Deferentialism

Philosophical Studies 156 (3):321-337 (2011)
Abstract
There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems can be swiftly and decisively dispatched by appeal to disciplines other than philosophy. In this paper we will argue that such an attitude of uncritical deference to any non-philosophical discipline is badly misguided. With reference to the work of John Burgess and David Lewis, we consider deference to mathematics. We show that deference to mathematics is implausible and that main arguments for it fail. With reference to the work of Michael Blome-Tillmann, we consider deference to linguistics. We show that his arguments appealing to deference to linguistics are unsuccessful. We then show that naturalism does not entail deferentialism and that naturalistic considerations even motivate some anti-deferentialist views. Finally, we set out deferentialism’s failings and present our own anti-deferentialist approach to philosophical inquiry.
Keywords Methodology  Naturalism  Mathematics  Linguistics  Burgess  Lewis  Blome-Tillmann
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9596-y
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References found in this work BETA
Parts of Classes.David Lewis - 1991 - Blackwell.
Spreading the Word.Simon Blackburn - 1984 - Clarendon Press.
The Scientific Image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Animalism and Deferentialism.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):605-609.
Deferentialism and the Territory of Philosophy.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2014 - Ethos: Dialogues in Philosophy and Social Sciences 7 (1):56-62.
Immodest and Proud.Jonathan Tallant - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):853-868.

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