•  720
    Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (1): 195-198. 1998.
  •  559
    How to Be an Ethical Antirealist
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1): 361-375. 1988.
  •  522
    Provides a comprehensive introduction to the major philosophical theories attempting to explain the workings of language.
  •  449
    Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy
    Oxford University Press. 1999.
    Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers have tackled the questions that have pressed themselves most forcefully on human consciousness. Simon Blackburn, author of the b…Read more
  •  436
    Practical tortoise raising
    Mind 104 (416): 695-711. 1995.
    In this paper I am not so much concerned with movements of the mind, as movements of the will. But my question bears a similarity to that of the tortoise. I want to ask whether the will is under the control of fact and reason, combined. I shall try to show that there is always something else, something that is not under the control of fact and reason, which has to be given as a brute extra, if deliberation is ever to end by determining the will. This is, of course, a Humean conclusion, and the o…Read more
  •  405
    Perspectives, fictions, errors, play
    In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford University Press. pp. 281--96. 2007.
  •  347
    Errors and the Phenomology of Value
    In Thomas L. Carson & Paul K. Moser (eds.), Morality and the Good Life, Oxford University Press. pp. 324--337. 1985.
  •  343
    Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning
    Oxford University Press UK. 1998.
    Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethics at war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions? Blackburn seeks the answers in an exploration of guilt, shame, disgust, and other moral emotions; he draws also on game theory and cognitive sc…Read more
  •  343
  •  330
    Essays in Quasi-Realism
    Oxford University Press. 1993.
    This volume collects some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn, one of our leading philosophers, explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgments relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that discourages the v…Read more
  •  292
    Is objective moral justification possible on a quasi-realist foundation?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 42 (2). 1999.
    This essay juxtaposes the position in metaethics defended, expressivism with quasirealistic trimmings, with the ancient problem of relativism. It argues that, perhaps surprisingly, there is less of a problem of normative truth on this approach than on others. Because ethics is not in the business of representing aspects of the world, there is no way to argue for a plurality of moral truths, simply from the existence of a plurality of moral opinions. The essay also argues that other approaches, w…Read more
  •  289
    The majesty of reason
    Philosophy 85 (1): 5-27. 2010.
    In this paper I contemplate two phenomena that have impressed theorists concerned with the domain of reasons and of what is now called ‘normativity’. One is the much-discussed ‘externality’ of reasons. According to this, reasons are just there, anyway. They exist whether or not agents take any notice of them. They do not only exist in the light of contingent desires or mere inclinations. They are ‘external’ not ‘internal’. They bear on us, even when through ignorance or wickedness we take no not…Read more
  •  280
    Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics
    Oxford University Press. 2001.
    This is a very short introduction to ethics. It divides into three parts: first, introducing and discussing reasons for skepticism about ethics; second introducing themes of birth, death, happiness, desire and freedom to show how deeply our lives are interwoven with ethics; third, introducing attempts to found ethics, due to Aristotle, Kant, and the contractarian tradition.
  •  262
    The paper analyzes the famous passage in "on denoting" where russell appears to be attacking frege's theory of the sense and reference of proper names. We argue that russell's attack has been misinterpreted and unjustly condemned. The strategy is to show what difficulties do genuinely face a two-Part theory, And then to show that it is quite easy to interpret russell as having perceived them
  •  260
    Truth and a Priori Possibility: Egan’s Charge Against Quasi Realism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2): 201-213. 2009.
    In this journal Andy Egan argued that, contrary to what I have claimed, quasi-realism is committed to a damaging asymmetry between the way a subject regards himself and the way he regards others. In particular, a subject must believe it to be a priori that if something is one of his stable or fundamental beliefs, then it is true. Whereas he will not hold that this is a priori true of other people. In this paper I rebut Egan's argument, and give further consideration to the correct way to think a…Read more
  •  260
    Antirealist expressivism and quasi-realism
    In David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, Oxford University Press. pp. 146--162. 2006.
    Expressivism is the view that the function of normative sentences is not to represent a kind of fact, but to avow attitudes, prescribe behavior, or the like. The idea can be found in David Hume. In the 20th century, G.E. Moore’s Open Question Argument provided important support for the view. Elizabeth Anscombe introduced the notion of “direction of fit,” which helped distinguish expressivism from a kind of naive subjectivism. The central advantage of expressivism is that it easily explains the m…Read more
  •  232
    (2000). Critical notice of Frank Jackson, from metaphysics to ethics: A defence of conceptual analysis. Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 78, No. 1, pp. 119-124. doi: 10.1080/00048400012349401
  •  224
    Ethics: A Very Short Introduction
    Oxford University Press. 2001.
    In this clear introduction to ethics Simon Blackburn tackles the major moral questions surrounding birth, death, happiness, desire and freedom, showing us how ...
  •  216
    TPM Essay
    The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (52): 34-42. 2011.
    I think it is a lapse of taste to spend a grown-up life on problems of which people in the office next door, let alone those outside the building, cannot see the point. I rather fear that the so-called semantic or logical problem of vagueness, Professor Williamson’s own showcase example of his compulsory methods, strikes me as like that
  •  214
    Thought without Representation
    with John Perry
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 60 (1): 137-166. 1986.
  •  206
  •  202
    Hume and thick connexions
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (n/a): 237-250. 1990.
  •  185
    Just causes
    with Nicholas L. Sturgeon
    Philosophical Studies 61 (1-2): 3-42. 1991.
  •  167
    In this paper I contemplate two phenomena that have impressed theorists concerned with the domain of reasons and of normativity. One is the much-discussed ‘externality’ of reasons. Reasons are just there, anyway. They exist whether or not agents take any notice of them. They do not only exist in the light of contingent desires or mere inclinations. They are ‘external’ not ‘internal’. They bear on us, even when through ignorance or wickedness we take no notice of them. They thus very conspicuousl…Read more