Evolution, Rationality, and Deduction - the Book
Links to drafts in PDF and HTML

This is my current "book" project, which has become all-encompassing, one work to end them all. And to start them for that matter.

The general plan is this. Like many philosophers, I don't really care for the way philosophy is done. The complaint is that the conduct of philosophy, analytic philosophy as practiced by professional philosophers, ought to be "rational" and is not. I think it needs to be fixed. I have a clue how and why it is broken. I have some ideas on how it might be fixed.

With all this inside my head, its not possible to actually do any other philosophy before telling this whole story. But bear in mind, that telling this story would be "doing philosophy" (philosophy is its own meta-theory). So what I have to do is a philosophical tract in which "the problem with analytic philosophy" is described and diagnosed, and my prescription for its cure is articulated and illustrated.

The next level of detail is filled in in two stages. These provide two levels of diagnosis, prescription and prognosis. Think of these as similar to the progression in Hume from an exposure of the irrationality of various beliefs to a scientific theory of human nature which describes why people nevertheless hold such beliefs (and I would add, offers some ideas about how people might be saved from their folly, though I don't know that Hume did that bit). At the first level the defects are described, and ways of doing philosophy are offered which avoid the defects.

There is reason to doubt that the critique or the proffered alternatives will be accepted or adopted. It is necessary to understand not only what is going wrong, but why it is going wrong, and in the light of that knowledge to consider what remedies might be effective.

My reasoning at this second level involves evolutionary explanations.

The whole is speculative. The solution is intended to admit the rigorous conduct of speculative philosophy, which involves the formulation of speculative theories and then the analysis of their merits. The result of this philosophical analysis is our objective. This is not a proposal for how philosophy should be done, but an analysis of such ideas. The aim of the analysis is not to analyse a single proposal but to consider a range of solutions and systematically compare their merits against multiple criteria. We are looking at philosophical methodology as the development of an abstract theory.

Several different formats of document are generated from the sources of the book. These different forms have the same content so you may read whichever format you find most convenient. All except the paperback book format are provided for you to read or download for reading from this web site at no cost, and you are granted permission only to read them, not to make any other use of them. All formats will be available for drafts from the earliest stages of writing the book, with the sole exception of the paperback format, which will become available only when the book is deemed complete (-enough for a first edition).

A link for buying the paperback from Amazon will be included if ever "the book" does get published.


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