Nicholas Rescher unites two facets of metaphilosophy to show that the historical perspective and forward-thinking normative, or systematic, approach are, together, an integral component of philosophy itself.
Why is debate over the free will problem so intractable? In this broad and stimulating look at the philosophical enterprise, Richard Double uses the free will controversy to build on the subjectivist conclusion he developed in The Non-Reality of Free Will (OUP 1991). Double argues that various views about free will--e.g., compatibilism, incompatibilism, and even subjectivism--are compelling if, and only if, we adopt supporting metaphilosophical views. Because metaphilosophical considerations are not provable, we cannot show any free will theory to be (...) most reasonable. Metaphilosophy and Free Will deconstructs the free will problem and, by example, challenges philosophers in other areas to show how their philosophical argumentation can succeed. (shrink)
This paper argues that an individualist perspective is a crucial element of William James’s metaphilosophical outlook. In broad outline, the individualist argument the paper attributes to James can be characterized like this. Disputes among philosophers about the optimal point of view from which to consider this or that philosophical problem are themselves only adequately adjudicated from an individualist perspective. That is, when it comes to an assortment of important philosophical questions (not all of them perhaps, but a significant number), an (...) individualist perspective should replace a more objective one, and whether it should or not is itself a question that should be decided from an individualist perspective. -/- . (shrink)
This article mounts a defence of Floridi’s theory of strongly semantic information against recent independent objections from Fetzer and Dodig-Crnkovic. It is argued that Fetzer and Dodig-Crnkovic’s objections result from an adherence to a redundant practice of analysis. This leads them to fail to accept an informational pluralism, as stipulated by what will be referred to as Shannon’s Principle, and the non-reductionist stance. It is demonstrated that Fetzer and Dodig-Crnkovic fail to acknowledge that Floridi’s theory of strongly semantic information captures (...) one of our deepest and most compelling intuitions regarding informativeness as a basic notion. This modal intuition will be referred to as the contingency requirement on informativeness. It will be demonstrated that its clarification validates the theory of strongly semantic information as a novel, and non ad hoc solution to the Bar-Hillel-Carnap semantic paradox. (shrink)
Traditional representations of philosophy have tended to prize the role of reason in the discipline. These accounts focus exclusively on ideas and arguments as animating forces in the field. But anecdotal evidence and more rigorous sociological studies suggest there is more going on in philosophy. In this article, we present two hypotheses about social factors in the field: that social factors influence the development of philosophy, and that status and reputation—and thus social influence—will tend to be awarded to philosophers who (...) offer rationally compelling arguments for their views. In order to test these hypotheses, we need a more comprehensive grasp on the field than traditional representations afford. In particular, we need more substantial data about various social connections between philosophers. This investigation belongs to a naturalized metaphilosophy, an empirical study of the discipline itself, and it offers prospects for a fuller and more reliable understanding of philosophy. (shrink)
Often philosophers have reason to ask fundamental questions about the aims, methods, nature, or value of their own discipline. When philosophers systematically examine such questions, the resulting work is sometimes referred to as “metaphilosophy.” Metaphilosophy, it should be said, is not a well-established, or clearly demarcated, field of philosophical inquiry like epistemology or the philosophy of art. However, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries there has been a great deal of metaphilosophical work on issues concerning the (...) methodology of philosophy in the analytic tradition. This article focuses on that work. (shrink)
This article discusses the essence and form of various types of metatheory, paying special attention to metaphilosophy. It suggests the idea of the metatheoretical model—a completely new approach in philosophical discussion—and considers this concept with regard to the Platonic model and the Rhodian model. These models permit two different systems of metatheoretical construction. The paradigms of modern science allow the formation of metatheories that help further the development of logical, mathematical, and similar sciences. The Rhodian model allows the discovery (...) of methods that are helpful in building certain types of theory, as well as suggesting and examining theories that have special metatheoretical features and revealing their common features and differences with regard to other theories. The article discusses the complicated problem of the interrelation between philosophy and metaphilosophy and shows that metaphilosophy is also philosophy, not in the sense that metaphilosophy is a special part of philosophy but rather in the sense that metaphilosophy is a special kind of functioning of philosophy itself. (shrink)
Paul Horwich presents a bold new interpretation of Wittgenstein's later work. He argues that it is Wittgenstein's radically anti-theoretical metaphilosophy - and not his identification of the meaning of a word with its use - that underpins his discussions of specific issues concerning language, the mind, mathematics, knowledge, art, and religion.
Some of the central questions that have been explored by Latin American and Latinx philosophers are questions of metaphilosophy. "Metaphilosophy" refers to philosophical reflections on the nature of philosophy itself. For example, we might ask: What is the purpose of doing philosophy? How does philosophy compare and contrast with other disciplines, such as science, theology, or literature? And what is the best way of categorizing the different kinds and traditions of philosophy? These are philosophical questions about philosophy as (...) an activity and as a discipline. In this chapter, we discuss some ways that Latin American and Latinx philosophers have addressed these and other metaphilosophical issues. Our focus will be on the following questions: What are the defining characteristics of Latin American philosophy and Latinx philosophy? Do they constitute distinctive traditions of philosophy, and if so, what is especially valuable about these traditions? (shrink)
What is philosophy? How should we do it? Why should we bother to? These are the kinds of questions addressed by metaphilosophy - the philosophical study of the nature of philosophy itself. Students of philosophy today are faced with a confusing and daunting array of philosophical methods, approaches and styles and also deep divisions such as the notorious rift between analytic and Continental philosophy. This book takes readers through a full range of approaches - analytic versus Continental, scientistic versus (...) humanistic, 'pure' versus applied - enabling them to locate and understand these different ways of doing philosophy. Clearly and accessibly written, it will stimulate reflection on philosophical practice and will be invaluable for students of philosophy and other philosophically inclined readers. (shrink)
Two decades of critique have sensitized historians and philosophers of science to the inadequacies of conventional dichotomies between theory and practice, thereby prompting the search for new ways of writing about science that are less beholden than the old ways to the epistemological mores of theoretical physics, and more faithful to the actual practices not only of physics but of all the natural sciences. The need for alternative descriptions seems particularly urgent if one is to understand the place of theory (...) in contemporary molecular biology, a science where, until now, no division between theory and experiment has obtained, and where distinctions between representing and intervening, and more generally, between basic and applied science, are daily becoming more blurred.Indeed, the very division between theory and experiment threatens to slight the extensive and sophisticated theoretical analyses on which experimental work in contemporary molecular biology so often depends. My aim in this paper is to find a way of talking about theoretical practices in biology that is directly rooted in the mix of conceptual and material work that biologists do. As an example of such theoretical practices, I choose for the focus of my analysis the development of a model for gene regulation out of the experimental work of Eric Davidson and his colleagues at Cal Tech. (shrink)
In Metaphilosophy and Free Will, Richard Double seeks to establish two theses: Disputes over free will are in principle unsolvable, since they stem from incommensurable metaphilosophical views and principles. Given a metaphilosophy which takes philosophy to be continuous with science, free will is not an objective feature of reality. Double defines free choices as "choices that, unless some excusing condition obtains, are sufficient to qualify their agents as morally responsible for the actions those choices produce and as warranting (...) reactive attitudes". This definition, he claims, has the advantage of being neutral between competing theories of what a free choice is. At the same time it is particularly relevant to his defense of thesis. (shrink)
Implicit in the scottish tradition is a metaphilosophy of commonsense which deserves as much attention as that recently given to scottish presentative realism and agent causality. The author articulates this metaphilosophy by (a) sketching a systematic metaphilosophy of commonsense, (b) considering to what extent thomas reid fits this pattern, And (c) deciding to what extent asa mahan, One of the ablest of the american realists, Fits it. The result is a characterization of a coherent scottish metaphilosophy (...) still worthy of consideration. He also explores the question whether the metaphilosophy that emerges from (b) and (c) is part of an ongoing tradition. It has been suggested that there are important similarities between the scottish view and g e moore's concept of analysis. While he agrees that there are analogies he stresses the disanalogies as more enlightening about the nature of both. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss a prehistory of the recent metaphilosophical research and provide an overview of its most important areas. I review the ways of understanding of philosophy by the authors of the Early Modernity and contemporary continental philosophers and outline a trajectory of metaphilosophical discussions in analytic philosophy of 20th century. I try to show that the recent surge of metaphilosophy research in it could be explained by a search for a new identity of analytic philosophy after (...) wide disappointment in the “linguistic turn,” as well as after criticism of Quine and his followers of various aspects of the common method of conceptual analysis, and expansion of the field of inquiry. I argue that contemporary analytic philosophy is much closer to the classical and modern tradition than to the early analytic philosophy. And the most important question for contemporary metaphilosophers seems to be a question about possible substitutes of an old-fashioned conceptual analysis. Some authors propose to get rid of armchair methods at all and follow experimental line of research. This, however, could be destructive to the philosophy as a separate discipline. That’s why it is important to pay utmost attention to those philosophers who try to save armchair philosophy. As Timothy Williamson is one of the most interesting authors working in this vein, I asses his role in the recent metaphilosophical research. I give a brief review of his book “Doing Philosophy” and draw attention to the fact that its main ideas are briefly expressed in his paper “Armchair Philosophy”, published in this issue of the journal. I claim that the importance of Timothy Williamson’s work is best explained by its role in realizing that philosophers now have to make a hard choice between dissolving philosophical methodology in methods of experimental sciences and trying to find way of justification of armchair philosophy. (shrink)
We argue that philosophy has an important role to play in bridging certain social practices with certain scientific advancements. Specifically, we describe such a role by focusing on the issue of how and whether neuropsychological data concerning psychopathic offenders reflect on their criminal culpability. We offer some methodological requirements for this type of philosophical application. In addition, we show how it might help in addressing the problem of determining the criminal responsibility of psychopathic offenders.
[From the article's Introduction]: The main topic of the article is the Western metaphilosophy of the last hundred years or so. But that topic is broached via a sketch of some earlier Western metaphilosophies. (In the case of the sketch, ‘Western’ means European. In the remainder of the article, ‘Western’ means European and North American. On Eastern metaphilosophy, see the entries filed under such heads as ‘Chinese philosophy’ and ‘Indian philosophy’.) Once that sketch is in hand, the article defines (...) the notion of metaphilosophy and distinguishes between explicit and implicit metaphilosophy. Then there is a consideration of how metaphilosophies might be categorized and an outline of the course of the remainder of the article. (shrink)
Logical Empiricism is commonly regarded as uninterested in, if not hostile to sociological investigations of science. This paper reconstructs the views of Otto Neurath and Philipp Frank on the legitimacy and relevance of sociological investigations of theory choice. It is argued that while there obtains a surprising degree of convergence between their programmatic pronouncements and the Strong Programme, the two types of project nevertheless remain distinct. The key to this difference lies in the different assessment of a supposed dilemma facing (...) post-Mertonian sociologists of science. (shrink)
This paper is an essay on metaphilosophy that reviews, describes, categorises, and discusses different ways philosophers have approached the justification of abduction as a mode of reasoning and arguing. Advocating an argumentative approach to abduction, I model the philosophical debate over its justification as the critical assessment of a warrant-establishing argument allowing “H explains D” to be used as a reason for “H can be inferred from D.” Philosophers have discussed the conditions under which such kind of generic argument (...) can be accepted, and I identify five kinds of such conditions, namely: a) dialectical/procedural restriction; b) claim restriction; c) restriction over acceptable explanatory principles; d) balancing restriction; and e) epistemic restriction. (shrink)
The practice of appealing to intuitions as evidence has recently been criticized by experimental philosophers. While some traditional philosophers defend intuitions as a trustworthy source of evidence, others try to undermine the challenge this criticism poses to philosophical methodology. This paper argues that some recent attempts to undermine the challenge from experimental philosophy fail. It concludes that the metaphilosophical question whether intuitions play a role in philosophy cannot be decided by analyzing our use of the word ‘intuition’ or related terms, (...) and what philosophers rely on may not be manifest on the surface of what they write. The question what intuitions are and what their role is in philosophy has to be settled within the wider framework of a theory of knowledge, justification, and philosophical methodology. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s new book is the written version of his notorious John Locke Lectures from 1973, entitled Reference and Existence. The book contains the six lectures, the elaborate discussion and application of Kripke’s earlier conception – worked out in Naming and Necessity – to such problems as reference, existence, negative existential claims, ctional characters, semantical and speaker’s reference ‘in order to tie up some loose ends’.
Metaphilosophy is itself philosophy about philosophy. It is not something before or independent of philosophy. Both Kai Nielsen and Richard Rorty are deeply concerned (someone might say obsessively preoccupied) with metaphilosophy. They both are thoroughly historicist and contextualist resolutely rejecting any form of a transcendental or metaphysical turn. They argue against claims to absolute validity (as well as against absolutism in any form) and a natural order of reasons: some 'Reason' to which any rational agent must be committed. (...) They both see philosophy as a transitional genre first (historically speaking) from religion then metaphysics and more latterly from scientistic conceptions of the world. But they differ about what philosophy is transitional to. For Rorty it is historical narrative and utopian proposals; for Nielsen it is critical theory. Rorty claims this, Nielsen's intentions to the contrary notwithstanding, commits him to enlightenment rationalism. Nielsen replies that his form of critical theory is deeply historicist and contextual without being resolutely atheoretical. This plays out in political orientation to Nielsen's being a socialist while Rorty is a social democrat. (shrink)
This paper describes and evaluates two different ways of doing philosophy: a “reflexive” approach that sees metaphilosophical inquiry as fundamental, and a “nonreflexive” approach that sees metaphilosophy as dispensable. It examines arguments that have been advanced for these approaches by Gilbert Ryle, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Rorty, and claims that none of these arguments are convincing. Finally, the paper draws on Alasdair MacIntyre’s work to propose a different way of choosing between the approaches, one that asks which approach is (...) more successful at making its appeal intelligible to the other. From this perspective, the reflexive approach appears to have an important advantage over its rival. (shrink)
In this short paper, I am going to discuss an often neglected aspect of Davidson's philosophy, his metaphilosophy. Metaphilosophy is traditionally defined as the philosophy of philosophy. This definition, however, is not illuminating. I think metaphilosophy aims at a disclosure of the nature of philosophical questions, what they are and how to approach them. ...
This is an essay on philosophical methodology, the disciplinary prejudices of the Anglophone philosophical world, and how these things interact with some aspects of the content and form of Latin American philosophy to preclude the latter's integration with mainstream Anglophone philosophical work. Among the topics discussed of interest to analytic philosophers: metaphilosophy, the status hierarchy of philosophical subfields, experimental philosophy, and patterns of openness and exclusion in philosophy. Among the topics of interest to philosophers interested in Latin American philosophy (...) and comparative philosophy: the nature of disputes about the existence of Latin American philosophy, the significance of this genre of writing, how contributions to it can proceed, and why metaphilosophical concerns in Latin America are problematic for the prospects for integration with the Anglophone philosophical world. (shrink)
This paper describes an undergraduate course in metaphilosophy for philosophy majors and argues that there are four potential benefits to students; namely that doing metaphilosophy allows students to draw their own conclusions about what philosophy is, develops students’ metacognitive skills to promote learning, establishes students as members of the philosophical community, and disposes students to live lives that reflect their philosophical education. It describes issues of transparency of course design and the particulars of the course, including course content, (...) and provides excerpts of student work to demonstrate student learning outcomes. Finally, it will suggest that even if it is not possible to offer a stand-alone course in metaphilosophy, instructors should provide opportunities to reflect on metaphilosophical issues in their other philosophy courses. (shrink)
This article argues for four interrelated claims: Metaphilosophy is not one sub-discipline of philosophy, nor is it restricted to questions of methodology. Rather, metaphilosophical inquiry encompasses the general background conditions of philosophical practice. These background conditions are of various sorts, not only those routinely considered “philosophical” but also those considered biographical, historical, and sociological. Accordingly, we should be wary of the customary distinction between what is proper and merely contingent to philosophy. “What is philosophy?” is best understood as a (...) practical question concerning how members of different philosophical sub-communities identify what is pertinent to their respective activities and self-conceptions. Given –, understanding what philosophy is requires us to take more seriously the social-institutional dimension of contemporary philosophical practice. (shrink)
The second part of Richard Double’s Metaphilosophy and Free Will restates arguments first given in his The Non-Reality of Free Will and answers some objections to them. The first, and longer, part of the book sets these arguments in a wider context. Since writing his previous book, Double has come to believe that no theory about free will can be shown to be more worthy of acceptance than others. The reason for this is that different theories are supported by (...) different metaphilosophical views, views that cannot be “shown to be objectively best, because their plausibility [depends] on subjective facts about us,” namely on our “non-truth-valued desires”. (shrink)
Sarah A. Mattice develops a comparative intervention in contemporary metaphilosophy. Drawing on resources from hermeneutics, cognitive linguistics, aesthetics, and Chinese philosophy, she explores how philosophical language is deeply intertwined with the definition and practice of the discipline.
I compare recent work in the sociology of scientific knowledge with other types of sociological research. On this basis I urge a revival of the sociology of science, offer a tentative agenda, and attempt to show how the questions I raise might be addressed.
Recent Anglophone scholarship has successfully shown that Nietzsche's thought makes important contributions to a wide range of contemporary philosophical debates. In so doing, however, scholarship has lost sight of another important feature of Nietzsche's project, namely his desire to challenge the very conception of philosophy that has been used to assess his merits as a philosopher. In other words, contemporary scholarship has overlooked Nietzsche's contributions to metaphilosophy, i.e. debates around the nature, methods, and aims of philosophy. This important new (...) collection of essays brings together an international group of distinguished scholars to explore and discuss these contributions and debates. It will appeal to anyone interested in metaphilosophy, Nietzsche studies, German studies, or intellectual history. (shrink)
analogies that epistemologists have used to discuss the structure and validity of knowledge. After reviewing foundational, coherentist, and other metaphors for knowledge, we discuss the metaphilosophical significance of the prevalence of such metaphors. We argue that they support a view of philosophy as akin to science rather than poetry or rhetoric.
I have spent 40 years looking for a coherent and convincing way of formulating my worries about what, if anything, philosophy is good for. Richard Rorty had an unusually avid interest in metaphilosophy. Again and again he would return to questions about the practical uses (if any) to which philosophy might be put, about philosophy's role in intellectual culture, about what philosophy is or might become. His answers to these questions were famously negative: philosophy's practical uses are few, its (...) cultural role marginal. Philosophy is or will be whatever we make of it. Yet it is one thing to have given up on the idea of Philosophy as a Fach with a naturally occurring canon of problems, or in terms of the closely .. (shrink)