The Scope of Philosophy

I am reminded of an event from some years past. The late Laurence Rockefeller, a benign benefactor of the Princeton Philosophy Department, once came to campus to announce optimistically that a great religious revival was about to sweep America, and he wanted the graduate students to tell him what philosophers were going to do when the great day arrived. Stumped, or too intimidated to object, they sat silent until a particularly resourceful student told him that when the great religious revolution arrived, philosophers would analyze the concepts involved. Indeed.

That’s Clark Glymour, who is just down the road at CMU, being interviewed about epistemology. He’s bothered by the following quotation, which I find to be incorrect, but not as obviously a symptom of diseases afflicting epistemology (his comment is after the dash):

“If I have reason to believe that someone else believes p, I have at least a weak reason to believe p myself.”
–Sakes alive, I have reason to believe 2 + 2 is five.

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