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Simon Blackburn presents a selection of his philosophical essays from 1995 to 2010. He offers engaging and illuminating discussions of various problems which arise when such familiar notions as representation, truth, reason, and assertion are applied in the sphere of practical thought. Blackburn explores how we can try to understand what we say in terms of what we are doing when we say it, and investigates how propositions interact with linguistic expressionswhose primary function is identified in terms of actions performed in expressing commitments with them, when those commitments are thought of in practical rather than descriptive terms. He broadens his investigation from semantic questions to wider issues of pluralism, pragmatism, philosophy of mind, and the nature of practical reasoning.
Simon Blackburn is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Table of Contents
I. Language and Epistemology
1. From Doing to Saying
2. Success Semantics
3. Practical Tortoise Raising
4. Wittgenstein's Irrealism
5. Circles, Finks, Smells and Biconditionals
6. The Absolute Conception
7. Julius Caesar and George Berkeley Play Leapfrog
8. The Majesty of Reason
II. Practical Philosophy and Ethics
9. Truth, Goodness and Beauty
10. Dilemmas, Dithering, Plumping, Grief
11. Group Minds and Expressive Harm
12. Trust, Cooperation, and Human Psychology
13. Must we Weep for Sentimentalism?
14. Morality and Thick Concepts
15. Perspectives, Fiction, Error, Play
16. Fiction and Conviction