August 2004, Polity
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The guiding argument of the book is that the variety of McDowell’s interests disguises a core concern with a single basic goal: ‘giving philosophy peace’. Since the dawn of the subject, philosophy has struggled with the question: can our experience of the world give rational support to what we think and say; and if so, how? McDowell claims that philosophy has itself to blame if these questions seem problematic, and this book’s animating purpose is to see what sense can be made of this notorious claim. In McDowell’s view, the illusion that our fundamental relations with the world are truly problematic is traceable to false views about nature. We should give proper weight to a natural fact about the world: that human beings are of a kind that is naturally placed within the natural order.
De Gaynesford analyses McDowell’s densely argued and meticulous work in a lucid, balanced and engaging way, that will prove invaluable for all students and scholars of McDowell and philosophy.