The Philosophy of “As If” with Kwame Anthony Appiah

4/13/2015; 87 minutes

A leading moral and political philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. He explores the ideas of the philosopher Hans Vahinger, who argued that our theories of the world involved understanding things "as if" what is in fact false were true. He uses Vahinger's ideas to discuss a contemporary philosophical proposal, due to Dan Dennett, that says that human beings can be understood by way of an "intentional strategy" that "consists of treating the object whose behavior you want to predict as a rational agent with beliefs and desires and other mental states …" Since, as Appiah suggests, we are not fully rational, there is a puzzle about why this should work.
Recorded on 02/06/2015.

Like what you learn?

Donate to UCTV to support informative & inspiring programming.

Links & Resources

More Programs With


Subscribe to receive email notifications about featured videos.
(c)2020 Regents of the University of California. All right reserved. Terms and Conditions of Use.