Epistemic Structuralism: The Limit to Radical Alternatives to Traditional Epistemology

  • G. L. Pandit
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 73)


It is indisputable that epistemology has been, ever since antiquity, concerned with the resolution of the complexities of human knowledge. But what are the salient features, if any, of this enterprise of traditional epistemology (TE) or the theories that have been developed under it (TE-theories)? Although of considerable independent philosophical interest, this vastly complex question assumes a crucial relevance against the current background of what may be termed ‘the radical alternatives to TE’ that have been recently proposed by Karl Popper and W. V. O. Quine respectively. Common to these proposals is the view that TE is totally misconceived; that the kinds of problems it raises and the solutions it offers are all fundamentally irrelevant to our proper understanding of human knowledge.


Human Knowledge Radical Alternative Epistemic Rationality Logical Empiricism Naturalize Epistemology 
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    Post-Darwinian objectivistic epistemology, like pre-Darwinian subjectivistic epistemology, illustrates how the philosopher’s conception of his own field of inquiry, no less than his conception of other fields of inquiry, not only conditions his formulations of important philosophical problems but, often, reflects the pre-dominant and pervasive theoretical or intellectual values of a particular historical period.Google Scholar
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    It is not possible here to digress into the details of this view which are worked out in one of my unpublished papers.Google Scholar
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    For projecting naturalized epistemology in a psychological setting and taking the `physical’ human subject as a complex kind of input-output system, Quine explicitly identifies epistemology with a causal inquiry into the nature of the relation between (1) “the meagre input” — “certain patterns of irradiation in assorted frequencies” which the human subject is subject to — and (2) “the torrential output” — “a description of the three-dimensional external world and its history.” And this only amounts to an inquiry into the nature of the relations of interaction between man and the world. But, if we take knowledge as an orientating variable of all relations of human interaction, knowledge is seen as making these relations possible and hence it cannot be identified with them.Google Scholar
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    This consequence is interesting. Popper may well be reminded of it by his own (1972a), vii, ix.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. L. Pandit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of DelhiIndia

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