1. The Nature of Philosophy

It is useful to consider philosophy as falling into two parts, theoretical and practical. At a first cut this distinction these may be explained as concerning respectively knowledge and action. Rationality concerns both, on the one hand it concerns how we go about gathering knowledge, and on the other the relation between our knowledge, our purposes, and our actions.

The process of knowledge acquisition as a whole I shall describe as analysis, it consists in the analysis of available evidence seeking exploitable regularities. I think of analysis in this broad sense as consisting in the construction of models, so the dismembering connotations of analysis are not to be taken too seriously, we have here two inseparable sides of one phenomenon. The insights obtained from dismemberment are conveyed by the synthesis of a replica in a form more readily applicable.

Of great significance to the present work is a division in analytic method which I will mark with the term nomologico-deductive, and the further subdivision in which the deduction may be called formal. Nomologico-deductive models are by no means the most common, if we admit as models the basis for all manifestations of knowledge. I am concerned here to distinguish the two, to understand them and their respective proper places, at the same time to argue the importance for the future of encompassing as much as possible of our knowledge in formal nomologico-deductive models and to recognise the more pervasive kind of knowledge which comes from experience and delivers its benefits even (or especially) where more precise models seem infeasible.

Roger Bishop Jones 2016-01-07