Institute of Philosophy
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  2013, Volume 36, Number 2
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2013, Volume 36, Number 2

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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

2013, Volume 36, Number 2





Ilya Kasavin. The principle of charity: is the cognitive agent worth trusting?

The principle of charity (a principle of rational accommodation, a principle of humanity) is broadly discussed in the analytical philosophy of language as a prerequisite of understanding and communication (W. Quine, D, Davidson). It represents a kind of epistemic trust in the common abilities of the knowing agent and common cognitive situation. In contrast to this, the skeptical tradition rooted in Descartes puts an accent on the critical doubt as a main epistemological tool. The clash between the epistemological optimism (realism) and skepticism (relativism) generates a significant problem situation for those who endorse “fact-objectivism” and reject the social-epistemological vision of the cognitive agent.

Keywords: charity, epistemic trust, realism, fact-objectivism, rule following, relativism, social epistemology, Quine, Davidson





Jennifer Lackey. A deflationary account of group testimony

How should we understand group testimony as a source of knowledge? According to a reductionist account, a group’s testimony that p is epistemologically reducible to the testimony of some individual(s). In contrast, a non-reductionist account of these phenomena maintains that in some very important sense, the group itself is the bearer of the state. In this paper, I raise problems for both views and then develop my own deflationary account, according to which the epistemic status of a group’s testimony is reducible to that of one or more individuals, though not necessarily ones who are members of the group in question.

Keywords: testimony, knowledge, reductionism, non-reductionism, deflationism


Ivan Mikirtumov. Compositionality and its pragmatics

The article discusses the bases of an explication of statements in general intensional logic and in logical pragmatics. The problem of the status of the statement as a pragmatical action and its analysis get special importance for intensional logic, and so does the search for an answer to the question of how the sense of paradoxical expression functions in language. For a subject of knowledge who has linguistic competence and certain logical-semantic intuitions a paradoxical statement is clearly understandable and this fact should receive an explication by means of a logical theory of sense. The pragmatics of non-compositional expressions is analyzed by the author.

Keywords: compositionality, theory of sense, semantics, pragmatics





Alexander Nikiforov. What is ‘postnonclassical’ science?

The term “postnonclassical science” was originally coined by Vyacheslav Stepin and has gained considerable popularity in Russian philosophy of science. It signifies the contemporary state in the development of science at which the cognitive objectives of scientific research (the search for truth) are substituted for ecnonomical and socio-political objectives. The author critically discusses this view of contemporary science and argues that contemporary science retains its generic character and its main goal is still acquisition of true and objective knowledge. The notion of postnonclassical science is argued only to reflect the spread of applied research which have started to play a domninant role in science since the end of the XXth century.

Keywords: Postnonclassical science, philosophy of science, Stepin, truth


Elena Mamchur, Vitaly Gorokhov, Vyacheslav Stepin, Vladimir Arshinov, Vyacheslav Shuper, Vladimir Porus. Сommentaries to A.Nikiforov’s  “What is ‘postnonclassical’ science?”

In the discussion Prof. Nikiforov’s thesis is countered from various perspectives. V.Gorokhov stresses the rising influence of interdisciplinary research that marks the development of science in the second half of the XXth century and argues that along with contemporary study of complex systems this change blurs the boundaries between fundamental and applied science which must be regarded as a considerable shift in the nature of scientific research. The latter, according to V. Gorokhov, is no longer an unselfish search for truth.

E.Mamchur agrees with A.Nikiforov in understanding the search of truth as the main goal of science but the methodogical principles used have undergone some changes. To her mind the disagreement between A.Nikiforov and V.Stepin is not substantial but merely terminological.

V.Stepin states that A.Nikiforov did not succeed in challenging his theory of postnonclassical science. He clarifies that a change in the types of scientific rationality is associated with a transition to the study of new type of objects: Thus contemporary science is argued to have transferred from a study of simple mechanical systems to the study of complex organized systems and further to the study of complex self-organizing systems. The study of the latter demands accounting for a various collection of social values and not only truth. And this is what is claimed to be postnonclassical science.

V.Arshinov stresses the importance of the observer which is included in the scientific descriptions in postnonclassical science. The author elaborates this point by discussing a possible hierarchy of observers and their role in scientific descriptions.

In his comment V.Shuper discusses interconnections between fundamental and technical science and argues that an advance in one of the two determines an advance of the other. Contemporary state of science is argued to be associated with an advance in technology which calls for an new advance in fundamental science.

V.Porus discusses the topic in terms of interconnections of science and culture. He argues that changes in the standards of scientific rationality are provoked by changes in culture. Postnonclassical science, according to V.Porus, marks the new state of science in which the rational subject and its influence on the self-organizing complex system become parts of the general object studied by science.





Sergei Merzkyakov. Can zombies dream?

One of the most debated issues in contemporary philosophy of mind is the problem of the status of private states of consciousness. The author analyzes the concept of epiphenomenalism and refers to the mechanism of the «reward system» to indicate that qualia can be the cause of behavior. The article deals with the thought experiment «philosophical zombie» which allows to show that qualia are an integral part of the modeling system. The author concludes that the private state of mind can cause an emotional response to a simulated situation.

Keywords: subjectivity, imagination, qualia, consciousness, the hard problem of consciousness





Konstantin Frolov. A contribution to the critics of representationalism

The article deals with the basic ideas and approaches to the problem of perception and consciousness, which are known as representationalism. The author describes the specifics of higher-order theories of perception of W. Lycan and higher-order thought theory of D. Rosenthal. Also he discusses some features of a non-reductive version of representationalism in connection with arguments of D. Chalmers, who prefers Frege’s interpretation of content of experience to Russell’s version. Finally, the author addresses several critical arguments which concern the difficulties met by representationalism in cases when it becomes necessary to take into consideration cultural, historical and semantic context of various events and phenomena in the framework of human perception.

Keywords: representation, intentionality, qualia, explanandum, contextual dependence


V.Budanov, I. Gerasimova, I. Aseeva, E. Boev, E.Kamenskiy, P. Kravchuk, E.Soroko, A. Rizhskaya, N.Muzaleva, A. Elchina.The dialog of generations in the age of Internet communication





Antonina Pozdnyakova. Psychologism as a paradigm non grata: from D.Hume’s philosophy of consciousness to the critique by M.Heidegger.

The article discusses M. Heidegger’s attempts to overcome such problems of philosophy of knowledge as the relativization of knowledge, the loss ontological character of cognizable things, the transformation of truth as a mode of absolute Dasein authenticity to the situation assessment in the truth or false conditional judgments. It is stated that  M.Heidegger’s psychologism is founded on the ontological proposition about the identity of being and thinking. The M.Heidegger’s philosophy is discussed as an alternative to psychologism.

Keywords: philosophy of knowledge, psychologism, skeptical relativism, ontological proposition, M. Heidegger



Alexander Khramov. Are naturalized epistemology and evolutionism compatible?

The naturalistic approach to the justification of knowledge and its compatibility with evolutionism are discussed in the present study. Naturalists want to establish reliability of our cognitive faculties by reference to natural selection. But according to the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which was suggested by Alvin Plantinga, if our cognitive apparatus has been produced by the blind evolutionary process, its reliability would be low. Author elaborates this argument and argues that we should admit failure of naturalized epistemology or return to the teleogical world-view.

Keywords: naturalism, knowledge, evolutionism, cognition





Irina Gerasimova, Vladimir Milkov. ‘Paley explanatory’on universe and knowledge

Paley Explanatory – the encyclopedic monument of Ancient Russia, supposedly created in the pre-Mongol period. The ontological and epistemological perspective of Paley is of interest. The authors discuss some of its features: a combination of originality of ancient science and everyday experience, the reasoning and mentality of ancient scribe.

Keywords: old book-learning, Paley, Hexaemeron, picture of the world, anthropology, knowledge, antique science, everyday experience, argumentation




Evgeniy Blinov. The anatomy of labyrinth: Hume on personal identity

The topic of this article is one the most discussed subjects in contemporary Humean studies – the problem of personal identity. Hume placed the section “Of personal identity” at the very end of the first book of his Treatise of Human Nature in order to demonstrate the efficiency of a new “experimental” method in the domain of “moral subjects”. However, many scholars claim that the way he treats this problem reveals a fundamental methodological conflict of the Treatise between the “Newtonian” physicalism and “naturalism”, i.e. between the theory of the bundle of perceptions and Humean moral psychology, created under the influence of Hutcheson. The author discusses the historical aspect of the problem and suggests that it consists in the polemics against both Cartesian rationalism and Locke, as well as the genesis of Hume’s own theory of ideas.

Keywords: David Hume, personal identity, theory of ideas, bundle of perceptions, John Locke, synchrony and diachrony





Raisa Barash. Truth and values as benchmarks of social cognition





Valentin Bazhanov. From classical to nonclassical image of cognition


Petr Kusliy. The problem of meaning in contemporary philosophical and linguistic research


Larisa Tonoyan. From the history of logico-epistemological thought in Russia


Ekaterina Vostrikova. New books in philosophy of language in English