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Colin McGinn

Full Name: Colin Mcginn
Gender: Male
Hometown: Blackpool
Born: 1950-03-10
Number of Works: 30
Colin McGinn is a British philosopher currently working at the University of Miami. McGinn has also held major teaching positions at Oxford University and Rutgers University. He is best known for his work in the philosophy of mind, though he has written on topics across the breadth of modern philosophy. Chief among his works intended for a general audience is the intellectual memoir The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy (2002).

Colin McGinn was born in Blackpool, England in 1950. He enrolled in Manchester University to study psychology. However, by the time he received his degree in psychology from Manchester in 1971 (by writing a thesis focusing on the ideas of Noam Chomsky), he wanted to study philosophy as a postgraduate. By 1972, McGinn was admitted into Oxford University's B.Litt postgraduate programme, in hopes of eventually gaining entrance into Oxford's postgraduate B.Phil. programme.

McGinn quickly made the transition from psychology to philosophy during his first term at Oxford. After working zealously to make the transition, he was soon admitted into the B.Phil programme under the recommendation of his advisor, Michael R. Ayers. Shortly after entering the philosophy programme, he won the John Locke Prize in 1972. By 1974, McGinn received the B.Phil degree from Oxford, writing a thesis under the supervision of P.F. Strawson, which focused on the semantics of Donald Davidson.

In 1974, McGinn took his first philosophy position at University College London. In January 1980, he spent two semesters at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a visiting professor. Then, shortly after declining a job at University of Southern California, he succeeded Gareth Evans as Wilde Reader at Oxford University. In 1988, shortly after a visiting term at City University of New York (CUNY), McGinn received a job offer from Rutgers University. He accepted the offer from Rutgers, joining ranks with, among others, Jerry Fodor in the philosophy department. McGinn stayed at Rutgers until 2006, when he accepted a job offer from University of Miami as full time professor.

Although McGinn has written dozens of articles in philosophical logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language, he is best known for his work in the philosophy of mind. In his 1989 article "Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?", McGinn speculates that the human mind is innately incapable of comprehending itself entirely, and that this incapacity spawns the puzzles of consciousness that have preoccupied Western philosophy since Descartes. Thus, McGinn's answer to the hard problem of consciousness is that humans cannot find the answer. This position has been nicknamed the "New Mysterianism". The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World (2000) is a non-technical exposition of McGinn's theory.

Outside of philosophy, McGinn has written a novel entitled The Space Trap (1992). He was also featured prominently as an interviewee in Jonathon Miller's Brief History of Disbelief, a documentary miniseries about atheism's history. He discussed the philosophy of belief as well as his own beliefs as an atheist.

ISBN: 0060957603, 9780060957605
Keywords: century, philosophy, twentieth, journey, philosopher, making
Pages: 256
Published: 2002
  • Rating: 80%

Part memoir, part study, The Making of a Philosopher is the self–portrait of a deeply intelligent mind as it develops over a life on both sides of the Atlantic. The Making of a Philosopher follows Colin McGinn from his early years in England reading Descartes and Anselm, to his years in the states, first in Los Angeles, then New York. McGinn presents a contemporary academic take on the great philosophical figures of the twentieth century, including Bertrand Russell, Jean–Paul Sartre, and Noam Chomsky, alongside stories of the teachers who informed his ideas and often became friends and me
ISBN: 0465014224, 9780465014224
Keywords: material, world, minds, conscious, flame, mysterious
Pages: 242
Published: 1999
  • Rating: 80%

Is consciousness nothing more than brain tissue, as Daniel Dennett argues in his best-selling Consciousness Explained? Or, as others claim, is it a fundamental reality like space, time, and matter? In recent years the nature of consciousness—our immediately known experiences—has taken its place as the most profound problem that science faces. Now in this brilliant and thoroughly accessible new book Colin McGinn takes a provocative position on this perplexing problem. Arguing that we can never truly “know” consciousness—that the human intellect is simply not equipped t
ISBN: 0872201961, 9780872201965
Keywords: thing, right, literacy, moral
Pages: 110
Published: 1992
  • Rating: 80%

This measured, dispassionate yet provocative new work addresses a range of contemporary moral concerns, including animal rights, abortion, violence, sex, drugs, censorship and virtue. More an invitation to moral dialogue than a theoretical work of moral philosophy, Moral Literacy encourages the reader to reach solidly considered conclusions through the strenuous exercise of reason. The book is short and yet it richly embodies the methods of ethical thinking about practical moral problems that are hard for students to learn unless they see them in action. Colin McGinn perspicuously sets out a s
ISBN: 0674022475, 9780674022478
Keywords: meaning, dream, image, mindsight
Pages: 224
Published: 1980
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 0631188037, 9780631188032
Keywords: resolution, towards, essays, consciousness, problem
Pages: 224
Published: 1991
  • Rating: 100%

The existence of consciousness in a material world has long seemed mysterious. This book attempts to account for the mystery in a new way. It is not a matter of the world containing an objective miracle or a metaphysical enigma. Consciousness does not undermine atheistic naturalism. Nor is it that we are in the grip of a philosophical mistake - that there is nothing in reality to worry about. Consciousness does exist, and it cannot be explained by the physical sciences. The mystery arises, rather, from our modes of concept-formation: we cannot in principle arrive at a theory that would render