As someone who feels they engage with issues of real controversy daily it is hard to underestimate the frustration of seeing debates one regards as long-settled inflame people again and again month after month. Presently, one such issue has been brought to the fore by Non-Prophet Week, a week of charitable giving by the non-religious, 29 October – 4 November. This is the third annual incarnation of the event organised by the British Federation of Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Student Societies (AHS). Read the rest of this entry
This is not a pro-life blog. I am not a pro-life campaigner. And I’m certainly not a lawyer (something you are no doubt as relieved about as myself). But after my previous posts touched on issues of applied ethics without going into them particularly comprehensively, I would just like to clarify some of the other reasons that I’m against euthanasia and abortion. Read the rest of this entry
This is an essay I wrote back in 2009, and there’s a sense in which my having written it may have been futile. I refer not to the disdain which the general public may so sadly direct at the noble art of the philosophy essay, but to the possibility that I am the only person capable of reading it –not because of my idiosyncratic and altogether inept use of language– but because I may, for all I know, be the only sentient person in the universe. We have all considered this possibility at some point, but because it is so absurd it is easy enough to dismiss. The philosophical problem of demonstrating why we are right to dismiss it is, however, far from easy. Read the rest of this entry
Another essay I wrote back in 2008.
Must perception involve the conceptualisation of what is perceived?
‘Perception’ is commonly used to denote the acquisition of knowledge of an external object where the subject’s level of awareness is such that conceptualisation of that object is required. But there is dispute as to whether or not perceptual states include access to pre-conceptual components, that is, whether or not we can have perceptual knowledge of an object without conceptualising it.
Are the Conditions of Belief, Truth and Justification Necessary and Sufficient for Knowledge?
This is an essay I wrote back in 2008. I evaluate the ‘standard analysis’ of the conditions for knowledge in the light of Gettier’s counter-examples. I cover three possible solutions: 1) redefining the conditions of knowledge (I follow especially Nozick’s conditional theory as advocated by Dancy, 1985), 2) explaining away Gettier’s refutation (particularly following Fogelin, as elaborated in Williams, 2001), and 3) radical scepticism. These positions each have merits in their own ways, but it is the conditional theory that is most plausible and as a result the elaboration of the standard analysis found in the question above should be rejected. Read the rest of this entry