Reply to Hookway

Marie McGinn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Frege takes the view that “like ethics, logic can also be called a normative science.” The parallel that he detects depends upon his commitment to the idea of objective constraints on thought and action, against which particular acts or particular pieces of reasoning can be judged. The point of the comparison is to get us to see that logic is not an empirical science, concerned with laws of thought in a psychological sense; rather, the laws of logic are ‘prescriptions for making judgement’. Hookway also detects a parallel, but it prompts him to move in the opposite direction: the point of the parallel is to bring us to appreciate the role of human emotional responses in our ordinary cognitive assessments of the truth of propositions, the soundness of inferences, the relevance of doubts, the appropriateness of questions, and so on. He argues that appreciation of this point enables us to solve some central epistemological problems, in particular, the problem of epistemological scepticism. I argue that Hookway shows, at best, that without our emotional convictions, our ordinary practices could not get off the ground, but that this, on its own, does not amount to a satisfying reply to the sceptic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-105
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

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