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)
The Hellenistic philosophers and schools of philosophy are emerging from the shadow of Plato and Aristotle and are increasingly studied for their intrinsic philosophical value. They are not only interesting in their own right, but also form the intellectual background of the late Roman Republic. This study gives a comprehensive and readable account of the principal doctrines of the Stoics, Epicureans and various sceptical traditions from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to around 200 A.D. Discussions are (...) arranged topically in order to address underlying issues and to make clear what the different schools have in common and how they differ. At the same time the coherence of each system as a whole is emphasized. (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)
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.
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.
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)
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 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)
'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 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.
In this critical examination of recent accounts of the nature of science and of its justification given by Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos, Laudan, and Newton-Smith, Banner contends that models of scientific rationality which are used in criticism of religious beliefs are in fact often inadequate as accounts of the nature of science. He argues that a realist philosophy of science both reflects the character of science and scientific justifications, and suggests that religious belief could be given a justification of the same (...) sort. (shrink)
Nicholas Wolterstorff discusses the ethics of belief which Locke developed in Book IV of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, where Locke finally argued his overarching aim: how we ought to govern our belief, especially on matters of religion and morality. Wolterstorff shows that this concern was instigated by the collapse, in Locke's day, of a once-unified moral and religious tradition in Europe into warring factions. His was thus a culturally and socially engaged epistemology. This view of Locke invites a new (...) interpretation of the origins of modern philosophy. He maintained that instead of following tradition we ought to let 'reason be our guide.' Accordingly, after discussing Hume's powerful attack on Locke's recommended practice, Wolterstorff argues for Locke's originality and emphasizes his contribution to the 'modernity' of post-sixteenth-century philosophy. (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 this major contribution to the theory of rational choice the author sets out the foundations of rational choice, and then sketches a dynamic choice framework in which principles of ordering and independence follow from a number of apparently plausible conditions. However there is potential conflict among these conditions, and when they are weakened to avoid it, the usual foundations of rational choice no longer prevail. The thrust of the argument is to suggest that the theory of rational choice is (...) less determinate than many suppose. (shrink)
The Skeptic’s Oakeshott poses the thesis that Michael Oakeshott’s political philosophy is best understood from the vantage point of his skepticism and his intellectual affinity to Hobbes. Margaret Thatcher based much of her political philosophy on Oakeshott’s theories, but Gerencser shows how she widely misinterpreted his work. He argues persuasively against those who understand Oakeshott in terms of the influence of British idealism. Instead, Gerencser argues that Oakeshott adopts and softens Hobbes' idea of consent as the basis of political authority. (...) By insisting that political authority has its source in acknowledgement and recognition, Oakeshott’s philosophy opens the doors to democratic politics. The book ends with persuasive criticisms of Oakeshott. (shrink)
In Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology, editors Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Mark Timmons bring together eleven specially commissioned essays by distinguished moral philosophers exploring the nature and possibility of moral knowledge. Each essay represents a major position within the exciting field of moral epistemology in which a proponent of the position presents and defends his or her view and locates it vis-a-vis competing views. The authors include established philosophers such as Peter Railton, Robert Audi, Richard Brandt, and Simon Blackburn, (...) as well as newer voices in the field. Topics covered include moral skepticism, moral truth, projectivism, contractarianism, coherentism, feminist views, quasi-realism, and pragmatism. The lively and clear selections do not presuppose specialized knowledge of philosophy, and the philosophical vocabulary used throughout the anthology is uniform, in order to facilitate understanding by those not familiar with the field. The first chapter includes a sustained critical discussion of the major views represented in the following chapters, thereby furnishing beginning students with appropriate background to understand the selections. The volume is further enhanced by an index and an extensive bibliography. An excellent text for undergraduate and graduate courses, Moral Knowledge provides the most up-to-date work on moral knowledge and justification. (shrink)
This book develops an explanation for the roles of observation and theory in scientific endeavor that occupies the middle ground between empiricism and rationalism, and captures the strengths of both approaches. Brown argues that philosophical theories have the same epistemological status as scientific theories and constructs an epistemological theory that provides an account of the role that theory and instruments play in scientific observation. His theory of perception yields a new analysis of objectivity that combines the traditional view of observation (...) as the foundation of scientific objectivity with the contemporary recognition that observation is theory-dependent. (shrink)
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)
This book is available either individually, or as part of the specially-priced Arguments of the Philosphers Collection. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
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)