Advertisement

Informational Semantics and Epistemic Arrogance

  • S. Silvers
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 72)

Abstract

An adequate epistemology of human knowledge should explain what is assumed to be distinctive about that knowledge. The assumption that human knowledge is distinct in kind is challenged by various forms of naturalized epistemology. Tradition has it that it’s the propositional character of human knowledge that distinguishes it from all other kinds. This suggests that if we can explain how the human mind entertains propositions we will have explained human cognition, rational action (behavior under the causal control of logically coherent thought patterns), and gained insight into human cognitive hegemony. A naturalistic explanation of human knowledge and cognition cannot permit itself the metaphysical luxury of Descartes’ dualistic ontology. Descartes’ discontinuity thesis explains the distinctiveness of human knowledge by severing it and, especially the minds that have it, from everything else. It is the urge to naturalize that creates the tension with what we identify as the human cognitive advantage, namely, rational thought.1 One part of the argument for the propositional character of human knowledge rehearses Descartes’ discontinuity thesis that distinguishes human linguistic capacity as sui generis and locates the mental outside the natural order. The other part of the argument attempts to show that while thought, in practice, is discontinuous with the mental capacities of the beasts, it is nevertheless explainable compatibly with the resources of natural science. This is, of course, precisely what Descartes denied.

Keywords

Human Knowledge Propositional Attitude Rational Belief Abductive Inference Naturalize Epistemology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Cornman, J., Lelirer, K. & Pappas, G. (1992) Philosophical Problems and Arguments. Fourth Edition. Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  2. Damasio, A. (1994) Descartes’ Error. New York. Grossell/PulnamGoogle Scholar
  3. Davidson D. (1973) “On the very idea of a conceptual scheme.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association. XLVII, 1972–73, 5–20.Google Scholar
  4. Davidson, D. (1980), Essays on actions and events. Oxford, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dennett, D.C. (1971) “Intentional Systems” in his Brainstorms. Cambridge. MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fodor, J.A. (1994) The Elm and the Expert. Cambridge, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fodor, J.A. (1991) “The dogma that didn’t bark. A fragment of naturalized epistemology.” Mind, 100, 201–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fodor, J.A. (1987) Psychosemantics. Cambridge, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fodor, J.A. (1986) “Banish Dis Content.” In Butterfield (Ed) Language, Mind, and Logic. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fodor, J.A. (1984) “Semantics, Wisconsin Style” Synthese, 59, pp. 231–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fodor, J.A. (1975) The Language of Thought. New York, Thomas Crowell.Google Scholar
  12. Fodor, J.A. (1968) Psychological Explanation. New York, Random House.Google Scholar
  13. Fodor, J.A. & Lepore, E. (1992) Holism: A Shopper’s Guide. Oxford. Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Gould, S.J. (1989) Wonderful Life. New York. Norton.Google Scholar
  15. Kahneman, D., Slovic, P. & Tversky. A. (Eds.) (1982) Judgment Under Uncertainty. New York, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kim, J. (1994) Supervenience and Mind. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kornblith, H. (1994) Inductive Inference and Its Natural Ground. Cambridge, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Putnam, H. (1992) Renewing Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Rosenberg, J.F. (1974) Linguistic Representation. Boston, D. Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Runes, D.D. (1963) Pictorial History of Philosophy. Paterson, NJ, Littlefield. Adams.Google Scholar
  21. Silvers, S. (1996) “Rational reconstruction and immature science.” Philosophical Psychology. Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Steiner, G. (1975) After Babel: Aspects of Lingua ge and Translation. Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Stich, S.P. (1983) Erom Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science: The Case Against Belief. Cambridge, MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Silvers
    • 1
  1. 1.Clemson UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations