Method of Inquiry

Ross Harrison

in On What There Must Be

Published in print September 1974 | ISBN: 9780198245070
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680830 | DOI:
Method of Inquiry

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This chapter discusses the method of inquiry. It starts by presenting reduction versus construction. Many attempts to discover the more central or essential features of the present conceptual scheme do not use a constructive method, which involves starting with just a few essential features and building up a complete picture of all the fundamental features which are required. It is noted that the reductive method cannot be used without use, either overt or covert, of the constructive method. It is also argued that the inquiry should start at an extremely fundamental level and build up a picture of the essential features of any comprehensible world starting with just a few primitive parts. Neurath's ship is then addressed. It is argued that an inquiry into the essential conditions of any world being a comprehensible one is not possible unless ‘comprehension’ is taken as meaning ‘comprehension in the same way as we comprehend’, and that this involves assuming both that the protagonist thought about and judged his world and also that this judgement is (at least in primitive terms) similar in form to one's judgement. The premisses and layers of certainty are described.

Keywords: inquiry; constructive method; reductive method; comprehensible world; Neurath; ship; comprehension; certainty

Chapter.  7787 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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