An Essay on the Grounds and Implications of Philosophical Diversity
Rescher develops a theory that accounts for philosophical disagreement and shows how conflicts root in divergent 'cognitive values'-values regarding matters such as importance, centrality, and priority. He argues that given the nature of the enterprise, consensus is not a realistic goal, and failure to achieve it is not a defect.
Nicholas Rescher is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and co-chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Rescher is the author or editor of more than one hundred books, including Ignorance (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge), Philosophical Inquiries: An Introduction to Problems of Philosophy, and A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes.
The disagreement of philosophers is notorious. In this book, Rescher develops a theory that accounts for this conflict and shows how the basis for philosophical disagreement roots in divergent 'cognitive values'-values regarding matters such as importance, centrality, and priority. In light of this analysis, Rescher maintains that, despite this inevitable discord, a skeptical or indifferentist reaction to traditional philosophy is not warranted, seeing that genuine value-conflicts are at issue. He argues that philosophy is an important and worthwhile enterprise, notwithstanding its inability to achieve rationally constrained consensus on the issues. Given the nature of the enterprise, consensus is not a realistic goal, and failure to achieve it is not a defect. Accordingly, Rescher argues against the revisionist views proposed by Richard Rorty and Robert Nozick. His discussions are devoted to providing a clear view of why philosophical problems arise and how philosophers address them.