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Gregorianum 2019 Fasc. 1

Online only

04 - BEARDS ANDREW - EPISTEMIC TRACTION: GILA SHER, BERNARD LONERGAN, AND CRITICAL REALISM I - pp 71-91

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ANDREW BEARDS
Epistemic Traction: Gila Sher,
Bernard Lonergan, and Critical Realism, I

ABSTRACT
Epistemic Friction: An Essay on Knowledge, Truth and Logic is a recent work
by the influential American analytical philosopher Gila Sher, professor of philosophy
at the University of California, San Diego. Sher, expert in the thought of Tarski
and Quine, is also a noted contributor to technical debates in current symbolic logic.
However, her work and the book in question –designed as one stepping-stone in the
construction of a larger philosophical project – witness to very wide philosophical
preoccupations. Sher therefore wishes to situate current research in logic within the
broader perspectives of philosophy of mind and epistemology. The philosophical vision
she outlines witnesses to the «openness» of the world of analytical philosophy in
recent times to revisit and perhaps even radically revise the presuppositions on which
it was founded over a century ago in order to pursue more authentically the goals of
philosophical research.
In a previous edition of Gregorianum I offered an outline of professor Gila Sher’s
significant contribution to debates in current analytical philosophy on logic and the
foundations of mathematics as she situates these within the wider context of an attempt
to provide a coherent epistemology - an epistemology which is fully cognisant
of conceptual and method change over time. In this concluding part of the article, I
highlight the way Bernard Lonergan’s thought, concerned as it is with many of the
same issues, can enter into a dialogue and dialectical exchange with Sher’s work and
the trends in analytical philosophy it represents.
Key words: Bernard Lonergan, Gila Sher, W. V. O. Quine, Alonzo Church, J. Hintikka,
A. Tarski, analytical philosophy, symbolic logic, epistemology, revision of logic,
“Neurath’s boat”, veridicality, centre of logic, periphery of logic, IF logic, philosophy
of mathematics, critical realism, cognitional structure, D. Hilbert, G. Frege

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ANDREW BEARDS
Epistemic Traction: Gila Sher,
Bernard Lonergan, and Critical Realism, I

ABSTRACT
Epistemic Friction: An Essay on Knowledge, Truth and Logic is a recent work
by the influential American analytical philosopher Gila Sher, professor of philosophy
at the University of California, San Diego. Sher, expert in the thought of Tarski
and Quine, is also a noted contributor to technical debates in current symbolic logic.
However, her work and the book in question –designed as one stepping-stone in the
construction of a larger philosophical project – witness to very wide philosophical
preoccupations. Sher therefore wishes to situate current research in logic within the
broader perspectives of philosophy of mind and epistemology. The philosophical vision
she outlines witnesses to the «openness» of the world of analytical philosophy in
recent times to revisit and perhaps even radically revise the presuppositions on which
it was founded over a century ago in order to pursue more authentically the goals of
philosophical research.
In a previous edition of Gregorianum I offered an outline of professor Gila Sher’s
significant contribution to debates in current analytical philosophy on logic and the
foundations of mathematics as she situates these within the wider context of an attempt
to provide a coherent epistemology - an epistemology which is fully cognisant
of conceptual and method change over time. In this concluding part of the article, I
highlight the way Bernard Lonergan’s thought, concerned as it is with many of the
same issues, can enter into a dialogue and dialectical exchange with Sher’s work and
the trends in analytical philosophy it represents.
Key words: Bernard Lonergan, Gila Sher, W. V. O. Quine, Alonzo Church, J. Hintikka,
A. Tarski, analytical philosophy, symbolic logic, epistemology, revision of logic,
“Neurath’s boat”, veridicality, centre of logic, periphery of logic, IF logic, philosophy
of mathematics, critical realism, cognitional structure, D. Hilbert, G. Frege

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