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Philosophical Reasoning A Study in the Methodology of Philosophizing

By: Nicholas Rescher(Author)
282 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Philosophical Reasoning
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  • Philosophical Reasoning ISBN: 9780631230182 Paperback Aug 2001 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This book is a study in the methodology of philosophical inquiry. It expounds and defends the thesis that systematization is the proper instrument of philosophical inquiry and that the effective pursuit of philosophy's mission calls for constructing a doctrinal system that answers our questions in a coherent and comprehensive manner.



Part I: The Task of Philosophy:
- The Erotetic Nature of Philosophy: Philosophy as a Cognitive Enterprise
- The Need for Philosophy: Humans as Homo Quaerens
- Rationality is the Instrument of Philosophy
- Philosophy as Truth Estimation
- The Data of Philosophy
- Metaphilosophical Issues

Part II: Philosophizing as an Erotetic Enterprise: The Dialectic of Question and Answer:
- Questions and their Presuppositions: Issues Regarding the Legitimacy of Questions
- Question Dynamics: Kant's Principle of Question Propagation and the Dialectical Exfoliation of Questions
- Philosophy as a Venture in Erotetic Dialectic
- Philosophical Assessment
Part III: What's on the Agenda?:
- Unexamined Issues and Agenda Formation
- The Recent Scene
- Metaphilosophy a Part of Philosophy Itself
- The Political Dimension: A Struggle for Ownership
- The Systemic Dimension

Part IV: Philosophical Discourse:
- The Narrative Dimension of Philosophy
- The Method of Philosophy: Truth-Estimative Conjecture
- Ongoing Explanation
- Historical Unity of Philosophy
- The Data of Philosophy

Part V: Interpreting Philosophical Texts:
- Setting the Stage: Deconstructionism
- Exegetical Interpretation
- Why Philosophical Texts Need Interpretation
- The Principle of Contextuality-Context Coherence as an Interpretative Standard
- The First Law
- The Second Law
- The Third Law
- The Fourth Law

Part VI: Rhetoric And Rational Argumentation:
- Rhetoric Versus Argumentation: The General Situation
- An Uneasy Union
- The Special Case of Philosophy
- Philosophy's Data: The Source of Plausibility

Part VII: Philosophical Aporetics:
- The Pervasiveness of Apories
- Aporetic Antinomies Structure the Issues

Part VIII: The Economic Dimension of Philosophical Inquiry:
- Plausibility as a Guide to Issues of Precedence and Priority
- Cost Effectiveness as a Salient Aspect of Rationality
- Unacceptable Price Argumentation in Philosophy

Part IX: The Impact of Distinctions:
- The Role of Distinctions
- Dialectic Development via Distinctions
- Developmental Dialectics

Part X: Inference to the Best Explanation and its Problems:
- Difficulties with Inference to the Best Explanation
- Best Systematization as a Viable Alternative

Part XI: The Coherentist Criteriology of Truth as a Philosophical Method:
- Coherentism in Philosophy
- How Context Helps via Local Appropriateness
- Philosophical Coherentism is Self Sustaining

Part XII: Why Philosophizing Must Be Systematic: The Holistic Nature of Philosophy:
- Externalities and Negative Side Effects
- Systematic Interconnectedness as a Consequence of Aporetic Complexity
- Local Minimalism versus Global Optimalism
- Why Not Simply "Live With Inconsistency?" The Imperative of Cognitive Rationality
- The Methodological Rationale of Systematicity in Philosophy

Part XIII: Systematization as an Instrument of Inquiry:
- Hierarchical Systematization: The Euclidean Model of Knowledge
- Systematicity and the Impetus to Coherence: The Network Model
- On the Advantages of a Network Model
- The Pivotal Role of Data for a Coherentist Truth-Criteriology
- Coherentism's Exploitation of the Parameters of Systematicity
- Systematization as Truth Criterion: The Hegelian Inversion

Part XIV: Developmental Dialectics and Complexity:
- Spencer's Law: The Dynamics of Cognitive Complexity
- The Methodological Status of Simplicity-Preference: Systematicity, Economy, and the Principle of Least Effort
- Perennial Philosophy
- Rational Dialectic in Philosophy

Part XV: Counterfactual Reasoning as a Philosophical Instrument:
- Historical Stagesetting
- Belief-Contravening Supposition: How Apories Arise in Hypothetical Contexts
- The Centrality of Precedence (Right of Way)
- Logic as Such Does Not Resolve Matters
- Reductio Ad Absurdum Argumentation
- Evidential Contexts
- The Situation in Philosophy
- An Overview
- Dispensing with "Possible Worlds"

Part XVI: Validating First Principles:
- First Principles
- Historical Postscript

Part XVII: God's Place in Philosophy (Non in Philosophia Recurrere est ad Deum):
- Two Opposed Intuitions
- Theistic vs. Naturalistic Questions
- The Closure of the Secular Realm
- Internal vs. External
- Philosophy and Theology
- Explanatory Economy in Philosophy
- Conclusion

Part XVIII: Philosophy at the Turn of the Century: A Return to Systems?:
- The Heritage of the 19th Century
- The Revolt Against System (System-Dismissive Antisystems)
- The Shipwreck of Inter-Bellum Negativism
- The Burned Bridges
- The Rise of Particularism
- A Vision of Wholeness
- The New Order: A Revival of Systematic Philosophy
- The Contemporary Situation

Customer Reviews


Nicholas Rescher is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh where he served for many years as Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A Former president of the American Philosophical Association, he is an honorary member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of more than eighty works ranging over many areas of philosophy and was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for Humanistic Scholarship in 1984.

By: Nicholas Rescher(Author)
282 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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