This book presents and analyzes the most important arguments in the history of Western philosophy's skeptical tradition. It demonstrates that, although powerful, these arguments are quite limited and fail to prove their core assertion that knowledge is beyond our reach. Argues that skepticism is mistaken and that knowledge is possible Dissects the problems of realism and the philosophical doubts about the accuracy of the senses Explores the ancient argument against a criterion of knowledge, Descartes' skeptical arguments, and skeptical arguments applied (...) to inductive inference and self-knowledge Uses Moore's proof of an external world and the reliabilist conception of knowledge to illustrate that the traditional skeptical arguments fail to meet their mark. (shrink)
The title of this book, __Leibniz's Mill__, is taken from Leibniz's famous metaphor in support of a dualism between the mind, or self, and the body. Given that Descartes constructed the most famous defense of mind/body dualism, the first chapter is a basic exposition and defense of Descartes' arguments, as well as Leibniz's supporting argument. Charles Landesman's basic claim, argued with clarity and philosophical precision, is that dualism is to be preferred to materialism; namely, the self is not reducible to (...) the body, mental processes are not reducible to brain processes, and the idea that the self is a mental substance constitutes the best understanding of all the facts of mental life. Landesman takes up the central philosophical topics on the nature of the self and the mind in arguing that dualism is a defensible position, even if our mental life is dependent in some respects on the body. Dependency is not the same as identity. Nor should one deny that many bodily events are dependent upon states of mind. He examines our knowledge of other minds, the mind's knowledge of itself, and Descartes' famous argument "I think, therefore I am"; efforts by philosophers such as Hume, Nietzsche, William James, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger to deny the reality of a substantial ego; the mind's way of knowing of the physical world, with its "great deception of sense"; and finally, the teleological structure of human action and the problem of free will. Landesman argues that the dualism of mind and body is perfectly compatible with modern science and that, contrary to the claims of many philosophers, there is no reason to hold that science presupposes a naturalistic or materialistic framework. "Charles Landesman shows that Cartesian mind-body dualism is alive and well and more plausible than its naturalistic and materialistic competitors. This is a first-rate piece of work that will be of real interest to philosophers and educated readers with interests in the philosophy of mind, history of philosophy, and epistemology. It should find a large readership among those who are looking for an alternative to the physicalist perspective that has long dominated the academy." --_Stewart Goetz, Ursinus College_ "Charles Landesman writes effortlessly, conveying to readers a rich alternative to today's mainline forms of materialism. This is a book that is comparable to Richard Rorty's _Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature_ or Roderick M. Chisholm's _Person and Object: A Metaphysical Study_. Like the former, it is historical and substantial, like the latter it is unapologetic in advancing with clear arguments an under-represented position." --_Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College _. (shrink)
Moore’s proof consists of the inference of both “Two hands exist at this moment” and “At least two external objects exist at this moment” from the premise “Here is one hand and here is another.” The paper claims that the proof succeeds in refuting both idealism (“There are no external objects”) and skepticism (“Nobody knows that there are external objects”). The paper defends Moore’s proof against the following objections: Idealism does not deny that there is an external world so Moore’s (...) proof is beside the point; Moore may be mistaken about the premise; Moore has failed to prove the premise; Moore has failed to show how he knows the premise; the proof leads to an infinite regress; the proof begs the question because the premise assumes what needs to be proved; the premise depends upon a shaky inference; the premise rests upon evidence of the senses and thus begs the question; the proof fails to convince the skeptic. (shrink)
On the relations of universals and particulars, by B. Russell.--Universals and resemblances, by H. H. Price.--On concept and object, by G. Frege.--Frege's hidden nominalism, by G. Bergmann.--Universals, by F. P. Ramsey.--Universals and metaphysical realism, by A. Donagan.--Universals and family resemblances, by R. Bambrough.--Particular and general, by P. F. Strawson.--The nature of universals and propositions, by G. F. Stout.--Are characteristics of particular things universal or particular? By G. E. Moore and G. F. Stout.--The relation of resemblance, by P. Butchvarov.--Qualities, by N. (...) Wolterstroff.--On what there is, by W. V. Quine.--Empiricism, semantics, and ontology, by R. Carnap.--The languages of realism and nominalism, by R. B. Brandt.--Grammar and existence: a preface to ontology, by W. Sellars.--A world of individuals, by N. Goodman.--Bibliographical notes (p. -308). (shrink)
Examining the sapir-Whorf hypothesis, The author addresses the questions whether language affects perception and whether grammatical categories affect conceptual categories. He argues that advocates of linguistic relativity have attributed to language an unjustified degree of causal efficacy and that linguistic idealism is contradicted by the results of experimental psychology. Then, Considering the claimed correlation between grammatical and conceptual categories, He argues that grammar has no metaphysics and does not influence thought. The author concludes that language in use embodies a point (...) of view only in the weak sense that relations and distinctions implicit in necessary concepts constitute a philosophical theory about reality. (staff). (shrink)
Landesman criticizes the act utilitarianism presented in j j c. Smart's "an outline of a system of utilitarian ethics". A system which eschews rules and proposes the maximization of happiness as the "only" reason for preferring one action over another, He charges, Cannot justify fairness and impartiality in ethics. (staff).