In this incisive new book one of Britain's most eminent philosophers explores the often overlooked tension between voluntariness and involuntariness in human cognition. He seeks to counter the widespread tendency for analytic epistemology to be dominated by the concept of belief. Is scientific knowledge properly conceived as being embodied, at its best, in a passive feeling of belief or in an active policy of acceptance? Should a jury's verdict declare what its members involuntarily believe or what they voluntarily accept? And (...) should statements and assertions be presumed to express what their authors believe or what they accept? Does such a distinction between belief and acceptance help to resolve the paradoxes of self-deception and akrasia? Must people be taken to believe everything entailed by what they believe, or merely to accept everything entailed by what they accept? Through a systematic examination of these problems, the author sheds new light on issues of crucial importance in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. (shrink)
The book was planned and written as a single, sustained argument. But earlier versions of a few parts of it have appeared separately. The object of this book is both to establish the existence of the paradoxes, and also to describe a non-Pascalian concept of probability in terms of which one can analyse the structure of forensic proof without giving rise to such typical signs of theoretical misfit. Neither the complementational principle for negation nor the multiplicative principle for conjunction applies (...) to the central core of any forensic proof in the Anglo-American legal system. There are four parts included in this book. Accordingly, these parts have been written in such a way that they may be read in different orders by different kinds of reader. (shrink)
Johnathan Cohen's book provides a lucid and penetrating treatment of the fundamental issues of contemporary analytical philosophy. This field now spans a greater variety of topics and divergence of opinion than fifty years ago, and Cohen's book addresses the presuppositions implicit to it and the patterns of reasoning on which it relies.
Two new philosophical problems surrounding the gradation of certainty began to emerge in the 17th century and are still very much alive today. One is concerned with the evaluation of inductive reasoning, whether in science, jurisprudence, or elsewhere; the other with the interpretation of the mathematical calculus of change. This book, aimed at non-specialists, investigates both problems and the extent to which they are connected. Cohen demonstrates the diversity of logical structures that are available for judgements of probability, and explores (...) the rationale for their appropriateness in different contexts of application. Thus his study deals with the complexity of the underlying philosophical issues without simply cataloging alternative conceptions or espousing a particular "favorite" theory. (shrink)
First published in 1962, The Diversity of Meaning was written to provide a more constructive criticism of the philosophy of ordinary language than the more destructive approach that it was commonly subjected to at the time of publication. The book deals with a range of philosophical problems in a way that cuts underneath the more typical orthodoxies of the time. It is concerned primarily with the concept of meaning and asks not just how people ordinarily speak or think about meanings, (...) but also what is gained or lost by their so doing. The author challenges the assumption that there is only one way of talking about meanings and instead argues that no single analysis of meaning can suit the semantics of lexicographers, language-teachers, translators, logicians, historians of ideas, psychologists and philosophers. By examining various common concepts of meaning and their relations to one another, the book sheds light on the issues most alive in philosophical controversy at the time of publication, giving it lasting relevance for those interested in the history of philosophical thought and theory. (shrink)