Blackburn at the 2017 Nobel Week Dialogue in Göteborg, Sweden
|Born||12 July 1944|
Chipping Sodbury, England
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.
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
Quasi-realism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:
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.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 and a Foreign Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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,and has argued that "religionists" should have less influence in political affairs. 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.
John Henry McDowell is a South African philosopher, formerly a fellow of University College, Oxford and now University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written extensively on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work has been in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. McDowell was one of three recipients of the 2010 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award. and is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the British Academy.
Crispin James Garth Wright is a British philosopher, who has written on neo-Fregean (neo-logicist) philosophy of mathematics, Wittgenstein's later philosophy, and on issues related to truth, realism, cognitivism, skepticism, knowledge, and objectivity. He is Professor of Philosophy at New York University and Professor of Philosophical Research at the University of Stirling, and taught previously at the University of St Andrews, University of Aberdeen, Princeton University and University of Michigan.
Jerome B. Schneewind is a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University.
Harry Gordon Frankfurt is an American philosopher. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University, where he taught from 1990 until 2002, and previously taught at Yale University, Rockefeller University, and Ohio State University.
Bastiaan Cornelis van Fraassen is a Dutch-American philosopher. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University and the McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, noted for his seminal contributions to philosophy of science.
Michael Andrew Smith is an Australian philosopher who teaches at Princeton University. He taught previously at the University of Oxford, Monash University, and was a member of the Philosophy Program at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He is the author of a number of important books and articles in moral philosophy. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Anthony Clifford Grayling is a British philosopher and author. He was born in Northern Rhodesia and spent most of his childhood there and in Malawi. In 2011 he founded and became the first Master of New College of the Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London. Until June 2011, he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, where he taught from 1991. He is also a supernumerary fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.
David Malet Armstrong, often D. M. Armstrong, was an Australian philosopher. He is well known for his work on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and for his defence of a factualist ontology, a functionalist theory of the mind, an externalist epistemology, and a necessitarian conception of the laws of nature. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Jonathan Francis Bennett is a British philosopher of language and metaphysics, and a historian of early modern philosophy.
David Wiggins FBA is a British moral philosopher, metaphysician, and philosophical logician working especially on identity and issues in meta-ethics.
Philip Noel Pettit is an Irish philosopher and political theorist. He is Laurence Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University and also Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. He was a Guggenheim Fellow.
Allan Gibbard is the Richard B. Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Gibbard has made major contributions to contemporary ethical theory, in particular metaethics, where he has developed a contemporary version of non-cognitivism. He has also published articles in the philosophy of language, metaphysics, and social choice theory.
Luciano Floridi is currently Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information and Director of the Digital Ethics Lab, at the University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute, Professorial Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, Senior Member of the Faculty of Philosophy, Research Associate and Fellow in Information Policy at the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, and Distinguished Research Fellow of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He is also Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, American University, Washington D.C.
Peter Albert Railton is an American philosopher who is Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor and John Stephenson Perrin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he has taught since 1979. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2004.
Julia Elizabeth Annas is a British philosopher who has taught in the United States for the last quarter-century. She is Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.
Myles Fredric Burnyeat is an English scholar of ancient philosophy.
Terence Henry Irwin FBA, usually cited as T. H. Irwin, is a scholar and philosopher specializing in ancient Greek philosophy and the history of ethics. He was the Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford from 2007 until 2017.
Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. His primary interests include the philosophy of David Hume, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, epistemology, and moral philosophy. Millican is particularly well known for his work on David Hume, and from 2005 until 2010 was co-editor of the journal Hume Studies. He is also an International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster, and has a strong interest in the field of computing and its links with Philosophy. Recently he has developed a new degree programme at Oxford University, in Computer Science and Philosophy, which accepted its first students in 2012. He currently hosts the University of Oxford's Futuremakers podcast.
Matthew Henry Kramer FBA is an American philosopher, currently Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He writes mainly in the areas of metaethics, normative ethics, legal philosophy, and political philosophy. He is a leading proponent of legal positivism. He has been Director of the Cambridge Forum for Legal and Political Philosophy since 2000. He has been teaching at Cambridge University and at Churchill College since 1994.
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