Discourse on a Method

  • Nicholas Rescher
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 17)


This final chapter is a study in philosophical methodology, or rather, a study of one particular method of philosophical investigation: the method of applied logic. In its most general outline, this method consists in the application of the tools and concepts of modern formal logic to the study of philosophical questions. It is important to emphasize at the very outset that the method to be described is not being put forward as a general all-purpose procedure of philosophical investigation. There is no intent here to endorse any technique as the method of philosophical analysis. The present method is avowedly conceived as constituting a promising tool for the investigation of one class, and only one class of philosophical problems, namely those which hinge upon considerations regarding the formal and strictly logical aspects of a philosophical concept or proposition. Thus the method to be described is put forward not as a generic procedure of philosophical analysis, but only as a technique of limited applicability, suitable for the investigation of one restricted, albeit very important, class of philosophical problems.


Philosophical Analysis Applied Logic Philosophical Problem Philosophical Logic Philosophical Question 
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  1. 1.
    Some classic examples are: Hugh MacColl on existence (Mind 14 (1905) 74–81), Bertrand Russell on denoting (Mind 14 (1905) 479–493), C. I. Lewis on implication (Mind 21 (1912) 522–531), and G. E. Moore on external and internal relations (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 20 (1920) 40–62 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pp. 484–485 of ‘On Denoting’, Mind 14 (1905) 479–493.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Logic Without Ontology’ in Y. H. Krikorian (ed.), Naturalism and the Human Spirit (New York, 1944), reprinted in H. Feigl and W. Sellars, Readings in Philosophical Analysis (New York, 1949), pp. 191–210 (quoted from p. 205).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This chapter is a somewhat expanded version of an article of the same title published in Methodos 11 (1959) 81–89.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1968

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  • Nicholas Rescher

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