Mind and body, form and content: how not to do petitio principii analysis

Cummings, L., 2000. Mind and body, form and content: how not to do petitio principii analysis. Philosophical Papers, 29 (2), pp. 73-105. ISSN 0556-8641

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Few theoretical insights have emerged from the extensive literature discussions of petitio principii argument. In particular, the pattern of petitio analysis has largely been one of movement between the two sides of a dichotomy, that of form and content. In this paper, I trace the basis of this dichotomy to a dualist conception of mind and world. I argue for the rejection of the form/content dichotomy on the ground that its dualist presuppositions generate a reductionist analysis of certain concepts which are central to the analysis of petitio argument. I contend, for example, that no syntactic relation can assimilate within its analysis the essentially holistic nature of a notion like justification. In this regard, I expound a form of dialectical criticism which has been frequently employed in the philosophical arguments of Hilary Putnam. Here the focus of analysis is upon the way in which the proponent of a position proceeds to explain or argue for his/her own particular theses. My conclusion points to the use of such dialectic within future analyses of petitio principii.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Philosophical Papers
Creators: Cummings, L.
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor & Francis) for Department of Philosophy, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Date: 2000
Volume: 29
Number: 2
ISSN: 0556-8641
Rights: ©2000 Rhodes University
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:11
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:08
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9105

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