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Worlds of Truth: A Philosophy of Knowledge

ISBN: 978-1-4443-1093-1
168 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Worlds of Truth: A Philosophy of Knowledge (1444310933) cover image
Worlds of Truth: A Philosophy of Knowledge explicates and builds upon a half century of philosophical work by the noted philosopher Israel Scheffler.
  • Propounds a new doctrine of plurealism which maintains the existence of multiple real worlds
  • Offers a defense of absolute truth, which denies certainty and eschews absolutism, and defends systematic relativity, objectivity, and fallibilism
  • Emphasizes a wide range of pragmatic interests: epistemology and scientific development, cognition and emotion, science and ethics, ritual and culture, and art and science
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Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I: Inquiry

1. Justification

1. Beliefs

2. Access to Truth

3. Cogito Ergo Sum

4. Mathematical Certainty

5. Classical Logic

6. C. I. Lewis’ Empiricism

7. Access as a Metaphor

8. J. F. Fries and K. Popper

9. Voluntarism and Linearity

10. One-Way Justification

11. Beginning in the Middle

12. Justification, Contextual and Comparative

13. Justification in the Empirical Sciences

14. Circularity versus Linearity

15. Democratic Controls

16. Interactionism

2. Truth

1. Allergy to Absolute Truth

2. Provisionality and Truth

3. Truth versus Verification

4. Truth and Fixity

5. Transparency, Tarski, and Carnap

6. Truth and Certainty

7. Sentences as Truth Candidates

8. Theoretical Terms

9. Varieties of Instrumentalism

10. Pragmatism and Instrumentalism

11. Systems, Simplicity, Reduction

12. Crises in Science

13. Reduction and Expansion

3. Worlds

1. Philosophies of Truth

2. Operationism and Truth

3. Version-Dependence

4. Differences among Scientifically Oriented Philosophers

5. Monism, Pluralism, Plurealism

6. Realism versus Irrealism

7. A Theory of Everything

8. The Status of Ethics

9. Emotive Theories; Ayer and Stevenson

10. Moore’s Ethical Intuitionism

11. Dewey and Ethical Naturalism

12. Symbol, Reference, and Ritual

Part II: Related Pragmatic Themes

4. Belief and Method

Introduction

1. Problems of Pragmatism and Pragmatic Responses

2. Peirce’s Theory of Belief, Doubt, and Inquiry

3. Peirce’s Comparison of Methods

4. Difficulties in Peirce’s Treatment

5. An Epistemological Interpretation

6. The Primacy of Method

5. Action and Commitment

6. Emotion and Cognition

1. Emotions in the Service of Cognition

2. Cognitive Emotions

Index

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Israel Scheffler is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education and Philosophy Emeritus at Harvard University and serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the Mandel Center at Brandeis University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a founding member of the National Academy of Education and a past president of both the Philosophy of Science Association and the Charles S. Peirce Society. Among his various books are The Anatomy of Inquiry (1963), Science and Subjectivity (1967), Four Pragmatists (1974), Beyond the Letter (1979), and Symbolic Worlds: Art, Science, Language, Ritual (1997).
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  • Explicates and expands upon Israel Scheffler's formidable body of work on philosophy of knowledge
  • Propounds a new doctrine of plurealism which maintains the existence of multiple real worlds
  • Offers a defense of absolute truth, which denies certainty and eschews absolutism, and defends systematic relativity, objectivity, and fallibilism
  • Emphasizes a wide range of pragmatic interests: epistemology and scientific development, cognition and emotion, science and ethics, ritual and culture, and art and science
See More
"The book will be of interest to philosophers working on pragmatism, pluralism, relativism, and justification". (International Studies In The Philosophy Of Science, 1 December 2010)

"This volume will be useful for specialists in pragmatism, but perhaps not sufficiently original for all collections." (CHOICE, October 2009)

"Worlds of Truth develops an epistemology that accommodates science. It construes knowledge as advancing holistically. Because justification accrues through systematization, it is a property of theories, not primarily of individual sentences. Drawing on and contributing to the pragmatic tradition, Scheffler shows how a commitment to fallibilism is not a concession to epistemic inadequacy but an asset to understanding."
Catherine Z. Elgin, Harvard University

"Israel Scheffler’s Worlds of Truth is a book that can be read with profit and enjoyment by the general reader as well as by the philosophical expert. In recent years both general readers and professional philosophers have tended to think of "pragmatism" as a fuzzy philosophy closely allied to postmodernism, and as in deep opposition to analytic philosophy, which is often seen as anti-humanistic. In this important book, and in clear and elegant prose, Scheffler performs a great service by showing in detail how to combine the antifoundationalism, the holism, and the deep fallibilism of the pragmatists with the respect for the notion of absolute truth, and the sharp distinction between being true and being warranted at a given moment characteristic of the analytic philosophers. The result is both an attractive and I believe largely right epistemological picture, and a portrait of the philosophical thinking of a significant philosopher, whose work deserves to be more widely known."
Hilary Putnam, Harvard University

"Many things pass for 'pragmatism' these days that the original pragmatists would not recognize. It might well be said that the pragmatist tradition has lost its way. It is the perfect time for this book, which builds upon the groundbreaking work of the original figures, but does not hesitate to criticize their earlier discussions where appropriate and improve on them in the service of the development of a philosophically adequate pragmatic epistemology and metaphysics."
Harvey Siegel, University of Miami

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