Naturalized epistemology and epistemic evaluation

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):465 – 485 (1994)
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The paper explores Quine's ?naturalized epistemology?, investigating whether its adoption would prevent the description or vindication of normative standards standardly employed in regulating beliefs and inquiries. Quine's defence of naturalized epistemology rejects traditional epistemological questions rather than using psychology to answer them. Although one could persuade those sensitive to the force of traditional epistemological problems only by employing the kind of argument whose philosophical relevance Quine is committed to denying, Quine can support his view by showing how scientific inquiry need not confront any evaluative issues which cannot be addressed in naturalistic terms. A survey of Quine's own epistemological writings supports this account of his position: naturalized epistemology, it is argued, requires acceptance of the shallowness of epistemic reflection, and traditional epistemology employs general epistemic norms and principles which Quine endeavours to show that we can do without. The closing sections of the paper argue that Quine can consistently resist recent criticisms by Alvin Plantinga in spite of the fact that an unsympathetic reader could reasonably be unimpressed by this resistance. Finally, an attempt is made to understand the normative role of Quine's empiricism and of his claim that prediction is the checkpoint of inquiry



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Christopher Hookway
University of Sheffield

Citations of this work

Anti-foundationalism and the vienna circle's revolution in philosophy.Thomas E. Uebel - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (3):415-440.
Analyticity, Linguistic Rules and Epistemic Evaluation.Christopher Hookway - 1997 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 42:197-.

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References found in this work

Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
The significance of philosophical scepticism.Barry Stroud - 1984 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The roots of reference.W. V. Quine - 1974 - LaSalle, Ill.,: Open Court.
The Legacy of Skepticism.Thompson Clarke - 1972 - Journal of Philosophy 69 (20):754.
Why reason can't be naturalized.Hilary Putnam - 1983 - In Realism and reason. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 3-24.

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