Metaphilosophy as First Philosophy

International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):335-349 (2010)
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This paper describes and evaluates two different ways of doing philosophy: a “reflexive” approach that sees metaphilosophical inquiry as fundamental, and a “nonreflexive” approach that sees metaphilosophy as dispensable. It examines arguments that have been advanced for these approaches by Gilbert Ryle, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Rorty, and claims that none of these arguments are convincing. Finally, the paper draws on Alasdair MacIntyre’s work to propose a different way of choosing between the approaches, one that asks which approach is more successful at making its appeal intelligible to the other. From this perspective, the reflexive approach appears to have an important advantage over its rival.



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Robert Piercey
University of Regina

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