Mark Wilson presents a highly original and broad-ranging investigation of the way we get to grips with the world conceptually, and the way that philosophical problems commonly arise from this. Words such as color, shape, solidity exemplify the commonplace conceptual tools we employ to describe and order the world around us. But the world's goods are complex in their behaviors and we often overlook the subtle adjustments that our evaluative terms undergo as their usage becomes gradually adapted to different forms of supportive circumstance. Wilson not only explains how these surprising strategies of hidden management operate, but also tells the astonishing story of how faulty schemes and great metaphysical systems sometimes spring from a simple failure to recognize the innocent wanderings to which our descriptive words are heir. Wilson combines traditional philosophical concerns about human conceptual thinking with illuminating data derived from a large variety of fields including physics and applied mathematics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. Wandering Significance offers abundant new insights and perspectives for philosophers of language, mind, and science, and will also reward the interest of psychologists, linguists, and anyone curious about the mysterious ways in which useful language obtains its practical applicability.
Author: Brian G. Henning,William T. Myers,Joseph D. JohnPublish On: 2015-04-16
Experience and Reality
Author: Brian G. Henning,William T. Myers,Joseph D. John
Publisher: Lexington Books
Despite there being deep lines of convergence between the philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead, C. S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and other classical American philosophers, it remains an open question whether Whitehead is a pragmatist, and conversation between pragmatists and Whitehead scholars have been limited. Indeed, it is difficult to find an anthology of classical American philosophy that includes Whitehead’s writings. These camps began separately, and so they remain. This volume questions the wisdom of that separation, exploring their connections, both historical and in application. The essays in this volume embody original and creative work by leading scholars that not only furthers the understanding of American philosophy, but seeks to advance it by working at the intersection of experience and reality to incite novel and creative thought. This exploration is long overdue. Specific questions that are addressed are: Is Whitehead a pragmatist? What contrasts and affinities exist between American pragmatism and Whitehead’s thought? What new questions, strategies, and critiques emerge by juxtaposing their distinct perspectives?
Mark Wilson presents a series of explorations of our strategies for understanding the world. "Physics avoidance" refers to the fact that we frequently cannot reason about nature in the straightforward manner we anticipate, but must seek alternative policies that allow us to address the questions we want answered in a tractable way. Within both science and everyday life, we find ourselves relying upon thought processes that reach useful answers in opaque and roundabout manners. Conceptual innovators are often puzzled by the techniques they develop, when they stumble across reasoning patterns that are easy to implement but difficult to justify. But simple techniques frequently rest upon complex foundations—a young magician learns how to execute a card-guessing trick without understanding how its progressive steps squeeze in on a proper answer. As we collectively improve our inferential skills in this gradually evolving manner, we often wander into unfamiliar explanatory landscapes in which simple words encode physical information in complex and unanticipated ways. Like our juvenile conjurer, we fail to recognize the true strategic rationales underlying our achievements and may turn instead to preposterous rationalizations for our policies. We have learned how to reach better conclusions in a more fruitful way, but we remain baffled by our own successes. At its best, philosophical reflection illuminates the natural developmental processes that generate these confusions and explicates their complexities. But current thinking within philosophy of science and language works to opposite effect by relying upon simplistic conceptions of "cause", "law of nature", "possibility", and "reference" that ignore the strategic complexities in which these concepts become entangled within real life usage. To avoid these distortions, better descriptive tools are required in philosophy. The nine new essays within this volume illustrate this need for finer discriminations through a range of revealing cases, of both historical and contemporary significance.
In their final collaborative work, Deleuze and Guattari set out to address the question, 'what is philosophy?' Their answer is simple enough: philosophy 'is the art of forming, inventing and fabricating concepts'. Following the chapters and themes of What
Wilfrid Sellars ranks as one of the leading critics of empiricism—a philosophical approach to knowledge that seeks to ground it in human sense experience. Robert Brandom clarifies what Sellars had in mind when he talked about moving analytic philosophy from its Humean to its Kantian phase and why such a move might be of crucial importance today.
A Study in the History and Philosophy of Mathematics
Author: S. Gandon
In this excellent book Sebastien Gandon focuses mainly on Russell's two major texts, Principa Mathematica and Principle of Mathematics , meticulously unpicking the details of these texts and bringing a new interpretation of both the mathematical and the philosophical content. Winner of The Bertrand Russell Society Book Award 2013.
An Introduction to Philosophical Methods is the first book to survey the various methods that philosophers use to support their views. Rigorous yet accessible, the book introduces and illustrates the methodological considerations that are involved in current philosophical debates. Where there is controversy, the book presents the case for each side, but highlights where the key difficulties with them lie. While eminently student-friendly, the book makes an important contribution to the debate regarding the acceptability of the various philosophical methods, and so it will also be of interest to more experienced philosophers.
Carnap's ideal of explication has become a key concept in analytic philosophy and the basis of a method of analysis which may be considered as an alternative to various forms of naturalism, including Quine's conception of a naturalized epistemology. More recently, new light has been shed on this aspect of the classical Carnap-Quine debate by contemporary philosophers. Whereas Michael Friedman articulated a notion of relativized a priori which owes much to Carnap's internal/external distinction, André Carus attempted to restate Carnap's ideal of explication in a way that bridges the gap between conceptual engineering and naturalism. On the other hand, Mark Wilson argued that concepts develop in unpredictable ways and cannot be planned in the way classical analytic philosophy has assumed from Frege and Russell onwards. This book consists of a series of defences as well as critiques of Carnap's programme, setting it in its historical context, discussing specific cases of explications, and enriching the on-going debate on conceptual engineering and naturalism in analytic philosophy.
Rethinking Pragmatism explores the work of the American Pragmatists, particularly James and Dewey, challenging entrenched views of their positions on truth, meaning, instrumentalism, realism, pluralism and religious beliefs. It clarifies pragmatic ideas and arguments spelling out the significant implications they have for present-day philosophical controversies. Explores the work of the American Pragmatists, especially James and Dewey, on the issues of truth, reference, meaning, instrumentalism, essences, realism, pluralism and religious beliefs. The only available publication to provide a detailed commentary on James's book, Pragmatism, while exploring the implications of the American Pragmatists' ideas and arguments for contemporary philosophical issues Challenges standard readings of the American Pragmatists' positions in a way that illuminates and questions the assumptions underlying current discussions of these topics. Coherently arranged by structuring the book around the themes discussed in each chapter of James's original work. Provides a new analysis and understanding of the pragmatic theory of truth and semantics.
Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds . This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.