Colin McGinn

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colin McGinn (born March 10, 1950 in Hartlepool , England ) is a British philosopher who has taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey for a long time ; from 2006 to 2013 he was professor of philosophy at the University of Miami . His main areas of work are philosophy of mind and metaphysics .

Philosophy of mind

McGinn's central thesis is that due to our limited cognitive abilities we cannot and fundamentally cannot solve certain problems conclusively. According to him, this is due to the modular structure of our consciousness . McGinn relies in particular on works by Jerry Fodor (for example in The Modularity of Mind ), Thomas Nagels ( The View from Nowhere ), and on Noam Chomsky's views on the human language apparatus. McGinn, Nagel and Fodor were referred to as "New Mysterians" by the philosopher Owen Flanagan because of their skepticism about the possibility of solving the mind-body problem in a purely physicalistic way . According to McGinn, powerful focus modules have developed over the course of evolution to solve certain problems . However, our cognitive tools based on these modules are either in principle unsuitable for solving certain other problems or, at least in principle, of limited effectiveness. According to McGinn, this primarily includes questions of an ontological and epistemological nature and thus especially those problems that are the classic subject of philosophy, i.e. questions about the nature and basis of meaning and meaning, questions about consciousness or the mind- body problem as well as those relating to free will and the self . All of these problems are solvable in principle and without having to refer to higher (ie non- materialistic ) principles - we, as humans, cannot solve them for equally fundamental reasons.

Sexual harassment affair

In early June 2013 it was announced that McGinn would give up his professorship in Miami at the end of the year under pressure from the university administration after allegations of sexual harassment of his research assistant ("research assistant") Monica Ainhorn Morrison. He himself dismisses the allegations. The case was settled in 2016, and those involved pledged not to disclose.



McGinn can also be seen in the documentary The Atheism Tapes (2004) by Jonathan Miller , in which six well-known personalities are asked about the tension between religion and atheism in about half-hour interviews.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ J. Andrew Ross: First-Person Consciousness: Honderich and McGinn Reviewed , p. 6 (PDF; 190 kB), accessed May 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Seth Zweifler, Prominent Philosopher to Leave U. of Miami in Wake of Misconduct Allegations . Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2013.
  3. See: Sibylle Anderl The outcry of women philosophers in FAZ blog of June 22, 2013.
  4. Colleen Flaherty, "U Miami Settles Harassment Case Philosophy" , Inside Higher Ed , 18 October 2016th
  5. On the construction-related shortcomings of the mind p.2 review of The Limits of Sensible Asking.
  6. Morality as a mud pack - . Review of the good, the bad and the beautiful.
  7. Our brain is much too weak for our brain - review on How does the spirit get into matter?