Working Without a Net

Working Without a Net : A Study of Egocentric Epistemology

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In this book Foley offers a major new theory of rationality. His aim is to escape the 'doldrums of Descartes' by lowering the standard for what is rational from his impossibly demanding level of certainty. Foley takes a belief's being rational as a matter of its seeming from some perspective to be objectively likely to be true. This makes for an attractive mix of subjective and objective components in his concept of rationality. The subjective component makes rationality attainable; the objective component preserves the discipline of external more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 161.5 x 243.3 x 22.9mm | 512.57g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195076990
  • 9780195076998

Back cover copy

In this book, Richard Foley defends an epistemology that takes seriously the perspectives of individual thinkers. He argues that having rational opinions is a matter of meeting our own internal standards rather than standards that are somehow imposed upon us from the outside. It is a matter of making ourselves invulnerable to intellectual self-criticism. Foley also shows how the theory of rational belief is part of a general theory of rationality. He thus avoids treating the rationality of belief as a fundamentally different kind of phenomenon from the rationality of decision or action. His approach generates promising suggestions about a wide range of issues, e.g., the distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic reasons for belief; the question of what aspects of the Cartesian project are still worth doing; the significance of simplicity and other theoretical virtues; the relevance of skeptical hypotheses; the difference between a theory of rational belief and a theory of knowledge; the difference between a theory of rational belief and a theory of rational degrees of belief; and the limits of idealization in epistemology. The book runs counter to a tendency in contemporary epistemology to discount the perspectives of individual thinkers. Endorsing a radically subjective conception of rational belief, Working Without A Net will interest students of philosophy, epistemology, and more

Review quote

It has a well-developed, continuous train of argued thought from start to finish ... the book is much better than most published work. It is of a high professional standard and is ably conversant with the published literature. * J. D. Kenyon, Fellow of St. Peter's College, Oxford * I would recommend the book very highly. * Bas Van Fraassen, Princeton University *show more