warnock, and Roger Scruton. You can subscribe at