Ambiguity, vagueness and metaphor are pervasive features of language, deserving of systematic study in their own right. Yet they have frequently been considered mere deviations from ideal language or obstacles to be avoided in the construction of scientific systems. First published in 1979, Beyond the Letter offers a consecutive study of these features from a philosphical point of view, providing analyses of each and treating their relations to one another. Addressed to the fundamental task of logical and semantic explanation, the (...) book employs an inscriptional methodology in the attempt to avoid prevalent forms of question-begging, and, further, in the conviction that sparseness of assumption often reveals points of theoretical interest irrespective of methodolgical preference. The author distinguishes and analyses several varieties of ambiguity, developing new semantic notions in the process; recasts the philosophical treatment of vagueness in the light of recent criticisms of analyticity; discusses the bearing of vagueness on logic; and provides a systematic critique of major recent interpretations of metaphor, developing a revised version of contextualism. (shrink)
The concept of potential plays a prominent role in the thinking of parents, educators and planners the world over. Although this concept accurately reflects central features of human nature, its current use perpetuates traditional myths of fixity, harmony and value, calculated to cause untold mischief in social and educational practice. First published in 1985, Israel Scheffler's book aims to demythologise the concept of potential. He shows its roots in genuine aspects of human nature, but at the same time frees it (...) from outworn philosophical myths by means of analytical reconstruction - thereby improving both its theoretical and its practical applicability. The book concludes with an interpretation of policy-making in education, and reflections on the ideal education of a policy-maker. It emphasises human symbolism, choice, temporal continuity, and self-determination as indispensible elements of any adequate philosophy of education. _Of Human Potential _will be of interest to a broad range of philosophers, educators and social scientists. (shrink)
First published in 1974, this book is a critical introduction to the work of four quintessential pragmatist philosophers: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, George Herbert Mead and John Dewey. Alongside providing a general historical and biographical account of the pragmatist movement, the work offers an in depth critical response to the philosophical doctrines of the four main thinkers of the pragmatist movement, with reference to the theories of meaning, knowledge and conduct which have come to define pragmatism.
Symbolism is a primary characteristic of the mind, deployed and displayed in every aspect of our thought and culture. In this important and broad-ranging book, Israel Scheffler explores the various ways in which the mind functions symbolically. This involves considering not only the world of science and the arts, but also such activities as religious ritual and child's play. The book offers an integrated treatment of ambiguity and metaphor, analyses of play and ritual, and an extended discussion of the relations (...) between scientific symbol systems and reality. What emerges is a picture of the basic symbol-forming character of the mind. In addition to philosophers of art and science, likely readers of this book will include students of linguistics, semiotics, anthropology, religion, and psychology. (shrink)
In contrast to monistic realism (as represented by Peirce) and pluralistic irrealism (as represented by Goodman) I argue for what I call plurealism, a view which is both pluralistic and realist, recognizing different worlds that are not only independent of one another, but also independent of us.
First published in 1963, this title considers the philosophical problems encountered when attempting to provide a clear and general explanation of scientific principles, and the basic confrontation between such principles and experience. Beginning with a detailed introduction that considers various approaches to the philosophy and theory of science, Israel Scheffler then divides his study into three key sections – Explanation, Significance and Confirmation – that explore how these complex issues involved have been dealt with in contemporary research. This title, by (...) one of America’s leading philosophers, will provide a valuable analysis of the theory and problems surrounding the Philosophy of Science. (shrink)
Of what use is philosophy to education? What do philosophical purposes, skills, and attitudes bring to educational practice? What might they accomplish? My concern in this paper is not with any particular set of philosophical doctrines, nor am I inquiring after the educational implications of this or that philosophical viewpoint. Rather, my questions pertain to philosophical activity itself. The questions are thus quite general and they are certainly not new. But they take on special urgency when viewed in the perspective (...) of current trends that are likely to affect our future circumstances of life and our operative conceptions of education. (shrink)