Category Archives: Stephen Stich

Stephen Stich

The idea that philosophy could be kept apart from the sciences would have been dismissed out of hand by most of the great philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. But many contemporary philosophers believe they can practice their craft without knowing what is going on in the natural and social sciences. If facts are needed, they rely on their “intuition”, or they simply invent them. The results of philosophy done in this way are typically sterile and often silly. There are no proprietary philosophical questions that are worth answering, nor is there any productive philosophical method that does not engage the sciences. But there are lots of deeply important (and fascinating and frustrating) questions about minds, morals, language, culture and more. To make progress on them we need to use anything that science can tell us, and any method that works.

Stephen Stich, in Steve Pyke, Philosophers, Oxford, 2011, p. 192

Stephen Stich

Many of us care very much whether our cognitive processes lead to beliefs that are true, or give us power over nature, or lead to happiness. But only those with a deep and free-floating conservatism in matters epistemic will care whether their cognitive processes are sanctioned by the evaluative standards tat happen to be woven into our language.

Stephen Stich, ‘Reflective Equilibrium, Analytic Epistemology and the Problem of Cognitive Diversity’, Synthese, vol. 74, no. 3 (March, 1988), p. 109