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Dialogical Empiricism: The Burden of Proof upon Metaphysical Methods

Rhode, Conny (2017) Dialogical Empiricism: The Burden of Proof upon Metaphysical Methods. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Drawing on Douglas Walton’s typology of dialogues, I analyse a representative sample of philosophical dialogues, finding that over 95% of them instantiate a type of dialogue aimed at persuading one’s opponent. I then argue that this goal entails the prudential requirement that any assertion questioned in philosophical dialogue be either supported or else retracted, and that no assertion is privileged over the burden of proof imposed by its questioning. This in turn renders it prudent to avoid the employment of premises that, if questioned, could never be supported. Such unsupportable premises in particular include bridge premises across inference barriers (e.g. Hume’s is/ought separation). Dialogical Empiricism is the resultant thesis that any assertion questioned in philosophical dialogue must prudently be supported by the asserting party without crossing any inference barrier. I focus on the inference barrier between psychological or linguistic content and the world beyond such content, arguing that much common philosophical evidence consists of psycho-linguistic content (e.g. intuitions) and thus cannot prudently be employed in support of hypotheses expressing claims about the world beyond such content. Since many philosophical dialogues, from metaphysics through to ethics, rely upon such psycho-linguistic evidence for claims about the world beyond content, these dialogues prudently can no longer be conducted. In closing I consider avenues of escape from the foregoing prudential restrictions that remain open.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: Mr Conny Rhode
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 15:56
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 15:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19576

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