Selfridge Lecture 2024: Michael Della Rocca, Yale University

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 4:30pm

“The original Sin of Analytical Philosophy” In this lecture, Professor Della Rocca examines five crucial and influential episodes from early analytical philosophy in which Frege, Russell, Moore, and others play key roles. In each episode, the debate is, he argues, structurally analogous to the debate over Cartesian mind-body interaction. In particular, he argues that just as the Cartesian position in the interaction debate turns on whether the Principle of Sufficient Reason (the PSR) is rejected—Descartes, the great (as will become apparent) anti-rationalist, rejects the PSR in this case—so too the seminal positions taken up by these early analytical philosophers turn on the anti-rationalist denial of the PSR. Further and perhaps disturbingly, these seminal positions are thus as problematic as the problematic Cartesian position with regard to mind-body interaction. About: Michael Della Rocca is Sterling Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. A rationalist, monist, skeptic, and renegade analytic philosopher, he is the author of The Parmenidean Ascent, of two books on Spinoza's philosophy, and of many articles in metaphysics and the history of modern philosophy.

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