Chapter

Prolegomenon: The Philosopher's World

Ross Harrison

in On What There Must Be

Published in print September 1974 | ISBN: 9780198245070
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680830 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.003.0001
Prolegomenon: The Philosopher's World

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Philosophy is often dismissed by non-philosophers as being merely a misguided competitor to science. The fact that philosophy works independently of observation and experiment, together with the common assumption that nothing about the nature of the world can be discovered by the exercise of pure reason alone, also worries philosophers themselves, and leads them to develop various methods of defending the status of their subject. If the process of inquiry into the nature of the world is pictured in something like Quine's manner, it is obvious how philosophers can have an influence on what is decided or discovered to be in the world. Solution of the central problem of this chapter has been narrowed down to the problem of whether there are any assumptions about the nature of the world which it would be justifiable for someone to make who was operating with pure reason alone. The solution proposed to the general problem is essentially that of Kant. Even if it is thought that this chapter has succeeded in establishing the possibility of someone discovering the nature of the world by pure reason alone, it might still be wondered why anyone should bother to do this.

Keywords: philosophy; Quine; philosophers; Kant; world

Chapter.  12752 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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