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The Geography of InsightThe Sciences, the Humanities, How they Differ, Why They Matter$
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Richard Foley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190865122

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190865122.001.0001

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The Geography of Insight

Richard Foley

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Wittgenstein’s critique of philosophy’s premium on simplicity and generality. Although philosophy overlaps with the sciences, it also leans toward the humanities in the open-ended character of its core issues. Additionally, the author discusses Alasdair MacIntyre’s and Jean-Paul Sartre’s different views on the appeal of stories, and discusses as well how the insights of stories have the same features as those of the humanities in being indexical, prescriptive, and perspectival. The social sciences occupy a midpoint between the natural sciences and humanities, aiming to be descriptive, with high value on collective knowledge. But because they deal with human societies, there are constraints on efforts to minimize indexicality. And, because many issues about human societies cannot be addressed without understanding the viewpoints of individuals in the societies, there are also challenges in minimizing perspectivality and complexity.

Keywords:   storytelling, cross-cultural understanding, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alasdair MacIntyre, Jean Paul Sartre, ethics, logic, social sciences, natural sciences, humanities

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