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The Errors of Empiricism: Infallibility of Experience

Ilmari Hirvonen In some sense empiricism is an almost trivially true doctrine: in order to find out what the empirical world is like, some sort of empirical research is needed. And precisely in this sense empiricism is an integral part of current – and past – science.  But in philosophy empiricism has had different, moreContinue reading “The Errors of Empiricism: Infallibility of Experience”

How to Test a (Metaphysical) Theory?

Ilmari Hirvonen Take any theory, model, or claim that is about something. Now, it seems rather obvious that there is a distinction to be made between what is true according to the theory and whether the theory itself is true. In order to make this clearer, consider Newton’s second law: F = ma. By substitutingContinue reading “How to Test a (Metaphysical) Theory?”

The Metaphysician’s Motte-and-Bailey

Ilmari Hirvonen Philosophers often think quite highly of what they are doing, and those engaged in metaphysics are no exception. Indeed, metaphysicians offer perhaps the clearest example of this attitude, for they frequently insist that their work is not only important but, in fact, necessary. After all, who could deny the self-evident truth that everyoneContinue reading “The Metaphysician’s Motte-and-Bailey”

Vat-Knowledge Is Knowledge Enough

Ilmari Hirvonen Among the mighty tasks that analytic epistemologists have taken upon themselves is to give an answer to the philosophical sceptic. Simplifying a little, one could summarise scepticism as the denial of knowledge. In other words, the sceptic claims that we don’t know anything or, alternatively, some specific thing – like whether the pastContinue reading “Vat-Knowledge Is Knowledge Enough”

Normative Relativism Isn’t Good for You

Ilmari Hirvonen Let’s start with a bold conjecture: you’re not a normative relativist. Not at least when it comes to issues like morals, linguistic interpretation, or inference. Indeed, adopting normative relativism in regards such topics would be, at the least, detrimental. But what is this thing called “normative relativism” anyway, and what’s so bad aboutContinue reading “Normative Relativism Isn’t Good for You”