About this topic
Summary

Inquiry is a central topic in philosophy, with a history running from Plato's dialogues and Pyrrhonian scepticism to American Pragmatism, but it has largely been overlooked as a topic in epistemology in favour of knowledge, belief, and justification. To understand inquiry, we need to negotiate issues at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of language, and linguistics. We inquire into questions, so we need to understand what questions and answers are, and what it takes to resolve a question. Inquiry is a goal-directed activity, so we need to understand what the goals of inquiry might be (knowledge, true belief, understanding), and what the norms of inquiry are. There are also important questions about the relation between inquiry, curiosity and wonder, and between inquiry, belief, and the suspension of judgement . Although we can inquire alone, we typically try to answer questions together, so we need to understand the inquisitive character of conversation, as well as larger-scale collaborative inquiry, in science, philosophy, and democratic discourse.

Key works There is a recent surge of interest in inquiry within epistemology. Some notable topics include: the content of inquiry Friedman 2013, the relation between inquiry, belief, and suspension of judgement Friedman 2013, Friedman 2019 , what the goal of inquiry might be Peirce 1877, Pritchard 2008Kelp 2014 whether inquiry has a constitutive norm Whitcomb 2017, the nature of collective inquiry Habgood-Coote forthcoming, and how the norms associated with inquiry relate to other epistemic norms Friedman forthcoming, Fleisher 2019. On conversation as collective inquiry, see Stalnaker 1984 and Roberts 2012. On Pyrrhonianism and inquiry, see Perin 2006, and on Peirce, see .
Introductions For an accessible introduction to the semantics of questions, see https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/questions/
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78 found
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1 — 50 / 78
  1. added 2020-07-01
    Pyrrhonism Past and Present: Inquiry, Disagreement, and Rationality.Diego E. Machuca - forthcoming
    This books consists of two parts. The first part examines some key aspects of Pyrrhonian skepticism as expounded in Sextus Empiricus's extant works. The second part explores certain issues in contemporary philosophy from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective.
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  2. added 2020-06-06
    Relevance and Risk: How the Relevant Alternatives Framework Models the Epistemology of Risk.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Synthese:1-31.
    The epistemology of risk examines how risks bear on epistemic properties. A common framework for examining the epistemology of risk holds that strength of evidential support is best modelled as numerical probability given the available evidence. In this essay I develop and motivate a rival ‘relevant alternatives’ framework for theorising about the epistemology of risk. I describe three loci for thinking about the epistemology of risk. The first locus concerns consequences of relying on a belief for action, where those consequences (...)
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  3. added 2020-06-02
    How to Endorse Conciliationism.Will Fleisher - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.
    I argue that recognizing a distinct doxastic attitude called endorsement, along with the epistemic norms governing it, solves the self-undermining problem for conciliationism about disagreement. I provide a novel account of how the self-undermining problem works by pointing out the auxiliary assumptions the objection relies on. These assumptions include commitment to certain epistemic principles linking belief in a theory to following prescriptions of that theory. I then argue that we have independent reason to recognize the attitude of endorsement. Endorsement is (...)
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  4. added 2020-05-05
    The American Pragmatists.Cheryl Misak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Cheryl Misak presents a history of the great American philosophical tradition of pragmatism, from its inception in the 1870s to the present day. She traces the connections between classical American pragmatism and contemporary analytic philosophy, and draws out the continuing influence of pragmatist ideas in the recent history of philosophy.
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  5. added 2020-05-05
    The Enterprise of Knowledge: An Essay on Knowledge, Credal Probability, and Chance.Isaac Levi - 1980 - MIT Press.
    This major work challenges some widely held positions in epistemology - those of Peirce and Popper on the one hand and those of Quine and Kuhn on the other.
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  6. added 2020-05-05
    How to Make Our Ideas Clear.C. S. Peirce - 1878 - Popular Science Monthly 12 (Jan.):286-302.
    This is one of the seminal articles of the pragmatist tradition where C.S. Peirce sets out his doctrine of doubt and belief --and their relationship to inquiry and clarity of our concepts. Originally published in the Popular Science Monthly; and widely available in reprints and collections of Peirce's writings.
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  7. added 2020-05-01
    Perspectives, Questions, and Epistemic Value.Kareem Khalifa & Jared A. Millson - 2020 - In Michela Massimi & Ana-Maria Cretu (eds.), Knowledge From a Human Point of View. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 87-106.
    Many epistemologists endorse true-belief monism, the thesis that only true beliefs are of fundamental epistemic value. However, this view faces formidable counterexamples. In response to these challenges, we alter the letter, but not the spirit, of true-belief monism. We dub the resulting view “inquisitive truth monism”, which holds that only true answers to relevant questions are of fundamental epistemic value. Which questions are relevant is a function of an inquirer’s perspective, which is characterized by his/her interests, social role, and background (...)
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  8. added 2020-04-29
    Being Neutral: Suspension of Judgement, Agnosticism and Inquiry.Matthew McGrath - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Epistemologists often claim that in addition to belief and disbelief there is a third, neutral, doxastic attitude. Various terms are used: ‘suspending judgment’, ‘withholding’, ‘agnosticism’. It is also common to claim that the factors relevant to the justification of these attitudes are epistemic in the narrow sense of being factors that bear on the strength or weakness of one’s epistemic position with respect to the target proposition. This paper addresses two challenges to such traditionalism about doxastic attitudes. The first concerns (...)
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  9. added 2020-04-29
    Friedman on Suspended Judgment.Michal Masny - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    In a recent series of papers, Jane Friedman argues that suspended judgment is a sui generis first-order attitude, with a question as its content. In this paper, I offer a critique of Friedman’s project. I begin by responding to her arguments against reductive higher-order propositional accounts of suspended judgment, and thus undercut the negative case for her own view. Further, I raise worries about the details of her positive account, and in particular about her claim that one suspends judgment about (...)
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  10. added 2020-04-29
    Credences and Suspended Judgments as Transitional Attitudes.Julia Staffel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):281-294.
    In this paper, I highlight an interesting difference between belief on the one hand, and suspended judgment and credence on the other hand. This difference is the following: credences and suspended judgments are suitable to serve as transitional as well as terminal attitudes in our reasoning, whereas beliefs are only appropriate as terminal attitudes. The notion of a transitional attitude is not an established one in the literature, but I argue that introducing it helps us better understand the different roles (...)
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  11. added 2020-04-29
    Inquiry And The Transmission Of Knowledge.Christoph Kelp - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):298-310.
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  12. added 2020-04-29
    John Dewey's Pragmatist Alternative to the Belief-Acceptance Dichotomy.Matthew J. Brown - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:62-70.
    Defenders of value-free science appeal to cognitive attitudes as part of a wedge strategy, to mark a distinction between science proper and the uses of science for decision-making, policy, etc. Distinctions between attitudes like belief and acceptance have played an important role in defending the value-free ideal. In this paper, I will explore John Dewey's pragmatist philosophy of science as an alternative to the philosophical framework the wedge strategy rests on. Dewey does draw significant and useful distinctions between different sorts (...)
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  13. added 2020-04-29
    The Functional Complexity of Scientific Evidence.Matthew J. Brown - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (1):65-83.
    This article sketches the main features of traditional philosophical models of evidence, indicating idealizations in such models that it regards as doing more harm than good. It then proceeds to elaborate on an alternative model of evidence that is functionalist, complex, dynamic, and contextual, a view the author calls dynamic evidential functionalism (DEF). This alternative builds on insights from philosophy of scientific practice, Kuhnian philosophy of science, pragmatist epistemology, philosophy of experimentation, and functionalist philosophy of mind. Along the way, the (...)
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  14. added 2020-04-29
    Epistemic Justification in the Context of Pursuit: A Coherentist Approach.Dunja Šešelja & Christian Straßer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (13):3111-3141.
    The aim of this paper is to offer an account of epistemic justification suitable for the context of theory pursuit, that is, for the context in which new scientific ideas, possibly incompatible with the already established theories, emerge and are pursued by scientists. We will frame our account paradigmatically on the basis of one of the influential systems of epistemic justification: Laurence Bonjour’s coherence theory of justification. The idea underlying our approach is to develop a set of criteria which indicate (...)
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  15. added 2020-04-29
    John Dewey’s Logic of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2012 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 2 (2):258-306.
    In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his theory (...)
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  16. added 2020-04-29
    Confidence and Coarse-Grained Attitudes.Scott Sturgeon - 2010 - In T. Szabo Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 3--126.
  17. added 2020-04-29
    Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere’s Scientific Perspectivism.Matthew J. Brown - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):213-220.
    Ron Giere’s recent book Scientific perspectivism sets out an account of science that attempts to forge a via media between two popular extremes: absolutist, objectivist realism on the one hand, and social constructivism or skeptical anti-realism on the other. The key for Giere is to treat both scientific observation and scientific theories as perspectives, which are limited, partial, contingent, context-, agent- and purpose-dependent, and pluralism-friendly, while nonetheless world-oriented and modestly realist. Giere’s perspectivism bears significant similarity to earlier ideas of Paul (...)
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  18. added 2020-04-29
    From Ugly Duckling to Swan: C. S. Peirce, Abduction, and the Pursuit of Scientific Theories.Daniel J. McKaughan - 2008 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (3):pp. 446-468.
    Jaakko Hintikka (1998) has argued that clarifying the notion of abduction is the fundamental problem of contemporary epistemology. One traditional interpretation of Peirce on abduction sees it as a recipe for generating new theoretical discoveries . A second standard view sees abduction as a mode of reasoning that justifies beliefs about the probable truth of theories. While each reading has some grounding in Peirce's writings, each leaves out features that are crucial to Peirce's distinctive understanding of abduction. I develop and (...)
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  19. added 2020-04-29
    What is a Situation?Tom Burke - 2000 - History and Philosophy of Logic 21 (2):95-113.
    This paper examines the role of ?situations? in John Dewey's philosophy of logic. To do this properly it is necessary to contrast Dewey's conception of experience and mentality with views characteristic of modern epistemology. The primary difference is that, rather than treat experience as peripheral and or external to mental functions (reason, etc.), we should treat experience as a field in and as a part of which thinking takes place. Experience in this broad sense subsumes theory and fact, hypothesis and (...)
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  20. added 2020-04-29
    The Fixation of Belief and its Undoing: Changing Beliefs Through Inquiry.Isaac Levi - 1991 - Cambridge University Press.
    Isaac Levi's new book is concerned with how one can justify changing one's beliefs. The discussion is deeply informed by the belief-doubt model advocated by C. S. Peirce and John Dewey, of which the book provides a substantial analysis. Professor Levi then addresses the conceptual framework of potential changes available to an inquirer. A structural approach to propositional attitudes is proposed, which rejects the conventional view that a propositional attitude involves a relation between an agent and either a linguistic entity (...)
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  21. added 2020-04-29
    It's Not What You Know That Counts.Mark Kaplan - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (7):350-363.
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  22. added 2020-04-28
    Enquiry and the Value of Knowledge.Barnaby Walker - forthcoming - Philosophy.
    In this paper I challenge the orthodox view of the significance of Platonic value problems. According to this view, such problems are among the central questions of epistemology, and answering them is essential for justifying the status of epistemology as a major branch of philosophical enquiry. I challenge this view by identifying an assumption on which Platonic value problems are based – the value assumption – and considering how this assumption might be resisted. After articulating a line of thought that (...)
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  23. added 2020-04-28
    Zetetic Epistemology.Jane Friedman - forthcoming - In Towards an Expansive Epistemology: Norms, Action, and the Social Sphere. Routledge.
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  24. added 2020-04-28
    Knowledge and Conditionals: Essays on the Structure of Inquiry.Robert C. Stalnaker - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    Robert C. Stalnaker presents a set of essays on the structure of inquiry. First he focuses on the concepts of knowledge, belief, and partial belief, and on the rules and procedures we ought to use to determine what to believe. Then he explores the relations between conditionals and causal and explanatory concepts.
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  25. added 2020-04-28
    Philosophy Without Belief.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):109-138.
    Should we believe our controversial philosophical views? Recently, several authors have argued from broadly conciliationist premises that we should not. If they are right, we philosophers face a dilemma: If we believe our views, we are irrational. If we do not, we are not sincere in holding them. This paper offers a way out, proposing an attitude we can rationally take toward our views that can support sincerity of the appropriate sort. We should arrive at our views via a certain (...)
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  26. added 2020-04-28
    Checking Again.Jane Friedman - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):84-96.
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  27. added 2020-04-28
    Wondering About What You Know.Avery Archer - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):anx162.
    In a series of recent papers, Jane Friedman has argued that attitudes like wondering, enquiring, and suspending judgement are question-directed and have the function of moving someone from a position of ignorance to one of knowledge. Call such attitudes interrogative attitudes. Friedman insists that all IAs are governed by the following Ignorance Norm: Necessarily, if one knows Q at t, then one ought not have an IA towards Q at t. However, I argue that key premisses in Friedman’s argument actually (...)
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  28. added 2020-04-28
    Basic Questions.Peter Carruthers - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (2):130-147.
    This paper argues that a set of questioning attitudes are among the foundations of human and animal minds. While both verbal questioning and states of curiosity are generally explained in terms of metacognitive desires for knowledge or true belief, I argue that each is better explained by a prelinguistic sui generis type of mental attitude of questioning. I review a range of considerations in support of such a proposal and improve on previous characterizations of the nature of these attitudes. I (...)
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  29. added 2020-04-28
    A Neglected Ramseyan View of Truth, Belief, and Inquiry.Benoit Gaultier - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (7):366-380.
    For F. P. Ramsey, “there is no separate problem of truth,” but, rather, substantive problems about the nature of belief and judgment and the place and function of truth in these propositional attitudes. In this paper, I expound and defend an important but largely overlooked aspect of Ramsey’s view of belief and inquiry: his thesis that truth does not intervene at all in one’s ordinary beliefs, nor in one’s ordinarily inquiring into—in the sense of wondering, or reflecting on—whether or not (...)
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  30. added 2020-04-28
    Understanding and Its Role in Inquiry.Benjamin T. Rancourt - unknown
    In this dissertation, I argue that understanding possesses unique epistemic value. I propose and defend a novel account of understanding that I call the management account of understanding, which is the view that an agent A understands a subject matter S just in case A has the ability to extract the relevant information and exploit it with the relevant cognitive capacities to answer questions in S. Since inquiry is the process of raising and answering questions, I argue that without understanding, (...)
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  31. added 2020-04-28
    Hume and Peirce on the Ultimate Stability of Belief.Ryan Pollock & David W. Agler - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):245-269.
    Louis Loeb has argued that Hume is pessimistic while Peirce is optimistic about the attainment of fully stable beliefs. In contrast, we argue that Hume was optimistic about such attainment but only if the scope of philosophical investigation is limited to first-order explanatory questions. Further, we argue that Peirce, after reformulating the pragmatic maxim to accommodate the reality of counterfactuals, was pessimistic about such attainment. Finally, we articulate and respond to Peirce's objection that Hume's skeptical arguments in T 1.4.1 and (...)
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  32. added 2020-04-28
    Defending Philosophy in the Face of Systematic Disagreement.Sanford Goldberg - 2013 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Disagreement and Skepticism. Routledge. pp. 277-294.
    I believe that the sort of disagreements we encounter in philosophy—disagreements that often take the form that I have elsewhere called system- atic peer disagreements—make it unreasonable to think that there is any knowledge, or even justified belief, when the disagreements themselves are systematic. I readily acknowledge that this skeptical view is quite controversial; I suspect many are unconvinced. However, I will not be defending it here. Rather, I will be exploring a worry, or set of worries, that arise on (...)
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  33. added 2020-04-28
    Epistemic Progress: A Construct for Understanding and Evaluating Inquiry.Clinton Golding - 2012 - Educational Theory 62 (6):677-693.
    In this essay Clinton Golding introduces a new construct and area of research — epistemic progress — and argues that it can shed new light on educational inquiry. By clearly distinguishing progress through developing better ideas from progress through developing better inquiry skills , teachers and students can better understand, participate in, and evaluate inquiry. In addition, epistemic progress complements other epistemic constructs, such as “knowledge,” and could provide new insights about different kinds of inquiry or research, as well as (...)
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  34. added 2020-04-28
    The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations.José Medina - 2012 - Oxford University.
    This book explores the epistemic side of racial and sexual oppression. It elucidates how social insensitivities and imposed silences prevent members of different groups from listening to each other.
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  35. added 2020-04-28
    How Settled Are Settled Beliefs in “The Fixation of Belief”?Jeff Kasser - 2011 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 47 (2):226.
    Despite its prominence in Peirce’s best-known works, the notion of fixed, stable, or settled belief (I will follow Peirce in using these terms more or less interchangeably) has received relatively little explicit attention. Need a belief be permanently stable in order to count as fixed? Or, to take the other extreme, does a belief count as fixed as long as it is currently stable? More fundamentally, what is involved in predicating stability of a belief? Talk of stability suggests a disposition (...)
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  36. added 2020-04-28
    Some Varieties of Epistemic Injustice: Reflections on Fricker.Christopher Hookway - 2010 - Episteme 7 (2):151-163.
    Miranda Fricker's important study of epistemic injustice is focussed primarily on testimonial injustice and hermeneutic injustice. It explores how agents' capacities to make assertions and provide testimony can be impaired in ways that can involve forms of distinctively epistemic injustice. My paper identifies a wider range of forms of epistemic injustice that do not all involve the ability to make assertions or offer testimony. The paper considers some examples of some other ways in which injustice can prevent someone from participating (...)
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  37. added 2020-04-28
    Questions, Epistemology, and Inquiries.Christopher Hookway - 2008 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (1):1-21.
    Questions are relevant to epistemology because they formulate cognitive goals, they are used to elicit information, they are used in Socratic reflection and knowledge sentences often have indirect question complements. The paper explores what capacities we must possess if we are to understand questions and identify and evaluate potential answers to them. The later sections explore different ways in which these matters depend upon pragmatic and other contextual considerations.
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  38. added 2020-04-28
    The Fixation of Knowledge and the Question-Answer Process of Inquiry.Claudine Tiercelin - 2008 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (1):23-44.
    The aim of the paper is to present some important insights of C. Hookway's pragmatist analysis of knowledge viewed less in the standard way, as justified true belief, than as a dynamic natural and normative question-answer process of inquiry, a reliable and successful agent-based enterprise, consisting in virtuous dispositions explaining how we can be held responsible for our beliefs and investigations. Despite the merits of such an approach, the paper shows that it may be inefficient in accounting for some challenges (...)
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  39. added 2020-04-28
    Knowing the Answer, Understanding and Epistemic Value.Duncan Pritchard - 2008 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (1):325-339.
    This paper principally argues for two controversial theses: that understanding, unlike knowledge, is distinctively valuable, and that understanding is the proper goal of inquiry.
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  40. added 2020-04-28
    Epistemology and Inquiry: The Primacy of Practice.Christopher Hookway - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 95--110.
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  41. added 2020-04-28
    Pyrrhonian Scepticism and the Search for Truth.Casey Perin - 2006 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 30:337-360.
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  42. added 2020-04-28
    Peirce on the Aim of Inquiry: Another Reading of "Fixation".T. L. Short - 2000 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 36 (1):1 - 23.
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  43. added 2020-04-28
    Sextus, Descartes, Hume, and Peirce: On Securing Settled Doxastic States.Louis E. Loeb - 1998 - Noûs 32 (2):205-230.
  44. added 2020-04-28
    Knowledge and Inquiry: Essays on Jaakko Hintikka’s Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.Matti Sintonen (ed.) - 1997 - Brill | Rodopi.
    Contents: Matti SINTONEN: From the Science of Logic to the Logic of Science. I: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES. Zev BECHLER: Hintikka on Plenitude in Aristotle. Marja-Liisa KAKKURI-KNUUTTILA: What Can the Sciences of Man Learn from Aristotle? Martin KUSCH: Theories of Questions in German-Speaking Philosophy Around the Turn of the Century. Nils-Eric SAHLIN: 'HE IS NO GOOD FOR MY WORK': On the Philosophical Relations between Ramsey and Wittgenstein. II: FORMAL TOOLS: INDUCTION, OBSERVATION AND IDENTIFIABILITY. Theo A.F. KUIPERS: The Carnap-Hintikka Programme in Inductive Logic. (...)
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  45. added 2020-04-28
    Hume on Stability, Justification, and Unphilosophical Probability.Louis E. Loeb - 1995 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 33 (1):101-132.
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  46. added 2020-04-28
    Inquiry in the Meno.Gail Fine - 1992 - In R. Kraut (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Plato. Cambridge University Press.
    In most of the Socratic dialogues, Socrates professes to inquire into some virtue. At the same time, he professes not to know what the virtue in question is. How, then, can he inquire into it? Doesn't he need some knowledge to guide his inquiry? Socrates' disclaimer of knowledge seems to preclude Socratic inquiry. This difficulty must confront any reader of the Socratic dialogues; but one searches them in vain for any explicit statement of the problem or for any explicit solution (...)
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  47. added 2020-04-28
    Peirce, Levi, and the Aims of Inquiry.Cheryl Misak - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (2):256-265.
    Isaac Levi uses C. S. Peirce's fallibilism as a foil for his own "epistemological infallibilism". I argue that Levi's criticisms of Peirce do not hit their target, and that the two pragmatists agree on the fundamental issues concerning background knowledge, certainty, revision of belief, and the aims of inquiry.
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  48. added 2020-04-28
    Peirce's Account of Inquiry.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1958 - Journal of Philosophy 55 (14):588-592.
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  49. added 2020-04-28
    The Fixation of Belief.C. S. Peirce - 1877 - Popular Science Monthly 12 (1):1--15.
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  50. added 2020-04-27
    Inquiry, Knowledge and Understanding.Christoph Kelp - forthcoming - Synthese.
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