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Human Affairs

Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences Quarterly

Editor-in-Chief: Višnovský, Emil

Ed. by Bianchi, Gabriel / Hrubec, Marek / Tartaglia, James

CiteScore 2018: 0.26

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.288
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.221

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Volume 23, Issue 4


Reconsidering philosophical questions and neuroscientific answers: Two pillars of inquiry

Mark Tschaepe
  • College of Arts & Sciences Division of Social Work, Behavioral and Political Sciences, Prairie View A&M University, P.O. Box 519, Prairie View, Texas, 77446-0519, USA
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Published Online: 2013-09-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13374-013-0152-2


I propose the next steps in the neuropragmatic approach to philosophy that has been advocated by Solymosi and Shook (2013). My focus is the initial process of inquiry implicit in addressing philosophical questions of cognition and mind by utilizing the tools of neuroscientific research. I combine John Dewey’s pattern of inquiry with Charles Peirce’s three forms of inference in order to outline a methodological schema for neuropragmatic inquiry. My goal is to establish ignorance and guessing as well-defined pillars of methodology upon which to build a neuropragmatic approach to inquiry. First, I outline Dewey’s pattern of inquiry, highlighting the initial problematic phase in which recognized ignorance provides the basis upon which to frame a philosophical problem and initiate the trajectory by which philosophical questions may be addressed with the assistance of neuroscientific evidence. Second, I provide an outline of Peirce’s three forms of inference, focusing upon the first phase of abduction: guessing. Third, I explain the transition between ignorance and guessing, urging the benefit of attending to these two aspects of inquiry. Finally, I provide an initial sketch indicating the next steps concerning a pragmatic reconstruction of neurophilosophy, pointing towards the need for a more thorough examination of scientific methodology within and following analyses of philosophical problems and neuroscientific evidence.

Keywords: abduction; Dewey; discovery; guessing; ignorance; inference; inquiry; logic; methodology; neuropragmatism; neuroscience; Peirce; pragmatism; questions

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-09-28

Published in Print: 2013-10-01

Citation Information: Human Affairs, Volume 23, Issue 4, Pages 606–615, ISSN (Online) 1337-401X, ISSN (Print) 1210-3055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13374-013-0152-2.

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© 2013 Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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