Truthmaker maximalism is the claim that every truth has a truthmaker. The case of negative truths leads some philosophers to postulate negative states of affairs or to give up on truthmaker maximalism. This paper defends a version of the incompatibility view of negative truths. Negative truths can be made true by positive facts, and thus, truthmaker maximalism can be maintained without postulating negative states of affairs.
accessible introductory survey of the major problems and movements in the philosophy of science. It is an excellent book to use on its own in a lower-level philosophy of science course or as a supplement to some anthology of primary texts in a more sophisticated upper-level course. It would also suit anyone who has interest in the subject but little patience for jargon-heavy professional philosophy. GodfreySmith covers the traditional problems of induction, realism, and explanation along with more recent issues such as naturalism, feminism, and sociology of science. His exposition is accented by insightful commentary and criticism, and by examples from the history of science, all with a keen sense of humor.The book opens with a statement of the goals of the subdiscipline as he sees them. He suggests that philosophers of science should aim to understand how humans gain knowledge of the world as well as to provide an account of what makes the work descendent from the Scientific Revolution different from other areas of human interest.The second chapter concerns the empiricist tradition up to the fall of logical positivism. Hume's skepticism, Mach's phenomenalism, Kant's reconciliation of rationalism and empiricism, Hegelianism, and Heidegger's metaphysics set the stage for the Vienna Circle. The verifiability theory of meaning and the analytic-synthetic distinction are emphasized along with other familiar positivist doctrines. Godfrey-Smith also does a service in emphasizing that the early 20th century positivists were far from the stodgy and conservative coots that they are often portrayed as having been. On the political side, Hoover's FBI had a 70-page file on Carnap and, philosophically, the ideas of the positivists were quite radical and constantly being modified in response to criticism (largely from other positivists).The next chapter treats problems of induction and confirmation, opening with a crash course in logic. Given that students have notorious difficulty grasping the concept of deductive validity, this part might run a bit quick. But any decent instructor can fill in the details. Hempel's raven paradox is discussed, and Godfrey-Smith suggests that the problem can be abated by pointing out the relevance of background information and the artificiality of the example. Godfrey-Smith also makes the interesting point that the order in which one observes the properties of an object affects whether or not the observation confirms the hypothesis. "If anything is a raven, then it is black" can be confirmed by a white shoe when the observation had the potential to refute the hypothesis, i.e., if we first knew only that there was a white object present. This idea is advocated in more detail in another chapter. Goodman's riddle of induction is thoroughly explained (it's not about anything changing color) along with attempts to solve the paradox by appeals to simplicity or the notion of a natural kind. The difficulties with these approaches are also made clear.The fourth chapter is devoted to Popper's philosophy o...
This book symposium features three critical pieces dealing with Duncan Pritchard's book, 'Epistemic Angst'; the symposium also contains Pritchard's replies to his critics. Manuscrito -Rev. Int. Fil. Campinas, v. 41, n. 1, pp. 115-165, jan.-mar. 2018. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Duncan Duncan PritchardI have struggled with the problem of radical skepticism for many years. Epistemic Angst (Princeton University Press, 2015) opens by saying that this problem is both my first love, philosophically speaking, and my true love. It was certainly this puzzle that got me hooked into philosophy, and it was this puzzle that I found myself returning to at regular intervals. In earlier workespecially Epistemic Luck (Oxford University Press, 2005)I tried to meet the difficulty head-on, by offering a form of neo-Mooreanism that was motivated by epistemic externalism and situated within a research program I referred to as anti-luck epistemology. 1 The careful reader of this book will have spotted, however, that I was not fully persuaded, in that the anti-skeptical proposal on offer starts to look very much like a "skeptical solution" once the details are unpacked. Indeed, I found myself arguing in effect that a form of radical skepticism that is aimed specifically at the rational standing of our beliefs was pretty much correct.Over the years, my response to radical skepticism became increasingly bifurcated. On the one hand, I developed an anti-skeptical theory (the essentials of which were already present in Epistemic Luck) that was inspired by Wittgenstein's (1969) remarks on the structure of rational evaluation in On Certainty. 2 Simultaneously, I also advanced a separate proposal, inspired by John McDowell's (e.g., 1995) work, which was cast along epistemological disjunctivist lines. On the face of it, these two proposals are radically different. Nonetheless, I was convinced that they belonged together, though at the outset I couldn't quite see how to connect them. Fortunately, since each of these 1 I submit that anti-luck epistemology is still going strong, even though I now realize that it doesn't contain the materials to deal with radical scepticism. That is, I now realize that the philosophical task of offering a theory of knowledge is orthogonal to the philosophical challenge of showing whether, contra the radical skeptic, we have any knowledge. In any case, I claim that anti-luck epistemology is adequate to the former task, as part of a wider view I call anti-luck virtue epistemology (or, more recently, anti-risk virtue epistemology). For more on anti-luck epistemology in general, see Pritchard (2005a;2007;2015a). For more on anti-luck virtue epistemology, see Pritchard, Millar & Haddock (2010, chs. 1-4) and Pritchard (2012a). For more on anti-risk virtue epistemology, see Pritchard (2016; forthcoming).
What constitutes a solution to the problem of skepticism? It has been traditionally held that one must produce an argument that would rationally persuade skeptical philosophers that they are mistaken. But there is a trend in recent epistemology toward the idea that we can solve the problem without giving skeptics any good reason to change their minds. This is what I call unambitious epistemology. This paper is a critique of that project.
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