Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy

Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy

Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy

Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy

Synopsis

The eminent philosopher Keith Lehrer offers an original and distinctively personal view of central aspects of the human condition, such as reason, knowledge, wisdom, autonomy, love, consensus, and consciousness. He argues that what is uniquely human is our capacity for evaluating our own mental states (such as beliefs and desires), and suggests that we have a system for such evaluation which allows the resolution of personal and interpersonal conflict. The keystone in this system is self-trust, on which reason, knowledge, and wisdom are grounded.

Excerpt

This book was thought about over a lifetime and written over a short time. I wrote it for my students in a seminar I taught in the autumn of 1994, forty years after I first discovered philosophy in a class from Juarez Paz, a brilliant teaching assistant, at the University of Minnesota. It is a very personal document. It claims to be about many things but is really only about me. My apologies. You have been warned. Please forgive the strangeness of my scholarship. I have appended some footnotes, and references at the end of chapters, to give some credit where credit is remembered due. I have learned so much from so many that I have quite forgotten from whom I learned what. I know that my teachers, Wilfrid Sellars, who is sadly gone, and Roderick Chisholm, who is happily yet with us, are responsible for much that is contained herein, but so is Thomas Reid, who became a mentor of mine nearly two centuries after his death. He died in 1796, and this book, appearing at the end of 1996, closes a loop between me and him and is intended as a celebration of his life. I have read a good deal, listened even more, and thought about philosophy all the time. I am not sure whether anything good has come of it or not, but whatever has come of it, whether good or bad, clever or foolish, clear or obscure, deep or shallow, is here. And that is all that I have to say about this by way of introduction except to apologize for the scholarship. I encourage all who read this book to ennoble themselves by the search for truth rather than by the citation of references, even if, in so doing, they cite me not. I forgive them their neglect in advance and ask forgiveness of them. It is the quest for truth that ennobles us and all we do, not the keeping of records . . .

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