•  366
    In order to illustrate the difference between sensation and perception, Reid imagines a blind man that by ‘some strange distemper’ has lost all his notions of external objects, but has retained the power of sensation and reasoning. Reid argues that since sensations do not resemble external objects, the blind man could not possibly infer from them any notion of primary qualities. Condillac proposed a similar thought experiment in the Treatise on Sensations. I argue that Condillac can reach a conc…Read more
  •  190
    Reid and Wells on Single and Double Vision
    Journal of Scottish Thought 3 143-163. 2010.
    In a recent article on Reid’s theory of single and double vision, James Van Cleve considers an argument against direct realism presented by Hume. Hume argues for the mind-dependent nature of the objects of our perception from the phenomenon of double vision. Reid does not address this particular argument, but Van Cleve considers possible answers Reid might have given to Hume. He finds fault with all these answers. Against Van Cleve, I argue that both appearances in double vision could be conside…Read more
  •  153
    Hume and Reid on Political Economy
    Eighteenth-Century Thought 5 99-145. 2014.
    While Hume had a favorable opinion of the new commercial society, Reid envisioned a utopian system that would eliminate private property and substitute the profit incentive with a system of state-conferred honors. Reid’s predilection for a centralized command economy cannot be explained by his alleged discovery of market failures, and has to be considered in the context of his moral psychology. Hume tried to explain how the desire for gain that motivates the merchant leads to industry and frugal…Read more
  •  72
    According to Daniel Flage, Berkeley thinks that all necessary truths are founded on acts of will that assign meanings to words. After briefly commenting on the air of paradox contained in the title of Flage’s paper, and on the historical accuracy of Berkeley’s understanding of the abstractionist tradition, I make some remarks on two points made by Flage. Firstly, I discuss Flage’s distinction between the ontological ground of a necessary truth and our knowledge of a necessary truth. Secondly, I …Read more
  •  69
    The extension of color sensations: Reid, Stewart, and Fearn
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (S1): 50-79. 2011.
    According to Reid, color sensations are not extended nor are they arranged in figured patterns. Reid further claimed that ‘there is no sensation appropriated to visible figure.’ Reid justified these controversial claims by appeal to Cheselden's report of the experiences of a young man affected by severe cataracts, and by appeal to cases of perception of visible figure without color. While holding fast to the principle that sensations are not extended, Dugald Stewart tried to show that ‘a variety…Read more
  •  60
    Reid on ridicule and common sense
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (1): 71-90. 2008.
    According to Reid, opinions that contradict the principles of common sense are not only false but also absurd. Nature has given us an emotion that reveals the absurdity of an opinion: the emotion of ridicule. An appeal to ridicule in philosophical arguments may easily be discounted as a logical fallacy in the same manner as an appeal to the common consent of people. This essay traces the origins of Reid's defense of ridicule in the works of Addison, Hutcheson, Shaftesbury and Campbell. Reid reje…Read more
  •  48
    Reid maintained that the perceptions that we obtain from the senses of smell, taste, hearing, and touch are ‘suggested’ by corresponding sensations. However, he made an exception for the sense of vision. According to Reid, our perceptions of the real figure, position, and magnitude of bodies are suggested by their visible appearances, which are not sensations but objects of perception in their own right. These visible appearances have figure, position, and magnitude, as well as ‘colour,’ and the…Read more
  •  48
    Reid's Direct Realism about Vision
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 23 (3). 2006.
    Thomas Reid presented a two-dimensional geometry of the visual field in his Inquiry into the Human Mind (1764). The axioms of this geometry are different from those of Euclidean plane geometry. The ‘geometry of visibles’ is the same as the geometry of the surface of the sphere, described without reference to points and lines outside the surface itself. In a recent article, James Van Cleve has argued that Reid can secure a non-Euclidean geometry of visibles only at the cost of abandoning his dire…Read more
  •  46
    Thomas Reid’s geometry of visibles and the parallel postulate
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1): 79-103. 2005.
    Thomas Reid (1710–1796) presented a two-dimensional geometry of the visual field in his Inquiry into the human mind (1764), whose axioms are different from those of Euclidean plane geometry. Reid’s ‘geometry of visibles’ is the same as the geometry of the surface of the sphere, described without reference to points and lines outside the surface itself. Interpreters of Reid seem to be divided in evaluating the significance of his geometry of visibles in the history of the discovery of non-Euclide…Read more
  •  45
    Distance and Direction in Reid’s Theory of Vision
    Topoi 35 (2): 465-478. 2016.
    Two theses appear to be central to Reid’s view of the visual field. By sight, we do not originally perceive depth or linear distance from the eye. By sight, we originally perceive the position that points on the surface of objects have with regard to the centre of the eye. In different terms, by sight, we originally perceive the compass direction and degree of elevation of points on the surface of objects with reference to the centre of the eye. I consider various problems about distance percept…Read more
  •  33
    Providential Naturalism and Miracles: John Fearn's Critique of Scottish Philosophy
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (1): 75-94. 2015.
    According to Thomas Reid, the development of natural sciences following the model of Newton's Principia and Optics would provide further evidence for the belief in a provident God. This project was still supported by his student, Dugald Stewart, in the early nineteenth century. John Fearn , an early critic of the Scottish common sense school, thought that the rise of ‘infidelity’ in the wake of scientific progress had shown that the apologetic project of Reid and Stewart had failed. In reaction …Read more
  •  29
    Étienne Bonnot de Condillac
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2017.
  •  13
    Reid’s rejection of the “theory of ideas” implies that sensations are not copies of external qualities such as extension and figure. Reid also says that not even the order of sensations is spatial. However, in his early manuscripts Reid did not deny that sensations are arranged spatially. He simply denied that our ideas of extension and figure are copied from any single atomic sensation. Only subsequently did Reid explicitly reject the view that sensations are arranged spatially. The question of…Read more
  •  11
    In the present work Berkeley's theory of vision is considered in its historical origins, in its relation to Berkeley's general philosophical conceptions, and in its early reception. Berkeley's theory replaces an account of vision according to which distance and other spatial properties are deduced from elementary data through an unconscious geometric inference. This account of vision in terms of "natural geometry" was first introduced by Descartes and Malebranche. Among Berkeley's immediate sour…Read more
  •  8
    Thomas Reid: Selected Philosophical Writings (edited book)
    Imprint Academic. 2012.
    Thomas Reid is the foremost exponent of the Scottish 'common sense' school of philosophy. Educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, Reid subsequently taught at King’s College, and was a founder of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society. His Inquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense was published in 1764, the same year he succeeded Adam Smith as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He resigned from active teaching duties in 1785 to devote himself to writing…Read more
  •  4
    Interrogarsi sull'umano. Questione antropologica e scommessa su una possibile ritessitura dei saperi
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 4 (3): 390-395. 2013.
    Il saggio recensisce i primi quattro volumi dell’Annuario di studi filosofici “Anthropologica” – La differenza umana. Riduzionismo e antiumanesimo ; La struttura dei legami ; La vita in questione. Potenziamento o compimento dell'essere umano? ;Chi dice io? Riflessioni sull’identità personale – illustrando il programma di ricerca sviluppato dal gruppo interdisciplinare di studio promosso dal Centro Studi Jacques Maritain. Attraverso il ricorso all’impianto filosofico dell’antichità classica e cri…Read more