philosophy writing

Perspectives in Philosophy
Essays on philosophical logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and politics

  1. Formulating and Account of Knowledge: Belief, Justification, Truth and Nozick
  2. Human Freedom and Determinism: Free Will and Alternative Possibilities
  3. Can we refer to non-existents? Truth-conditions and the meta-linguistic view
  4. The Distinction Between Sense and Reference as found in names and sentences
  5. Rawls on Justice as Fairness: Political philosophy and the principles of justice
  6. Ethical Relativism
  7. Freedom and Moral Responsibility
  8. Moral Responsibility and Free Will
  9. The Role of Virtue in Moral Responsibility
  10. Virtue Ethics and Aristotle
  11. Art and Value
  12. The Aesthetic Attitude and Experience
  13. Art and Expression
  14. Aesthetic Judgement
  15. The Aesthetic Experience of Architecture: Debating the Essentialist Account of Roger Scruton (MA dissertation, awarded distinction); 2001

(document links to follow shortly)

As the title indicates, this is a collection of essays on various topics in the field of philosophical enquiry.  These essays are intended as a groundwork or introduction in certain fundamental areas of philosophy necessary to begin a more detailed study of aesthetics, phenomenology, and philosophy of architecture.

Epistemology comes from a combination of the Greek ”episteme” which means knowledge and ”logos” which means theory, and is the branch of philosophy that addresses the philosophical problems surrounding the theory of knowledge. Epistemology is concerned with the definition of knowledge and related concepts, the sources and criteria of knowledge, the kinds of knowledge possible and the degree to which each is certain, and the exact relation between the one who knows and the object known. The first title in this collection ‘Formulating an Account of Knowledge’ deals specifically with a definition of knowledge and a description of what the possession of knowledge entails.  Our language allows us to fix the meanings of things in the world to facilitate communication.  In this way we are able to relate concepts, objects, and ideas with reality.  In the essay ‘The Distinction between Sense and Reference,’ we are led to the current distinction between the meaning and reference of singular terms in our language.

Philosophical Logic and Metaphysics, the second grouping of topics in this collection, is the area of philosophy concerned with the nature of ultimate reality. Metaphysics is customarily divided into ontology, which deals with the question of how many fundamentally distinct sorts of entities compose the universe, and metaphysics proper, which is concerned with describing the most general traits of reality. Together, these general traits define reality and would presumably characterise any universe. The first topic of existence logically carries the basic structure of the previous study of sense and reference, and begins to elucidate on notions of how our language can contain terms that refer to things that do not exist in reality. Furthermore, linking this aspect of our language with reality allows the language to remain logical in strictly scientific and technical applications. The second discussion, on freedom and determinism, confronts the metaphysical issues of whether human beings are capable of having free will or if all our actions are bound up in a deterministic circle of cause and effect.

The next section on morality contains essays on both the normative and practical aspects of ethics. Ethics is the study principles or standards of human conduct, sometimes called morals and, by extension, the study of such principles, sometimes called moral philosophy. These essays are concerned with ethics chiefly in the latter sense and is confined to that of Western civilisation, although every culture has developed an ethical system of its own. Ethics studies human conduct; it is concerned with questions such as “When is an act right or wrong?”, and “What is the nature or determining standard, of good and bad?”. In asking these questions, ethical theorists have proposed differing accounts of the nature of ethical knowledge, the measure of it, the source of it, the means of knowing it, and how it ought to be applied. ‘Virtue Ethics’ contains a discussion on the distinctive view of moral system that holds virtues and the exercise of them as the prime goal of humankind that will lead us to our ultimate goal of happiness. The second essay in this section deals with the possibility of human freedom and the mechanism for assigning responsibility to our actions.  The final essay covers the problem of egoism for morality, and how we can conceive of a world of agents that act on both egoistic and altruistic motives.