Dubious liaisons: A review of Alvin Goldman's liaisons: Philosophy meets the cognitive and social sciences [Book Review]

Philosophical Psychology 9 (2):261 – 279 (1996)
Abstract
Alvin Goldman's recent collection (Goldman, 1992) includes many of the important and seminal contributions made by him over the last three decades to epistemology, philosophy of mind, and analytic metaphysics. Goldman is an acknowledged leader in efforts to put material from cognitive and social science to good philosophical use. This is the “liaison” which Goldman takes his own work to exemplify and advance. Yet the essays contained in Liaisons chart an important evolution in Goldman's own views about the relation between philosophy and empirical inquiry. Goldman raises, if only unwittingly, the question of what philosophy per se contributes to the encounter. The way in which Goldman's work problematizes the claim that philosophy forms a working liaison with the cognitive and social sciences is revealed by examining two sets of distinctions prominent in Goldman's analyses in this volume. I trace how each pair of terms—philosophy versus science, individual versus social—is used by Goldman and suggest that it is less clear than one would like how these key notions are or could be distinguished from one another. Doubts about these distinctions, at least as Goldman employs them, suggest more general concerns regarding Goldman's style of naturalism and the status of philosophy as a source of knowledge. Liaisons: philosophy meets the cognitive and social sciences , A. Goldman. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.
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