Inference in the context of enquiry

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Much contemporary epistemological work is affected by two interconnected
problems caused by the dissociation of its analyses from the context of enquiry. First,
key epistemological notions like knowledge, reasoning and inference are presented in
a manner that tenaciously eludes explication and proliferates puzzles. Second, the
materials of scientific enquiry prove powerless to offer insight yielding solutions to
puzzles or the desired explications. In this paper I show that these difficulties vanish
when epistemological work is reconstructed along the lines set out by Dewey’s
pragmatism, focussing in particular on a contrast between the insuperable difficulties
attending a standard epistemological analysis of inference and the significant
philosophical progress made possible by a pragmatist outlook on inference. In the
process, I introduce a novel application of Dewey’s study of inference in scientific
practice to mathematical enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)5-26
Number of pages21
JournalDewey Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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