Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for St John, Colin McGinn and Mark Sainsbury

expand these ideas     |    start again     |     specify just one area for these philosophers


90 ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics beyond Science
Philosophy is a magnificent failure in its attempt to overstep the limits of our knowledge [McGinn]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 2. Logos
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God [John]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 1. Definitions
Definitions identify two concepts, so they presuppose identity [McGinn]
2. Reason / F. Fallacies / 2. Infinite Regress
Regresses are only vicious in the context of an explanation [McGinn]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
Jesus said he bore witness to the truth. Pilate asked, What is truth? [John]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 4. Uses of Truth
Truth is a method of deducing facts from propositions [McGinn]
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
'Snow does not fall' corresponds to snow does fall [McGinn]
The idea of truth is built into the idea of correspondence [McGinn]
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 2. Coherence Truth Critique
The coherence theory of truth implies idealism, because facts are just coherent beliefs [McGinn]
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 3. Minimalist Truth
Truth is the property of propositions that makes it possible to deduce facts [McGinn]
Without the disquotation device for truth, you could never form beliefs from others' testimony [McGinn]
5. Theory of Logic / D. Assumptions for Logic / 4. Identity in Logic
In 'x is F and x is G' we must assume the identity of x in the two statements [McGinn]
Both non-contradiction and excluded middle need identity in their formulation [McGinn]
Identity is unitary, indefinable, fundamental and a genuine relation [McGinn]
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 1. Logical Form
Thoughts have a dual aspect: as they seem to introspection, and their underlying logical reality [McGinn]
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / e. Empty names
It is best to say that a name designates iff there is something for it to designate [Sainsbury]
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / b. Definite descriptions
Definite descriptions may not be referring expressions, since they can fail to refer [Sainsbury]
Definite descriptions are usually rigid in subject, but not in predicate, position [Sainsbury]
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 1. Quantification
Existential quantifiers just express the quantity of things, leaving existence to the predicate 'exists' [McGinn]
The quantifier is overrated as an analytical tool [McGinn]
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 3. Objectual Quantification
'Partial quantifier' would be a better name than 'existential quantifier', as no existence would be implied [McGinn]
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 7. Unorthodox Quantification
We need an Intentional Quantifier ("some of the things we talk about.."), so existence goes into the proposition [McGinn]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 1. Nature of Existence
Existence is a primary quality, non-existence a secondary quality [McGinn]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
Existence can't be analysed as instantiating a property, as instantiation requires existence [McGinn]
We can't analyse the sentence 'something exists' in terms of instantiated properties [McGinn]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
To explain object qualities, primary qualities must be more than mere sources of experience [McGinn]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
If causal power is the test for reality, that will exclude necessities and possibilities [McGinn]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / b. Types of fact
Facts are object-plus-extension, or property-plus-set-of-properties, or object-plus-property [McGinn]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 9. Vagueness / b. Vagueness of reality
If 'red' is vague, then membership of the set of red things is vague, so there is no set of red things [Sainsbury]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 2. Categorisation
We should abandon classifying by pigeon-holes, and classify around paradigms [Sainsbury]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / e. Vague objects
Vague concepts are concepts without boundaries [Sainsbury]
If concepts are vague, people avoid boundaries, can't spot them, and don't want them [Sainsbury]
Boundaryless concepts tend to come in pairs, such as child/adult, hot/cold [Sainsbury]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 10. Beginning of an Object
Suppose a world where I'm from different gametes; add my gametes; which one is more me? [McGinn]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 12. Origin as Essential
McGinn falsely claims necessity of origin is a special case of the necessity of identity [Forbes,G on McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 1. Concept of Identity
Identity propositions are not always tautological, and have a key epistemic role [McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 2. Defining Identity
Identity is as basic as any concept could ever be [McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 4. Type Identity
Qualitative identity is really numerical identity of properties [McGinn]
Type-identity is close similarity in qualities [McGinn]
Qualitative identity can be analysed into numerical identity of the type involved [McGinn]
It is best to drop types of identity, and speak of 'identity' or 'resemblance' [McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity
Sherlock Holmes does not exist, but he is self-identical [McGinn]
Existence is a property of all objects, but less universal than self-identity, which covers even conceivable objects [McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 6. Identity between Objects
All identity is necessary, though identity statements can be contingently true [McGinn]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 8. Leibniz's Law
Leibniz's Law presupposes the notion of property identity [McGinn]
Leibniz's Law is so fundamental that it almost defines the concept of identity [McGinn]
Leibniz's Law says 'x = y iff for all P, Px iff Py' [McGinn]
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 5. Modality from Actuality
Modality is not objects or properties, but the type of binding of objects to properties [McGinn]
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / b. Impossible worlds
If 'possible' is explained as quantification across worlds, there must be possible worlds [McGinn]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / b. Elements of beliefs
Beliefs are states of the head that explain behaviour, and also items with referential truth-conditions [McGinn]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / b. Primary/secondary
Being red simply consists in looking red [McGinn]
Relativity means differing secondary perceptions are not real disagreements [McGinn]
Phenomenalism is correct for secondary qualities, so scepticism is there impossible [McGinn]
Maybe all possible sense experience must involve both secondary and primary qualities [McGinn]
You understood being red if you know the experience involved; not so with thngs being square [McGinn]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / c. Primary qualities
You don't need to know how a square thing looks or feels to understand squareness [McGinn]
Touch doesn't provide direct experience of primary qualities, because touch feels temperature [McGinn]
We can perceive objectively, because primary qualities are not mind-created [McGinn]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
Lockean secondary qualities (unlike primaries) produce particular sensory experiences [McGinn]
Could there be a mind which lacked secondary quality perception? [McGinn]
Secondary qualities contain information; their variety would be superfluous otherwise [McGinn]
The utility theory says secondary qualities give information useful to human beings [McGinn]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 3. Representation
We see objects 'directly' by representing them [McGinn]
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
Necessity and possibility are big threats to the empiricist view of knowledge [McGinn]
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism
Scepticism about reality is possible because existence isn't part of appearances [McGinn]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
If all mental life were conscious, we would be unable to see things, or to process speech [McGinn]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 1. Faculties
Mental modules for language, social, action, theory, space, emotion [McGinn]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Nature of Free Will
Free will is mental causation in action [McGinn]
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 3. Panpsychism
Brains aren't made of anything special, suggesting panpsychism [McGinn]
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
McGinn invites surrender, by saying it is hopeless trying to imagine conscious machines [Dennett on McGinn]
Examining mind sees no brain; examining brain sees no mind [McGinn]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
Multiple realisability rules out hidden essences and experts as the source of water- and gold-concepts [McGinn]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 9. Indexical Thought
The indexical perspective is subjective, incorrigible and constant [McGinn]
Indexical thought is in relation to my self-consciousness [McGinn]
Indexicals do not figure in theories of physics, because they are not explanatory causes [McGinn]
Indexical concepts are indispensable, as we need them for the power to act [McGinn]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 3. Meaning as Speaker's Intention
If meaning is speaker's intentions, it can be reduced to propositional attitudes, and philosophy of mind [McGinn]
19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / b. Causal reference
A new usage of a name could arise from a mistaken baptism of nothing [Sainsbury]
19. Language / B. Reference / 5. Speaker's Reference
Even a quantifier like 'someone' can be used referentially [Sainsbury]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 5. Fregean Semantics
Semantics should not be based on set-membership, but on instantiation of properties in objects [McGinn]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 6. Truth-Conditions Semantics
There is information if there are symbols which refer, and which can combine into a truth or falsehood [McGinn]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 7. Extensional Semantics
Clearly predicates have extensions (applicable objects), but are the extensions part of their meaning? [McGinn]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 9. Indexical Semantics
I can know indexical truths a priori, unlike their non-indexical paraphrases [McGinn]
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 3. Natural Function
Things are thought to have a function, even when they can't perform them [Sainsbury]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 4. Naturalised causation
Causation in the material world is energy-transfer, of motion, electricity or gravity [McGinn]
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 6. Divine Morality / c. God is the good
He that does evil has not seen God [John]
God is love [John]
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / b. Ontological Proof critique
If Satan is the most imperfect conceivable being, he must have non-existence [McGinn]
I think the fault of the Ontological Argument is taking the original idea to be well-defined [McGinn]
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
If you love the world, then you do not love the Father [John]