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Philosophical Reasoning: A Study in the Methodology of Philosophizing



Philosophical Reasoning: A Study in the Methodology of Philosophizing

Nicholas Rescher

ISBN: 978-0-631-23018-2 October 2001 Wiley-Blackwell 296 Pages

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This book is a study in the methodology of philosophical inquiry. It expounds and defends the thesis that systematization is the proper instrument of philosophical inquiry and that the effective pursuit of philosophy's mission calls for constructing a doctrinal system that answers our questions in a coherent and comprehensive manner.


Part I: The Task of Philosophy:.

The Erotetic Nature of Philosophy: Philosophy as a Cognitive Enterprise.

The Need for Philosophy: Humans as Homo Quaerens.

Rationality is the Instrument of Philosophy.

Philosophy as Truth Estimation.

The Data of Philosophy.

Metaphilosophical Issues.

Part II: Philosophizing as an Erotetic Enterprise: The Dialectic of Question and Answer:.

Questions and their Presuppositions: Issues Regarding the Legitimacy of Questions.

Question Dynamics: Kant's Principle of Question Propagation and the Dialectical Exfoliation of Questions.

Philosophy as a Venture in Erotetic Dialectic.

Philosophical Assessment.

Part III: What's on the Agenda?:.

Unexamined Issues and Agenda Formation.

The Recent Scene.

Metaphilosophy a Part of Philosophy Itself.

The Political Dimension: A Struggle for Ownership.

The Systemic Dimension.

Part IV: Philosophical Discourse:.

The Narrative Dimension of Philosophy.

The Method of Philosophy: Truth-Estimative Conjecture.

Ongoing Explanation.

Historical Unity of Philosophy.

The Data of Philosophy.

Part V: Interpreting Philosophical Texts:.

Setting the Stage: Deconstructionism.

Exegetical Interpretation.

Why Philosophical Texts Need Interpretation.

The Principle of Contextuality-Context Coherence as an Interpretative Standard.

The First Law.

The Second Law.

The Third Law.

The Fourth Law.

Part VI: Rhetoric And Rational Argumentation:.

Rhetoric Versus Argumentation: The General Situation.

An Uneasy Union.

The Special Case of Philosophy.

Philosophy's Data: The Source of Plausibility.

Part VII: Philosophical Aporetics:.

The Pervasiveness of Apories.

Aporetic Antinomies Structure the Issues.

Part VIII: The Economic Dimension of Philosophical Inquiry:.

Plausibility as a Guide to Issues of Precedence and Priority.

Cost Effectiveness as a Salient Aspect of Rationality.

Unacceptable Price Argumentation in Philosophy.

Part IX: The Impact of Distinctions:.

The Role of Distinctions.

Dialectic Development via Distinctions.

Developmental Dialectics.

Part X: Inference to the Best Explanation and its Problems:.

Difficulties with Inference to the Best Explanation.

Best Systematization as a Viable Alternative.

Part XI: The Coherentist Criteriology of Truth as a Philosophical Method:.

Coherentism in Philosophy.

How Context Helps via Local Appropriateness.

Philosophical Coherentism is Self Sustaining.

Part XII: Why Philosophizing Must Be Systematic: The Holistic Nature of Philosophy:.

Externalities and Negative Side Effects.

Systematic Interconnectedness as a Consequence of Aporetic Complexity.

Local Minimalism versus Global Optimalism.

Why Not Simply "Live With Inconsistency?" The Imperative of Cognitive Rationality.

The Methodological Rationale of Systematicity in Philosophy.

Part XIII: Systematization as an Instrument of Inquiry:.

Hierarchical Systematization: The Euclidean Model of Knowledge.

Systematicity and the Impetus to Coherence: The Network Model.

On the Advantages of a Network Model.

The Pivotal Role of Data for a Coherentist Truth-Criteriology.

Coherentism's Exploitation of the Parameters of Systematicity.

Systematization as Truth Criterion: The Hegelian Inversion.

Part XIV: Developmental Dialectics and Complexity:.

Spencer's Law: The Dynamics of Cognitive Complexity.

The Methodological Status of Simplicity-Preference: Systematicity, Economy, and the Principle of Least Effort.

Perennial Philosophy.

Rational Dialectic in Philosophy.

Part XV: Counterfactual Reasoning as a Philosophical Instrument:.

Historical Stagesetting.

Belief-Contravening Supposition: How Apories Arise in Hypothetical Contexts.

The Centrality of Precedence (Right of Way).

Logic as Such Does Not Resolve Matters.

Reductio Ad Absurdum Argumentation.

Evidential Contexts.

The Situation in Philosophy.

An Overview.

Dispensing with "Possible Worlds".

Part XVI: Validating First Principles:.

First Principles.

Historical Postscript.

Part XVII: God's Place in Philosophy (Non in Philosophia Recurrere est ad Deum):.

Two Opposed Intuitions.

Theistic vs. Naturalistic Questions.

The Closure of the Secular Realm.

Internal vs. External.

Philosophy and Theology.

Explanatory Economy in Philosophy.


Part XVIII: Philosophy at the Turn of the Century: A Return to Systems?:.

The Heritage of the 19th Century.

The Revolt Against System (System-Dismissive Antisystems).

The Shipwreck of Inter-Bellum Negativism.

The Burned Bridges.

The Rise of Particularism.

A Vision of Wholeness.

The New Order: A Revival of Systematic Philosophy.

The Contemporary Situation.

"Philosophical Reasoning is a probing and commanding study of the methodology of philosophical inquiry. It is an excellent book on the difficult subject of how one should philosophize and what we can reasonably expect of philosophy, and a breath of fresh air falling between the extremes of philosophy as natural science and philosophy as the purely a priori. A very intriguing, articulate and convincing story of the nature of an art Rescher has practiced so well for so long for the benefit of so many. I strongly recommend it." Robert Almeder, Georgia State University <!--end-->

"Philosophy aims at rationally constructed comprehensiveness, now more collectively/dialectically and less individually/reflectively than in the past. So argues Nicolas Rescher in this systematic defense of system. If philosophical about their practice, philosophers who pick up this book won't easily put it down, even if in the end they disagree." Ernest Sosa, Brown University

"What makes the book such a pleasure to read is that it combines the precision and thoroughness of a master philosopher with a writing style that makes for easy reading. This is a book which both novices and experts should read to help both understand the nature of their enterprise better." Philosophy in Review

  • Offers valuable insights and thought provoking suggestions through clear and well-constructed reasoning.

  • Serves as the only thorough contemporary exposition of the methodology of philosophizing.

  • Written by one of the world's most respected scholars.