Volume I, Issue 1, 2010
LOGOS & EPISTEME: A NEW ENVIRONMENT FOR PHILOSOPHICAL DEBATE (page 5)
AN OCCASION FOR CELEBRATION (page 7)
GENERIC STATEMENTS AND ANTIREALISM (pages 11-30)
ABSTRACT: The standard arguments for antirealism are densely abstract, often enigmatic, and thus unpersuasive. The ubiquity and irreducibility of what linguists call generic statements provides a clear argument from a specific and readily understandable case. We think and talk about the world as necessarily subject to generalization. But the chief vehicles of generalization are generic statements, typically of the form “Fs are G,” not universal statements, typically of the form “All Fs are G.” Universal statements themselves are usually intended and understood as though they were only generic. Even if there are universal facts, as Russell held, there are no generic facts. There is no genericity in the world as it is “in-itself.” There is genericity in it only as it is “for-us.”
PROBABLE TRUTH VERSUS PARTIAL TRUTH (pages 31-38)
ABSTRACT: The present study reiterates one of the main ideas that we exposed in 1983, in the paper “Din fals rezultă orice” (“From False Follows Anything”), published in the volume Întemeieri raţionale în filosofia ştiinţei (Rational Foundations in the Philosophy of Science) when we referred to the notion of semi-truth, as a third alethic value, placed between „truth” and „falsehood”, thus contributing to the functionality of the trivalent logic. Now we analyze the conceptions of Petre Botezatu, Mario Bunge, Karl R. Popper and Nicholas Rescher, in order to argue that it is important not to identify the epistemological term „probable” (= uncertain) with the semantic term „partial” or „approximate”, when we speak about the concept of truth.
TOUCHSTONES OF HISTORY: ANSCOMBE, HUME, AND JULIUS CAESAR (pages 39-58)
ABSTRACT: In “Hume and Julius Caesar,” G.E.M. Anscombe argues that some historical claims, such as “Julius Caesar was assassinated,” serve as touchstones for historical knowledge. Only Cartesian doubt can call them into question. I examine her reasons for thinking that the discipline of history must be grounded in claims that it is powerless to discredit. I argue that she is right to recognize that some historical claims are harder to dislodge than others, but wrong to contend that any are invulnerable to non-Cartesian doubt.
ASSERTION, TESTIMONY, AND THE EPISTEMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF SPEECH (pages 59-66)
ABSTRACT: Whether or not all assertion counts as testimony (a matter not addressed here), it is argued that not all testimony involves assertion. Since many views in the epistemology of testimony assume that testimony requires assertion, such views are (at best) insufficiently general. This result also points to what we might call the epistemic significance of assertion as such.
BELIEF IN NATURALISM: AN EPISTEMOLOGIST’S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND (pages 67-84)
ABSTRACT: My title, “Belief in Naturalism,” signals, not that I adopt naturalism as an article of faith, but that my purpose in this paper is to shed some light on what belief is, on why the concept of belief is needed in epistemology, and how all this relates to debates about epistemological naturalism. After clarifying the many varieties of naturalism, philosophical and other (section 1), and then the various forms of epistemological naturalism specifically (section 2), I offer a theory of belief in which three elements – the behavioral, the neurophysiological, and the socio-historical – interlock (section 3), and apply this theory to resolve some contested questions: about whether animals and pre-linguistic infants have beliefs, about the fallibility of introspection, and about self-deception (section 4).
THE GETTIER NON-PROBLEM (pages 85-108)
ABSTRACT: This paper highlights an aspect of Gettier situations, one standardly not accorded interpretive significance. A remark of Gettier’s suggests its potential importance. And once that aspect’s contribution is made explicit, an argument unfolds for the conclusion that it is fairly simple to have knowledge within Gettier situations. Indeed, that argument dissolves the traditional Gettier problem.
PHÄNOMENOLOGISCHE BEGRIFFE BEI ERNST CASSIRER (pages 109-124)
ABSTRACT: The decisive occasion for the following paper was the discovery, during the editorial work, of the expression “symbolische Ideation” (symbolic ideation) in the posthumous manuscript of Ernst Cassirer, “Prägnanz, symbolische Ideation”. The occurrence of this expression raises one more time the question of the relation between Cassirer and the system of concepts of Husserl’s phenomenology. The present research gets to the conclusion that Cassirer uses the concept of “symbolische Ideation” (symbolic ideation) in a sense which basically expresses his own philosophical position, rather than Husserl’s, who links the “symbolische Ideation” with the term “Ideation”, meaning the unmediated self-giveness of the General, of the Identical. But still, one can also discover some common points between Cassirer and Husserl.
REMARKS ON POINCARÉ’ NOTION OF MATHEMATICAL RIGOUR (pages 125-132)
ABSTRACT: Between 1906 and 1911, as a response to Betrand’s Russell’s review of La Science et l’Hypothèse, Henri Poincaré launched an attack on the movement to formalise the foundations of mathematics reducing it to logic. The main point is the following: the universality of logic is based on the idea that their truth is independent of any context including epistemic and cultural contexts. From the free context notion of truth and proof
it follows that, given an axiomatic system, nothing new can follow. One of the main strategies of Poincaré’s solution to this dilemma is based on the notions of understanding and of grasping the architecture of the propositions of mathematics. According to this view mathematic rigour does not reduce to “derive blindly” without gaps from axioms, mathematical rigour is, according to Poincaré, closely linked to the ability to grasp the architecture of mathematics and contribute to an extension of the meaning embedded in structures that constitute the architecture of mathematical propositions. The focus of my paper relates precisely to the notion of architecture and to the notion of understanding. According to my reconstruction, Poincaré’s suggestions could be seen as pointing out that understanding is linked to reason not only within a structure but reasoning about the structure.
ON THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF PLATO’S DIVIDED LINE (pages 133-164)
ABSTRACT: In general, scholars have viewed the mathematical detail of Plato’s Divided Line discussion in Republic VI-VII as irrelevant to the substance of his epistemology. Against this stance this essay argues that this detail serves a serious and instructive purpose and makes manifest some central features of Plato’s account of human knowledge.
THE IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL KNOWLEDGE (pages 165-185)
ABSTRACT: Assigning a positive signification to the concept of ‘ideology,’ the basic hypothesis of this paper is that both what we call social reality and what we understand by the expression social knowledge are the result of an ideological projection. In other words, it is my opinion that ideology accomplishes a double purpose: on the one hand, it actively participates in the construction of social reality; on the other hand, it also plays the role of an instrument of social knowledge. To support this assertion, I advance the idea of ideological conventions that are constituent parts of the social projection of reality and that emerge as ‘landmarks’ of the process of understanding it. I provide arguments that, as long as that they are found at the level of social institutions and thus being reproduced in discourse, including symbolically – as codes, norms, rules, habits, behaviours, etc., both formal and informal – , ideological conventions are an expression of social identity, being useful in explaining and understanding social reality and its possibilities of evolving. Finally, taking into account the premise that while social knowledge is not entirely ideological, the ideological element is unavoidable in the process of configuring this knowledge (contributing in a decisive manner to the changes emerging at the societal level), I propose an integrated, interdisciplinary model of ideological analysis.
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