The aim of this paper is to show that science, understood as pure research, ought not to be affected by non-epistemic values and thus to defend the traditional ideal of value-free science. First, we will trace the distinction between science and technology, arguing that science should be identified with pure research and that any non-epistemic concern should be directed toward technology and technological research. Second, we will examine different kinds of values and the roles they can play in scientific research (...) to argue that science understood as pure research is mostly and in any case ought to be value-free. Third, we will consider and dismiss some widespread arguments that aim to defend, especially at a normative level, the inevitable value-ladenness of science. Finally, we will briefly return to the connections among science, technology, and values. (shrink)
Pieranna Garavaso and Nicla Vassallo investigate Gottlob Frege's largely unexplored notion of thinking to provide insight into the roles of language in expressing thoughts and in fostering the development of human knowledge. The analysis will benefit studies of epistemology, logic, philosophy of mind, psychology, and philosophy of language.
Contextualism in philosophy of language and in epistemology are two distinct but closely entangled projects. The epistemological thesis is grounded in a semantic claim concerning the context-sensitivity of the predicate “know”: we gain insight into epistemological problems by investigating our linguistic intuitions concerning knowledge attribution sentences. Our aim here is to evaluate the plausibility of a project that takes the opposite starting point: the general idea is to establish the semantic contextualist thesis on the epistemological one. According to semantic contextualism, (...) virtually no sentences of a natural language express complete propositions – meaning underdetermines truth conditions. In our paper, instead of assuming the traditional view of meaning in terms of truth conditions, we suggest that a theory of meaning as justification may shed new light on the contextualist approach. We thus show how the notion of justification can be contextualized, arguing that our attempt provides an interesting and quite straightforward way of contextualizing meaning. (shrink)
La discussione generale sulla filosofia della scienza contemporanea è complicata dal numero e dall’eterogeneità delle scienze, mentre lo studio di temi specifici porta inevitabilmente a dissertazioni specialistiche che mancano nel dare ragione della trama di senso sottostante. Questo Piccolo trattato di epistemologia intende occupare uno spazio vuoto, proponendo alcuni temi chiave per la comprensione dei meccanismi alla base della conoscenza scientifica: i rapporti tra filosofia e scienze, siano esse naturali o umane; la complessa relazione tra fatti e valori; la distinzione (...) tra scoperta e giustificazione; la necessità di un discorso etico sulla ricerca, che chiami in causa categorie come fiducia, empatia, altruismo ed egoismo. Con un approccio chiaro e rigoroso, il volume intende rivolgersi a quell’ampia fascia di pubblico interessata alle tematiche centrali dell’epistemologia, della filosofia e delle scienze. (shrink)
This paper discusses George Boole?s two distinct approaches to the explanatory relationship between logical and psychological theory. It is argued that, whereas in his first book he attributes a substantive role to psychology in the foundation of logical theory, in his second work he abandons that position in favour of a linguistically conceived foundation. The early Boole espoused a type of psychologism and later came to adopt a type of anti-psychologism. To appreciate this invites a far-reaching reassessment of his philosophy (...) of logic. (shrink)
According to the minimal version of the traditional analysis of knowledge, there are (at least) three necessary components to knowledge, that is, truth, belief and justification. In this paper we will argue that even in a global sceptical scenario, all three conditions minimally necessary for knowledge can be satisfied. In particular, we will focus on the justification requirement and analyse two “traditional” theories of justification, i.e., coherentism and foundationalism, as well as a more “innovative” one, i.e., reliabilism. Then, we will (...) conclude that if we want to continue to claim that, in a global sceptical scenario, a cognitive subject does not know (almost) anything, we should recognise that she may still have justified true beliefs, and we should, therefore, look elsewhere for the reasons why she lacks knowledge. (shrink)
Filosofia delle donne (Philosophy of Women) is a book written in Italian in which authors Pieranna Garavaso (University of Minnesota, Morris, USA) and Nicla Vassallo (University of Genoa, Italy) claim that a greater interaction between analytic philosophy and feminist philosophies can generate philosophical theories that are more accessible and relevant to a broader range of people. This interaction can also produce richer solutions to traditional philosophical problems. The authors' main interests are in metaphysics and epistemology; thus the two main issues (...) discussed in the book are women's identity and women's knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemological contextualism and semantic contextualism are two distinct but closely entangled projects in contemporary philosophy. According to epistemological contextualism, our knowledge attributions are context-sensitive. That is, the truth-conditions of knowledge ascribing sentences – sentences of the form of (1) S knows that p - vary depending on the context in which they are uttered. Contextualism admits the legitimacy of several epistemic standards that vary with the context of use of (1); it might be right to claim – for the same (...) cognitive subject S and the same proposition p – that (1) is true in one context, and false in another. The epistemological contextualist thesis is grounded in a semantic claim about the context-sensitivity of the predicate “know”: the semantic thesisis that a sentence of the form (1) does not express a complete proposition. Different utterances of (1) can, in different contexts, express different propositions: we must add in information about the context in order to determine the proposition expressed by (1). Many scholars have tried to spell out the semantic contextualist thesis on which epistemological contextualism is grounded. Our general aim in this paper is to evaluate the plausibility of a project that takes the opposite starting point, that is establishing the semantic contextualist thesis on the epistemological one. According to semantic contextualism, virtually no sentences of a naturallanguage express complete propositions – meaning underdetermines truth conditions. In our paper, instead of assuming the traditional view of meaning in terms of truth conditions, we suggest that a theory of meaning as justification may shed new light on the contextualist approach. We thus show how the notion of justification can be contextualized, arguing that our attempt provides an interesting and quite straightforward way of contextualizing meaning. (shrink)
According to epistemological contextualism, a sentence of the form "S knows that p" doesn't express a complete proposition. Different utterances of the sentence, in different contexts, can express different propositions: "know" is context-dependent. This paper deals with the semantic contextualist thesis grounding epistemological contextualism. We examine various kinds of linguistic context dependence, which could be relevant to epistemological contextualism: ambiguity, ellipsis, indexicality, vagueness of scalar predicates, dependence on standards of precision. We argue that only an accurate analysis of the different (...) varieties of context sensitivity secures us a better understanding and a clearer evaluation of the contextualist approach. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine some issues debated in mainstream epistemology for which the social features of knowledge are relevant, such as the epistemic relevance of social contexts, the nature of practical knowledge, and the epistemic role of testimony. In the first part of the paper, we show how feminist epistemologies have usefully stressed the social character of knowledge in many central areas of debate within mainstream epistemology. We call these the virtues of feminist epistemology: the denial of the neutrality (...) and autonomy of the epistemic subject, the focus on practical knowledge, and the ensuing attention to the social dimensions of the epistemic process. Our conclusion on the social dimensions of knowledge is the thesis that the epistemic subject can know only in connection with others. In the second part of the paper, we address the issue of the plausibility of feminist epistemologies by discussing three main criticisms which have been raised against them. We conclude that, even if these criticisms are valid, the legacy of feminist epistemologies remains because the social features of knowledge are plausibly significant not only within but also without the perspectives of feminist epistemologies. (shrink)
Any attempt to evaluate a naturalistic feminist philosophy of cognition and knowledge must acknowledge that there are two distinct core approaches to naturalism . Classical feminist naturalizations of epistemology have drawn inspiration from the Quinean naturalization, they have inherited its defects – the major one: being compelled to renounce doing real epistemology in favor of a merely scientific enterprise. Notwithstanding, the merits of these feminist naturalizations are more than one: they embrace the idea that epistemology needs contributions and help from (...) the sciences, they raise serious doubts about the best science to involve in feminist epistemologies, they contrast our “local feminist philosophy” not only in its scorn for every science and its technological applications, but also in its conviction that there are essential differences between female/women and male/men about knowledge and cognition. I wish to propose a naturalized feminist epistemology which draws inspiration from the more moderate Goldmanian approach. Much work would be needed in order to combine those feminist approaches which believe in the individualism of the knowing subject with those that are anti–individualist. But, at least, taking inspiration from Goldman and his reliabilism, we may achieve a type of naturalism in feminist epistemologies, in which it would be feasible to understand the reliability of the cognitive faculties of the knowing subject and to understand scientifically whether or not there are differences between female and male faculties – avoiding any essentialist temptations. (shrink)
According to the theory of meaning as justification, semantics is closely entangled with epistemology: knowing the meaning of an utterance amounts to knowing the justification one may offer for it. In this perspective, the theory of meaning is connected with the epistemic theory of justification, namely the theory that undergoes the more explicit attempts of naturalization. Is it possible to extend those attempts to the notion of meaning? There are many ways of naturalizing the notion of meaning, independently of its (...) links with the notion of justification. Our goal in this paper is to explore the possibility of naturalizing meaning using those very links. To this aim, we will evaluate in brief three main directions: a) the interaction between justification and discovery; b) Quine's naturalized epistemology; c) the naturalization of logic. (shrink)
SummaryIn his Origins of Analytical Philosophy Michael Dummett claims that even in this earliest writings Frege can be identified as the grandfather of analytical philosophy. My aim here is to show how difficult it is to make out this claim convincingly.
Thanks to their heterogeneity, the nine essays in this volume offer a clear testimony of Donald Davidson's authority, and they undoubtedly show how much his work - even if it has raised many doubts and criticisms - has been, and still is, highly influential and significant in contemporary analytical philosophy for a wide range of subjects. Moreover, the various articles not only critically and carefully analyse Davidson's theses and arguments (in particular those concerning language and knowledge), but they also illustrate (...) how such theories and ideas, despite their unavoidable difficulties, are still alive and potentially fruitful. Davidson's work is indeed an important and provocative starting point for discussing the future progress of philosophy. (shrink)