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Nicholas D. Smith
Lewis & Clark College
Nicholas J. J. Smith
University of Sydney
Nicholas H Smith
University of Connecticut
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  1. Vagueness and Degrees of Truth.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2008 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In VAGUENESS AND DEGREES OF TRUTH, Nicholas Smith develops a new theory of vagueness: fuzzy plurivaluationism. -/- A predicate is said to be VAGUE if there is no sharply defined boundary between the things to which it applies and the things to which it does not apply. For example, 'heavy' is vague in a way that 'weighs over 20 kilograms' is not. A great many predicates -- both in everyday talk, and in a wide array of theoretical vocabularies, from law (...)
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  2. Plato's Socrates.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.) - 1994 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Brickhouse and Smith cast new light on Plato's early dialogues by providing novel analyses of many of the doctrines and practices for which Socrates is best known. Included are discussions of Socrates' moral method, his profession of ignorance, his denial of akrasia, as well as his views about the relationship between virtue and happiness, the authority of the State, and the epistemic status of his daimonion.
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  3. Mearsheimer, Realism, and the Ukraine War.Grant Dawson & Nicholas Ross Smith - 2022 - Analyse & Kritik 44 (2):175-200.
    The usefulness of ‘realism’ in explaining Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine has become a keenly contested debate not only in International Relations but in wider public intellectual discourse since the onset of the war in February 2022. At the centre of this debate is the punditry of John J. Mearsheimer, a prominent offensive realist who is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Chicago. This article argues that although Mearsheimer is indeed a realist, his offensive realism is but (...)
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  4. Bananas enough for time travel.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):363-389.
    This paper argues that the most famous objection to backward time travel can carry no weight. In its classic form, the objection is that backward time travel entails the occurrence of impossible things, such as auto-infanticide—and hence is itself impossible. David Lewis has rebutted the classic version of the objection: auto-infanticide is prevented by coincidences, such as time travellers slipping on banana peels as they attempt to murder their younger selves. I focus on Paul Horwich‘s more recent version of the (...)
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  5.  82
    Is Evaluative Compositionality a Requirement of Rationality?Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2014 - Mind 123 (490):457-502.
    This paper presents a new solution to the problems for orthodox decision theory posed by the Pasadena game and its relatives. I argue that a key question raised by consideration of these gambles is whether evaluative compositionality (as I term it) is a requirement of rationality: is the value that an ideally rational agent places on a gamble determined by the values that she places on its possible outcomes, together with their mode of composition into the gamble (i.e. the probabilities (...)
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  6. Logic: The Laws of Truth.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2012 - Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
    Logic is essential to correct reasoning and also has important theoretical applications in philosophy, computer science, linguistics, and mathematics. This book provides an exceptionally clear introduction to classical logic, with a unique approach that emphasizes both the hows and whys of logic. Here Nicholas Smith thoroughly covers the formal tools and techniques of logic while also imparting a deeper understanding of their underlying rationales and broader philosophical significance. In addition, this is the only introduction to logic available today that presents (...)
  7. Reading McDowell: On Mind and World.Nicholas Hugh Smith (ed.) - 2002 - New York: Routledge.
    John McDowell's Mind and World is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy in recent years. In this volume leading philosophers examine the nature and extent of McDowell's achievement in Mind and World and related writings. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, are divided into five parts. The essays in part one consider Mind and World 's location in the modern philosophical tradition, particularly its relation to Kant's critical project. Parts (...)
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  8.  83
    Socratic Moral Psychology.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 2010 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Nicholas D. Smith.
    Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...)
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  9. Socrates on Trial.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 1990 - Princeton University Press.
    Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith offer a comprehensive historical and philosophical interpretation of, and commentary on, one of Plato's most widely read works, the Apology of Socrates. Virtually every modern interpretation characterizes some part of what Socrates says in the Apology as purposefully irrelevant or even antithetical to convincing the jury to acquit him at his trial. This book, by contrast, argues persuasively that Socrates offers a sincere and well-reasoned defense against the charges he faces. First, the authors establish a (...)
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  10. Inconsistency in the A-Theory.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):231 - 247.
    This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...)
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  11. How To Hang A Door: Picking Hinges for Quasi-Fideism.Nicholas Smith - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (1):51-82.
    : In the epistemology of the late Wittgenstein, a central place is given to the notion of the hinge: an arational commitment that provides a foundation of some sort for the rest of our beliefs. Quasi-fideism is an approach to the epistemology of religion that argues that religious belief is on an epistemic par with other sorts of belief inasmuch as religious and non-religious beliefs all rely on hinges. I consider in this paper what it takes to find the appropriate (...)
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  12. Socratic Moral Psychology.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 2010 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Nicholas D. Smith.
    Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...)
     
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  13. Worldly indeterminacy: A rough guide.Nicholas J. J. Smith & Gideon Rosen - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):185 – 198.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague objects (...)
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  14.  70
    Charles Taylor: meaning, morals, and modernity.Nicholas H. Smith - 2002 - Malden, MA: Polity Press.
    A clearly written, authoritative introduction to Taylor's work.
  15. A Plea for Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem about Vague Composition and Vague Existence?Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (8):381-421.
    Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them.
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  16.  27
    Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide.Nicholas J. J. Smith & Gideon Rosen - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (Issue in Honour of David Lewis):185-198.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself---as opposed to merely in our representations of the world---against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *properties and relations*; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *objects*; we (...)
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  17.  82
    Time Travel.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford, CA: The Metaphysics Research Lab.
    There is an extensive literature on time travel in both philosophy and physics. Part of the great interest of the topic stems from the fact that reasons have been given both for thinking that time travel is physically possible—and for thinking that it is logically impossible! This entry deals primarily with philosophical issues; issues related to the physics of time travel are covered in the separate entries on time travel and modern physics and time machines. We begin with the definitional (...)
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  18. Frege's Judgement Stroke and the Conception of Logic as the Study of Inference not Consequence.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (4):639-665.
    One of the most striking differences between Frege's Begriffsschrift (logical system) and standard contemporary systems of logic is the inclusion in the former of the judgement stroke: a symbol which marks those propositions which are being asserted , that is, which are being used to express judgements . There has been considerable controversy regarding both the exact purpose of the judgement stroke, and whether a system of logic should include such a symbol. This paper explains the intended role of the (...)
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  19. Vagueness as closeness.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):157 – 183.
    This paper presents and defends a definition of vagueness, compares it favourably with alternative definitions, and draws out some consequences of accepting this definition for the project of offering a substantive theory of vagueness. The definition is roughly this: a predicate 'F' is vague just in case for any objects a and b, if a and b are very close in respects relevant to the possession of F, then 'Fa' and 'Fb' are very close in respect of truth. The definition (...)
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  20. Keith Lehrer on the basing relation.Hannah Tierney & Nicholas D. Smith - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (1):27-36.
    In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases show (...)
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  21.  62
    That’s Not Double Checking, or “There’s only a Problem if You Make One”.Nicholas Smith - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (4):1923-1931.
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  22.  61
    Infinite Decisions and Rationally Negligible Probabilities.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2016 - Mind (500):1-14.
    I have argued for a picture of decision theory centred on the principle of Rationally Negligible Probabilities. Isaacs argues against this picture on the grounds that it has an untenable implication. I first examine whether my view really has this implication; this involves a discussion of the legitimacy or otherwise of infinite decisions. I then examine whether the implication is really undesirable and conclude that it is not.
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  23.  65
    Quasi-fideist Presuppositionalism: Cornelius Van Til, Wittgenstein, and Hinge Epistemology.Nicholas Smith - 2023 - Philosophia Reformata 88 (1):26-48.
    I argue that the epistemology underlying Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetic methodology is quasi-fideist. According to this view, the rationality of religious belief is dependent on absolutely certain ungrounded grounds, called hinges. I further argue that the quasi-fideist epistemology of presuppositional apologetics explains why Van Til’s method is neither fideist nor problematically circular: hinges are rational in the sense that they are partly constitutive of rationality, and all beliefs (not just religious ones) depend on hinges. In addition, it illuminates something (...)
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  24.  35
    Simply Finding Answers, or the Entirety of Inquiry While Standing on One Foot.Nicholas Smith - 2020 - Disputatio 12 (57):181-198.
    I argue that inquiry can be defined without reference to the attitudes inquirers have during inquiry. Inquiry can instead be defined by its aim: it is the activity that has the aim of answering a question. I call this approach to defining inquiry a “naive” account. I present the naive account of inquiry in contrast to a prominent contemporary account of inquiry most notably defended by Jane Friedman. According to this view of inquiry, which I call an attitude-centric view, inquiry (...)
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  25. Plato.Nicholas D.and Thomas Brickhouse Smith - 2005 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
     
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  26.  12
    The Return of Work in Critical Theory: Self, Society, Politics.Christophe Dejours, Jean-Philippe Deranty, Emmanuel Renault & Nicholas H. Smith - 2018 - New York, USA: Columbia University Press.
    From John Maynard Keynes’s prediction of a fifteen-hour workweek to present-day speculation about automation, we have not stopped forecasting the end of work. Critical theory and political philosophy have turned their attention away from the workplace to focus on other realms of domination and emancipation. But far from coming to an end, work continues to occupy a central place in our lives. This is not only because of the amount of time people spend on the job. Many of our deepest (...)
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  27. Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide.Nicholas J. J. Smith & Gideon Rosen - 2004 - In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. pp. 196-209.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself---as opposed to merely in our representations of the world---against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *properties and relations*; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *objects*; we (...)
     
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  28. Degree of belief is expected truth value.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2009 - In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press. pp. 491--506.
    A number of authors have noted that vagueness engenders degrees of belief, but that these degrees of belief do not behave like subjective probabilities. So should we countenance two different kinds of degree of belief: the kind arising from vagueness, and the familiar kind arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability? I argue that we cannot coherently countenance two different kinds of degree of belief. Instead, I present a framework in which there is a single notion of degree (...)
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  29. Plato on Knowledge as a Power.Nicholas D. Smith - 2000 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2):145-168.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Plato on Knowledge as a Power1Nicholas D. SmithAt 471C4 in Plato’s Republic, the argument takes a sudden turn when Glaucon becomes impatient with all of the specific prescriptions Socrates has been making, and asks to return to the issue Socrates had earlier set aside—whether or not the city he was describing could ever be brought into being. In response to Glaucon’s impatient question, Socrates articulates his “third wave of (...)
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  30. Right Action as Virtuous Action.Nicholas Ryan Smith - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):241-254.
    I argue in favour of the central claim of virtue-ethical accounts of right action: that right action is virtuous action. First, I disambiguate this claim and argue for a specific interpretation of it. Second, I provide reasons to prefer target-centred over both agent-centred and motive-centred accounts of virtuous action. Third, I argue that an action is right if, only if, and because it is overall virtuous. Finally, I respond to important arguments to the contrary.
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  31.  54
    Socrates on Why the Belief that Death is a Bad Thing is so Ubiquitous and Intractable.Irina Deretić & Nicholas D. Smith - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (1):107-122.
    As a cognitivist about emotions, Socrates takes the fear of death to be a belief that death is a bad thing for the one who dies. Socrates, however, thinks there are reasons for thinking death is not a bad thing at all, and might even be a blessing. So the question considered in this paper is: how would Socrates explain the fact that so many people believe death is bad?
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  32. Socrates on the Emotions.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 2015 - Plato Journal 15:9-28.
    In this paper we argue that Socrates is a cognitivist about emotions, but then ask how the beliefs that constitute emotions can come into being, and why those beliefs seem more resistant to change through rational persuasion than other beliefs.
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  33. Plato’s Divided Line.Nicholas D. Smith - 1996 - Ancient Philosophy 16 (1):25-46.
  34.  76
    Socrates on the Human Condition.Nicholas D. Smith - 2016 - Ancient Philosophy 36 (1):81-95.
  35.  58
    Strong hermeneutics: contingency and moral identity.Nicholas Hugh Smith - 1997 - New York, USA: Routledge.
    How should an acknowledgement of contingency affect our understanding of moral identity? The book considers various ways of thinking about this question in contemporary moral and political theory. Drawing on the work of Gadamer, Ricoeur, Taylor and others, it defends a realist but pluralist 'strong hermeneutic' view.
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  36.  9
    Summoning Knowledge in Plato's Republic.Nicholas D. Smith - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    Nicholas D. Smith considers an original interpretation of the Republic, presenting it as a work about knowledge and education. Smith pays particular attention to Plato's use of images as representations of higher realities in education, as well as the power of knowledge in the Republic.
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  37.  54
    Knowledge.Ian Evans & Nicholas D. Smith - 2012 - Malden, MA: Polity. Edited by Nicholas D. Smith.
    Introductions to the theory of knowledge are plentiful, but none introduce students to the most recent debates that exercise contemporary philosophers. Ian Evans and Nicholas D. Smith aim to change that. Their book guides the reader through the standard theories of knowledge while simultaneously using these as a springboard to introduce current debates. Each chapter concludes with a “Current Trends” section pointing the reader to the best literature dominating current philosophical discussion. These include: the puzzle of reasonable disagreement; the so-called (...)
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  38. The principle of uniform solution (of the paradoxes of self-reference).Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2000 - Mind 109 (433):117-122.
    Graham Priest (1994) has argued that the following paradoxes all have the same structure: Russell’s Paradox, Burali-Forti’s Paradox, Mirimanoff’s Paradox, König’s Paradox, Berry’s Paradox, Richard’s Paradox, the Liar and Liar Chain Paradoxes, the Knower and Knower Chain Paradoxes, and the Heterological Paradox. Their common structure is given by Russell’s Schema: there is a property φ and function δ such that..
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  39. Socrates and the Unity of the Virtues.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (4):311-324.
    In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that each of the virtue-terms refers to one thing (: 333b4). But in the Laches (190c8–d5, 199e6–7), Socrates claims that courage is a proper part of virtue as a whole, and at Euthyphro 11e7–12e2, Socrates says that piety is a proper part of justice. But A cannot be both identical to B and also a proper part of B – piety cannot be both identical to justice and also a proper part of justice. In this (...)
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  40.  95
    Undead argument: the truth-functionality objection to fuzzy theories of vagueness.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3761–3787.
    From Fine and Kamp in the 70’s—through Osherson and Smith in the 80’s, Williamson, Kamp and Partee in the 90’s and Keefe in the 00’s—up to Sauerland in the present decade, the objection continues to be run that fuzzy logic based theories of vagueness are incompatible with ordinary usage of compound propositions in the presence of borderline cases. These arguments against fuzzy theories have been rebutted several times but evidently not put to rest. I attempt to do so in this (...)
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  41.  46
    The Bloomsbury companion to Socrates.John Bussanich & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.) - 2013 - New York: Continuum.
    Featuring chapters by leading international scholars in Ancient Philosophy, the is a comprehensive one volume reference to guide to Socrates' thought.
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  42. Why sense cannot be made of vague identity.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):1–16.
    In this paper I present a new argument against vague identity — one that is more fundamental than existing arguments — and I also try to explain why we find the idea of vague identity puzzling, in a way that will dispel the puzzlement. In brief, my argument is this: to make clear sense of something, one must at least model it set-theoretically; but due to the special place of identity in set-theoretic models, any vague relation that one does model (...)
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  43. Socratic moral psychology.Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith - 2013 - In John Bussanich & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.), The Bloomsbury companion to Socrates. New York: Continuum.
  44.  74
    Work and the Struggle for Recognition.Nicholas H. Smith - 2009 - European Journal of Political Theory 8 (1):46-60.
    This article examines a neglected but crucial feature of Honneth's critical theory: its use of a concept of recognition to articulate the norms that are apposite for the contemporary world of work. The article shows that from his first writings on the structure of critical social theory in the early 1980s to the recent exchange with Nancy Fraser on recognition and redistribution, the problem of grounding a substantive critique of work under capitalism has been central to Honneth's enterprise. This answers (...)
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  45. Unclarity and the Intermediates in Plato’s Discussions of Clarity in the Republic.Nicholas Smith - 2018 - Plato Journal 18:97-110.
    In this paper, I argue that the two versions of divided line create problems that cannot be solved — with or without the hypothesis that the objects belonging to the level of διάνοια on the divided line are intermediates. I also argue that the discussion of arithmetic and calculation does not fit Aristotle’s attribution of intermediates to Plato and provides no support for the claim that Plato had such intermediates in mind when he talked about διάνοια in the Republic. The (...)
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  46.  69
    Plato's Republic: a critical guide.Mark L. Mcpherran, G. R. F. Ferrari, Rachel Barney, Julia Annas, Rachana Kamtekar & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.) - 2010 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Plato's Republic has proven to be of astounding influence and importance. Justly celebrated as Plato's central text, it brings together all of his prior works, unifying them into a comprehensive vision that is at once theological, philosophical, political and moral. The essays in this volume provide a picture of the most interesting aspects of the Republic, and address questions that continue to puzzle and provoke, such as: Does Plato succeed in his argument that the life of justice is the most (...)
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  47. Rorty on religion and hope.Nicholas H. Smith - 2005 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):76 – 98.
    The article considers how Richard Rorty's writings on religion dovetail with his views on the philosophical significance of hope. It begins with a reconstruction of the central features of Rorty's philosophy of religion, including its critique of theism and its attempt to rehabilitate religion within a pragmatist philosophical framework. It then presents some criticisms of Rorty's proposal. It is argued first that Rorty's "redescription" of the fulfilment of the religious impulse is so radical that it is hard to see what (...)
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  48. Plato and Aristotle on the nature of women.Nicholas D. Smith - 1983 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 21 (4):467-478.
  49.  66
    Did Plato Write the "Alcibiades I?".Nicholas D. Smith - 2004 - Apeiron 37 (2):93-108.
  50.  48
    Respecting Evidence: Belief Functions not Imprecise Probabilities.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2022 - Synthese 200 (475):1-30.
    The received model of degrees of belief represents them as probabilities. Over the last half century, many philosophers have been convinced that this model fails because it cannot make room for the idea that an agent’s degrees of belief should respect the available evidence. In its place they have advocated a model that represents degrees of belief using imprecise probabilities (sets of probability functions). This paper presents a model of degrees of belief based on Dempster–Shafer belief functions and then presents (...)
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