Philosophical Theory-Construction and the Self-Image of Philosophy


This article takes its point of departure in a criticism of the views on meta-philosophy of P.M.S. Hacker for being too dismissive of the possibility of philosophical theory-construction. But its real aim is to put forward an explanatory hypothesis for the lack of a body of established truths and universal research programs in philosophy along with the outline of a positive account of what philosophical theories are and of how to assess them. A corollary of the present account is that it allows us to account for the objective dimension of philosophical discourse without taking recourse to the problematic idea of there being worldly facts that function as truth-makers for philosophical claims.

Share and Cite:

Olsen, N. (2014) Philosophical Theory-Construction and the Self-Image of Philosophy. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 231-243. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Braddon-Mitchell, D., & Nola, R. (Eds.) (2009). Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
[2] Brandom, R. (1994/98). Making It Explicit. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[3] Brandom, R. (2001). Modality, Normativity, and Intentionality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 63, 587-609.
[4] Brandom, R. (2006). Semantik ohne Wahrheit. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 54, 449-466.
[5] Brandom, R. (2009). Reason in Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
[6] Burge, T. (2010). Origins of Objectivity. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
[7] Cho, A. (2010). The First Quantum Machine. Science, 330, 1604.
[8] Chomsky, N. (2000). New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[9] Churchland, P. M. (2005). Cleansing Science. Inquiry, 48, 464-477.
[10] Coates, P. (2007). The Metaphysics of Perception. New York: Routledge.
[11] Cowey, A. (2010). The Blindsight Saga. Experimental Brain Research, 200, 3-24.
[12] Davidson, D. (1996). The Folly of Trying to Define Truth. The Journal of Philosophy, 93, 263-278.
[13] Dennett, D. (2007). Philosophy as Naive Antropology: Comment on Bennett and Hacker. In D. Robinson (Ed.), Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind & Language (pp. 73-95). New York: Columbia University Press.
[14] Dretske, F. (1969). Seeing and Knowing. London: The University of Chicago Press.
[15] Dretske, F. (2004). Change Blindness. Philosophical Studies, 120, 1-18.
[16] Dretske, F. (2006). Perception without Awareness. In T. S. Gendler, & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Perceptual Experience (pp. 147-180). New York: Oxford University Press.
[17] Dretske, F. (2007). What Change Blindness Teaches about Consciousness. Philosophical Perspectives, 21, 215-230.
[18] Dummett, M. (2010). The Nature and Future of Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.
[19] Gallagher, S., & Zahavi, D. (2008). The Phenomenological Mind. New York: Routledge.
[20] Gallagher, S. (2005). How the Body Shapes the Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
[21] Gallistel, C. R., & King, A. P. (2010). Memory and the Computational Brain. Why Cognitive Science Will Transform Neuroscience. Singapore City: Blackwell Publishing.
[22] Garfield, J. L., Peterson, C. C., & Perry, T. (2001). Social Cognition, Language Acquisition and the Development of the Theory of Mind. Mind & Language, 16, 494-541.
[23] Gauker, C. (2003). Words without Meaning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
[24] Gibbs, R. W. (2005). Embodiment and Cognitive Science. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[25] Glock, H. J. (2008). What Is Analytic Philosophy? New York: Cambridge University Press.
[26] Gutting, G. (2009). What Philosophers Know. Case Studies in Recent Analytic Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[27] Hacker, P. M. S., & Bennett, M. R. (2003). Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
[28] Hacker, P. M. S., & Bennett, M. R. (2007). The Conceptual Presuppositions of Cognitive Neuroscience. A Reply to Critics. In D. Robinson (Ed.), Neuroscience & Philosophy: Brain, Mind, & Language (pp. 127-62). New York: Columbia University Press.
[29] Hacker, P. M. S. (2006). Analytical Philosophy: Beyond the Linguistic Turn and Back Again. In M. Beaney (Ed.), The Analytic Turn: Analysis in Early Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology (pp. 125-141). New York: Routledge.
[30] Hacker, P. M. S. (2007). Human Nature: The Categorical Framework. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
[31] Hacker, P. M. S. (2009a). A Philosopher of Philosophy. Philosophical Quarterly, 59, 337-348.
[32] Hacker, P. M. S. (2009b). Philosophy: A Contribution, Not to Human Knowledge, but to Human Understanding. In A. O’Hear (Ed.), Conceptions of Philosophy (pp. 129-53). New York: Cambridge University Press.
[33] Jackson, F. (1998). From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defense of Conceptual Analysis. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
[34] Klausen, H. S. (2004). Reality Lost and Found. An Essay on the Realism-Antirealism Controversy. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark.
[35] Millikan, R. (2005). Language: A Biological Model. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
[36] Noë, A. (Ed.) (2002). Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9, 1-12.
[37] Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
[38] Nozick, R. (2001). Invariances. The Structures of the Objective World. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
[39] Peacocke, C. (2010). Truly Understood. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[40] Perlman, M. (2000). Conceptual Flux. Mental Representation, Misrepresentation, and Concept Change. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
[41] Pinker, S. (2000). Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. New York: Perennial.
[42] Pinker, S. (2007). The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
[43] Smith, A. D. (2002/5). The Problem of Perception. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
[44] Spohn, W. (2012). The Laws of Belief: Ranking Theory and Its Philosophical Applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[45] Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991/93). The Embodied Mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
[46] Williamson, T. (2007). The Philosophy of Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.