|Born||12 July 1944|
Chipping Sodbury, England
|Academic advisors||Casimir Lewy|
Simon Blackburn(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. He has appeared in multiple episodes of the documentary series Closer to Truth . During his long career, he has taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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 1969 from Churchill College, Cambridge.
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.
He is a former editor of the journal Mind .
In philosophy, he is best known as the proponent of quasi-realism in meta-ethicsand as a defender of neo-Humean views on a variety of topics. "The quasi-realist is someone who endorses an anti-realist metaphysical stance but who seeks, through philosophical maneuvering, to earn the right for moral discourse to enjoy all the trappings of realist talk."
In 2008 The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy , which was authored by Blackburn, was published.
In 2014 Blackburn published Mirror, Mirror: The Uses and Abuses of Self-Love, focusing on different philosophical aspects of self-love, discussing modern forms and manifestations of pride, amour-propre, integrity or self-esteem through various philosophical frameworks and ideas.
He makes occasional appearances in the British media, such as on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze .
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:
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.
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 philosopher Sam Harris that morality can be derived from science.
He was one of 240 academics to sign a letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission opposing 'radical gender orthodoxy', published in The Sunday Times.
In analytic philosophy, anti-realism is a position which encompasses many varieties such as metaphysical, mathematical, semantic, scientific, moral and epistemic. The term was first articulated by British philosopher Michael Dummett in an argument against a form of realism Dummett saw as 'colorless reductionism'.
Moral relativism or ethical relativism is a term used to describe several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different peoples and their own particular cultures. An advocate of such ideas is often labeled simply as a relativist for short. In detail, descriptive moral relativism holds only that people do, in fact, disagree fundamentally about what is moral, with no judgment being expressed on the desirability of this. Meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, everyone ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when considerably large disagreements about the morality of particular things exist.
Moral realism is the position that ethical sentences express propositions that refer to objective features of the world, some of which may be true to the extent that they report those features accurately. This makes moral realism a non-nihilist form of ethical cognitivism with an ontological orientation, standing in opposition to all forms of moral anti-realism and moral skepticism, including ethical subjectivism, error theory ; and non-cognitivism. Within moral realism, the two main subdivisions are ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism.
John Henry McDowell, FBA 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 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.
Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams, FBA was an English moral philosopher. His publications include Problems of the Self (1973), Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (1985), Shame and Necessity (1993), and Truth and Truthfulness (2002). He was knighted in 1999.
Moral nihilism is the meta-ethical view that nothing is morally right or wrong.
Philosophical realism is usually not treated as a position of its own but as a stance towards other subject matters. Realism about a certain kind of thing is the thesis that this kind of thing has mind-independent existence, i.e. that it is not just a mere appearance in the eye of the beholder. This includes a number of positions within epistemology and metaphysics which express that a given thing instead exists independently of knowledge, thought, or understanding. This can apply to items such as the physical world, the past and future, other minds, and the self, though may also apply less directly to things such as universals, mathematical truths, moral truths, and thought itself. However, realism may also include various positions which instead reject metaphysical treatments of reality entirely.
In meta-ethics, expressivism is a theory about the meaning of moral language. According to expressivism, sentences that employ moral terms – for example, "It is wrong to torture an innocent human being" – are not descriptive or fact-stating; moral terms such as "wrong", "good", or "just" do not refer to real, in-the-world properties. The primary function of moral sentences, according to expressivism, is not to assert any matter of fact, but rather to express an evaluative attitude toward an object of evaluation. Because the function of moral language is non-descriptive, moral sentences do not have any truth conditions. Hence, expressivists either do not allow that moral sentences have truth value, or rely on a notion of truth that does not appeal to any descriptive truth conditions being met for moral sentences.
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.
Cornell realism is a view in meta-ethics, associated with the work of Richard Boyd, Nicholas Sturgeon, and David Brink. There is no recognized and official statement of Cornell realism, but several theses are associated with the view.
Quasi-realism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:
Projectivism in philosophy involves attributing (projecting) qualities to an object as if those qualities actually belong to it. It is a theory for how people interact with the world and has been applied in both ethics and general philosophy. There are several forms of projectivism.
Richard Newell Boyd was an American philosopher, who spent most of his career teaching philosophy at Cornell University where he was Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters Emeritus. He specialized in epistemology, the philosophy of science, language, and mind.
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.
Russ Shafer-Landau is an American philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Quietism in philosophy sees the role of philosophy as broadly therapeutic or remedial. Quietist philosophers believe that philosophy has no positive thesis to contribute, but rather that its value is in defusing confusions in the linguistic and conceptual frameworks of other subjects, including non-quietist philosophy. For quietists, advancing knowledge or settling debates is not the job of philosophy, rather philosophy should liberate the mind by diagnosing confusing concepts.
Mark de Bretton Platts is a philosopher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He is well known for criticizing the Humean theory of motivation, especially in his book Ways of Meaning (1979/1997).
Donald Mackenzie MacKinnon (1913–1994) was a Scottish philosopher and theologian.
Matthew Henry Kramer 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.
Sharon Street is a Professor of Philosophy and Associate Chair of the Department of Philosophy at New York University. She specializes in metaethics, focusing in particular on how to reconcile our understanding of normativity with a scientific conception of the world.
He was a slightly younger contemporary of Edward Craig as a Philosophy undergraduate at Trinity College (Cambridge), and he obtained his first position as a professional philosopher at Churchill College in 1967 when he became a Junior Research Fellow. Simon left Churchill for Oxford two years later.