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BOOK REVIEWS 533 From Wittgenstein's own pages we get an entirely different impression of what the point of the Tractatu~ was. It was not so much to stick to "immediate experience" as to "complete logic" by finding in the nature of things the absolute simplicity and exactitude which logic as the essence of language seemed to require. Tractatu6 objects are "colorless" (T 2.o232), "fixed and existent" (T 2.o27 l) and make up the possibility of the world (T 2.o14). They may be the coordinates necessary to describe sensibilia in different kinds of "logical space," but they cannot be sensibilia themselves. Objects are the.form and contents of the world (T ~.o25) but the content cannot be expressed or put into words. Cook makes a strenuous attempt to assimilate Wittgenstein to the British empiricist tradition (which he says he himself does not accept), but in the course of doing this he scuttles, or twists out of shape what is most new and valuable in Wittgenstein. He reduces Wittgenstein from a giant to a pygmy. While iconoclasts should always be welcome, when they are engaged in closing off roads to the future of philosophy, however unknowingly, they cannot expect the fullest sympathy. Those who read Wittgenstein as reaching the position that objectivity is given by common agreement in the uses of words and that this is connected not with empiricist metaphysics but with the natural history of human beings will feel that Professor Cook, by keeping on his metaphysical glasses, has missed the main point of this "new way of looking." H. L. FINch Hunter College, CUNY Tom Rockmore and Beth J. Singer, editors. Antifoundationalism: Old and New. Temple University Press, 1992. Pp. vi + 251. Cloth, $44-95. The familiar reviewer's remark about thematic collections, that they contain contributions uneven in both substance and style, applies to this volume designed to show that in different forms and terminology the debate between foundationalists and antifoundationalists is a main current of the entire philosophical tradition, neglected to one's detriment. Precisely because there are importantly distinguishable strands in this debate, Rockmore's introductory effort to characterize the dichotomy generically is unsatisfying. For example, he defines epistemological foundationalism exclusively in terms of the availability of secure or unshakeable grounds for knowledge, and antifoundationalism as "any effort to validate knowledge claims without appealing to an absolute or ultimate basis known with certainty" (8). But this (i) ignores the issue of structural foundationalism--what form a system of justified beliefs must take whether or not any of its components are certainties--so central to contemporary debates; (ii) induces the uncritical supposition that "if the underpinnings of the edifice can be made secure, then nothing can shake the higher stories" (6); and (iii) masks intramural debates about the status of foundations, as when it is falsely supposed that "indefeasible " perceptual statements must be "necessarily true" (7)Joseph Margolis explores the prospects for using Anaximander's notion of the 534 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 33:3 JULY 1995 apeiron, which, suitably revised to satisfy various adequacy condititons, amounts to a contextualism, but one not defended within articulatahle language (as with Protagoras ), to challenge all foundationalisms: from the Greek view that whatever is real is unchanging and intelligible only insofar as it possesses invariant structure, to contemporary resistance to conceptual incommensurability (Davidson) and insistence on the invariance of the "subject" or Dasein (Heidegger). Margolis's argument is exegetically speculative (more standardly the apeironis itself an invariant neutral between the four elements though designed to play the role they play in other Milesians) and philosophically provocative. Ronald Polansky argues that neither the argumentative practice in Plato's early dialogues nor the theory of knowledge in the Republic and Theaetetus are strongly foundationalist. Most of what he says seems true but commonplace, and what is controversial is undefended, for example, that a main premise of the Republicis the desire for self-sufficiency (what about division of labor and integration of classes in the polls?), or even that the problem for Plato was one of certainty(for which there is no Greek word) and not just stability. And the most promising locus of foundationalism, Plato's...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 533-535
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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