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The Death of Philosophy: Reference and Self-reference in Contemporary Thought (English Edition) Format Kindle
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- Taille du fichier : 813 KB
- Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 360 pages
- Word Wise : Non activé
- Éditeur : Columbia University Press (24 mai 2011)
- ASIN : B007REFLYC
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- Langue : : Anglais
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ITF not only correctly identifies the issue, she also provides an answer. She does it in the context of defining philosophy. Her assertion is that those who seek to claim the subject matter of philosophy is being subsumed by the "sciences" , with philosophy being a casualty of the progress of human thought are simply wrong. And, not only is she correct, she makes an excellent case by not only dismantling the philosophical structures that make such claims but also making an affirmative claim as to what philosophy does. Her claim is that philosophy is the discipline that evaluates thought structures which makes truth claims about the structure of reality, human nature, social structures and entities, the immaterial world of concepts and ideas. And, she provides a system by which philosophy can fulfill this function. She calls it self-reference (although her language usage is not consistent).
To explain, I will use an example ITF uses - Richard Rorty. Rorty is a radical empiricist who claims that unchanging truth does not exist. ITF's test simply applies Rorty's system to itself. After all, Rorty is claiming that his system (and no other) is true. When applied to itself, Rorty's system self-refutes. Thus, it fails the test of self-reference and is to be rejected. That does not mean that every assertion Rorty makes is wrong, but simply that his system is one to be ignored, like a house built with a defective foundation, defective plumbing, and defective electrical wiring.
I will use three additional examples (ITF uses only Kant) to demonstrate her method: (a) Humean Radical Empiricism, (b) Kantian Transcendental Empiricism, and (d) Thomas Reid's Commonsense Empiricism, all of which claim to correctly describe how human cognition obtains knowledge AND each of which contradicts the other two.
Hume claims that all knowledge is derived from the sense and human concepts and assertions are to be accepted only if they can be related with infallible certainty to a specific sense perception. Well, to what sense perception can I relate Radical Empiricism? The answer is none and hence, Hume's Radical Empiricism fails the test.
Kant's Transcendental Empiricism makes a claim similar to Hume's but adds that human knowledge is based on a combination of sense data and the a priori structures of human cognition, which produce two type of knowledge: phenomena (which Kant acknowledge was simply a representation and unreliable) or noumena (which is something that human cognition is incapable of comprehending). When applied to itself, Kant's system self-refutes as if it is phenomena, it is cannot be relied upon and if noumena, no human can know it. ITF points out that Fichte figured this out in about 1790.
Reid's Commonsense empiricism asserts that there are core precepts that we are under a necessity to take for granted in the ordinary conduct of our lives whose history and application in the laboratory of life proves them true. Thus, when I see a tree, I see a tree and do not walk into it. Reid's system does not self-refute.
So, historically, which of these three systems has had the greatest impact on philosophy: Hume, Kant or Reid? Thomas Reid was a contemporary of Hume. He was incredibly influential in the founding of the United States, but disappeared about 150 years ago only recently to be rediscovered. Kant and Hume have been staples for centuries. How did that happen? Radical Empiricism and Transcendental Empiricism simply cannot be true, but they have been and continue to be extraordinarily influential. Whereas Reid's "commonsense empiricism" which today is called "naive realism" and is making a comeback. Witness John Searle's 2015 Book "Seeing Things As They Are", which properly destroys both Hume's Radical Empiricism and Kant's Transcendental Empiricism. Searle, by the way, gives no credit to Reid.
ITF's solution also gives philosophical history is proper place in the world of thought. Philosophy should be based on the questions asked, like "what is reality?" And its history supplies the laboratory results that provide the answers and one uses self-reference to evaluate them and create new ones. Aristotle, by the way, invented this approach. He called in endoxy. It went out of fashion about 200 years ago. Hopefully, it can make a comeback.
ITF's system is based on the concepts of "object" and "self-reference". Her language use is not consistent and I found it difficult to follow. The approach is set forth about, philosophy, at core, is about objects, with the most important objects being the intellectual systems that make truth assertions about reality, human nature, societal structure and entities and immaterial concepts and ideas. Self-reference is simply applies the intellectual system to itself. She calls the "object" sometimes the "said' and reference to it as "saying".
The first book I am aware of that simply presents the tests for evaluating intellectual systems makes truth claims is Roy Clouser's 2005 book "The Myth of Religious Neutrality." A far more detailed discussion of issue is contained in DFM Strauss' 2011 book "Philosophy: the Discipline of Disciplines." Clouser's book has the benefit of being written in an understandable manner, but it lacks applications (as this topic is tangential to its main topic). Strauss' book is excellent and discusses the issue with far more detail and sophistication than does ITF's, but is an extremely difficult read (with the emphasis on the extremely). I am convinced the issue ITF raises should be at the center of every undergraduate education. But, it is simply ignored as one or another professor present their favorite theory of truth regarding reality, human nature, social institutions and entities, concept and ideas. ITF has provided a path to reclaim truth in the academy and the world of thought. While not an easy read, this book is well worth it. Her ideas need a full and fair hearing.
I add a warning to this review. This is a book written by an academic philosopher for other academic philosophers. I first read the book about 2 years ago and frankly did not understand her position, due to her academic presentation style. After reading it the first time, I spent about 2 years of daily self -study of philosophy and then re-read it and, only after the additional study was I able to understand her position. For example, ITS assumes her readers possess a strong working knowledge of Kant, Helmholtz, Cohen, and Heidegger. For example, the analysis I provide about Kant's Transcendental Empiricism is given by ITS in a few words and assumes the reader is at least familiar enough with Kant to understand her meaning. And, she never calls it Transcendental Empiricism. Even with my preparation, on my second read, I had to go to secondary sources on Cohen (a Neo-Kantian thinker who founded the Marbury School of neo-Kantianism is the second half of the 1800's). It is a shame that a seminal work on such a crucial point is presented in such an difficult format.