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On Evidence in Philosophy

Format: Academic Monograph
Media: Hardback
PublisherCode: 9780198829720
Publisher: OUP Oxford

This book offers an epistemology of philosophy, a partial method for philosophical inquiry, but also contends that philosophical method is far less powerful than most have taken it to be. In particular, William G. Lycan argues that deductive argument can accomplish very little and hardly ever can an opposing position be refuted (except sometimes by science). Nor can philosophy overturn basic commonsensical beliefs unless in conjunction with science, it is argued, and usually not even then. A philosopher can aim no higher than to provide a coherent view of reality, of knowledge and of values, defended on grounds of its explanatory power; nonetheless, the view may be justified as reasonable and as superior to many historical philosophical systems, and it can resist general scepticism. William G. Lycan advocates a picture of philosophy as a very wide explanatory reflective equilibrium incorporating common sense, science, and our firmest intuitions on any topic.

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