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Peter West
Northeastern University London
  1. Mary Shepherd on Space and Minds.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy.
    In her last known piece of work Lady Mary Shepherd’s Metaphysics (1832), Mary Shepherd writes that “mind, may inhere in definite portions of matter […] or of infinite space” (LMSM 699). Shepherd thus suggests that a mind – a “capacity for sensation in general” (e.g., EPEU 16) – may have a spatial location. This is prima facie surprising given that she is committed to the view that the mind is unextended. In this paper, we argue that Shepherd can consistently honor (...)
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  2. Margaret Cavendish on conceivability, possibility, and the case of colours.Peter West - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (3):456-476.
    Throughout her philosophical writing, Margaret Cavendish is clear in stating that colours are real; they are not mere mind-dependent qualities that exist only in the mind of perceivers. This puts her at odds with other seventeenthcentury thinkers such as Galileo and Descartes who endorsed what would come to be known as the ‘primary-secondary quality distinction’. Cavendish’s argument for this view is premised on two claims. First, that colourless objects are inconceivable. Second, that if an object is inconceivable then it could (...)
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  3. Why Can An Idea Be Like Nothing But Another Idea? A Conceptual Interpretation of Berkeley's Likeness Principle.Peter West - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (First View):1-19.
    Berkeley’s likeness principle is the claim that “an idea can be like nothing but an idea”. The likeness principle is intended to undermine representationalism: the view (that Berkeley attributes to thinkers like Descartes and Locke) that all human knowledge is mediated by ideas in the mind which represent material objects. Yet, Berkeley appears to leave the likeness principle unargued for. This has led to several attempts to explain why Berkeley accepts it. In contrast to ‘metaphysical’ and ‘epistemological’ interpretations available in (...)
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  4. The Irish Context of Berkeley's 'Resemblance Thesis'.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - 2020 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 88:7-31.
    In this paper, we focus on Berkeley's reasons for accepting the ‘resemblance thesis’ which entails that for one thing to represent another those two things must resemble one another. The resemblance thesis is a crucial premise in Berkeley's argument from the ‘likeness principle’ in §8 of the Principles. Yet, like the ‘likeness principle’, the resemblance thesis remains unargued for and is never explicitly defended. This has led several commentators to provide explanations as to why Berkeley accepts the resemblance thesis and (...)
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  5. The philosopher versus the physicist: Susan Stebbing on Eddington and the passage of time.Peter West - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (1):130-151.
    In this paper, I provide the first in-depth discussion of Susan Stebbing’s views concerning our experience of the passage of time – a key issue for many metaphysicians writing in the first half of the twentieth century. I focus on Stebbing’s claims about the passage of time in Philosophy and the Physicists and her disagreement with Arthur Eddington over how best to account for that experience. I show that Stebbing’s concern is that any attempt to provide a scientific account of (...)
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  6. Mind‐Body Commerce: Occasional Causation and Mental Representation in Anton Wilhelm Amo.Peter West - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (9):e12872.
    This paper contributes to a growing body of literature focusing on Anton Wilhelm Amo’s account of the mind-body relation. The first aim of this paper is to provide an overview of that literature, bringing together several interpretations of Amo’s account of the mind-body relation and providing a comprehensive overview of where the debate stands so far. Doing so reveals that commentary is split between those who take Amo to adopt a Leibnizian account of pre-established harmony between mind and body (Smith (...)
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  7. Seeing Life Steadily: Dorothy Emmet's philosophy of perception and the crisis in metaphysics.Peter West - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-25.
    The aim of this paper is to outline Dorothy Emmet’s (1904-2000) account of perception in The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking (published in 1945). Emmet’s account of perception is part of a wider attempt to rehabilitate metaphysics in the face of logical positivism and verificationism (of the kind espoused most famously by A. J. Ayer). It is thus part of an attempt to stem the tide of anti-metaphysical thought that had become widespread in British philosophy by the middle of the twentieth (...)
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  8.  91
    The Depth of Margaret Cavendish's Ecology.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - forthcoming - Ergo.
    This paper examines Margaret Cavendish’s ecological views and argues that, in the Appendix to her final published work, Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668), Cavendish is defending a normative account of the way that humans ought to interact with their environment. On this basis, we argue that Cavendish is committed to a form of what, for the purposes of this paper, we will call ‘deep ecology,’ where that is understood as the view that humans ought to treat the rest of nature (...)
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  9. In Praise of Co-Authoring.Peter West & Matyas Moravec - 2021 - The Philosopher 109 (3):105-109.
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  10. A Democratic Approach to Public Philosophy.Jonathon Hawkins & Peter West - 2023 - The Philosopher 111 (2):10-16.
    There is a strong appetite in ‘the wild’ (i.e., beyond the academy) for public philosophy. There are myriad forums available, from magazines and online publications to podcasts and YouTube videos, for those who wish to engage in philosophy in a non-academic context. For academic philosophers, this has raised methodological and metaphilosophical questions like: ‘what is the best way to engage in public philosophy?’ and ‘what are our aims when we engage in public philosophy?’ But what do ‘the public’ want? If (...)
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  11. Teaching and Learning Guide for: Mind‐Body Commerce: Occasional Causation and Mental Representation in Anton Wilhelm Amo.Peter West - 2023 - Philosophy Compass.
  12. Getting Beyond 'The Curtain of the Fancy': Anti-Representationalism in Berkeley and Sergeant.Peter West - 2023 - Berkeley Studies 30:3-21.
    This paper argues for a re-evaluation of the relationship between Berkeley and his predecessor, the neo-Aristotelian thinker John Sergeant. In the literature to date, the relationship between these two thinkers has received attention for two reasons. First, because some commentators have attempted to establish a causal connection between them – specifically, by focusing on the fact that both thinkers develop a theory of ‘notions’. Second, because both Berkeley and Sergeant develop ‘anti-representationalist’ arguments against Locke’s epistemology. The first issue has received (...)
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  13. Molyneux's Question: The Irish Debates.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - 2020 - In Brian Glenney Gabriele Ferretti (ed.), Molyneux’s Question and the History of Philosophy. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 122-135.
    William Molyneux was born in Dublin, studied in Trinity College Dublin, and was a founding member of the Dublin Philosophical Society (DPS), Ireland’s counterpart to the Royal Society in London. He was a central figure in the Irish intellectual milieu during the Early Modern period and – along with George Berkeley and Edmund Burke – is one of the best-known thinkers to have come out of that context and out of Irish thought more generally. In 1688, when Molyneux wrote the (...)
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  14.  21
    British Empiricism.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - 2024 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    ‘British Empiricism’ is a name traditionally used to pick out a group of eighteenth-century thinkers who prioritised knowledge via the senses over reason or the intellect and who denied the existence of innate ideas. The name includes most notably John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. The counterpart to British Empiricism is traditionally considered to be Continental Rationalism that was advocated by Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, all of whom lived in Continental Europe beyond the British Isles and all embraced innate (...)
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  15.  58
    Berkeley on the Relation Between Abstract Ideas and Language in Alciphron VII.Peter West - 2019 - Ruch Filozoficzny 74 (4):51.
  16.  44
    Stebbing and Eddington in the Shadow of Bergson.Peter West & Matyas Moravec - 2023 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 40 (1):59-84.
    In this paper, we argue that the French philosopher Henri Bergson was a hidden interlocutor in Susan Stebbing’s critique of Arthur Eddington in her Philosophy and the Physicists. First, we outline Stebbing’s critique of Eddington’s philosophical- physical writings with a particular emphasis on her case against Eddington’s account of the passage of time. Second, we provide evidence that Eddington’s philosophy is, at its core, Bergsonian and make the case that Eddington was directly influenced by Bergson’s philosophy of la durée. Third, (...)
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  17. From Pantalaimon to Panpsychism: Margaret Cavendish and His Dark Materials.Peter West - 2020 - In Paradox Lost: His Dark Materials and Philosophy. Chicago, IL, USA:
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  18. Knowing Me, Knowing You: Berkeley on Self-Knowledge and Other Minds.Peter West - 2020 - The Self and Self-Knowledge in Early Modern Philosophy.
  19. Reid and Berkeley on Scepticism, Representationalism, and Ideas.Peter West - 2019 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 17 (3):191-210.
    Both Reid and Berkeley reject ‘representationalism’, an epistemological position whereby we perceive things in the world indirectly via ideas in our mind, on the grounds of anti-scepticism and common sense. My aim in this paper is to draw out the similarities between Reid and Berkeley's ‘anti-representationalist’ arguments, whilst also identifying the root of their disagreements on certain fundamental metaphysical issues. Reid famously rejects Berkeley's idealism, in which all that exists are ideas and minds, because it undermines the dictates of common (...)
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  20.  4
    5 Is There Anybody Out There? Berkeley’s Indirect Realism About Other Minds.Peter West - 2024 - In Manuel Fasko & Peter West (eds.), Berkeley’s Doctrine of Signs. De Gruyter. pp. 81-98.
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  21.  12
    The Women Are Up to Something: How Elisabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics.Peter West - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (3):921-923.
    A central notion in Benjamin Lipscomb's narrative of the rise of the ‘Wartime Quartet’—Anscombe, Foot, Midgley, and Murdoch—is that of philosophical pictures (e.
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  22.  9
    Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life.Peter West - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (3):923-925.
    ‘It is, we need to remember, persons who think, not purely rational spirits.’.
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  23. On the 'Cancellation' of Berkeley.Peter West - 2023 - The Philosopher.
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  24.  7
    Berkeley’s Doctrine of Signs.Manuel Fasko & Peter West (eds.) - 2024 - De Gruyter.
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  25.  2
    Introduction.Manuel Fasko & Peter West - 2024 - In Manuel Fasko & Peter West (eds.), Berkeley’s Doctrine of Signs. De Gruyter. pp. 1-8.
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  26.  21
    Interview with Invited Speaker Michela Massimi, Philosophy as a Way of Life.Michela Massimi & Peter West - 2018 - Perspectives 8 (1):31-34.
    Michela Massimi is a Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh and was the keynote speaker for Philosophy as a Way of Life. She is currently the PI for an ERC-funded project ʽPerspectival Realism. Science, Knowledge, and Truth from a Human Vantage Point.ʼ Massimi has extensive experience working on interdisciplinary projects and has frequently engaged in public philosophy. In this interview, she discusses the future of research in the UK post-Brexit, the challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary research, (...)
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  27.  31
    A problem concerning Berkeley's epistemology of other finite spirits.Peter West - unknown
  28.  42
    Cavendish and Berkeley on Inconceivability and Impossibility [DRAFT - please do not cite].Peter West - manuscript
    In this paper, I compare Margaret Cavendish’s argument for the view that colours of objects are inseparable from their ‘physical’ qualities with George Berkeley’s argument for the view that secondary qualities of objects are inseparable from their primary qualities. By reconstructing their respective arguments, I show that both thinkers rely on the ‘inconceivability principle’: the claim that inconceivability entails impossibility. That is, both premise their arguments on the claim that it is impossible to conceive of an object that has size (...)
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  29.  23
    Are express saccades anticipatory?Peter West & Christopher M. Harris - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (3):593-594.
  30. From Pantalaimon to panpsychism.Peter West - 2020 - In Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (eds.), His Dark Materials and philosophy: Paradox lost. Chicago: Open Court.
     
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  31.  32
    Pause. Reflect. Think: On Susan Stebbing and the role of public philosophy.Peter West - 2020 - Aeon.
  32.  27
    L. Susan Stebbing Philosophy and the Physicists (1937): a re-appraisal. [REVIEW]Peter West - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (5):859-873.
    In this re-appraisal of Philosophy and the Physicists, I want to challenge C. D. Broad’s account of what Stebbing accomplishes and show that, alongside a t...
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  33.  34
    Comparisons in the history of philosophy: a review of The metaphysics of Margaret Cavendish and Anne Conway: monism, vitalism, and self-motion_ Comparisons in the history of philosophy: a review of _The metaphysics of Margaret Cavendish and Anne Conway: monism, vitalism, and self-motion, by Marcy P. Lascano, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2023, pp. 240, £54.00 (hb), ISBN: 9780197651636. [REVIEW]Peter West - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-5.
    In The Metaphysics of Margaret Cavendish and Anne Conway, Marcy P. Lascano holds up the metaphysical views of two early modern women philosophers alongside one another in order to demonstrate that...
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  34.  14
    Stephen Menn and Justin E. H. Smith: Anton Wilhelm Amo’s Philosophical Dissertations on Mind and Body[REVIEW]Peter West - 2024 - Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 5 (1):65-68.
  35.  23
    What We Owe the Future: A Million Year View. By William Mac Askill. (London: One World Publications, 2022. Pp. 333. Price £20.00.). [REVIEW]Peter West - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly.
    In Utilitarianism, first published in 1861, John Stuart Mill explains that ‘utilitarianism requires [one] to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and ben.
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  36.  33
    Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, A Philosophy, A Warning. [REVIEW]Peter West - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    One of the most fascinating entries in Samuel Pepys diaries, from the 13th May 1665, recounts his experience of having been gifted a new pocket watch:To the ‘Change after office, and received my watch from the watchmaker, and a very fine [one] it is, given me by Briggs, the Scrivener… But, Lord! to see how much of my old folly and childishnesse hangs upon me still that I cannot forbear carrying my watch in my hand in the coach all this (...)
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  37.  20
    George Berkeley and Early Modern Philosophy by Stephen H. Daniel. [REVIEW]Peter West - 2022 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (3):510-511.
    Stephen H. Daniel’s monograph offers a novel interpretation of Berkeley’s philosophy of mind while situating Berkeley’s thought within the context of early eighteenth-century epistemology and metaphysics. The text is commendable for its attempt to shed light on Berkeley’s engagement with thinkers and traditions that tend to fall outside the canon of early modern philosophy and its attempt to place Berkeley’s lesser-known works, such as De Motu and Siris, on a par with his best-known texts. Daniel’s approach to historical interpretation is (...)
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  38.  11
    Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life. By CLARE MAC CUMHAILL AND RACHAEL WISEMAN. [REVIEW]Peter West - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
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  39.  10
    The Women Are Up To Something: How Elisabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgeley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics. By BENJAMIN J. B. LIPSCOMB. [REVIEW]Peter West - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
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