Constructing the World by David J. Chalmers

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Synopsis

David Chalmers develops a picture of reality on which all truths can be derived from a limited class of basic truths. The picture is inspired by Rudolf Carnap's construction of the world in Der Logische Aufbau Der Welt. Carnap's Aufbau is often seen as a noble failure, but Chalmers argues that a version of the project can succeed. With the right basic elements and the right derivation relation, we can indeed construct the world. The focal point of Chalmers'
project is scrutability: the thesis that ideal reasoning from a limited class of basic truths yields all truths about the world. Chalmers first argues for the scrutability thesis and then considers how small the base can be. The result is a framework in "metaphysical epistemology": epistemology in service of a global
picture of the world. The scrutability framework has ramifications throughout philosophy. Using it, Chalmers defends a broadly Fregean approach to meaning, argues for an internalist approach to the contents of thought, and rebuts W.V. Quine's arguments against the analytic and the a priori. He also uses scrutability to analyze the unity of science, to defend a sort of conceptual metaphysics, and to mount a structuralist response to skepticism. Based on Chalmers's 2010 John Locke lectures,
Constructing the World opens up debate on central philosophical issues concerning knowledge, language, mind, and reality.
 

About David J. Chalmers

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About the Author: David J. Chalmers is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Born in Sydney, Australia, he has been a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and a McDonnell Fellow at Washington University. His article "The Puzzle of Conscious Experience" appeared in the December 1995 issue of Scientific American.
 
Published October 4, 2012 by OUP Oxford. 521 pages
Genres: Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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