The Philosopher is the longest-running public philosophy journal in the UK (founded in 1923). It is the official journal of the Philosophical Society of England (PSE), a charitable organization founded ten years earlier than the journal in 1913, and still running regular groups, workshops, and conferences around the UK. As of 2019 the journal is published quarterly.
The Philosopher is built around the belief that anything can be made clear to the interested reader. Articles are considered without discrimination as to subject matter or author; the only criteria being that they must be philosophical in method and expressed in clear, understandable language.
Contributors over the years have ranged from John Dewey and G.K. Chesterton to contemporary thinkers like Mary Midgley, Timothy Williamson, Catherine Wilson, Jason Stanley, Linda Martín Alcoff, Martin Hägglund, Clare Chambers, Jemima Repo, and Adam Kotsko.
Revolutions in reality cause earthquakes in concepts – and vice versa. Thomas Kuhn famously argued that scientific revolutions transform the meanings of key terms, while Spinoza instigated his own philosophical revolution by stripping the meaning of the term “God” of many features inherited through Christianity. More recently, Sally Haslanger’s “ameliorative” analysis of concepts such as race and gender prioritises the social and political functions of our representational devices over their descriptive purpose. “What”, she asks, “is the point of having the concept in question…? What concept (if any) would do the work best?” Such examples drive at a core philosophical conundrum: What are the linkages between the world itself, our understanding of it, and our representations? The essays and conversations in this issue tackle the interactions between concept and reality from a multitude of perspectives in order to consider: what is at stake – cognitively, morally, politically, and metaphysically – in debates over conceptual-representational devices?