In Defense of Truth: A Pluralistic Approach / Edition 1

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This wide-ranging philosophical exploration defends the idea of Truth (with a capital "T") against the claims of skeptics, relativists, postmodernists, and other nay-sayers. Philosopher Lenn E. Goodman builds a broad and pluralistic account that makes room for scientific, moral, religious, and artistic truth, and makes sense of mythic discourse, poetry, and fiction, without the patronizing expedient of relegating each human idiom to some separate world or the authoritarian expedient of assigning each branch of inquiry to its own dogmatic priesthood.

Goodman's catholic rationalism is open to all aspects of experience. Yet his wide sympathy for literature, the arts, and diverse religious traditions does not lead him to an indiscriminate endorsement of all comers. He is always ready to criticize wishful thinking and superstition on substantive grounds. Goodman's commitment to reason, broadly construed, allows him to steer a steady course well clear of both romantic and mechanistic extremes.

Drawing on a wide and easy acquaintance with the great figures of the philosophical tradition, from the Presocratic naturalists and the ancient Indian and Confucian thinkers to Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, Pyrrhonists, Stoics, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic philosophers, moderns, and our own contemporaries, Goodman is always synthetic, challenging, engaging, and accessible. His vivid imagery, forceful rhetoric, lyrical passages, and glints of ironic humor make his writing an exciting excursion without a trace of scholastic aridity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573929080
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 375
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lenn E. Goodman (Nashville, TN) is professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University and the author of ten earlier books on comparative philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Short Titles 11
Preface 13
1 Skepticism and Logic 27
1 Agrippa's Modes 28
2 Is Reasoning Impossible? 29
3 Formality and Informality 34
4 The Problematic and the Unproblematic 41
2 Objects and Appearances 52
1 Phenomenalism Pure and not so Simple 53
2 The Dialectic of Phenomenalism 56
3 The Failure of Parsimony 69
4 Outcomes of Phenomenalism 77
3 Relativism 89
1 The Theory Dependence of Observations 95
2 Sealed Paradigms 100
3 Incommensurability 103
4 Natural Paradigms 107
5 Inscrutability 113
6 Ontological Relativity 117
4 Context 132
1 In behalf of Context 135
2 Relativism or Pluralism? 153
3 A Contextualist Dilemma? 169
4 The Prince and the Princess 172
5 Induction and Reality 179
1 Induction: The Problem 182
2 Rethinking Induction 189
3 Reaching for Reality - and Getting There 203
4 Induction and Justification 210
6 Creativity and Discovery 229
1 Creativity, Mystery, and Chance 232
2 The Logic and Dynamic of Creativity 240
3 What Makes for Creativity 249
4 Creative Fictions in the Arts and Sciences 264
7 Truth in Art 282
1 Communicating, with or without Propositions 292
2 Is Artistic Truth (as Such) Banal? 304
3 Showing, with or without Argument 321
8 Myth and Truth 337
1 Dream Logic 339
2 Myth and Determinism 353
3 Mentalities? 363
9 Moral Religious and Hypostatic Truth 382
1 Hypostatic Truth 383
2 Transcendentalist? 394
3 Moral and Religious Truth 397
4 Living the Truth 403
Bibliography 413
Index 417
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