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On What There Must Be$
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Ross Harrison

Print publication date: 1974

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.001.0001

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Prolegomenon: The Philosopher's World

Prolegomenon: The Philosopher's World

Chapter:
(p.1) CHAPTER ONE Prolegomenon: The Philosopher's World
Source:
On What There Must Be
Author(s):

Ross Harrison

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.003.0001

Philosophy is often dismissed by non-philosophers as being merely a misguided competitor to science. The fact that philosophy works independently of observation and experiment, together with the common assumption that nothing about the nature of the world can be discovered by the exercise of pure reason alone, also worries philosophers themselves, and leads them to develop various methods of defending the status of their subject. If the process of inquiry into the nature of the world is pictured in something like Quine's manner, it is obvious how philosophers can have an influence on what is decided or discovered to be in the world. Solution of the central problem of this chapter has been narrowed down to the problem of whether there are any assumptions about the nature of the world which it would be justifiable for someone to make who was operating with pure reason alone. The solution proposed to the general problem is essentially that of Kant. Even if it is thought that this chapter has succeeded in establishing the possibility of someone discovering the nature of the world by pure reason alone, it might still be wondered why anyone should bother to do this.

Keywords:   philosophy, Quine, philosophers, Kant, world

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