Phenomenology of Human Understanding

Phenomenology of Human Understanding

By: Brian Cronin (author)Paperback

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The problem of human knowing has been foundational for the enterprise of philosophy since the time of Descartes. The great philosophers have offered different accounts of the power and limits of human knowing but no generally acceptable system has emerged. Contemporary writers have almost given up on this most intractable issue. In this book, Brian Cronin suggests using the method of introspective description to identify the characteristics of the act of human understanding and knowing. Introspection--far from being private and unverifiable--can be public, communal, and verifiable. If we can describe our dreams and our feelings, then, we can describe our acts of understanding. Using concrete examples, one can identify the activities involved--namely, questioning, researching, getting an idea, expressing a concept, reflecting on the evidence and inferring a conclusion. Each of these activities can be described clearly and in great detail. If we perform these activities well, we can understand and know both truth and value. The text invites readers to verify each and every statement in their own experience of understanding. This is a detailed and verifiable account of human knowing: an extremely valuable contribution to philosophy and a solution to the foundational problem of knowing.

About Author

Brian Cronin is an Irish Spiritan missionary and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. He has worked as a missionary in Kenya and Tanzania and has been teaching philosophy since 1980. He did his doctorate at Boston College and was later awarded five post-doctoral fellowships there. He is author of two books, Foundations of Philosophy (1999) and Value Ethics (2006)


Preface Introduction Turn to the Subject Completing the Turn to the Subject Advantages and Contributions of this Approach Sources What Kind of a Book Is This? Book Summary 1 From Introspection to Self-Appropriation The Need for a Method Difficulties in Studying Human Understanding Introspection: Uses and Abuses From Introspection to Self-Appropriation Self-Appropriation that is Communal and Verifiable Conclusion: an Empirical Method for Philosophy 2 Consciousness as an Experience What is Consciousness? Analysis and Definition Clarification by Contrast Defining Basic Terms Understanding as an Activity Conclusion 3 The Basic Act of Understanding (Part 1) Introduction Where to Look Questioning: The Desire to Know Active Element: Strategies for Thinking Passive Element: It Comes Suddenly and Unexpectedly Conclusion 4 The Basic Act of Understanding (Part 2) Ideas Emerge from Images Contrasting Images and Ideas Relating Images and Ideas Conception and Perception The Notion of Emergence Ideas Become Habitual Conclusion 5 Developing Understanding Introduction Generalizing Description to Explanation Higher Viewpoints Probabilities and Chance Conclusion 6 How Understanding Becomes Knowledge From Thinking to Knowing The Critical Question Arises Reflective Insight into Truth Characteristics of a Judgment of Truth The Criterion of Truth 7 Understanding and Knowing Values Judging Moral Values The Question of Value Arises Scale of Values Structure of Deliberative Insight Deliberative Insights into Moral Values The Affective Component of the Judgment of Value Judgments of Value Conscience as Criterion Conclusion and Summary 8 Cognitional Structure A Synthesis and Summary Thus Far The Sequence of Activities that Constitutes One Knowing Cognitional Structure - Explaining the Table Immanent and Operative Norms A Verifiable Cognitional Theory Performance and Content 9 Understanding Misunderstanding Conflict and Disagreement Minor Sources of Misunderstanding Dialectic at the Heart of Human Knowing Imagination and Intelligence Naive Realism or Critical Realism Intuition: From 'Looking' to Knowing Startling Strangeness 10 Establishing Critical Realism Psychology of Knowledge Transitioning to Philosophy First Strategic Judgment: Self-Affirmation Contrast with Descartes Second Strategic Judgment: the Notion of Being Third Strategic Judgment: Subjectivity and Objectivity Conclusion 11 From Subjectivity to Objectivity Subjectivity and Objectivity as Commonly Conceived The Principal Notion of Objectivity Immanence and Transcendence Absolute Objectivity Normative Objectivity Experiential Objectivity Conclusion 12 Mind Recovered Being at Home in a Philosophy of Interiority Method and Methods Dialectic Remains to be Overcome Conclusion Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780718895358
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 299
  • ID: 9780718895358
  • ISBN10: 0718895355

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