Worlds of TruthA Philosophy of Knowledge
Worlds of Truth: A Philosophy of Knowledge explicates and builds upon a half century of philosophical work by the noted philosopher Israel Scheffler. Propounds a new doctrine of plurealism which maintains the existence of multiple real worlds Offers a defense of absolute truth, which denies certainty and eschews absolutism, and defends systematic relativity, objectivity, and fallibilism Emphasizes a wide range of pragmatic interests: epistemology and scientific development, cognition and emotion, science and ethics, ritual and culture, and art and science
Preface viii Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 Part I: Inquiry 5 Chapter 1: Justification 7 1. Beliefs 7 2. Access to truth 8 3. Cogito ergo sum 9 4. Mathematical certainty 11 5. Classical logic 12 6. C. I. Lewis’ empiricism 14 7. Access as a metaphor 17 8. J. F. Fries and K. Popper 18 9. Voluntarism and linearity 19 10. One-way justification 20 11. Beginning in the middle 21 12. Justification, contextual and comparative 22 13. Justification in the empirical sciences 23 14. Circularity versus linearity 25 15. Democratic controls 25 16. Interactionism 27 Chapter 2: Truth 30 1. Allergy to absolute truth 31 2. Provisionality and truth 32 3. Truth versus verification 34 4. Truth and fixity 36 5. Transparency, Tarski, and Carnap 38 6. Truth and certainty 42 7. Sentences as truth candidates 44 8. Theoretical terms 44 9. Varieties of instrumentalism 45 10. Pragmatism and instrumentalism 45 11. Systems, simplicity, reduction 46 12. Crises in science 51 13. Reduction and expansion 52 Chapter 3: Worlds 55 1. Philosophies of truth 55 2. Operationism and truth 57 3. Version-dependence 59 4. Differences among scientifically oriented philosophers 61 5. Monism, pluralism, plurealism 62 6. Realism versus irrealism 66 7. A theory of everything 72 8. The status of ethics 75 9. Emotive theories; Ayer and Stevenson 75 10. Moore’s ethical intuitionism 77 11. Dewey and ethical naturalism 79 12. Symbol, reference, and ritual 81 Part II: Related Pragmatic Themes 93 Chapter 4: Belief and Method 95 Introduction 95 1. Problems of pragmatism and pragmatic responses 98 2. Peirce’s theory of belief, doubt, and inquiry 102 3. Peirce’s comparison of methods 104 4. Difficulties in Peirce’s treatment 106 5. An epistemological interpretation 108 6. The primacy of method 109 Chapter 5: Action and Commitment 114 Chapter 6: Emotion and Cognition 125 1. Emotions in the service of cognition 126 2. Cognitive emotions 132 Index 143
"The book will be of interest to philosophers working on pragmatism, pluralism, relativism, and justification". (International Studies In The Philosophy Of Science, 1 December 2010) "This volume will be useful for specialists in pragmatism, but perhaps not sufficiently original for all collections." (CHOICE, October 2009)
Israel Scheffler is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education and Philosophy Emeritus at Harvard University and serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the Mandel Center at Brandeis University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a founding member of the National Academy of Education and a past president of both the Philosophy of Science Association and the Charles S. Peirce Society. Among his various books are The Anatomy of Inquiry (1963), Science and Subjectivity (1967), Four Pragmatists (1974), Beyond the Letter (1979), and Symbolic Worlds: Art, Science, Language, Ritual (1997).
Worlds of Truth: A Philosophy of Knowledge explicates and expands upon the formidable body of work by the author. Evincing a strong affinity for pragmatic philosophy as well as a dedication to analytical treatment of central problems, Israel Scheffler here provides an overview of his philosophy of knowledge, as developed in previous work and incorporating new views he has developed in recent thinking. The inquiries here focus on truths: how truths are sought, what they express, and how they shape the worlds we inhabit. Consideration of these three topics highlights the interrelations of epistemology, symbolism, and metaphysics, all treated in a scientific spirit. Scheffler’s philosophy of knowledge incorporates several unfamiliar corollaries. Eschewing absolutism, the author nevertheless defends absolute truth; upholding systematic relativity, he also commends the ideal of objectivity; propounding his new doctrine of plurealism, he defends realism but rejects its usual concomitant monism, thus implying that we live not in one actual world but in many, all revealed by scientific investigation. Science itself, he holds, is not unitary in its motivation, but dual, spurred by two master impulses: the one to reduce, economize and systematize, the other to unsettle, explore and cultivate new areas for inquiry, an endless process belying the myth of a final theory of everything.
"Worlds of Truth develops an epistemology that accommodates science. It construes knowledge as advancing holistically. Because justification accrues through systematization, it is a property of theories, not primarily of individual sentences. Drawing on and contributing to the pragmatic tradition, Scheffler shows how a commitment to fallibilism is not a concession to epistemic inadequacy but an asset to understanding." –Catherine Z. Elgin, Harvard University "Israel Scheffler’s Worlds of Truth is a book that can be read with profit and enjoyment by the general reader as well as by the philosophical expert. In recent years both general readers and professional philosophers have tended to think of "pragmatism" as a fuzzy philosophy closely allied to postmodernism, and as in deep opposition to analytic philosophy, which is often seen as anti-humanistic. In this important book, and in clear and elegant prose, Scheffler performs a great service by showing in detail how to combine the antifoundationalism, the holism, and the deep fallibilism of the pragmatists with the respect for the notion of absolute truth, and the sharp distinction between being true and being warranted at a given moment characteristic of the analytic philosophers. The result is both an attractive and I believe largely right epistemological picture, and a portrait of the philosophical thinking of a significant philosopher, whose work deserves to be more widely known." –Hilary Putnam, Harvard University "Many things pass for 'pragmatism' these days that the original pragmatists would not recognize. It might well be said that the pragmatist tradition has lost its way. It is the perfect time for this book, which builds upon the groundbreaking work of the original figures, but does not hesitate to criticize their earlier discussions where appropriate and improve on them in the service of the development of a philosophically adequate pragmatic epistemology and metaphysics." –Harvey Siegel, University of Miami
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