Forbidden Knowledge

Episteme

Book 13
Springer Science & Business Media
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This volume collects together eleven essays in epistemology, written during the past three years. They are mostly unpublished, just four of them having appeared previously (numbers two, three, four and eleven). Detailed acknowledgement of prior publication is made in the notes to the relevant chapters. I am indebted to the editors of the several publications involved for their kind permission to use this material. And I am particularly grateful to my friend, Professor Mario Bunge, for his interest in my work and for his willingness to include this sample of it in his 'Episteme' series. NICHOLAS RESCHER Pittsburgh, PA December, 1986 xi INTRODUCTION The philosophy of knowledge covers a vast and enormously diversified terrain. Within this broad area, the essays that comprise the present book deal specifically with the following issues: 1. The moral dimension of inquiry - in particular, scientific inquiry into the ways of the world (Chapter 1) 2. The epistemic status of such cognitive 'values' of inquiry as - coherence (Chapter 2) - consistency (Chapter 3) - completeness (Chapter 4) 3. The cognitive bearing of probabilistic considerations (Chapters 5 and 6) 4. The epistemic status of certain ideal desiderata of cognition, such as - totality (Chapter 7) - precision (Chapter 8) - exactness (Chapter 9) 5.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 6, 2012
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Pages
154
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ISBN
9789400937710
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The present publication forms part of a projected book that F. P. Ramsey drafted but never completed. It survived among his papers and ultimately came into the possession of the University of Pittsburgh in the circumstances detailed in the Editor's Introduction. Our hope in issuing this work at this stage - some sixty years after Ramsey's premature death at the age of 26 - is both to provide yet another token of his amazing philosophical creativity, and also to make available an important datum for the still to be written history of the development of philosophical analysis. This is a book whose appearance will, we hope and expect, be appreciated both by those interested in linguistic philosophy itself and by those concerned for its historical development in the present century. EDITORS'INTRODUCTION 1. THE RAMSEY COLLECTION Frank Plump ton Ramsey (22 February 1903 -19 January 1930) was an extra ordinary scholarly phenomenon. Son of a distinguished mathematician and President of Magdalene College, Cambridge and brother of Arthur Michael, eventual Archbishop of Canterbury, Ramsey was closely connected with Cambridge throughout his life, ultimately becoming lecturer in Mathematics in the University. Notwithstanding his great mathematical talent, it was primarily logic and philosophy that engaged his interests, and he wrote original and important contributions to logic, semantics, epistomology, probability theory, philosophy of science, and economics, in addition to seminal work in the foundations of mathematics.
It is convenient to divide the theory of knowledge into three sets of problems: 1. the nature of knowledge, certainty and related notions, 2. the nature and validi ty of the sources of knowledge, and 3. answers to skeptical arguments. The first set includes questions such as: What is it to know that something is the case? Does knowledge imply certainty? If not, how do they differ? What are the con ditions of knowledge? What is it to be justified in accepting something? The sec ond deals with the ways in which knowledge can be acquired. Traditional sources have included sources of premisses such as perception, memory, in trospection, innateness, revelation, testimony, and methods for drawing conclu sions such as induction and deduction, among others. Under this heading, philosophers have asked: Does innateness provide knowledge? Under what con ditions are beliefs from perception, testimony and memory justified? When does induction yield justified belief? Can induction itself be justified? Debates in this area have sometimes led philosophers to question sources (e. g. , revela tion, innateness) but usually the aim has been to clarify and increase our understanding of the notion of knowledge. The third class includes the peren nial puzzles taught to beginning students: the existence of other minds, the problem of the external world (along with questions about idealism and phenomenalism), and more general skeptical problems such as the problem of the criterion. These sets of questions are related.
During the sixteenth century, Cardano wrote a fascinating work called The Book on Games of Chance. In it he gives an extremely candid recount ing and personal appraisal of some aspects of his most remarkable life. * One feature of the book is striking for the modern scientist or mathemati cian accustomed to current publishing practices. It is brought out during Cardano's discussion of his investigations of certain special questions of applied probability, namely, the question of how to win at gambling. His technique is simplicity itself: in fine reportorial style he reveals his proposed strategy for a particular gambling game, giving marvelous motivating arguments which induce the reader to feel warm, heartfelt support for the projected strategy. Then with all the drama that only a ringside seat observation can bring, Cardano announces that he tried the strategy at the casino and ended up borrowing his taxi fare. Undaunted by failure, he analyzes his now fire-tested strategy in detail, mounts new and per suasive arguments, and, ablaze with fresh optimism and replenished resources, charges off to the fray determined to now succeed where he had so often failed before. Along the way, Cardano developed a number of valuable insights about games of chance and produced useful research results which presumably would be of interest in our present-day society. However, he could never publish the results today in journals with all the flair, the mistakes, the failures and minor successes which he exhibits in his book.
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