Debates about the limits of philosophical knowledge go way back, and philosophers fall roughly into two distinct traditions. Some, like Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Leibniz, are optimistic about the reach of philosophizing; others, like Hume, Dewey, and James, incline toward thinking that philosophical knowledge is limited and emphasize the critical role of philosophy: On their view, philosophy corrects erroneous, empty, or misleading ideas. Each tradition is of course quite diverse, but each is also unified by its optimism or pessimism about philosophical knowledge. ...
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