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Evidence and Inquiry: A Pragmatist Reconstruction of Epistemology Paperback – March 30, 2009


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Evidence and Inquiry: A Pragmatist Reconstruction of Epistemology + Defending Science - within Reason: Between Scientism And Cynicism + Putting Philosophy to Work: Inquiry and Its Place in Culture -- Essays on Science, Religion, Law, Literature, and Life (Expanded Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Haack (Coral Gables, FL) is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, professor of philosophy, and professor of law at the University of Miami. She is the author of numerous highly acclaimed books, including Defending Science-Within Reason; Philosophy of Logics; Evidence and Inquiry; Deviant Logic, Fuzzy Logic: Beyond the Formalism; and Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate: Unfashionable Essays; and the editor of Pragmatism, Old and New. She is one of the handful of living philosophers in Peter King's 100 Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World's Greatest Thinkers, and she was included in the Sunday Independent's 2005 list of the ten most important women philosophers of all time.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Expanded edition (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102689X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591026891
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
This accessible and cogent book is a strong attempt at an accurate description of epistemic justification. Haack upholds a position she refers to as Foundherentism - an effort to combine the best aspects of prior theories of foundationalism and coherentism. Haack uses a central metaphor, filling out a crossword puzzle, very well. The clues of a crossword puzzle are analogous to our empirical experiences, including basic sensory experiences, but an important part of accurately filling out the puzzle is successful fit of entries with prior entries, analogous to conherence with prior knowledge and beliefs. Successful justification requires both experience and its appropriate interpretation as well as coherence with a whole series of relevant, auxiliary, and background beliefs. This conception of justification is strongly empirical (a posteriori), strongly fallibalist, and assumes that the cognitive capacities of the human mind have evolved to make accurate inferences about the world.

Haack uses an interesting and relatively unconventional approach to present her theory. She presents rival theories, subjects them to criticism, and then shows how useful aspects of these theories can be incorporated into her foundherentism. She begins with a foundationalist account by the American philosopher CI Lewis, explores the defects of that theory, then proceeds to the weaknesses of coherentism, particularly the version developed by Lawrence Bonjour. With her theory developed, Haack presses on to discuss some other important formulations in modern epistemology, comparing them with her theory. These include Karl Popper's distinctive approach, which comes in for criticism as too deductive in nature and leading to implausible conclusions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By F. Carr on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Calling this "the future of epistemology" will instantly sound brash to some people, so I need to explain. But first, I want to say that the other review here by R. Albin provides a good synopsis of its content, which is certainly needed, so I recommend it; maybe even before you read this. I want to focus more on contextualizing this work.

I should add that I've been on Amazon.com since the 1990s but I've only written one review up to now (2006), because I only do this when I think something is really significant. I don't see this as merely a worthy book on epistemology - I expect it to be recognized as a historic achievement someday.

Susan Haack was included in the 2004 book "100 Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World's Greatest Thinkers" by Peter J. King, which includes figures from ancient Greece and China to the present. Haack has continued to expand on what is already an imposing inventory of contributions to philosophy, which extends from the foundations of logic to social issues. I see "Evidence and Inquiry" as her most important work.

Any claim of fact can be countered with, "How do you know?" This simple question points to the central problem of epistemology - What constitutes proper justification for a truth claim? For the past century, two primary types of theories have responded to this: Foundationalism and Coherentism, with each having a number of variations. These can be quickly contrasted by their responses to the "infinite regress" problem...

If I assert A and you ask me to justify it, I might use B1 and B2 for that. If you ask me to justify B1, I might use C1 and C2. If you ask me to justify C1... You can see where this leads.
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By James M. Mazur on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Haack's "Evidence and Inquiry" is the most precise writing on epistemology I've ever encountered. Her arguments are strong and her theory is strong, too. She really does a great job ignoring all of the detours many philosophers take when talking about "knowledge," and is quick and accurate to point out just how silly some things other philosophers say about justification is.

5/5 stars.
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By Jonathan Cobb on November 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Defying Rorty's advice that we "sidestep" the problem of epistemology, Susan Haack picks up the task with a vengeance. She shows with great clarity the inadequacy of classic epistemological schools such as foundationalism, coherentism, and reliabilism, in the process showing how they can be revised and ultimately reconciled in her concept of foundherentism.
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