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This book is a study in the methodology of philosophical inquiry. Accordingly, it is a venture in metaphilosophy, perhaps the most controversial of philosophical disciplines. Philosophy is caught in a dilemma. On one hand, its omission as a legitimate venture in empirical inquiry requires its looking to "the big picture" and striving to counteract the fragmented specialization of other cognitive domains. On the other hand, philosophy does not and cannot avert division of labor. Thus, it remains committed to the quest for unity and coherence in our understanding of the nature of things in a world where our knowledge is exploding in scope and in complexity. Philosophical Reasoning explores this difficult situation and clarifies its implications by expounding and defending the following thesis: that systematization is the proper instrument of philosophical inquiry, and that the effective pursuit of philosophy's mission calls for constructing a doctrinal system that answers our questions in a coherent and comprehensive manner.
Nicholas Rescher is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh where he served for many years as Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A Former president of the American Philosophical Association, he is an honorary member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of more than eighty works ranging over many areas of philosophy and was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for Humanistic Scholarship in 1984.