Simon Blackburn

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Simon Blackburn

FBA
Simon Blackburn.jpg
Blackburn at the 2017 Nobel Week Dialogue in Göteborg, Sweden
Born (1944-07-12) 12 July 1944 (age 74)
Alma mater
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Institutions
Main interests
Notable ideas
Quasi-realism

Simon Blackburn FBA (born 12 July 1944) is an English academic philosopher known for his work in metaethics, where he defends quasi-realism, and in the philosophy of language; more recently, he has gained a large general audience from his efforts to popularise philosophy.

Fellow of the British Academy Award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences.

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship

  1. Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom
  2. Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK
  3. Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic title

Quasi-realism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:

  1. Ethical sentences do not express propositions.
  2. Instead, ethical sentences project emotional attitudes as though they were real properties.

Contents

He retired as the professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge in 2011, but remains a distinguished research professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaching every fall semester. He is also a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a member of the professoriate of New College of the Humanities. [1] He was previously a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford and has also taught full-time at the University of North Carolina as an Edna J. Koury Professor. He is a former president of the Aristotelian Society, having served the 2009–2010 term. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002 [2] and a Foreign Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008. [3]

University of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also known as UNC-CH,UNC-Chapel Hill, or simply Chapel Hill, is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is the flagship of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, which also allows it to be one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

Trinity College, Cambridge constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England

Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. With around 600 undergraduates, 300 graduates, and over 180 fellows, it is the largest college in either of the Oxbridge universities by number of undergraduates. In terms of total student numbers, it is second only to Homerton College, Cambridge.

He has appeared in multiple episodes of the documentary series Closer to Truth .

Closer to Truth is a continuing television series on public television originally created, produced and hosted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. The first premiere series aired in 2000 for 2 seasons, followed by a second series aired in 2003 for a single season. The third series of the program, Closer to Truth: Cosmos. Consciousness. God, launched in 2008, with 15 full seasons to date. See List of Closer to Truth episodes. Closer to Truth has had over 150,000 station broadcasts.

Early life and education

Blackburn was born on 12 July 1944 in Chipping Sodbury, England. He attended Clifton College and went on to receive his bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1965 from Trinity College, Cambridge. He obtained his doctorate in 1970 from Churchill College, Cambridge.

Chipping Sodbury town in Gloucestershire, England

Chipping Sodbury is a market town in the unitary authority of South Gloucestershire, south-west England, founded in the 12th century by William Crassus. It is the principal settlement in the civil parish of Sodbury, which also includes the village of Old Sodbury. Little Sodbury is a nearby but separate civil parish. Sodbury parish council has elected to be known as Sodbury Town Council. At the 2001 census the population of Chipping Sodbury was 5,066, but in the last decade the town has become part of a much larger built-up area due to the rapid expansion of nearby Yate, with which it is contiguous to the west. At the census the combined population of Yate and Chipping Sodbury was 26,855.

Clifton College grade II listed independent school (UK) in Bristol, United kingdom

Clifton College is a co-educational independent school in the suburb of Clifton in the city of Bristol in South West England, founded in 1862. In its early years it was notable for emphasising science rather than classics in the curriculum, and for being less concerned with social elitism, e.g. by admitting day-boys on equal terms and providing a dedicated boarding house for Jewish boys, called Polacks. Having linked its General Studies classes with Badminton School, it admitted girls to the Sixth Form in 1987 and is now fully coeducational. Polacks house closed in 2005.

Churchill College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Churchill College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It has a primary focus on science, engineering and technology, but still retains a strong interest in the arts and humanities.

Life and views

In philosophy, he is best known as the proponent of quasi-realism in meta-ethics and as a defender of neo-Humean views on a variety of topics. He is a former editor of the journal Mind . He makes occasional appearances in the British media, such as on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze . Blackburn was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. [4]

Meta-ethics is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments. Meta-ethics is one of the three branches of ethics generally studied by philosophers, the others being normative ethics and applied ethics.

David Hume Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian

David Hume was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Hume's empiricist approach to philosophy places him with John Locke, George Berkeley, Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes as a British Empiricist. Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1738), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Against philosophical rationalists, Hume held that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour. Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge is founded solely in experience.

<i>Mind</i> (journal) journal

Mind is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association. Having previously published exclusively philosophy in the analytic tradition, it now "aims to take quality to be the sole criterion of publication, with no area of philosophy, no style of philosophy, and no school of philosophy excluded." Its institutional home is shared between the University of Oxford and University College London.

He is a patron of Humanists UK (formerly the British Humanist Association), and when asked to define his atheism, he said he prefers the label infidel over atheist:

Humanists UK, known from 1967 until May 2017 as the British Humanist Association (BHA), is a charitable organisation which promotes Humanism and aims to represent "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs" in the United Kingdom by campaigning on issues relating to humanism, secularism, and human rights. It seeks to act as a representative body for non-religious people in the UK.

Being an infidel, that is, just having no faith, I do not have to prove anything. I have no faith in the Loch Ness Monster, but do not go about trying to prove that it does not exist, although there are certainly overwhelming arguments that it does not. [5]

In 2008 The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy , which was authored by Blackburn, was published. He was one of 55 public figures to sign an open letter published in The Guardian in September 2010, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK, [6] and has argued that "religionists" should have less influence in political affairs. [5] At the same time, he has also argued, in a televised debate, against the position of the antitheist author and neuroscientist Sam Harris that morality can be derived from science. [7]

Books

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 January 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Cambridge academics elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences". cam.ac.uk. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  4. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  5. 1 2 Philosophy Now's interview with Simon Blackburn, November 2013, accessible here
  6. "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  7. Timothy Havener (27 April 2012). "The Great Debate - Can Science Tell Us Right From Wrong? (FULL)" . Retrieved 10 February 2018 via YouTube.