John F. Sowa schrieb:
> Ingvar and Kathy,
> I have some sympathy with both of you, but I'd like to restate
> the issues in a somewhat different way.
Dear John, (02)
The appearances notwithstanding, I agree with everything you say. Just
one comment below. (03)
> The branches of philosophy labeled 'ontology', 'epistemology',
> and 'philosophy of science' are respectable academic fields,
> in which a lot of good work has been published. There are
> newer, but still respectable fields, such as philosophy of
> language, philosophy of logic, philosophy of law, etc.
> Academic boundaries are useful in promoting methodologies for
> analyzing a subject. That can be very productive -- at the
> beginning. But after a few decades, the methodologies tend to
> create barriers that can become counterproductive.
> IJ> You seem to be using the term "study epistemology" in quite
> > another sense than I am. To me it means to study a certain
> > part of philosophy, but to you it seems to mean what empirical
> > scientists have been doing throughout the ages.
> That's an example of what I believe is a terrible barrier --
I should have been more careful here. Normally, I use to say that I
regard philosophy, science, and common sense as partly overlapping areas. (05)
all the very best,
> a separation of science from the methods by which ordinary
> people come to know and believe anything. On this issue
> I agree with Peirce, who considered the methods of science
> to be a disciplined extension of ordinary common sense.
> IJ> However, in my opinion, "the quest for truth" should remain
> > as living a goal as it was in the times when it was linked
> > to the view that knowledge can be certain.
> I agree. The view that knowledge can be certain was a horrible
> innovation. It was not present in Socrates, but Plato tried to
> save mathematics. Aristotle was more empirical, but the cynics
> and skeptics of antiquity were extremely critical of both P. and A.
> whenever they tried to make positive claims.
> I blame Descartes for some of the worst sins of philosophy, but
> he was trying to save philosophy from a wave of skepticism caused
> by a Latin translation of Sextus Empiricus, which was popularized
> by Montaigne. But in the process, Descartes introduced his even
> more corrosive methodology of universal doubt. Then Hume came
> along to bring everything into doubt.
> Kant tried to rescue science from Hume, but his goal of absolute
> certainty inspired many people who rejected his methods and his
> claims. Much of epistemology still suffers from Descartes's
> polarization between absolute certainty and absolute doubt.
> As late as 1981, Michael Dummet criticized "vagueness" as
> "an unmitigated defect of natural language."
> One of my favorite quotations is from Whitehead's _Adventures of Ideas_:
> Systems, scientific and philosophic, come and go. Each method
> of limited understanding is at length exhausted. In its prime
> each system is a triumphant success: in its decay it is an
> obstructive nuisance.
> One reason why I like cognitive science is that it breaks down all
> the boundaries (although many of its practitioners have built new
> ones, which are already becoming obstructive nuisances).
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IFOMIS, Saarland University
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