Sunday, May 10, 2009

27 Susan Haack (1945 - ......)

[13:07] herman Bergson: This will be the last woman philosopher
[13:07] herman Bergson: so the end of this project
[13:07] herman Bergson: this means...a new project
[13:07] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:07] herman Bergson: I found a nice source
[13:07] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:07] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:08] herman Bergson: not with philosophers but with funny philosophical questions
[13:08] Daruma Boa: a quiz?
[13:08] Ze Novikov: :))
[13:08] herman Bergson: Like....How damaging is skepticism?
[13:08] herman Bergson: or Why does something become art all of a sudden?
[13:09] herman Bergson: 25 adventurous philosophical questions
[13:09] herman Bergson: It is based on the book of Stephen Law, The philosophy gym. (2003)
[13:10] herman Bergson: Kind of all those questions you always wanted to ask
[13:10] herman Bergson: But first Susan Haack
[13:10] Daruma Boa: i am sure, that i alwasy wanted to ask that ;-)

If you want to be in the frontline of the philosophical debate on epistemology, Theory of Knowledge, then you should turn to Susan Haack.

She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford.- She did postgraduate work in Oxford and went to the University of Warwick as a Lecturer and later Professor of Philosophy. She is now a Professor at the University of Miami.

In her book "Evidence and Inquiry: Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology" (1993) she writes:
Once upon a time - not so long ago, in fact - the legitimacy of epistemology was undisputed, the importance to epistemology of such concepts as evidence, reasons, warrant, justification was taken for granted,

and the question of the relative merits of foundationalist and coherentist theories of justification, was acknowledged as an important issue. Now, however, it seems that disenchantment reigns. (...)

A full explanation of the now-fashionable disenchantment would no doubt be quite complex, and would require appeal to factors external to the philosophical arguments, as well as to those arguments themselves.

I don't think it is unduly cynical to speculate that part of the explanation of the urge to move away from familiar epistemological issues towards questions more amenable to resolution by cognitive psychology or neurophysiology, or A!, for example, lies in the prestige those disciplines now enjoy.

But part of the explanation, and the part which concerns me here, lies in a widely-held conviction that the familiar epistemological issues have proved to be hopelessly recalcitrant, and, most particularly, that neither foundationalism nor coherentism will do. -END QUOTE

Isn't it a wonderful description of the situation? A situation we have run into so often here ourselves. And we also learn the names of the new kids in class: foundationalism and coherentism.

It is all about the justification of knowledge. That discourse already began with Plato and still goes on and there they are: foundationalism and coherentism, probably state of the art.

I have to say probably because Susan Haack wrote this in 1993. So some insights may have changed, but I guess philosophy is not such a fast moving train so it still is interesting to have a look at these two new names.

Foundationalism is any theory in knowledge, that holds that beliefs are justified (known, etc.) based on what are called basic beliefs . Basic beliefs are beliefs that give justificatory support to other beliefs, and more derivative beliefs are based on those more basic beliefs.

The basic beliefs are said to be self-justifying or self-evident, that is, they enjoy a non-inferential warrant (or justification), i.e., they are not justified by other beliefs.

What's new here? Not much actually, for it is nothing more than Descartes and Hume said. The foundational belief of Descartes (died in 1650) was "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, so I am) and Hume (died in 1776) said that the foundational belief was our primary sense experiences.

So a statement is called TRUE if it refers to foundational believes or can be based on other statements that do so. As you see, you can choose to be a rationalist or an empiricist.

The other one: coherentism? The problem with foundationalism is the threat of an infinite regress: on what is statement P founded? On statement R....and R? It is justified to ask on which belief R is founded and so on. Where to stop?

Is coherentism the solution? As a theory of truth coherentism restricts true sentences to those that cohere with some specified set of sentences. Someone's belief is true if and only if it is coherent with all or most of his or her other beliefs.

Just one remark: you may have a coherent set of believes A, which corresponds to reality and another set B which does not but yet is coherent. But if one supposes that there can only be one complete set of truths, coherentism must provide a way to choose between these competing sets.

Susan Haack offers a new solution, which she calls 'foundherenrism'. The word puzzles me. I read 'Found' and 'Here' in it. That is all. Well...what did she find?

To throw light on the structure of knowledge, she uses the
analogy of solving a crossword puzzle. Even if two people differ about the answer to a particular clué, they are using the same framework, and their aim is identical, to solve the whole puzzle.

The framework of the crossword puzzle is the coherence of statements, the particular clué is the foundational belief, that has to fit in.

This dates all back from 1993. Susan Haack is still doing fine, I guess. I'd love to know what the state of the art in epistemology now is: is her approach still holding?

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: So much on Susan Haack
[13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: back to basics
[13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:20] herman Bergson: Well...
[13:20] herman Bergson: Just before class I read an interview with her
[13:21] herman Bergson: it may explain her crossword puzzle analogy
[13:21] herman Bergson: she has a rather liberal concept of science
[13:21] herman Bergson: she calls it critical commonsensism
[13:22] herman Bergson: a term derived from Charles Peirce, US pragmatic philosopher around 1900
[13:23] herman Bergson: It means that science is nothing more than and expansion of our commonsense thinking of every day
[13:23] herman Bergson: except that it is more precise and more critical
[13:23] herman Bergson: I liked that idea :-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Was about her book Defending Science: Within Reason Between Scientism and Cynicism (2003)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Interview was 2007
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: not in youtube?/
[13:25] Daruma Boa: ^^
[13:25] herman Bergson: It also reported that her book Philosophy of Logic was translated and published in China! 2008
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: or a magazine
[13:25] herman Bergson: No....was some dutch translation....
[13:25] Daruma Boa: only in china?
[13:25] herman Bergson: a sec
[13:26] herman Bergson: Over dit boek sprak Susan Haack op 7 maart 2007 in een interview met D.J. Grothe bij Point of Inquiry, het digitale mediacentrum van Center for Inquiry.
[13:26] Daruma Boa: ahha^^
[13:26] Alijah Rajesh smiles
[13:26] herman Bergson: Point of Inquiry and Center for Inquiry are the links
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: oh i just found something
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: from 2007
[13:26] herman Bergson: van_de_wetenschap
[13:27] herman Bergson: that is the page with the links
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate:
[13:27] herman Bergson: Is that the interview?
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: i have not looked yet
[13:28] herman Bergson: You certainly should find the english version
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: yes it is
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: this it
[13:28] herman Bergson: It shows modern philosophical thought.... indeed a way to defend against scepticism
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: long winded interviewer lol
[13:29] herman Bergson: the idea that scientific thinking is just more precise daily thinking has a link to pragmatism
[13:29] herman Bergson: there is no absolute truth in your veryday thoughts
[13:29] Qwark Allen: ehheeheh tuff to read in dutch! at least to me :-)
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: this is audio
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: in my link
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: english
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: i will listen later
[13:30] herman Bergson: ok...I'll check it too
[13:31] herman Bergson: But what is more important is that she drops the idea of absolute truth in science without falling into scepticism
[13:31] herman Bergson: or relativism
[13:32] herman Bergson: So a nice philosopher, leaving us behind as the last one of this project ^_^
[13:32] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...feel free...
[13:32] Daruma Boa: there is no 26th philosopher?
[13:33] Daruma Boa: to be worth to talk about
[13:33] herman Bergson: This one is already 27 Daruma
[13:33] Daruma Boa: oh ha
[13:33] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[13:33] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:33] Daruma Boa: i missed something^^
[13:33] herman Bergson: And to be honest..actually there are about 5 more in my list
[13:33] Ze Novikov: 27 women is enough for you Herman?
[13:33] Daruma Boa: ahhhhh i knew it;-)
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: i doubt it
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Ze....seems so :-)
[13:34] Qwark Allen: ehheeheh
[13:34] herman Bergson: women philosophers, Gemma ^_^
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: oh ok
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:34] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: WaaaHaHAhahAHA! AhhhhHAhahhAHhahHAH! haha!
[13:34] herman Bergson: in fact we have talked about 125 philosophers now
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: amazing
[13:35] Ze Novikov: :))
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think it will be more fun now to put things to practice
[13:35] herman Bergson: in philosophical questions
[13:35] Daruma Boa: i think too.
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: i think that is what we have been ending up with anyway
[13:36] Daruma Boa: when will we start with the next project?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Ah..the start of the NEXT project...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Good question
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: i think Herman needs a vacation
[13:36] herman Bergson: Due to RL obligations I wont be here on Thursday...
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:36] Daruma Boa: i have either no time
[13:37] herman Bergson: So..indeed Gemma....a break of a few days ...till Next Tuesday..:-)
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:37] herman Bergson: Besides it is such sunny weather this week :-)
[13:37] Daruma Boa: oh. thats bad. i have no time then
[13:37] Daruma Boa: yes!!
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: it would be nice to send a notice outlining the new project to teh group aand teh break
[13:37] Daruma Boa: in germany too
[13:38] herman Bergson: That is what I will do Gemma....
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: 25 entertaining philosophical questions...^_^
[13:39] herman Bergson: not taken lightly however :-)
[13:39] Daruma Boa: is every class written in your blog, herman?
[13:39] Daruma Boa: so i could read it
[13:40] herman Bergson: Of course Daruma....there are about 179 entries now in the blog ^_^
[13:40] Daruma Boa: i am in class on the 5th of may;-(
[13:40] herman Bergson:
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: you can catch up Daruma
[13:41] Daruma Boa: ok. so i will read the next lesson on tuesday and thursday
[13:41] herman Bergson: They will be in the blog...:-)
[13:42] herman Bergson: Any questions left..?
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: hmmm
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: not that i can think of
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: no
[13:43] herman Bergson: Well..then I hope to see you again on next Tuesday ^_^
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:43] Daruma Boa: thank u herman
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ******* Herman *******
[13:43] Qwark Allen: thank you
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: thank you Herman and i know you really enjoyed it
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: and changed some ideas of your own i think
[13:43] herman Bergson: the project was a revelation to me....
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: with the women
[13:43] Anne Charles: Thanks, Professor, enjoy your day off
[13:44] herman Bergson: to learn what jurks male philosophers can be ^_^
[13:44] bergfrau Apfelbaum: danke herman!!!
[13:44] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:44] Daruma Boa: so bye until may;-)
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: lololololoool
[13:44] herman Bergson: Take care Daruma :-)

Posted by herman_bergson on 2009-04-22 04:40:07

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