Recent books and monographs
A selection of major written works authored by Philosophy researchers at Edinburgh
Between Probability and Certainty: What Justifies Belief
Dr Martin Smith, Oxford University Press, 2016
According to a widespread view, whether one is justified in believing something is determined by how likely or probable it is, given one's evidence. In this book, this picture is rejected and replaced with a new picture in which justification has less to do with what is probable and more to do with what is normal.
Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing
Professor Duncan Pritchard, Princeton University Press, 2015
One of the most ancient philosophical problems is that of radical scepticism, i.e. how we can have knowledge of a world that is external to us. Epistemic Angst offers a completely novel approach to this problem by claiming that our inability to satisfactorily answer it is because it is, in fact, two distinct problems, and therefore requires a distinctive two-part approach (rooted in the work of Wittgenstein and John McDowell), rather than a single answer.
Dr Aidan McGlynn, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
Traditionally, one of the main projects in the theory of knowledge has been to try to explain what knowledge is in (supposedly) more basic terms, such as truth and belief. The knowledge first movement argues this is a fundamentally wrongheaded approach to epistemology; we should instead take our grip of what knowledge is as our starting point, and use it to try to shed light on the nature of belief, evidence, and so on. This book offers a comprehensive overview and assessment of the knowledge first approach to epistemology, and suggests that it is likely a wrong turn.
Leibniz and the Environment
Professor Pauline Phemister, Routledge, 2016
Pauline Phemister develops here an ecological philosophy founded upon the optimistic, pluralist philosophy of Leibniz. Adapting for a contemporary context Leibniz’s ideas of life, embodiment, relations, space and time, teleology, harmony, perfection, beauty, love, wisdom, justice, empathy and progress, her work offers an alternative to deep ecological philosophies based on the monist philosophy of Spinoza.
Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Mind
Professor Andy Clark, Oxford University Press, 2016
Surfing Uncertainty explores the emerging image of the brain as a multi-level prediction machine – a machine constantly trying to guess the sensory signal before it arrives. These, mostly unconscious, predictions prepare us to deal rapidly and efficiently with the world. Human experience, this suggests, always involves a delicate combination of what the brain currently ‘expects' and what the current waves of sensory evidence suggest.
The Meaning of ‘Ought’: Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics
Professor Matthew Chrisman, Oxford University Press, 2016
Many philosophers want to distinguish what is the case from what ought to be the case. But what does ‘ought’ mean? In this book, Matthew Chrisman attempts to answer this question, arguing that it is not only a ‘normative’ word (relating to rules and norms) but also a ‘modal’ word (relating to necessity and possibility). This is the key, he thinks, to understanding its distinctive status in our thought and discourse.
The Turing Guide
Mark Sprevak (co-author with Jack Copeland, Jonathan Bowen, Robin Wilson), Oxford University Press, 2017
The Turing Guide brings together contributions from some of the leading experts on Alan Turing to create a comprehensive guide to Turing that will serve as a useful resource for researchers in the area as well as the increasingly interested general reader. The book covers aspects of Turing's life and the wide range of his intellectual activities, including mathematics, code-breaking, computer science, logic, artificial intelligence and mathematical biology, as well as his subsequent influence.