Is there Irrationality in the Existence of a Plurality of Philosophical Theories
Marcus (Ruth Barcan)
Source: Dialectica, Vol. 39, No. 4 (1985), pp. 321-328
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Summary: In this paper some claims of Professor Ricoeur are challenged.

  1. It is pointed out on historical grounds that counter to Professor Ricoeur's claim, most past philosophies are displaced, or ignored. The surviving canon is small and very selective. There is, therefore, substantial agreement on the large corpus which is rejected.
  2. It is also argued that Professor Ricoeur's contrast between philosophy and the sciences is too sharp since in the history of modern sciences there are always conflicting theories existing in parallel. However, it is the case that in philosophy standards of "acceptability" are looser and not the rigorous ones of science. A philosophical theory may be appreciated for the problems it discloses, the richness and subtlety of its arguments, its strategies and the like despite acknowledged failings. Appreciation of incompatible theories is not irrational.
  3. The claim is rejected that the seeming irrationality is resolved by viewing each system as wholly autonomous.
  4. The apparent restriction of philosophy by Professor Ricoeur to global systems is also questioned.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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