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Journal of Philosophical Research

APA Centennial Supplement

Volume 28, Issue Supplement, 2003
Philosophy in America at the Turn of the Century

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1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Robert Audi

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2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
John R. Searle

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The central intellectual fact of the present era is that knowledge grows. This growth of knowledge is quietly transforming philosophy, making it possible to do a new kind of philosophy. With the abandonment of the epistemic bias in the subject, such a philosophy can go far beyond anything imagined by the philosophy of a half century ago. It begins, not with skepticism, but with what we know about the real world. It begins with such facts as those stated by the atomic theory of matter and the evolutionary theory of biology, as well as such “common sense” facts as that we are all conscious, that we all really do have intentional mental states, that we form social groups and create institutional facts. Such a philosophy is theoretical, comprehensive, systematic, and universal in subject matter.
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3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Gilbert Harman

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Two conceptions of a priori methods and assumptions can be distinguished. First, there are the assumptions and methods accepted prior to a given inquiry. Second, there are innate assumptions and methods. For each of these two types of a priori methods and assumptions, we can also allow cases in which one starts with something that is a priori and is justified in reaching a new belief or procedure without making any appeal to new experiential data. But we should not suppose there is some further sort of a priori explained in terms of some other notion of justification. If we try to construct a notion of the a priori by considering ways in which knowledge, belief, or reasoning might be though to be directly a priori, via direct insight, inability to imagine something false, intentions about use of language, and the language faculty, the resulting conception of the a prior in each of these cases reduces to either of the first two conceptions.
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4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Charlene Haddock Seigfried

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Since I think that an inability to recognize and respect the dignity of human beings because of perceived differences is at the center of the most intense disputes that we face in the twenty-first century, we have a particularly pressing duty as philosophers to develop and demonstrate principled beliefs that at the same time value beliefs contrary to one’s own. One of the most troubling developments in the discipline of philosophy over the course of the twentieth century, therefore, was its increasing insulation from cultural, social, and political issues as it sought to emulate the presumed value neutrality of the sciences. As a first step toward a more principled and thoughtful approach to the value of diversity, we need to openly address the divisions in our own ranks as to what constitutes philosophyand how it ought to be carried out, and I use feminist and pragmatist approaches as cases in point.
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5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Karen Hanson

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At the turn of the nineteenth century, American pragmatists claimed that philosophy rests on experience. Variations of their empiricism persist at the beginning ofthe twenty-first century, but, I argue, the notion of experience remains under-analyzed. In this paper I examine Peirce’s and James’s contrasting views of the relation between experience and philosophy, comparing their views with Descartes’s, and I re-enter Dewey’s question, “What are the data of philosophy?” Do different individuals have different data? As it is a commonplace of the twenty-first century that our experiences vary widely with our individual life circumstances and that there are fault lines in human experience that can be organized by notions of gender, race, ethnicity and culture, and historical and economic circumstances, I also consider whether that commonplace has any import for philosophy.
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6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
George S. Pappas

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Philosophical accounts of perception in the tradition of Kant and Reid have generally supposed that an event of making a judgment is a key element in every perceptual experience. An alternative very austere view regards perception as an event containing nothing judgmental, nor anything conceptual. This account of perception as nonconceptual is discussed first historically as found in the philosophies of Locke and (briefly) Berkeley, and then examined in the contemporary work of Chisholm and Alston.
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7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Jaegwon Kim

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If contemporary analytic philosophy can be said to have a philosophical ideology, it undoubtedly is naturalism. Naturalism is often invoked as a motivating ground for many philosophical projects, and “naturalization” programs abound everywhere, in theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind, theory of meaning, metaphysics, and ethics. But what is naturalism, and where does it come from? This paper examines the naturalism debate in midtwentieth-century America as a proximate source of contemporary naturalism. Views of philosophers like Roy Wood Sellars, John Dewey, John Herman Randall, Sydney Hook, and Ernest Nagel are cited, and some of the central tenets of naturalism, such as an adherence to “scientific method” as the sole source of knowledge and the causal/ explanatory closure of the natural world, are explored. The paper ends with a brief discussion of how certain naturalistic constraints lead to some of the problems currently debated in metaethics and philosophy of mind.
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8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 28 > Issue: Supplement
Christine M. Korsgaard

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In this paper I trace the development of one of the central debates of late twentieth-century moral philosophy—the debate between realism and what Rawls called “constructivism.” Realism, I argue, is a reactive position that arises in response to almost every attempt to give a substantive explanation of morality. It results from the realist’s belief that such explanations inevitably reduce moral phenomena to natural phenomena. I trace this belief, and the essence of realism, to a view about the nature of concepts—that it is the function of all concepts to describe reality. Constructivism may be understood as the alternative view that a normative concept refers schematically to the solution to a practical problem. A constructivist account of a concept, unlike a traditional analysis, is an attemptto work out the solution to that problem. I explain how the philosophies of Kant and Rawls can be understood on this model.
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