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Elgin, Catherine Z., , . Considered Judgment
1996, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Publisher’s Note: Philosophy long sought to set knowledge on a firm foundation, through derivation of indubitable truths by infallible rules. For want of such truths and rules, the enterprise foundered. Nevertheless, foundationalism’s heirs continue their forbears’ quest, seeking security against epistemic misfortune, while their detractors typically espouse unbridled coherentism or facile relativism. Maintaining that neither stance is tenable, Catherine Elgin devises a via media between the absolute and the arbitrary, reconceiving the nature, goals, and methods of epistemology. In Considered Judgment, she argues for a reconception that takes reflective equilibrium as the standard of rational acceptability. A system of thought is in reflective equilibrium when its components are reasonable in light of one another, and the account they comprise is reasonable in light of our antecedent convictions about the subject it concerns.

Many epistemologists now concede that certainty is a chimerical goal. But they continue to accept the traditional conception of epistemology’s problematic. Elgin suggests that in abandoning the quest for certainty we gain opportunities for a broader epistemological purview – one that comprehends the arts and does justice to the sciences. She contends that metaphor, fiction, emotion, and exemplification often advance understanding in science as well as in art. The range of epistemology is broader and more variegated than is usually recognized. Tenable systems of thought are neither absolute nor arbitrary. Although they afford no guarantees, they are good in the way of belief.

Comment: In this book, the author puts forward an original epistemological approach, one which does not focus on seeking certainty, yet it takes reflective equilibrium as the standard for rationality. It could work as specilised reading or secondary reading for a postgraduate course in epistemology. It requires knowledge of the main topics in epistemology (e.g., on the debate between foundationalists vs coherentists).

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Massimi, Michela, , Duncan Pritchard. What is this thing called science?
2014, in M. Massimi (ed.), Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. Routledge
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: This chapter offers a general introduction to philosophy of science. The first part of the chapter takes the reader through the famous relativist debate about Galileo and Cardinal Bellarmine. Several important questions on the topic are explored, such as what makes scientific knowledge special compared with other kinds of knowledge or the importance of demarcating science from non-science. Finally, the chapters gives an overview on how philosophers such as Popper, Duhem, Quine and Kuhn came to answer these questions.

Comment: This chapter could be used as in introductory reading to review the nature of scientific knowledge and the most important debates about the scientific method. It is recommendable for undergraduate courses in philosophy of science. No previous knowledge of the field is needed in order to understand the content. The chapter is an introduction to the rest of the book Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. Some discussions explored here, such as the problem of underdetermination or Tomas Kuhn's view of scientific knowledge are central to the following chapters in philosophy of cosmology.

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Nussbaum, Martha, , . Non-Relative Virtues
2001, in Paul K. Moser, Thomas L. Carson (eds.), Moral Relativism, New York: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Comment: This text provides an interesting commentary to Nicomachean Ethics, offering a discussion of the relation between Aristotle's theoretical framework and particular cultural attitudes.

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