G. E. R. Lloyd

in Being, Humanity, and Understanding

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654727
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742088 | DOI:

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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How can error be diagnosed without prejudice? If we use our conceptual schemata to criticize other people’s ideas, is that not bound to distort them? But how can we avoid using our concepts, since they are the only ones we have? The way out of that dilemma is to see that even our most basic concepts can be revised, even though to do so is often difficult, especially where moral judgements are involved. Where complex ontologies are concerned, simple diagnoses of error are generally misplaced, though they have frequently been made when existing systems of belief or power structures are thought to be under threat. When, as often, the phenomena under investigation are multidimensional and may be investigated using different modes or styles of inquiry, then plural answers may need to be kept in play, though that does not mean that all answers are equally valid and so that any answer will do.

Keywords: error; conceptual flexibility; multidimensionality; styles of inquiry

Chapter.  6372 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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