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The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays

To these new epistemological proposals another is added, whose character and aspect have a certain importance, and which underlines the need for an epistemological discourse that links itself to the heart of the whole philosophical tradition and the value of its immense patrimony. This proposal suggests a qualitative discourse, free from post-modern prejudices that are mainly sociological, analytical, formalistic, quantitative, logico-linguistic, and so on. It should consequently unite the epistemological and gnoseological realms (philosophy of knowledge), giving privilege to the world of life in matters of pure logic and methodology, since these latter, by themselves, never provide definite and convincing answers (cf. Boniolo, 1999, pp. 6-13). The impasse in the debate among different theories may be overcome if, instead of analyzing the nature of the theories, attention is shifted to behavior, that is, how to manage them (cf. ibidem, pp. 36-41). To this end it is necessary to overcome another negative attitude, which judges propositions, issues, and problems of an ethical and metaphysical kind, as irrelevant to science.

Epistemology: New Essays offers a cutting-edge overview of the current state of the field

The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays PDF

Philosophical interest in beauty began with the earliest recorded philosophers. Beauty was deemed to be an essential ingredient in a good life and so what it was, where it was to be found, and how it was to be included in a life were prime considerations. The way beauty has been conceived has been influenced by an author’s other philosophical commitments―metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical―and such commitments reflect the historical and cultural position of the author. For example, beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth to which we respond with love and adoration; beauty is a harmony of the soul that we achieve through cultivating feeling in a rational and tempered way; beauty is an idea raised in us by certain objective features of the world; beauty is a sentiment that can nonetheless be cultivated to be appropriate to its object; beauty is the object of a judgment by which we exercise the social, comparative, and intersubjective elements of cognition, and so on. Such views on beauty not only reveal underlying philosophical commitments but also reflect positive contributions to understanding the nature of value and the relation of mind and world. One way to distinguish between beauty theories is according to the conception of the human being that they assume or imply, for example, where they fall on the continuum from determinism to free will, ungrounded notions of compatibilism notwithstanding. For example, theories at the latter end might carve out a sense of genuine innovation and creativity in human endeavors while at the other end of the spectrum authors may conceive of beauty as an environmental trigger for consumption, procreation, or preservation in the interests of the individual. Treating beauty experiences as in some respect intentional, characterizes beauty theory prior to the 20th century and since, mainly in historically inspired writing on beauty. However, treating beauty as affect or sensation has always had its representatives and is most visible today in evolutionary-inspired accounts of beauty (though not all evolutionary accounts fit this classification). Beauty theory falls under some combination of metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, aesthetics, and psychology. Although during the 20th century beauty was more likely to be conceived as an evaluative concept for art, recent philosophical interest in beauty can again be seen to exercise arguments pertaining to metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, philosophy of meaning, and language in addition to philosophy of art and environmental aesthetics.

Mainstream and Formal Epistemology, New York: Cambridge University Press

1. Methodological Pluralism and Analogical Scientificity. The preceding observations in the case of the economic science show that the simple recognition of "epistemological pluralism" is not enough, since we first need to re-define the general criteria of scientificity and of scientific method. Today it seems possible to begin with three fundamental needs for every discipline. The first is the "logical-programmatic coherence," that is, the ability to conform observations and verifications to reality. The second is the "ability to explain and anticipate," that is, to formulate reliable predictions. The third is the "ability of self-reorganization," that is, to adapt constantly to the growing necessities of its own research. These criteria provide a "general structure of scientificity," which allows every discipline to elaborate an intrinsic, rigorous scientificity, appropriate to its identity, and always adapting to new tasks. In fact, the "logical-programmatic coherence" addresses the needs of rigor and objectivity, and the "qualification" and "ability to self-reorganize" addresses the need to adapt scientificity to new contingencies. Adopting such universal criteria also no longer forces the social-human sciences to employ heteronomous theories, imposed from outside, "objectified" and "oriented to power," and developed on the model of the natural sciences, which will always remain inadequate to human or social sciences. These properly autonomous theories, rather, suitable for the comprehension of their objects and able to elevate the self-comprehension of humankind, would help to render human beings more aware of their actions, in full adherence to what specifically pertains to the human sphere.

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To overcome the difficulties of this relationship, Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) proposed a free construction of language better suited to receive empirical contents, reformulating the elements of Empiricism and in the form of "conventionalism" (cf. The Logical Syntax of Language, 1934). Through the analysis of the linguistic expression he wanted to demonstrate the empirical thesis, so he declared empty or tautological each proposition that did not refer to a specific experimental content. This interest in semantics (the study of the relationships among signs and what they mean) and its relationship with syntax (the part of semeiology that studies the relationship among signs, regardless of their meaning), enriched epistemology, but it also introduced new and difficult problems, such as the integration of the formal analysis of language with the role of language to bear meaning. A theory of meaning and of interpretation (hermeneutics) thus became necessary.

Beauty - Philosophy - Oxford Bibliographies

While philosophical epistemology struggled to overcome physicalism, to which very few now adhered, the "new sciences" were advancing, facing more and more complex problems. The new sciences of the second part of the 20th century -cybernetics, aetiology, , etc. -- called for new qualitative and structural axioms. Wanting to recover the exemplary knowledge of science, it was pointed out that science had until now considered only partial aspects and artifacts of the scientific enterprise. The most recent epistemologies strove, therefore, to fill the void by evaluating the historiography of science.