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Jonathan Westphal

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Name  Jonathan Westphal

Books  Colour: A Philosophical Introduction, Philosophical propositions, Colour: Some Philosophical Problems

The mind body problem by jonathan westphal

Jonathan Westphal (born 1951) received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1973, an M.A. from the University of Sussex in 1975, and the Ph.D. from the University of London 1981, where he studied with David Wiggins. He has taught at the University of Hawaii, the University of London, Idaho State University, Amherst College, Hampshire College and at other colleges and universities in the U.K. and the U.S. He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at the University of Munich, and he is a Permanent Member of the Senior Common Room at University College, Oxford.


Westphal's work is in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of science, logic and philosophy of language, and aesthetics. More recently he has become interested in issues in the philosophy of time, and in the understanding of human freedom. In the history of philosophy, he has worked mostly on Wittgenstein and Leibniz.

Published works

Among Westphal's one hundred or so publications are:

  • 1987 Colour: Some Philosophical Problems from Wittgenstein.
  • 1991 Colour: a Philosophical Introduction, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991, 2nd ed) ISBN 0631179348. In this work as in its 1987 predecessor Westphal subjects some of the statements in Wittgenstein's Remarks on Colour ("the puzzle propositions") to a detailed examination drawing on philosophy, phenomenology, psychology and physics. Rejecting Wittgenstein's grammatical explanation of colours, as well as the physicalists' reduction of colours to light emissions of specific wavelengths, Westphal argues that the puzzle propositions are analytic and that the relevant definitions are to be given in terms of phenomenalistically interpreted absorption spectra. According to WorldCat, the book is in 224 libraries
  • 1998 Philosophical Propositions: An Introduction to Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1998). 169 pp. ISBN 0-415-17053-2. According to WorldCat, the book is held in 1206 libraries In this work Westphal presents an introduction to key philosophical problems in chapters titled: The Nature of a Philosophical Problem; Basic Concepts of Logic and Philosophy; the Problem of Evil; the Existence of God; Reality; Certainty; Time; Personal Identity; the Mind-Body Problem; Freewill and Determinism; the Meaning of Life?
  • 2005 "Conflicting Appearances, Necessity and the Irreducibility of Propositions About Colours", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (2):219-235. Reviewing the argument from 'conflicting appearances' for the view that nothing has any one colour, Westphal takes further a well-known criticism of the argument made by Austin and Burnyeat. He aIso undertakes the task of positive construction, offering a theory of what it is that all things coloured a particular colour have in common, and he argues that the resulting "color phenomenalism", rather than physicalism, is required to give a satisfactory account of the necessity of Wittgenstein's 'puzzle propositions' about colour.
  • 2006 "The Future and the Truth-Value Links: A Common Sense View", Analysis 66 (289):1–9. This article is about the ancient problem of the truth of propositions about the future, or future contingents. Westphal argues that propositions about the future are true not because anything is now the case but because something will be the case. The problem is a confusion about tenses.
  • 2008 ""My Body", "my X" and "I"" American Philosophical Quarterly, 45 (3):187-197. Sometimes 'My body is F follows from 'I am F, for example when F is "hot", but sometimes not, for example when F is "rich". Westphal offers a theory of the logical relations between "mind", "body", and "I" which gives a complete symmetry between mind and body.
  • 2011 "Silhouettes Are Shadows", Acta Analytica 26 2:187-197. Here a solution is proposed to Sorensen’s problem about the eclipse of Near and Far. Since a silhouette is a shadow, what is seen is the silhouette or shadow of Far, into which Near has disappeared, as a smaller object might. Shadows are seen because the surface in shadow fails to reflect light.
  • The Mind-Body Problem, (Cambridge MA: MIT 2016) argues for a neutral monist solution to the mind-body problem, and claims that in the past neutral monists have paid almost no attention to the causal relations between mind and body.
  • Family and Personal Life

    Jonathan Westphal is the youngest son of Prof. Ernst Oswald Johannes Westphal. Jonathan's great-grandfather and his great-grandmother, Gotthilf Ernst Westphal and his wife Wilhelmine, were teachers and mentors to the teenage Sol Plaatje, a student at their Mission Station in Pniel. Plaatje was a founder and the first General Secretary of the ANC. Jonathan Westphal is married to Stephanie Rosett, and they have four children.


    Jonathan Westphal Wikipedia

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