We live, I hold, in several worlds, made known to us through scientific methods, yielding a variety of truth clusters not reducible to one. Systems, simplicity, reduction 46 12. The mere assignment of cognitive roles to ritual comes into conflict with its frequent devaluation as a hindrance to spontaneous religious feeling. Such magnetism is built into emotive theories from the start by their acknowledging of an imperative component in the normal use of ethical language. Inquiries 1986 is a collection of thirty-three analytical studies in the diverse areas of my philosophical interests. These pragmatist thinkers were intellectually and spiritually very different. They were not always there and there is no reason to suppose they will always be there.
The oft-noted capacity of ritual to survive changes in doctrinal interpretation may stem just from being linked by diverse bonds of reference to objects. Tarski claims that this particular equivalence must hold under any adequate definition of truth. Truth 37 Insofar, then, as a relativistic doctrine of truth is motivated by the need to take account of the fluidity of history and the pervasiveness of natural change, the same purpose can perfectly well and with no logical strain be accomplished by the absolute notion of truth. To be sure, we cannot claim certainty for this affirmation; our knowledge attributions are not infallible. The community thus defined bears not only common bonds to the past but also common orientations in the present and outlooks for the future. While defending the ideal of rationality, he insists that rationality not be identified with a mental faculty or a mechanism of inference but taken rather as the capactity to grasp principles and purposes and to evaluate them in the light of relevant reasons. It is also understandable that unsuccessful attempts at reduction are often felt to be scientific failures even, in certain cases, described as crises.
Propounds a new doctrine of plurealism which maintains the existence of multiple real worlds Offers a defense of absolute truth, which denies certainty and eschews absolutism, and defends systematic relativity, objectivity, and fallibilism Emphasizes a wide range of pragmatic interests: epistemology and scientific development, cognition and emotion, science and ethics, ritual and culture, and art and science Preface viii Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 Part I: Inquiry 5 Chapter 1: Justification 7 1. Israel Scheffler, Symbolic Worlds Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 , p. We have earlier quoted the pragmatist C. Sentence i is true only on Sundays and false every other day; ii is true only in such cities as have exactly two daily newspapers and false in every other city; iii is true only when said by a vegetarian and false when said by any non-vegetarian. The book will be of special interest for those concerned with Jewish life, with religious education, with the immigrant experience and with the recent American past. The following paragraphs explain the structure of the whole.
Allergy to absolute truth 2. Even those convinced of the ultimate reduction of linguistics to behavioral psychology or to neurology or physics would need to acknowledge the enormous distance between mere ontological reduction and the genuine variety. Other reactions to failures of reduction programs are not so happy. Further, it seems inconceivable upon reflection that complex ethical problems could be resolved by perception alone—by looking hard in search of a simple quality in the welter of circumstances comprising a serious moral case. One is the prevalent metaphor of access to truth, which we have already had occasion to criticize. Interconnection is a corollary of simplicity.
Rather than producing a genuine reduction of ethical assertions to those of an available science, however, they have argued dialectically that ethical terms are definable in scientific terms, and that ethical statements amount to scientific claims. Such versions, he holds, may be equally right though conflicting, determining conflicting worlds along with the versions we have created. It is, further, ordinarily comparative, the justified solution having won out over alternative candidates for an optimum solution to a problem. Philosophers have traditionally attempted to define truth, seeking to explicate the nature of truth in some general formula. The Status of Ethics A particularly controversial issue concerns the status of ethics. But the contrast of absolute with relative truth holds within whatever language parameter is pertinent.
Nor does it always suppose the truth to lie within the area bounded by previous theories. I have earlier criticized linearity mainly by noting its requirement for chainlike justifications to be anchored by unacceptable starting points, whether certainties or decrees. It is relative to context at a time, thus alterable for locally pertinent reasons. Such cases typically involve not just perception but also deliberation, a weighing of conflicting interests and rival motivations issuing in new patterns of conduct and belief rather than the spotting of a pertinent qualitative simple. In 1964, he was named Victor S. Reduction and expansion 52 Chapter 3: Worlds 55 1. Speaking of the rituals of Parliament, R.
Another, discussed earlier, is the way in which modern evolutionary systems have unearthed hitherto unsuspected links among the different species, thus increasing both their explanatory power and their credibility. Either he did at some time or he never did; the truth in this matter is not mutable, although of course our estimates or opinions as to what the truth is are surely subject to change. Historical examples are even more striking: It used to be thought that Galileo dropped iron balls from the leaning tower of Pisa. The ontologically reduced sentences are not eliminable in favor of the reducing ones. Does this not give the impossible upshot that the theory justifies itself and that each belief justifies itself as well? The more support is diffused throughout the structure, the stronger it is; the more credible if we are dealing with a structure of theory. Quine, From a Logical Point of View, op.
According to this interpretation, such reduction involves derivation of the laws of the science to be reduced, from the principles of the reducing science, as well as the connection of terms of the reduced science to those of the reducing science sufficient to enable the derivation to go forward. Transparency, Tarski, and Carnap 38 6. Instead we will focus, to begin with, on two polar opposites, one interpretation offered by Peirce, another by Goodman, and then consider a third interpretation which I myself favor. Mathematical Certainty Is there not then, as many suppose, a basis for certainty in the realm of mathematics? It would seem, therefore, that all our knowledge consists of fragmented bodies of description determined by versions we have ourselves fashioned or inherited. Certainty of belief is therefore precluded.
Modern thinkers have typically distinguished between uninterpreted and interpreted formal systems. His predecessor Peirce pioneered his theory of signs, or semeiotic, outlining what he took to be underlying affinities among sign functions in language, in gesture, in expression, in pictorial and graphical representation, etc. Voluntarism and Linearity Two problems confront the recourse to convention, decision, or decree in the interpretation of justification. Cassirer proposes to redress the devaluative attitudes just described, interpreting mythical thought, always associated with ritual, as a positive stage in the development of science. Justification, contextual and comparative 22 13.
Difficulties in Peirce's treatment 106 5. Performers of rites are not actors. Beginning in the Middle 12. It is true that, where it has not been thus dismissed, ritual has been assigned not to feeling but to the contrasting realm of cognition—but with equally devaluing effects. Doctor of Hebrew Literature honorary , Jewish Theological Seminary, 1993. Reduction is, of course, a permanent desideratum of science, striving always to systematize, economize, and simplify.