Cognitivity Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Claims of Philosophy

Cognitivity Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Claims of Philosophy

Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 128
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    Cognitivity Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Claims of Philosophy
    Book Description:

    While quick to question the claims to knowledge that others make, philosophers have not so readily submitted their own affirmations to the same scrutiny. In fact, it seems to be the common conviction of philosophers that the assertions they make are cognitive, are true or false, and that philosophical disagreement is genuine disagreement. In this stimulating essay Professor Lange confronts this assumption, presents his own view of philosophy as proposal, and then seeks a solution to the paradox that his view poses for philosophy.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6840-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-vi)

    As Russell might have said, this little book is not more original than it is. Beyond this I would say that many things in it have been suggested by or have an affinity with things said, or partly said, by a number of recent and contemporary philosophers. It has been bumped by Peirce’s discussions of truth; and C. I. Lewis’ Conceptualistic Pragmatism; and certain remarks by Carnap and Hempel, and Quine; and Roderick Chisholm’s analysis of certain epistemic statements. I do not believe any of these men would accept all of what is said here, and I am sure that...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. one Amiable Prolegomena
    (pp. 3-5)

    I have read the following little book with great interest, having written it. It has seemed to me, and it will undoubtedly seem to you, that it lacks most of the characteristics one has a right to expect of a professional performance. For example, it is not very neat; its limpidity is dubious; and it is not overly decisive. On the other hand the author, whom I have questioned closely on these matters, is while somewhat penitent not as apologetic as the canons of philosophical decency would seem to require. He has informed me that part of what the book...

  5. two Of Compasses and Gauntlets
    (pp. 6-9)

    This essay is addressed to the problem of the nature of philosophy, its cognitivity or lack of it. Perhaps many philosophers are already straight on this matter, but for myself and those who aren’t, and for those who think they are, and aren’t, a certain amount of unpleasant cogitation is in order. The essay is motivated by a number of things, but primarily perhaps by the difficulty of explaining to myself and others continuing philosophical disagreement, a phenomenon in our time overcome only in part by journal policies and hiring practices.

    Perhaps the classical case in the philosophical clinic of...

  6. three Purposes, Strategies, and Grumbles
    (pp. 10-13)

    Is philosophy cognitive? Can philosophy be cognitive? What sort of things are philosophical assertions? How do we go about finding if they are true or not? Are they the sort of thing that can be true or not? In general the question would seem to be, “What are we as philosophers up to?” This is in a sense to raise the old question which we expect in Philosophy I—“What is philosophy?”—and to which we give, judiciously, no answer, or injudiciously, perhaps unworthily, one of the stock answers from the shelf for contents to be used in extinguishing student...

  7. four Consideration of Selected Construals of the Nature of Philosophical Questions
    (pp. 14-38)

    This characterization is not altogether clear, but it is clear enough to see that it is incorrect. On the other hand the notion of generality frequently enters into the characterization of the philosophical question. Therefore it is worth pointing out that generality is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a philosophical question.

    That generality is not a sufficient condition for a philosophical question may be seen by examining the following set of questions:

    Is this swan white?

    Are all swans white?

    Are all birds white?

    Are all organisms white?

    (Are the questions becoming more philosophical?)

    Is everything that...

  8. five Classification and Nonclassification Questions
    (pp. 39-55)

    I would now like to distinguish between two major sorts of questions, and then to distinguish between two sorts of questions within one of the major divisions. I have found it difficult to develop a terminology to mark these distinctions, but the following approximates what I have in mind.

    1. Nonclassification questions

    2. Classification questions

    (1) with true/false answers possible

    (2) with better/worse answers possible

    This terminology is inadequate for various reasons, probably including several of which I am unaware. One difficulty is of course that perhaps most questions, if not all, could be construed as, in a sense, classification...

  9. six First-order and Second-order Philosophy
    (pp. 56-62)

    I would now like to distinguish between what I might, with admitted tendentiousness, call first-order philosophical questions and second-order philosophical questions.

    First-order philosophical questions will be classification questions which do not, at leastprima facie,admit of true/false answers. Second-order philosophical questions will be classification questions which do admit of true/false answers. What I am doing here, of course, isnotattempting a general explication of the notion of philosophical question, a notion which I suppose we all have in one degree of obscurity or another, but drawing attention to certain types of philosophical questions. Presumably there are philosophical questions,...

  10. seven The Cognitivity Paradox I
    (pp. 63-76)

    It is a matter of definition for us that first-order philosophy is proposal. It is not a matter of definition, however, that most of what we regard as intrinsically philosophical, or most truly philosophical, is first-order philosophy. Also, although I do notidentifyphilosophy with firstandsecond-order philosophy, I do as a matter of fact regard the first-and second-order characterizations as being for most practical purposes exhaustive. Thus, when I speak of the cognitivity of philosophy, it isnotanalytic for me that philosophy consists largely of first-and second-order philosophy, though I do as a matter of fact regard...

  11. eight The Cognitivity Paradox II
    (pp. 77-100)

    Would it be absurd to suppose that there might be some ideal set of adequacy conditions and, conforming to this set of conditions, an ideal set of philosophical proposals to account for experience?

    Whether or not this is absurd depends obviously on whether sense can be made of the notion of ideal sets of the sort here required.

    It seems to me that some sense can be made of the notion.

    Before discussing methods of elucidating the concept of ideal sets, we might note that, if sense can be made of the notion, then sense can also be made of...

  12. nine The Cognitivity Paradox III
    (pp. 101-117)

    It should be recognized, of course, that specifying ultimate philosophical cognitivity in this rather counterfactual fashion, namely, in terms of the adequacy conditions and judgments best conforming to them which would be determined by an ideally rational and informed community of philosophers, does not preclude the possibility that such an ideal community might, conceivably, arrive at irreducibly incompatible adequacy conditions and conforming judgments. There is no guarantee that such an informed and rational community would tend to fix opinion in any unanimous fashion. Surely one does not wish to make it analytic that the community would not both be rational...