The Lesbian Rule

Philosophy 30 (114):195 - 213 (1955)
The problem with which I wish to deal in this paper is the problem of singular reasons in the humanities, whether they exist, or rather, whether they can exist: for it would seem that the word “reason” carried with it some idea of generality, so that the phrase “singular reason” was a contradiction in terms, a specification which could never be fulfilled. But humanists are always sensing the singularity of their studies: and the philosopher wondering about the nature of humane thinking either must conclude that it is really only inadequate science, its singularity being the mark of the fact that we never really have an adequate basis for any of our generalizations, an unfortunate reminder that the whole structure is built on the shakiest of inductive foundations; or , if he is unwilling to allow that humanists are just bad, or at least amateur, scientists, he is tempted to vindicate the rationality of their reasoning by inventing a special faculty of particular ratiocination which is able to perceive particular truths—the intuition of the moralists or the insight of the Collingwoodian mode
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