Walking the Tightrope of Reason: The Precarious Life of a Rational Animal

Author:   Robert Fogelin (Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities, Dartmouth College)
Publisher:   Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN:  

9780195177541


Pages:   218
Publication Date:   01 March 2005
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Manufactured on demand   Availability explained
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Walking the Tightrope of Reason: The Precarious Life of a Rational Animal


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Overview

Human beings are both supremely rational and deeply superstitious, capable of believing just about anything and of questioning just about everything. Indeed, just as our reason demands that we know the truth, our skepticism leads to doubts we can ever really do so. In Walking the Tightrope of Reason, Robert J. Fogelin guides readers through a contradiction that lies at the very heart of philosophical inquiry. Fogelin argues that our rational faculties insist on a purely rational account of the universe, yet at the same time, the inherent limitations of these faculties ensure that we will never fully satisfy that demand. As a result of being driven to this point of paradox, we either comfort ourselves with what Kant called metaphysical illusions or adopt a stance of radical skepticism. No middle ground seems possible and, as Fogelin shows, skepticism, even though a healthy dose of it is essential for living a rational life, has an inherent tendency to become unlimited in its scope, with the result that the edifice of rationality is destroyed. In much Postmodernist thought, for example, skepticism takes the extreme form of absolute relativism, denying the basis for any value distinctions and treating all truth-claims as equally groundless. How reason avoids disgracing itself, walking a fine line between dogmatic belief and self-defeating doubt, is the question Fogelin seeks to answer. Reflecting upon the ancient Greek skeptics as well as such thinkers as Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, and Whitman, this book takes readers into--and through--some of philosophy's most troubling paradoxes.

Full Product Details

Author:   Robert Fogelin (Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities, Dartmouth College)
Publisher:   Oxford University Press Inc
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Dimensions:   Width: 12.30cm , Height: 1.70cm , Length: 17.80cm
Weight:   0.215kg
ISBN:  

9780195177541


ISBN 10:   0195177541
Pages:   218
Publication Date:   01 March 2005
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate ,  Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Manufactured on demand   Availability explained
We will order this item for you from a manufactured on demand supplier.

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Reviews

Few have described better than Robert Fogelin the peculiar poise that reasoning requires. --San Francisco Chronicle An insightful examination of the precarious character of our intellectual lives. --New York Law Journal An intellectual pleasure for those who like their philosophy cool and combative. --Publishers Weekly A rare book that makes philosophy matter for ordinary people in everyday life. --Booklist


Few have described better than Robert Fogelin the peculiar poise that reasoning requires. --San Francisco Chronicle An insightful examination of the precarious character of our intellectual lives. --New York Law Journal An intellectual pleasure for those who like their philosophy cool and combative. --Publishers Weekly A rare book that makes philosophy matter for ordinary people in everyday life. --Booklist An insightful examination of the precarious character of our intellectual lives. --New York Law Journal Few have described better than Robert Fogelin the peculiar poise that reasoning requires. --Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle A rare book that makes philosophy matter for ordinary people in everyday life. --Booklist An admirably clear, concise, provocative approach to avoiding pitfalls 'inherent in the rational enterprise....' An intellectual pleasure for those who like their philosophy cool and combative. --Publishers Weekly A model of clarity...a genuine pleasure to read.... Most welcome. --Mind


Few have described better than Robert Fogelin the peculiar poise that reasoning requires. --San Francisco Chronicle<br> An insightful examination of the precarious character of our intellectual lives. --New York Law Journal<br> An intellectual pleasure for those who like their philosophy cool and combative. --Publishers Weekly<br> A rare book that makes philosophy matter for ordinary people in everyday life. --Booklist<br>


An insightful examination of the precarious character of our intellectual lives. -New York Law Journal Few have described better than Robert Fogelin the peculiar poise that reasoning requires. -Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle A rare book that makes philosophy matter for ordinary people in everyday life. -Booklist An admirably clear, concise, provocative approach to avoiding pitfalls 'inherent in the rational enterprise...' An intellectual pleasure for those who like their philosophy cool and combative. -Publishers Weekly


Author Information

Robert Fogelin is Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities at Dartmouth College. His many books include Pyrrhonian Reflections, Wittgenstein and Hume's Skepticism.

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