In this important new book Nagel, one of the most distinguished philosophers writing in English today, presents a sustained defence of reason against the attacks of subjectivism. He offers systematic rebuttals of relativistic claims with respect to language, logic, science, and ethics.
A theory of understanding -- Truth's role in understanding -- Critique of justificationist and evidential accounts -- Do pragmatist views avoid this critique? -- A realistic account -- How evidence and truth are related -- Three grades of involvement of truth in theories of understanding -- Anchoring -- Next steps -- Reference and reasons -- The main thesis and its location -- Exposition and four argument-types -- Significance and consequences of the main thesis -- The first person as a case (...) study -- Fully self-conscious thought -- Immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first person -- Can a use of the first-person concept fail to refer? -- Some conceptual roles are distinctive but not fundamental -- Implicit conceptions -- Implicit conceptions : motivation and examples -- Deflationary readings rejected -- The phenomenon of new principles -- Explanation by implicit conceptions -- Rationalist aspects -- Consequences : rationality, justification, understanding -- Transitional -- Applications to mental concepts -- Conceiving of conscious states -- Understanding and identity in other cases -- Constraints on legitimate explanations in terms of identity -- Why is the subjective case different? -- Attractions of the interlocking account -- Tacit knowledge, and externalism about the internal -- Is this the myth of the given? -- Knowledge of others' conscious states -- Communicability : between Frege and Wittgenstein -- Conclusions and significance -- 'Another I' : representing perception and action -- The core rule -- Modal status and its significance -- Comparisons -- The possession-condition and some empirical phenomena -- The model generalized -- Wider issues -- Mental action -- The distinctive features of action-awareness -- The nature and range of mental actions -- The principal hypothesis and its grounds -- The principal hypothesis : distinctions and consequences -- How do we know about our own mental actions? -- Concepts of mental actions and their epistemological significance -- Is this account open to the same objections as perceptual models of introspection? -- Characterizing and unifying schizophrenic experience -- The first person in the self-ascription of action -- Rational agency and action-awareness -- Representing thoughts -- The puzzle -- A proposal -- How the solution treats the constraints that generate the puzzle -- Relation to single-level treatments -- An application : reconciling externalism with distinctive self-knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, is concerned with how we know what we do and what justifies us in believing what we do. The philosophical literature in epistemology has mushroomed in the past four decades, and interest in the topic continues to be widespread. In this anthology, Sven Bernecker and Fred Dretske have collected the most important and influential writings in epistemology. It provides the fullest review to date of contemporary epistemology, including frequently neglected topics such as dominant responses (...) to scepticism, introspection, memory, and testimony. -/- Forty-one readings are organized into fifteen subject areas that are key to a broad understanding of contemporary theory of knowledge. A readable introduction to each subject outlines the problems discussed in the essays that follow so readers can more effectively focus on analyzing them. The book is primarily designed for undergraduate courses on theories of knowledge. It will also be of use to university students in other fields as well as interested general readers. (shrink)
Anthropologists now openly acknowledge that social anthropology can no longer fulfill its traditional aim of providing holistic, objective representations of people of "exotic" cultures. After Writing Culture asks what theoretical and practical role contemporary anthropology can play in our increasingly unpredictable and complex world. With fourteen articles written by well-known anthropologists, the work explores some of the directions in which contemporary anthropology is moving, following the questions raised by the "writing culture" debates of the 1980s. Some of the chapters cover: (...) the concept of caste in Indian society, Scottish ethnography, how dreams are culturally conceptualized, representations of the family, theme parks and the anthropologist in Japan, people's place in the landscape of Northern Australia, and representing the identity of the New Zealand Maori. (shrink)
Since the beginning of philosophy, philosophers have sought objective knowledge: knowledge of things whose existence does not depend on one's conceiving of them. This book uses lessons from debates over objective knowledge to characterize the kinds of reasons pertinent to philosophical and other theoretical views. It argues that we cannot meet skeptics' typical demands for nonquestion-begging support for claims to objective truth, and that therefore we should not regard our supporting reasons as resistant to skeptical challenges. One key lesson is (...) that a constructive, explanatory approach to philosophy must change the subject from skeptic-resistant reasons to perspectival reasons arising from variable semantic commitments and instrumental, purpose-relative considerations. The book lays foundations for such a reorientation of philosophy, treating fundamental methodological issues in ontology, epistemology, the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, and the theory of practical rationality. It explains how certain perennial debates in philosophy rest not on genuine disagreement, but on conceptual diversity: talk about different matters. The book shows how acknowledgment of conceptual diversity can resolve a range of traditional disputes in philosophy. It also explains why philosophers need not anchor their discipline in the physicalism of the natural sciences. (shrink)
Taylor, R. A tribute.--Epistemology: Cornman, J. W. Chisholm on sensing and perceiving. Ross, J. F. Testimonial evidence. Lehrer, K. Reason and consistency. Keim, R. Epistemic values and epistemic viewpoints. Hanen, M. Confirmation, explanation, and acceptance. Canfield, J. V. "I know that I am in pain" is senseless. Steel, T. J. Knowledge and the self-presenting.--Metaphysics: Cartwright, R. Scattered objects. Duggan, T. J. Hume on causation. Arnaud, R. B. Brentanist relations. Johnson, M. L., Jr. Events as recurrables.--Ethics: Stevenson, J. T. On doxastic (...) responsibility. Feldman, F. World utilitarianism. Lamb, J. W. Some definitions for the theory of rules. Donnelly, J. Suicide: some epistemological considerations. (shrink)
This book looks at the ways in which conditionals, an integral part of philosophy and logic, can be of practical use in computer programming. It analyzes the different types of conditionals, including their applications and potential problems. Other topics include defeasible logics, the Ramsey test, and a unified view of consequence relation and belief revision. Its implications will be of interest to researchers in logic, philosophy, and computer science, particularly artificial intelligence.
The problem of knowledge.--The acquisition of knowledge.--The assimilation of knowledge.--The deployment of knowledge.--Knowing, doing and being.--Absent objects.--The mind-body problem.--The knowledge of the known.--The subjectivity of a realist.--Activity as a source of knowledge.--On beliefs and believing.--Adaptive responses and the ecosystem.--The reality game.
Eleven pairs of newly commissioned essays face off on opposite sides of fundamental problems in current theories of knowledge. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in epistemology. Questions addressed include: Is knowledge contextual? Can skepticism be refuted? Can beliefs be justified through coherence alone? Is justified belief responsible belief? Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the major topics in contemporary epistemology, (...) whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
First published in 1976, this is a comprehensive study of practical thinking. Professor Körner shows the complex relations which a person's practical attitudes bear to each other, and shows in particular how their moral or prudential character depends not only on their content and form but also on their place in the system constituted by them. There are detailed accounts of the concepts of morality, prudence, justice, welfare and legality, as well as the logical foundations, epistemology and metaphysics of practical (...) thinking. The book is intended for philosophers and for those political theorists and social scientists who are concerned with the philosophical presuppositions and implications of their enquiries. The book is deliberately organized so that those with less interest in the logical issues dealt with in Part I can proceed quickly and easily to the more substantive issues in Parts II and III. (shrink)
'Necessary knowledge' tackles one of the big questions - what knowledge do we possess at birth, and what do we learn along the way? It neither sides with those who believe in 'blank slate' theories, nor with those who believe all learning is innate. Instead, it proposes an original new solution to this enduring puzzle.
The Modes of Scepticism is one of the most important and influential of all ancient philosophical texts. The texts made an enormous impact on Western thought when they were rediscovered in the 16th century and they have shaped the whole future course of Western philosophy. Despite their importance, the Modes have been little discussed in recent times. This book translates the texts and supplies them with a discursive commentary, concentrating on philosophical issues but also including historical material. The book will (...) be of interest to professional scholars and philosophers but its clear and non-technical style makes it intelligible to beginners and the interested layman. (shrink)
Skepticism gives a pessimistic reply to questions on whether we really know the things we think we know, and whether our beliefs are reasonable. The theoretical and practical difficulties presented by the skeptical challenge--in that the skeptical life cannot be lived, and the doctrine seems self-defeating--are in fact superficial, according to Ruth Weintraub. Her study looks at several famous skeptical arguments of Descartes, Hume, and the ancient Greek skeptic, Sextus Empiricus. She argues that by drawing on philosophy, rather than science, (...) the skeptical challenge can be answered. (shrink)
This second edition of Women, Knowledge and Reality continues to exhibit the ways in which feminist philosophers enrich and challenge philosophy. Essays by twenty-five feminist philosophers, seventeen of them new to the second edition, address fundamental issues in philosophical and feminist methods, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of science, language, religion and mind/body. This second edition expands the perspectives of women of color, of postmodernism and French feminism, and focuses on the most recent controversies in feminist theory and philosophy. The (...) chapters are organized by traditional fields of philosophy, and include introductions which contrast the ideas of feminist thinkers with traditional philosophers. The collected essays illustrate both the depth and breadth of feminist critiques and the range of contemporary feminist theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
This book, an exploration of the work of Leibnitz, is Ortega’s most systematic contribution to philosophy. Ortega begins with a detailed definition of a principle and with an examination of the specific principles formulated by Leibnitz. He goes on to examine Leibnitz. He goes on to examine Leibnitz’s complex and mercurial attitudes towards principles and discusses the effects of these attitudes on his philosophy and on contributions to mathematics and logic.
This set of original essays by some of the best names in philosophy of science explores a range of diverse issues in the intersection of biology and epistemology. It asks whether the study of life requires a special biological approach to knowledge and concludes that it does not. The studies, taken together, help to develop and deepen our understanding of how biology works and what counts as warranted knowledge and as legitimate approaches to the study of life. The first section (...) deals with the nature of evidence and evolutionary theory as it came to dominate nineteenth-century philosophy of science; the second and third parts deal with the impact of laboratory and experimental research. This is an impressive team of authors, bringing together some of the most distinguished philosophers of science today. The volume will interest professionals and graduate students in biology and the history and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This collection is one of the first to offer feminist perspectives on epistemology from thinkers outside North America. It presents essays from an international group of contributors, including Rosi Braidotti, Gemma Corradi Fiumara, Anna Yeatman, Sabina Lovibond and Liz Stanley. Using approaches and methods from both analytic and continental philosophy, the contributors engage with questions of traditional epistemology and with issues raised by postmodernist critiques. The essays deal with the central question of difference: the difference which a feminist perspective yields (...) in relation to traditional knowledge and the effects on feminist perspectives of differences between women. This awareness of difference requires a re-evaluation of the idea of objectivity and the justification of knowledge claims in ways that focus attention on the subjects who constitute the knowledge producers. Knowing the Difference presents some of the most innovative thinking in feminist epistemology and sets the agenda for the next decade. (shrink)
This author explores the intersection between cognitive science, as exemplified by the computational model of mind, and epistemologyó specifically, epistemic justification theory. Her analysis leads to the conclusion that some very specific and somewhat technical issues in epistemic justification theory can be at least partially resolved, if not entirely cleared up, by the use of the computational model. The third and fourth chapters of this work are devoted directly to that effort. Chapter one examines in detail epistemology and cognitive sciences, (...) while chapters two and three offer a thorough introduction to standard epistemic justification theory. Finally, chapter five is a critique of the computational model. (shrink)
In the past 15 years a host of critical thinking books have appeared that teach students to find flaws in the arguments of others by learning to detect a number of informal fallacies. This book is not in that tradition. The authors of this book believe that while students learn to become vicious critics, they still continue to make the very mistakes they criticize in others. Thus, this book has adopted the approach of teaching the construction of good arguments first (...) and then introducing criticism as a secondary skill. Moreover, the emphasis of the book is not on learning to name fallacies, but on being able to identify weaknesses in an argument so as to be able to construct an effective critique of that argument. The book is accompanied by a workbook featuring a wealth of examples to help students acquire the material. (shrink)
Roughly characterized, solipsism is the skeptical thesis that there is no reason to think that anything exists other than oneself and one’s present experience. Since its inception in the reflections of Descartes, the thesis has taken three broad and sometimes overlapping forms: Internal World Solipsism that arises from an account of perception in terms of representations of an external world; Observed World Solipsism that arises from doubts as to the existence of what is not actually present sensuously in experience; Unreal (...) World Solipsism that arises from doubts as to the reality of the perceived world. This book attempts to give a rationally warranted refutation of all three forms. Over time, a vast number of putative rebuttals of solipsism have been proposed. The first half of the book clears the terrain for more productive investigation by showing in detail how each of these various responses fails. Among the simpler of such responses is the claim to have knowledge and certainty about everyday matters (Moore, Austin, Quinton, Pollock). Another is to appeal to pragmatic considerations dictated by the fact of one’s living in the world (Wittgenstein, Rescher, Ayer, Will, Strawson). Yet another is to undermine the skeptical thesis by applying it to itself (Plato, Hume, Russell, Johnson). All of these simpler approaches are found to be inadequate or irrelevant (Chapters 2 and 3). Other responses are more complex in that they presuppose certain basic positions with regard to the nature of cognition, meaning, language, or thought. Consequently, showing how they fail often involves showing the falsity of their underlying views. One such approach maintains that any empirical enquiry presupposes the existence of material objects (Neurath, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine, Gurwitsch, Williams, Rorty, BonJour), and that consequently solipsism is a problem peculiar to a mistaken foundationalist epistemology that purports to derive all warranted belief about the world from sensuous data. However, on examination, the various lines of reasoning advanced are found to be fallacious (Chapter 4). A closely-related approach is to claim that any empirical enquiry presupposes background truths, and that consequently solipsism is parasitic in the sense that it is based on truths that it purports to deny (Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine). Such a self-contradictory situation is shown to obtain for only one form of solipsism, representational solipsism with its classical external world problem dating back to Descartes (Chapter 5). Another approach is to appeal to linguistic considerations in order to level charges of meaninglessness against solipsism (Wittgenstein, Austin, Ryle, Putnam, Clarke, Stroud). However, the charges are easily shown to be unwarranted (Chapter 6), a conclusion subsequently corroborated by a briefly sketched first-person account of meaning (Chapter 7). A further approach is to claim that all philosophical thinking must involve linguistic concepts, that language is intersubjective and tied to objects, and hence that solipsism is conceptually parasitic, and hence calls into question a conceptual scheme that it presupposes (Kant, Strawson, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine, Rorty). However, it may be shown that language is not incorrigibly wedded to objects, and in revised form it may be used to state solipsistic theses (Chapter 8). This conclusion is further supported by a refutation of various arguments against the possibility of private language (Wittgenstein, Sellars, Goodman, Rorty, Gadamer), as well as by the empirical evidence of everyday thinking that commonly takes place without reliance on the structures of public language (Chapter 9). The final chapters are more directly constructive. Following foundationalist procedure, a survey is undertaken of the sensuous data of first-person experience in its various modalities and their interrelationships (Chapter 10). An account is given of the bodily nature of the experiencing subject or self that feels, that wills, and that thinks, as well as of the spontaneity of the self or its capacity for free choice (Chapter 11). Rational warrant is then provided for thinking that items randomly perceived through a subject’s spontaneity or free will, continue to exist when unperceived, thus refuting forms of Observed World Solipsism that deny the existence of unperceived objects (Chapter 12). Finally, it is argued with regard to Unreal World Solipsism that while the scenarios it proposes cannot be dismissed as impossible, the absence of any supporting evidence whatever in their favor makes the espousal of any of them both arbitrary and an irrational leap (Chapter 13). (shrink)
In this incisive new book one of Britain's most eminent philosophers explores the often overlooked tension between voluntariness and involuntariness in human cognition. He seeks to counter the widespread tendency for analytic epistemology to be dominated by the concept of belief. Is scientific knowledge properly conceived as being embodied, at its best, in a passive feeling of belief or in an active policy of acceptance? Should a jury's verdict declare what its members involuntarily believe or what they voluntarily accept? And (...) should statements and assertions be presumed to express what their authors believe or what they accept? Does such a distinction between belief and acceptance help to resolve the paradoxes of self-deception and akrasia? Must people be taken to believe everything entailed by what they believe, or merely to accept everything entailed by what they accept? Through a systematic examination of these problems, the author sheds new light on issues of crucial importance in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a biennial publicaton which offers a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe and Australasia, it will publish exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Topics within its purview include: *traditional epistemological questions concerning the nature of belief, justification, and knowledge, the status of scepticism, the nature of the a priori, etc; *new developments in epistemology, including movements such (...) as naturalized epistemology, feminist epistemology, social epistemology, and virtue epistemology, and approaches such as contextualism; *foundational questions in decision-theory; *confirmation theory and other branches of philosophy of science that bear on traditional issues in epistemology ; *topics in the philosophy of perception relevant to epistemology ; *topics in cognitive science, computer science, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology that bear directly on traditional epistemological questions; and *work that examines connections between epistemology and other branches of philosophy, including work on testimony and the ethics of belief. Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here. (shrink)
Epistemetrics is not as yet a scholarly discipline. With regard to scientific information there is the discipline of scientometrics, represented by a journal of that very name. Science, however, does not have a monopoly on knowledge. It is one of our most important cognitive resources, it is not our only one. While scientometrics is a centerpiece of epistemetrics, it is not the whole of it. Nicholas Rescher's endeavor to quantify knowledge is not only of interest in itself, but is also (...) instructive in bringing into sharper relief the nature of and the explanatory rationale for the limits that unavoidably confront our efforts to advance the frontiers of knowledge. In particular, his book demonstrates the limitations of human knowledge and will be of great value to scholars working in this area. (shrink)