Cover: Thinking Off Your Feet: How Empirical Psychology Vindicates Armchair Philosophy, from Harvard University PressCover: Thinking Off Your Feet in HARDCOVER

Thinking Off Your Feet

How Empirical Psychology Vindicates Armchair Philosophy

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674986527

Publication Date: 01/07/2019

Text

360 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 illus.

Belknap Press

World

Many philosophers believe they can gain knowledge about the world from the comfort of their armchairs, simply by reflecting on the nature of things. But how can the mind arrive at substantive knowledge of the world without seeking its input? Michael Strevens proposes an original defense of the armchair pursuit of philosophical knowledge, focusing on “the method of cases,” in which judgments about category membership—Does this count as causation? Does that count as the right action to take?—are used to test philosophical hypotheses about such matters as causality, moral responsibility, and beauty.

Strevens argues that the method of cases is capable of producing reliable, substantial knowledge. His strategy is to compare concepts of philosophical things to concepts of natural kinds, such as water. Philosophical concepts, like natural kind concepts, do not contain the answers to philosophers’ questions; armchair philosophy therefore cannot be conceptual analysis. But just as natural kind concepts provide a viable starting point for exploring the nature of the material world, so philosophical concepts are capable of launching and sustaining fruitful inquiry into philosophical matters, using the method of cases. Agonizing about unusual “edge cases,” Strevens shows, can play a leading role in such discoveries.

Thinking Off Your Feet seeks to reshape current debates about the nature of philosophical thinking and the methodological implications of experimental philosophy, to make significant contributions to the cognitive science of concepts, and to restore philosophy to its traditional position as an essential part of the human quest for knowledge.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, from Harvard University Press

Book Club Spotlight: The Privileged Poor

As students around the world deliberate their options for further education, only made more challenging in a pandemic, we’re reminded that getting in is only half the battle. In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack asks how—and why—do disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges? What can schools can do differently if these students are to thrive? As back to school season begins, we spoke to two university book clubs that read and discussed The Privileged Poor this summer.