Intellectual standards and competence03 Oct 1994 12:01
How well have people thought in different places and times? What are the standards by which thought has been judged?
For instance: Pico della Mirandola's Oration on the Dignity of Man is obviously the product of a very bright and well-read man; but if I got it from one of my students, I'd say he had the critical sense of a magpie, and an appalling habit of twisting other people's words to fit his outlandish notions. (I was rather like that myself as a freshman, being under the influence of Joseph Campbell.) Yet this work was extremely well-received at the time, and seems - based on my admittedly limited exposure to Renaissance humanism --- at least par for the course. Did nobody notice? Did nobody care? Is there something I'm missing?
- Richard Hamilton, The Social Misconstruction of Reality: Validation and Verification in the Scholarly Community
- Larry Laudan, Science and Values [i.e., cognitive values; exhibits Laudan's concern with how people reflect on, and modify, their own standards about what counts as a good argument]
- Stephen Toulmin, The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts
- To read:
- Maurice A. Finocchiaro, Arguments about Arguments: Systematic, Critical, and Historical Essays in Logical Theory