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Carved in Stone or Carried by the Wind?

  • Stephen Toulmin
Part of the Artificial Intelligence and Society book series (HCS)

Abstract

The title “Beyond Certainty” is ambiguous in a way that can, but need not, be misleading. Wittgenstein did not claim that we can arrive at no kind of Certainty: merely that the philosophers deceive us if they pretend that the only kind of Certainty that has any intellectual relevance is a formal, geometrical kind. He did not direct us beyond all Certainty, only beyond the monopoly of inappropriate, formal Certainty (decontextual logical necessity) and toward an appropriate, pragmatic Certainty, a well grounded, situated certitude. With the Death of Cartesian foundational epistemology, we do not lose all hope of certainty, only the illusion that the only Certainty worth having is a formal, eternal feature of knowledge, exemplified in the logical coherence of texts. In its place, we recover an alternative Certitude: a timely, pragmatic feature of knowledge, within particular situations and modes of praxis.

Keywords

Practical Wisdom Philosophical Theory Deductive Inference Practical Philosophy Moral Doctrine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Toulmin

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