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Review of "In Praise of Reason" by Michael P. Lynch
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2012)
  • Dennis Whitcomb, Western Washington University
This fun little book is about certain belief-forming methods, namely, observation and deductive and inductive inference. Lynch's project is to raise and answer three challenges to these methods: that they can't be defended non-circularly, that their aim -- truth -- is somehow deficient, and that they are largely causally inert. These challenges, should they gain widespread traction, might have such untoward results as the erosion of civility in public debate and the weakening of science instruction in public schools. Why teach science as opposed to (say) creationism -- why even reason with people - if observation and inference are causally inert, defensible only circularly, and aimed at a deficient target? Such worries are never far from the surface in Lynch's book, which occupies the intersection of epistemology and political philosophy.
  • Belief-forming,
  • Observation,
  • Deductive inference,
  • Inductive inference
Publication Date
September 6, 2012
Publisher Statement
Copyright by author and Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Citation Information
Dennis Whitcomb. "Review of "In Praise of Reason" by Michael P. Lynch" Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2012)
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