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Analytical Thomism seeks to merge the ideas of contemporary analytical philosophy with the ideas of 13th century thinker and saint Thomas Aquinas.

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Through his work, Haldane has been influential in developing a space for Catholic philosophy in the modern analytical landscape. Graham Harman received his Ph. Harman's work has primarily focused on metaphysics and ontology, and he has been influential as a key figure in speculative realism and the development of object oriented ontology. Harman's goal in philosophy has been to reject anthropocentric philosophical views in favor of a metaphysical realist approach. In his view, everything is an object human, animal, rock, city, etc. Harman's philosophy is primarily concerned with understanding objects in the world as things-in-themselves, without allusion to anthropocentric qualities of being.

Web resource: Graham Harman's Home Page. John Hawthorne earned his Ph. Hawthorne's work primarily focuses on metaphysics and epistemology, and his most influential book on the subjects is Metaphysical Essays However, Hawthorne grants that this is separate from whether the subject can be said to have knowledge, which depends on the subject's own context.

Web resource: John Hawthorne's Home Page. Heil's work combines metaphysics with philosophy of mind, using each realm as a way of understanding the other. In his book The Universe as we Find It , Heil considers how our notions of causation and truth making contribute to our ontological understanding of the world, and pursues the application of this ontology to contemporary philosophical problems. Heil is most influential as an educator in philosophy. Web resource: John Heil's Home Page. Ingvar Johansson earned his Ph.

Johansson primarily works in the area of ontology, and is an epistemological fallibilist. In his book Ontological Investigations: An Inquiry into the Categories of Nature, Man, and Society Johansson has worked toward developing a modern realist version of Aristotle's theory of categories, in order to update Aristotle's ontology and for the theory to be made compatible with modern science. More recently, Johannson has been focused on applied ontology in the area of medical information science, working with the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science at Saarland University.

Web resource: Ingvar Johansson's Home Page. Korean American philosopher Jaegwon Kim earned his Ph. His research is focused in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics, and he has been influential in his work on mental causation,the mind-body problem, and supervenience. Kim is known for rejecting Cartesian metaphysics, though he does argue for a kind of dualism.


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Though he has argued both for and against a physicalist and non-physicalist account of mental states, Kim's current dualism, he admits, is more on the side of physicalism. He holds that while some mental states intentional mental states, such as beliefs and desires can be reduced to physical sources in the brain, other mental states, phenomenal mental states, such as sensations cannot be reduced to physical sources, and are epiphenomenal. Web resource: Jaegwon Kim's Home Page. Christine Korsgaard received her Ph. Korsgaard is primarily interested in moral philosophy and how it relates to metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of identity, and issues of normativity.

Best known for her defense of Kantian moral philosophy in The Sources of Normativity , Korsgaard sought to justify, not just explain, the notion that people have moral obligations to one another. To do this, she surveyed several major arguments about moral obligation, all of which call for the necessity of normative entities in determining moral obligation, finding that Immanuel Kant and contemporary Kantians offer the strongest approach to the justification of moral obligation.

Korsgaard argues that the normativity of moral obligation is self-imposed, and is justified through our establishing a kind of self-authority through our autonomy. If we take anything to be of value, then, in Korsgaard's view, we have to acknowledge that we have moral obligations, implied through us finding value in those things, which we must maintain in order to be consistent with our autonomy, the source of our moral obligation. Korsgaard has been influential in defending and reestablishing the significance of the Kantian approach in contemporary moral philosophy.

Web resource: Christine Korsgaard's Home Page. Saul Kripke was considered a prodigy as a child and, while still just a sophomore at Harvard, he taught a course in logic at MIT. In he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with a B. Strongly embedded in the Analytic tradition, Kripke's major contributions in philosophy are in the areas of logic specifically modal logic , philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, set theory, and philosophy of mind.

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Naming and Necessity , is perhaps his most significant work, based on transcriptions of his lectures at Princeton in In it, Kripke challenges and overturns Immanuel Kant's theory on truth in propositions, arguing that some propositions are only knowable a posteriori , but are necessarily true, while others are knowable a priori , but are only contingently true.

Through this notion, along with others, Kripke was able to turn the conventional understanding of truth, propositions, and logic on its head, significantly contributing to the decline of ordinary language philosophy, and the public understanding of the function of philosophy in the 20th century. Web resource: Saul Kripke's Home Page. Macintyre's most work has been most influential in moral and political philosophy, but it also incorporates history of philosophy and theology. Arguing from history, Macintyre's work is largely concerned with accounting for the decline of morality and moral rationality in society since the Enlightenment, and reclaiming the philosophy of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as a potential solution to what he sees as society's current ills.

This makes him an Aritstotelian-Thomist. Macintyre is most well known for his influential book After Virtue , which explores the above-mentioned ideas. The book represents a shift in his philosophical approach, as prior to that point he had primarily been a Marxist. In the book, Macintyre develops his critique of modern liberal capitalism and the society it has produced, arguing that because there is an absence of any coherent moral code, the sense of purpose and community has been lost for most people in modern society.

Macintyre argues for a return to purpose and community through a return to virtue ethics. Web resource: Alasdair Macintyre's Home Page. John McDermott received his Ph. McDermott's work is primarily focused on the philosophy of culture, specifically American literature and philosophy, having written, compiled, or contributed to books on William James, Josiah Royce, and John Dewey, as well as being a former President of the William James Society.

McDermott is most notable for, and has been most influential in exploring and advancing the ideas of James and Dewey in relation to American culture, as well as his examination of American culture through philosophy. John McDowell is currently University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and though he has a lengthy bibliography covering metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, he is best known for his influential work in the areas of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.

His work has been significantly influenced by Wilfrid Sellars and Ludwig Wittgenstein, evident not just in his approach to philosophy of language, but to philosophy as a whole, understanding his own work as a type of philosophical quietism. In this view, McDowell sees philosophy as therapeutic, with its goal being to sooth and dissolve philosophical error, to find where philosophers have caused aggravation and to quiet it by discovering where things went wrong. Instead of pushing for radical new ideas, and increasingly complicated conceptions of meaning, knowledge, reality, etc.


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  4. Mary Midgley studied at Oxford, though did not earn a doctorate, but has received honorary doctorates from both Durham University and Newcastle University. Midgley has taught off and on through the years, her longest stint being at Newcastle University from to , and did not publish her first book Beast and Man until she was 59 years old. Midgley is a moral philosopher who has also worked in the areas of philosophy of science and animal rights. Because of these views, Midgley is probably most famous for her criticism of and ongoing debate with Richard Dawkins.

    She argues these views are overly reductionist in scope. Moreland's background is spread across multiple disciplines, having earned a B. He is known for his many books, media appearances, and his involvement with the evangelical organization Campus Crusade for Christ. Web resource: J. P Moreland's Home Page. Morton's work is primarily focused in ontology and ecotheory, as well as literary theory and criticism. Morton has been most influential in the development of the focus of ontology in contemporary philosophy, and is most famous for his book Ecology Without Nature , and his major role in the object-oriented ontology OOO movement.

    In response to this problem, Morton argues that we dissolve this binary opposition and begin to understand nature as a social construct that is inseparable from civilization. Web resource: Timothy Morton's Home Page. Nagel was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and received a B. He went on to study under J. Austin, the famous philosopher of language, at Oxford, before earning a PhD. Nagel might be most famous for his aforementioned essay, in which he refutes the materialist reductionist view of consciousness that dominated the field of philosophy of mind at the time, promoting a subjectivist approach.

    To simplify, what Nagel argues is that even though we may be able to objectively describe the physical processes that produce what we understand as consciousness, that does not enable us to describe consciousness itself, as consciousness is a subjective mental experience. We can study a bat, understand how its brain works, but say nothing objective about its consciousness; rather, we are limited to speaking about only our own consciousness, as we are limited to subjective experience.

    The thought experiment presented in the essay has been very influential in the debate about what we can and cannot claim when discussing the mind and consciousness. More recently, Nagel has stirred up controversy in his book Mind and Cosmos by continuing to argue against reductionism, this time in the form of the Neo-Darwinist account of the emergence of life.

    Though not arguing from religion he is an atheist and not arguing for a theory of intelligent design, Nagel claims that the theory of natural selection alone cannot account for the existence of consciousness. Web resource: Thomas Nagel's Home Page. Jean-Luc Nancy received his Ph. He eventually became a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, and, though he is now retired, continues to add publication credits to his already lengthy bibliography.

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    His approach is associated with continental philosophy and deconstructionism, and his work is primarily focused in ontology and literary criticism. His most influential work, The Inoperative Community presents and explores this focus, arguing that much of society's problems result from designing society around pre-conceived definitions of what society should be, and failing to understand it for how it actually is. Martha Nussbaum earned her Ph. Working in the analytic school of philosophy, Nussbaum is has primarily focused on political philosophy, ethics including animal rights , and feminism.

    She came from a background of East Coast high society which she resents and in her career has experienced no shortage of sexist discrimination, harassment, and resistance as she has entered and challenged the old boys' club of philosophical academia, an institution about which Nussbaum has criticized Noam Chomsky for helping to maintain.

    Part 1 of 2 The History of Contemporary Philosophy From Descartes to Derrida

    On top of all of that, Nussbaum has been awarded 51 honorary degrees. Much of Nussbaum's work focuses on unequal freedom and opportunity for women, making her a notable feminist, and she has argued for a radical reconsideration of gender relations, roles and norms. Nussbaum has drawn on ancient Roman and Greek philosophy in order to make her arguments, such as in her books The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy and Cultivating Humanity Somewhat due to this focus, Nussbaum testified in the Colorado bench trial for the landmark U.

    Supreme Court case Romer v. Web resource: Martha Nussbaum's Home Page. Oderberg has worked in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion, but is perhaps best known for his particularly conservative moral philosophy. In his book influential Applied Ethics , Oderberg argues against notable moral philosopher Peter Singer, and contemporary utilitarian and consequentialist approaches to moral philosophy. For Oderberg, a fetus is an innocent life, and abortion and euthanasia are equivalent to contract killing. Oderberg has also been in the forefront of philosophers interested in renewing traditional i.

    Web resource: David Oderberg's Home Page. Alvin Plantinga received his PhD. Plantinga's work blends epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion, largely focusing on the existence and nature of God, argued from a protestant viewpoint, in such books as God and Other Minds , The Nature of Necessity , and Warranted Christian Belief As a student, Graham Priest studied more mathematics than philosophy, and earned a Ph.

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    His work is primarily focused in logic, and he has been widely published with an estimated papers to his name, in addition to six books. John Searle received his Ph. Searle's work primarily addresses problems in the areas of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. Earlier in his career, Searle focused specifically on philosophy of language, particularly the work of J. In his book Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language Searle developed what came to be known as speech-act theory, taking a very systematic approach to investigating the relationship between illocutionary acts and meaning; this would later lead to a major debate with Jacques Derrida.

    Depending on what you read and where you study, Searle may be more notable for his influential work in philosophy of mind. Web resource: John Searle's Home Page. Peter Simons earned his Ph. His writing primarily focuses on metaphysics and ontology, as seen in his book Parts: A Study in Ontology , and he is also interested in the history of Central European philosophy, discussed in his book Philosophy and Logic in Central Europe from Bolzano to Tarski: Selected Essays Though he only has two books to his name, Simons has published over two hundred articles.

    In his work, Simons has been influential in his particular concern with the application of metaphysics and ontology to non-philosophical disciplines, especially in engineering. Web resource: Peter Simons's Home Page. Peter Singer received an M. Singer specializes in applied ethics, and is best known for his contemporary utilitarianism. Being a specialist in applied ethics, Singer has been influential not just through his books and articles, but through his actions.

    Singer is a very popular moral philosopher, both in and out of academia, and because of his fame, influence, outspokenness and moral stance, Singer has garnered controversy and protest, especially among conservative groups. One of Singer's major works, and perhaps what he is best known for, is Practical Ethics , in which he theorizes on the application of utilitarianism to contemporary problems.

    Singer evaluates how the individual interests of living beings should be weighed, concluding that they do not all garner equal treatment. Singer is a strong advocate of altruism, arguing that our goal should be to reduce suffering in the most effective way possible. Singer is also a major advocate of animal rights, and his book Animal Liberation has been very influential to the modern animal liberation movement. Web resource: Peter Singer's Home Page. As an undergraduate, Barry Smith studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of Oxford, before earning his Ph.

    As evidenced from his professorial titles, Smith occupies both the role of philosopher and scientist, blending the two areas of study through his dual focus on ontology and biomedical informatics. Smith has published articles in as many scientific publications has he has in philosophical publications, and his approach can be roughly described as applied ontology, as opposed to the very theoretical approach that is usually associated with ontology. Smith's influence is notable outside of academia, such as his involvement with global health organizations in advancing biomedical informatics, and even with the U.

    Army and Air Force. Web resource: Barry Smith's Home Page. Though he has written on metaphysics and philosophy of mind, Sosa is primarily an epistemologist. Virtue epistemology represents a renewed philosophical interest in the concept of virtue, introducing intellectual virtues as a way to resolve the debate between foundationalism and coherentism.

    Finding problems with both schools of thought, Sosa put forth virtue epistemology, foregoing formulaic expressions that are designed to explain knowledge and instead applying virtue theory to human intellect, using virtue as the basis for assessing what is and is not knowledge. As virtue is based on the qualities of the individual, virtue ethics is person-based, rather than belief-based, and so, takes a more relativist approach to answering the Gettier problem. Helen Steward , who earned her Ph. In her work she is primarily concerned with free will, and combines philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of action, and ontology.

    In her major book A Metaphysics for Freedom , Steward develops this approach, arguing against a determinist theory of free will as both a problem for human and animal action. Through her ideas, Steward has been influential to the development of the post-humanist approach in philosophy and critical theory.

    Web resource: Helen Steward's Home Page. Charles Taylor earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Oxford in , and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at McGill University. His work is primarily focused in political philosophy, philosophy of social science, the history of philosophy, and in the later portion of his career, philosophy of religion.

    Taylor's philosophical style lies somewhere between analytical and continental traditions, and he adopts a somewhat hermeneutical approach. Taylor argues for communitarianism, claiming that we as individuals have obligations and responsibilities beyond ourselves to our communities. Taylor is largely concerned with identity and the self, in relation to the societies that surround us, and he has been influential in defining how we conceive of ourselves in the modern world. In Taylor's view, the nature of the modern self is defined by multiplicity, developed my numerous distinct strands through history that both complement and contradict each other.

    Rather than human nature being universal and unchanging, it is contingent on society and history.

    Web resource: Charles Taylor's Home Page. Amie Thomasson received her Ph. Thomasson combines the areas of aesthetics, ontology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and phenomenology in her work, arguing against metaphysical skepticism. In Thomasson's view, many of the metaphysical disputes about existence that populate contemporary philosophy suffer from being misguided in their basic questioning. Rather than offer a complex, highly abstract rebuttal of such arguments, Thomasson has provided a simpler though not to imply insignificant answer: that these questions can be answered much more easily than many philosophers have imagined, using inferences from uncontroversial premises.

    This goal is clearly identified in her recent book, Ontology Made Easy Web resource: Amie Thomasson's Home Page. Judith Jarvis Thomson received her Ph. Her work is primarily focused on metaphysics and moral philosophy, in which she uses metaphysics to argue and support moral philosophical claims.

    Thomson has contributed a great deal to the areas of meta-ethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics, with much of her work arguing for personal bodily autonomy. Her books and articles focus on the moral and metaphysical issues of action and agency, and, more concretely, on topics like assisted suicide, self-defense, preferential hiring, and abortion. In the thought experiment, Thomson argues by analogy from a hypothetical situation that each person has a right to bodily autonomy, and to infringe on that right is immoral, whether it is a comatose violinist depending on another person for life-support, or a fetus.

    Initially, the author presents the integration challenge: the attempt to reconcile on a philosophical ground the ontology of abstract mathematical objects with priori knowledge. Chapter three Formalism and Deductivism addresses the two positions named in the title, explaining the motivations for each as well as the main problems that they face. Initially, game formalism is presented, this is the thesis according to which mathematics is the study of arbitrary formal systems, like a game of symbolic manipulation.

    Next, Linnebo presents term formalism, according to which mathematical objects are the symbols used by mathematicians. Finally, the chapter ends with a discussion on deductivism, the position that sees mathematics as the study of the the formal deductions from arbitrary axioms.

    Initially, Linnebo explains that intuitionists argue that proofs that use non-constructive methods implicitly presuppose platonism; thus the proposal to abandon principles like the law of the excluded middle. Next, the chapter discusses the intuitionist alternative ontology of mathematics in terms of mental constructions. A subsection is devoted to present intuitionist logic.

    Chapter seven Nominalism discusses the thesis that no abstract mathematical objects exist. Towards the end Linnebo also presents a form of nominalism that is not reconstructive. Chapter Eight Mathematical Intuition is devoted to mathematical intuition. After having cleared that intuition is not an univocal notion and that intuitive knowledge may come in degrees, Linnebo proceeds in presenting the recent debate on the relevance of intuition in mathematics.

    The extent to which intuition can be used to justify higher mathematics is then referred to chapters ten and twelve. Abstraction principles are presented as a form of access to abstract mathematical objects. Chapter Ten The Iterative Conception of Sets is meant to introduce the reader to the problems of the philosophy of set theory. Chapter Eleven Structuralism presents the main tenants and problems of a view of mathematics centered around mathematical structures. Following the standard terminology, Linnebo divides structuralist positions between eliminative and noneliminative structuralism, according to the commitments to the existence or nonexistence of structures or patterns.

    By exemplifying these position Linnebo presents the case of arithmetic, discussing the origins of structuralist positions in the work of Dedekind. An interesting section then is devoted to the view according to which structures result from a process of abstraction. Chapter Twelve The Quest for New Axi o ms brings back the discussion to the philosophy of set theory.

    The starting point of the discussion is found in the widespread presence of independence in set theory, discovered after the proof of independence of the Continuum Hypothesis CH from ZFC.