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Philosophical Dialectics
An Essay on Metaphilosophy
Philosophical Dialectics
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Nicholas Rescher - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 128 pages
Release Date: March 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6745-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6745-9

Price: $29.95 
Paperback - 128 pages
Release Date: June 2007
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6746-6

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

A study in philosophical methodology aimed at providing a clear view of the scope and limits of philosophical inquiry.

While the pursuit of philosophy “of” studies—of science, of art, of politics—has blossomed, the philosophy of philosophy remains a comparatively neglected domain. In this book, Nicholas Rescher fills this gap by offering a study in methodology aimed at providing a clear view of the scope and limits of philosophical inquiry. He argues that philosophy’s inability to resolve all of the problems of the field does not preclude the prospect of achieving a satisfactory resolution of many or even most of them.

“…the text is very accessible and the pithy nature of the controversial claims allows readers ample room to explore their own metaphilosophical convictions.” — Philosophy in Review

“Disgruntlement with the endemic disagreements among philosophers down through the centuries has led to intermittent hope that some gifted metaphilosopher might create a ‘perennial’ philosophy. Nicholas Rescher has a more modest, but still worthwhile, goal in mind—to trace the development of certain perennial issues in the history of philosophy and examine the principles and methods that have led to progress on these issues. Short of final solutions, he shows that many refinements have been successful and the insolubilia of old have become less vexing.” — Howard P. Kainz, author of G. W. F. Hegel: The Philosophical System

“Rescher’s book goes where philosophy rarely goes, offering a clear-eyed examination of the purposes, principles, and prospects of philosophizing itself. This is metaphilosophy at its very best, reflecting both the breadth of knowledge and the depth of insight of one of our very best philosophers.” — Patrick Grim, author of The Incomplete Universe: Totality, Knowledge, and Truth

Nicholas Rescher is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of more than one hundred books, including Epistemology: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge; Realistic Pragmatism: An Introduction to Pragmatic Philosophy; Predicting the Future: An Introduction to the Theory of Forecasting; Process Metaphysics: An Introduction to Process Philosophy; and Dialectics: A Controversy-Oriented Approach to the Theory of Knowledge; all published by SUNY Press. Among his many achievements, he is former president of the American Philosophical Association and recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for Humanistic Scholarship.

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Table of Contents


1. Philosophical Principles

Philosophical Principles
Principles of Informative Adequacy
Probative Principles of Rational Cogency
Principles of Rational Economy
Issues of Validation
Dealing with Objections

2. Aporetic Method in Philosophy

Consistency and Apories
Some Sample Apories
On Appraising Apories
Enter Distinctions
Apory Resolution as Cost-Benefit Analysis

3. On Distinctions in Philosophy

What Distinctions Are
ow Distinctions Fail
Historical Background
The Role of Distinctions in Philosophy
Philosophical Apories
Tie Issues Together

4. Respect Neglect and Misassimilation as Fallacies of Philosophical Distinctions

Respect Neglect

5. Systemic Interconnectedness and Explanatory Holism in Philosophy

The Problem
Summative Features
Fallacies of Composition and Division
Is Existence Mereologically Summative? No—A Whole is More Than Its Parts
The Analytical/Constructionist Program
Instances of the Implementation of the Constructionist Program
Problem Number One: The Fallacy of Termination Presumption
Problem Number Two: The Disintegration of Simplicity and the Fallacy of Respect Neglect
Perspectival Dissonance and Nonamalgamation
Cognition Is Not Summative
Externalities and Negative Side Effects
Systematic Interconnectedness as a Consequence of Aporetic Complexity

6. The Structure of Philosophical Dialectic

Philosophical Aporetics
The Role of Distinctions
The Structure of Dialectic
Developmental Dialectics
The Burden of History
The Structure of Philosophical History

7. Ignorance and Cognitive Horizons

Intractable Questions about the Cognitive Future and Surd Generalities
Insolubilia Then and Now
Cognitive Limits
Identifying Insolubilia
Relating Knowledge to Ignorance


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