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Philosophy and Its HistoryAims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy$
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Mogens Laerke, Justin E. H. Smith, and Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199857142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199857142.001.0001

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Understanding the Argument through Then-Current Public Debates or My Detective Method of History of Philosophy

Understanding the Argument through Then-Current Public Debates or My Detective Method of History of Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.71) 4 Understanding the Argument through Then-Current Public Debates or My Detective Method of History of Philosophy
Source:
Philosophy and Its History
Author(s):

Ursula Goldenbaum

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199857142.003.0005

The specific task of the historian of philosophy is to reconstruct the problems, the intention, and the terminology of a past philosopher in order to grasp the meaning of the text it had for the author and his audience. Only then can the text be read in the same way as a contemporary philosophical text whose problem can be understood easily. To achieve this one can use the detective method. Much as a detective looks for “good reasons” to commit the crime, this method looks for the “good reasons” a philosopher might have had to take a particular stance in a controversy.

Keywords:   detective method, controversy, public debate, logical strength, intention, terminology

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