Review of Bishop & Tout, Epistemology and the psychology of human judgement [Book Review]

Mind 115 (458):390-393 (2006)
Fred Dretske began his review of my book, The Fragmentation of Reason, with the warning that it would ‘get the adrenalin pumping’ if you are a fan of episte- mology in the analytic tradition (Dretske 1992). Well, if my book got the adrenalin pumping, this one will make your blood boil. Bishop and Trout (B&T) adopt the label ‘Standard Analytic Epistemology (SAE)’ for ‘a contin- gently clustered class of methods and theses that have dominated English- speaking epistemology for much of the past century’(p. 8), and they make a spirited case for the view that SAE should be abandoned; it’s just not worth doing. According to B&T, ‘the main problem with SAE is methodological: its goals and methods are beyond repair’ (p. 22). For them, the primary goal of an epistemology worth having is prescriptive; it should tell us how to go about the business of reasoning. They are ‘driven by a vision of what epistemology could be —normatively reason guiding and genuinely capable of benefiting the world’ (p. 7). For the most part, they maintain, SAE does not even try to guide..
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