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Origins of Objectivity [Paperback]

Tyler Burge

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Book Description

30 April 2010
Tyler Burge presents a substantial, original study of what it is for individuals to represent the physical world with the most primitive sort of objectivity. By reflecting on the science of perception and related psychological and biological sciences, he gives an account of constitutive conditions for perceiving the physical world, and thus aims to locate origins of representational mind. Origins of Objectivity illuminates several long-standing, central issues in philosophy, and provides a wide-ranging account of relations between human and animal psychologies.


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Review

the most important book in the philosophy of mind for several decades ... with its publication the subject ought to enter a new, more mature phase... an immensely distinguished contribution to this fundamental topic in philosophy. Christopher Peacocke, Times Literary Supplement Origins of Objectivity is Tyler Burge's long-awaited first monograph. It is an absolutely terrific work, conceived and executed at a scale and level of ambition rarely seen in contemporary philosophy. The book's primary aim is to contribute a theory of perception; more broadly, however, it also delivers a subtle and nuanced query into the place of distinctively psychological capacities in the natural order. One can only hope that the book will come to shape discussions in the philosophy of mind and perception for years to come, not just in terms of its specific doctrines - bold and persuasive as they are - but also in terms of its methods. Burge's integration of insights from a vast range of empirical sciences with philosophical reflection stands out as a model for emulation. Endre Begby, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews a comprehensive, sophisticatedly argued, and empirically well-informed critique ... unquestionably an important and impressive work in the philosophy and psychology of perception. Its scope is large, its thesis novel and wideranging in import, and its critical assessments of competing theories insightful and

About the Author

Tyler Burge is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Truth, Thought, Reason: Essays on Frege (OUP, 2005) and Foundations of Mind (OUP, 2007).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Messy but important 18 Feb 2013
By Jeffrey Rubard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tyler Burge's *Origins of Objectivity* is definitely 21st-century philosophy. Famous for his views on "anti-individualism" (that an individual, for example, cannot have 'arthritis in the thigh', even if they are mistaken about the use of the term "arthritis", because causal conditions for the term's applicability are lacking), Burge here turns to the study of perception and finds fault with nearly every tendency of 20th-century thought. Burge's "Individual Representationalists" -- they are legion -- think that perceptual thought involves high-level cognitive capacities that situate percepts in a matrix of general, conceptual thought. Burge thinks they are wrong, and that perception is a natural kind possessed by young children and animals unable to use quantification and other pieces of the apparatus of full-blown language use; he cites very many psychological studies in defense of his views, and develops some arguments to the effect that the psychological kind "representation" relies only on a dynamic interaction with the environment and some very few cognitive abilities.

Burge's new naturalism puts him at odds with a gamut of philosophers, from John McDowell to Jerry Fodor, and he is not shy about claiming (sometimes only claiming) that their views are profoundly mistaken. Unfortunately, the New Frontier Burge wishes to explore is a bit too much for him at many points. Since he has lost access to the Sellarsian and Wittgensteinian distinction between ground and cause, the "problems of rationality" that exercised people like Donald Davidson seem quite pointless to him; when, where full-stop justification of empirical beliefs is on the agenda, these problems are not optional. Burge's historical sketches, particularly of Kant and Continental philosophers he wishes to include in the number of Individual Representationalism, are unconvincing, and his lack of continuity with earlier naturalists like Ruth Garrett Millikan is disturbing. Still, most books on the philosophy of psychology that you read in the future are likely to be at least somewhat in Burge's line.

Worth taking a look at.
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Origins of Obscurity 24 Jun 2013
By Mr. Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a philosophy major I am familiar with the overly verbose, pedantic, and challenging prose that professional philosophers are often prone to authoring. Even so, this book by Professor Burge is a mess. There isn't a straightforward statement in the whole book. That wouldn't be so bad but for the fact that Burge says in the Introduction that his book is intended for non-philosophers and professional philosophers alike. My recommendation is that unless you have a doctorate in Philosophy, steer well clear of this book.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book! 21 Mar 2013
By Marianna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book! I loved it. And Tyler Burge is a wonderful philosopher with lots of interesting new ideas.
2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Used for college. 5 Mar 2013
By Venus Project - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hard to read. Burge is not a good writer (at least for people who are relatively new to philosophy). I would not recommend this book.
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