Simon Blackburn was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and from 1969 to 1990 he was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford.
Metaphysics, Ethics, Philosophy of Mind and Language
His books include:
- Spreading the Word (1984)
- Essay in Quasi-Realism (1993)
- The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994)
- Ruling Passions (1998)
- Truth (co-edited with Keith Simmons, 1999)
- Think (1999)
- Being Good (2001)
- Lust (2004)
- Mirror, Mirror (2014)
He edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, UK
This volume collects together some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgements relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that discourages the view that there are substantial issues at stake. The figure of the `quasi-realist' dramatizes the difficulty of conducting these debates. Typically philosophers thinking of themselves as realists will believe that they alone can give a proper or literal account of some of our attachments - to truth, to facts, to the independent world, to knowledge, and to certainty. The quasi-realist challenge, developed by Blackburn in this volume, is that we can have those attachments without any metaphysic that deserves calling realism, so that the metaphysical picture that goes with our practices is quite idle. The cases treated here include the theory of value, of knowledge, modality, probability, causation, intentionality and rule-following, and explanation.
A substantial new introduction has been added, drawing together some of the central themes. The essays articulate a fresh alternative to a primitive realist/anti-realist opposition, and their cumulative effect is to yield a new appreciation of the delicacy of the debate in these central areas.