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The Logic of Cultures

Three Structures of Philosophical Thought

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Paul Taborsky

This book proposes to identify three long-term structures in causal reasoning – in particular, in terms of the relationship between cause and identity – that appear to be of value in categorizing and organizing various trends in philosophical thought.
Such conceptual schemes involve a host of philosophical dilemmas (such as the problem of relativism), which are examined in the first chapter. A number of naturalistic and transcendental approaches to this problem are also analysed.
In particular, the book attempts to construct a theoretical basis for Foucault’s tripartite classification of epistemological structures in European thought.
The final chapter attempts to buttress the above schema by extending the analysis from cause and identity to growth, change, and stability, critiquing certain ideas of Foucault and Heidegger, as well as examining the contemporary thought of process philosophy and complexity theory.

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1. What is a paradigm? 13

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13 1. What is a paradigm? Paradigms are clearly long term aspects of ordering and structuring knowledge that determine, and (or) are determined by, thinking and existence ‘in general’. Now I would like to call the above schemata structural schemata. As can be seen, they are based on certain struc- tural interrelations between a small number of fairly traditional philosophical categories. I have focused on these because I believe them to be of significance in determining what appear to me to be recurrent long term patterns in philosophical endeavour. By no means does this analysis purport to explain every and all distinctions that can be made philosophically. There are many stan- dard philosophical outlooks that do not come under the scope of this analysis. Many of these later are perennial viewpoints that are related to the basic ‘problems of philosophy’, yet do not warrant considera- tion as paradigm precisely because of their perennially – they are properly to be called philosophical rather than structural, paradig- matic, or ‘stylistic’ (Hacking). For example, naïve realism, ‘idealism’ (many varieties), skepticism, ‘empiricism’ (many varieties), are among these perennial standpoints which I will call ‘outlooks’ (perhaps ‘tendencies’ will do for the more nebulous terms that are mentioned in single quotes above). Then there are more specific schools of thought or points of view, such as logical positivism, ascriptivism, physicalism, less general and confined to this or that place or period of time: I will sometimes, somewhat inaccurately, use the term ‘outlook’ for these kinds of...

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