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Throughout more than forty years of distinguished teaching and scholarship, James W. Felt has been respected for the clarity and economy of his prose and for his distinctive approach to philosophy. The seventeen essays collected in Adventures in Unfashionable Philosophy reflect Felt’s encounters with fundamental philosophical problems in the spirit of traditional metaphysics but updated with modern concerns. Among the main themes of the volume are: the enrichment of Thomistic philosophy through engagement with modern philosophers, Whitehead and Bergson, in particular; considerations of metaphysical method and its effect on philosophic conclusions; the development of a nuanced epistemological realism; and the relation of possibility to actuality and of time to experience.
A Critical Perspective
The debate on the existence of African philosophy has taken central stage in academic circles, and academics and researchers have tussled with various aspects of this subject. This book notes that the debate on the existence of African philosophy is no longer necessary. Instead, it urges scholars to demonstrate the different philosophical genres embedded in African philosophy. As such, the book explores African metaphysical epistemology with the hope to redirect the debate on African philosophy. It articulates and systematizes metaphysical and epistemological issues in general and in particular on Africa. The book aptly shows how these issues intersect with the philosophy of life, traditional beliefs, knowledge systems and practices of ordinary Africans and the challenges they raise for scholarship in and on philosophy with relevance to Africa.
A Restorative Epistemology
This monograph is intended to examine the epistemology of restorative rights in view of the continuing violation of rights in all aspects of life on the African continent and other parts of the world. It is based on the research, which the Marcus Garvey Pan-Afrikan Institute undertook between 2006ñ2008, under a cross-disciplinary research project entitled Restorative Justice and its Relationship to International Humanitarian Law, which resulted in a Comprehensive Report that was later discussed at an international conference in Nairobi in August 2008. This conference was opened by the Prime Minister of Kenya, Right Hon. Raila Odinga and attended by Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, judges and other ministers from the five countries in which the research was carried out, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Southern Sudan. The objective here is to relate the concept of restorative justice, in its broad and cross-disciplinary meaning to the epistemology of Afrikology and transdisciplinarity, which aim at breaking down disciplinary boundaries between the different academic disciplines, which inhibit our capabilities of looking at realities in a comprehensive, holistic manner; leading to the adoption of fragmented solutions to problems, which inevitably fail to address those problems. As stated in the monograph on the epistemology of Afrikology, knowledge is created holistically by the heart and the basis of the perceptions and experiences of the five senses. The knowledge created through the word, which ultimately constitutes the language and the community, is related to our cosmic forces and reason, which gives cosmic significance to our existence. We cannot therefore detach ourselves from these cosmic forces and reality must be examined from this combinatory holistic understanding.
How do we understand and create kowledge? Does scientific knowledge cover all knowledge? Afrikology tries to answer these questions by tracing the issue of epistemology to the Cradle of Humanity in Africa and through such a reflection the Monograph establishes a basis for holistic and integrated ways of knowledge production that makes it possible to interface scientific knowledge with other forms of knowledge. In this way Afrikology responds to the crisis created by the fragmentation of knowledge through existing academic disciplines. Afrikology therefore advances transdisciplinarity and hermeneutics to a level where they attain a coherent basis for interacting with Afrikology as an epistemology which returns wholeness to understanding and knowledge production.
Rational Deliberation in the Face of Inconsistency
The word apory stems from the Greek aporia, meaning impasse or perplexing difficulty. In Aporetics, Nicholas Rescher defines an apory as a group of individually plausible but collectively incompatible theses. Rescher examines historic, formulaic, and systematic apories and couples these with aporetic theory from other authors to form this original and comprehensive survey. Citing thinkers from the pre-Socratics through Spinoza, Hegel, and Nicolai Hartmann, he builds a framework for coping with the complexities of divergent theses, and shows in detail how aporetic analysis can be applied to a variety of fields including philosophy, mathematics, linguistics, logic, and intellectual history. Rescher's in-depth examination reveals how aporetic inconsistency can be managed through a plausibility analysis that breaks the chain of inconsistency at its weakest link by deploying right-of-way precedence based on considerations of cognitive centrality. Thus while involvement with cognitive conflicts and inconsistencies are pervasive in human thought, aporetic analysis can provide an effective means of damage control.
Metaphysics and Practice
In Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, Thomas Hibbs recovers the notion of practice to develop a more descriptive account of human action and knowing, grounded in the venerable vocabulary of virtue and vice. Drawing on Aquinas, who believed that all good works originate from virtue, Hibbs postulates how epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and theology combine into a set of contemporary philosophical practices that remain open to metaphysics. Hibbs brings Aquinas into conversation with analytic and Continental philosophy and suggests how a more nuanced appreciation of his thought enriches contemporary debates. This book offers readers a new appreciation of Aquinas and articulates a metaphysics integrally related to ethical practice.
Reflections on Objectivist Epistemology
The philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than twenty-eight million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. Despite her popularity, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has received little serious attention from academic philosophers. Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge offers scholarly analysis of key elements of Ayn Rand’s radically new approach to epistemology. The four essays, by contributors intimately familiar with this area of her work, discuss Rand’s theory of concepts—including its new account of abstraction and essence—and its central role in her epistemology; how that view leads to a distinctive conception of the justification of knowledge; her realist account of perceptual awareness and its role in the acquisition of knowledge; and finally, the implications of that theory for understanding the growth of scientific knowledge. The volume concludes with critical commentary on the essays by distinguished philosophers with differing philosophical viewpoints and the author’s responses to those commentaries. This is the second book published in Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies, which was developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society to offer a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker. The Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks to foster scholarly study by philosophers of the philosophical thought and writings of Ayn Rand.
Vol. 3 (2006) - vol. 5 (2008)
Editor: Alvin Goldman
EPISTEME publishes articles on the social dimensions of knowledge from the perspective of philosophical epistemology and related social sciences (e.g., economics, political theory, information science). It focuses on theoretical work, but also welcomes policy-oriented discussions, i.e., applications to contemporary society and its institutions. It does not publish straightforward empirical studies or case studies. The principal style is that of analytical philosophy, but rigorous approaches of other kinds are appropriate so long as they remain accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.
Religious Epistemology and the God-World Relationship
In Evidence and Transcendence, Anne Inman critiques modern attempts to explain the knowability of God and points the way toward a religious epistemology that avoids their pitfalls. Christian apologetics faces two major challenges: the classic Enlightenment insistence on the need to provide evidence for anything that is put forward for belief; and the argument that all human knowledge is mediated by finite reality and thus no “knowledge” of a being interpreted as completely other than finite reality is possible. Modern Christian apologists have tended to understand their task primarily, if not exclusively, in terms of one of these challenges. As examples of contemporary rationalist and postliberal approaches, Inman analyzes in depth the religious epistemologies of philosopher Richard Swinburne and theologians George Lindbeck and Ronald Theimann. She concludes that none of their positions is satisfactory, because none can uphold the notion of God’s transcendence while at the same time preserving a sound account of our claims to freedom and knowledge. The root cause of such failures, Inman argues, is an inadequate philosophy of God and of the relation of God and the finite world. Her exploration of the theologies of Karl Rahner and Friedrich Schleiermacher provides the material for the constructive work in this book. Against rationalist and postliberal epistemologies, Inman calls for an austere grounding of Christian faith in the claim that God is known in human conscious activity as such, as the “other” that grounds the finite.