The Philosophy of Philosophy (The Blackwell/Brown Lectures - download pdf or read online

By Timothy Williamson

The moment quantity within the Blackwell Brown Lectures in Philosophy, this quantity deals an unique and provocative tackle the character and method of philosophy.
-Based on public lectures at Brown college, given through the pre-eminent thinker, Timothy Williamson
-Rejects the ideology of the 'linguistic turn', the main specified development of twentieth century philosophy
-Explains the strategy of philosophy as a improvement from non-philosophical methods of thinking
-Suggests new methods of figuring out what modern and prior philosophers are doing


“Worthwhile examining … for someone reckoning him or herself to be a part of the analytic culture. really good in coming to grips with one’s methodological self-understanding.” Metapsychology

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Its philosophical interest, however contingent, is actual. 26 Taking Philosophical Questions at Face Value We could generalize the original question in various ways. We might ask whether everything is always either dry or not dry. Then we might notice that discussing that question is quite similar to discussing whether everything is either old or not old, and so on. We might, therefore, ask whether for every property everything either has it or lacks it. The coherence of such generalizing over properties might itself fall under various kinds of suspicion, which would extend to the question in which it occurred.

For all that has been said, the proposition may be any combination of those things. But that is not what the original question asks. In other circumstances, we could have answered the original question on philosophically uninteresting grounds. For instance, if there had never been liquid on Mars, then it would always have been dry, and therefore either dry or not dry. In order to pose a question which could not possibly be answered in that boring way, someone who already grasped one of those philosophically distinctive concepts might ask whether it is metaphysically necessary, or knowable a priori, or analytic, or logically true that Mars was always either dry or not dry.

But competent speakers of English may find themselves quite unsure how to answer the question, read literally, so we have no such reason for interpreting it non-literally. It is useful to look at some proposals and arguments from the vagueness debate, for two reasons. First, they show why the original question is hard, when taken at face value. Second, they show how semantic considerations play a central role in the attempt to answer it, even though it is not itself a semantic question. The most straightforward reason for answering the original question positively is that “Mars was always either dry or not dry” is a logical truth, a generalization over instances of the law of excluded middle (A ⁄ ÿA, “It is either so or not so”) for various times.

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The Philosophy of Philosophy (The Blackwell/Brown Lectures in Philosophy) by Timothy Williamson

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