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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 16, Issue 3, 2016
Symposium on Themes from Work of Ilhan Inan

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symposium on themes from work of ilhan inan
1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Ilhan Inan Curiosity and Ignorance
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Though ignorance is rarely a bliss, awareness of ignorance almost always is. Had we not been able to develop this powerful skill, there would have been no philosophy or science, nor advanced forms of religion, art, and technology. Awareness of ignorance, however, is not a motivator; but when it arouses curiosity that is strong enough, it causes what may be called an “epistemic” desire; a desire to know, to understand, to learn or to gain new experiences, which is a basic motivator for inquiry. This makes the relationship between curiosity and awareness of ignorance all the more important. One can however find very little on this relationship within the philosophical literature. In this essay this is what I wish to explore. After a brief discussion of the question of whether awareness of ignorance is a precondition for curiosity, based on my earlier work (The Philosophy of Curiosity, Routledge, 2012) I attempt to show that corresponding to the two forms of curiosity that I call “objectual” and “propositional”, there are also two forms of ignorance. This will refute the prejudice that awareness of ignorance must always have propositional content and therefore must always be about truth. I further argue that awareness of ignorance that does have propositional content can be of two different varieties: truth-ignorance versus fact-ignorance. One may simply be ignorant of whether a proposition is true or false (truth-ignorance); one may, on the other hand, know that a proposition is true but still be ignorant of the fact that makes it true (fact-ignorance). I then show that awareness of ignorance, whether it is objectual or propositional, can always be translated into what I shall call awareness of inostensibility. An important moral to be drawn from this discussion is that reaching truth, even when it is coupled with certainty, does not always eliminate one’s ignorance and therefore cannot be the ultimate goal of inquiry.
2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Erhan Demircioglu Inan on Objectual and Propositional Ignorance
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In this note, I would like to focus on the two central distinctions Inan draws between varieties of ignorance. One is the distinction between “objectual” and “propositional” ignorance, and the other is the distinction between “truth-ignorance” and “fact-ignorance,” which is a distinction between two types of propositional ignorance. According to Inan, appreciating these distinctions allow us to see what is wrong with the “received view,” according to which ignorance (or awareness of it) is “always about truth,” and enables us to “overcome our [philosophers’] propositional-bias.” I will argue for two theses. First, fact-ignorance appears to be a form of objectual ignorance; and, if this is so, there are no two distinctions but only one distinction that Inan in effect offers, which is between objectual and propositional ignorance. Second, what Inan calls “the received view” can raise some reasonable worries about objectual ignorance that are not taken into account by him.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Mirela Fuš Comments on Inan’s Notions of Objectual and Propositional Curiosity
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In this paper I comment on Inan’s notions of propositional and objectual curiosity. Even though Inan offers an interesting and intuitive distinction between propositional and objectual curiosity, I want to question two aspects of his theory of curiosity. One aspect concerns his thesis that propositional curiosity is interdependent on epistemic attitudes such as belief, certainty and interest. Another aspect of his theory that I discuss is his thesis that objectual curiosity is not reducible to propositional curiosity. In more detail, in the fi rst part, I start off by explaining what propositional curiosity is according to Inan and I bring up two worries that I call: (i) over-complexity as a result of subjectivity and (ii) overcomplexity as a result of dynamics for the above mentioned epistemic attitudes. Both worries stress the problem of over-complexity of Inan’s theory of propositional curiosity. In the second part, I argue that objectual curiosity is, contrary to Inan’s hypothesis, reducible to propositional curiosity. I further argue that the object of wh- questions that, according to Inan, express objectual curiosity can either be about the truth value of general or singular proposition. In addition, I suggest that only the reading where wh- questions express curiosity in a form of de re reading and have a singular proposition as their content is the one that is compatible with Inan’s notion of objectual curiosity.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Danilo Šuster Curiosity about Curiosity
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Ilhan Inan’s (2012) approach to curiosity is based on the following central theses: (i) for every question asked out of curiosity there is a corresponding term (definite description) that is inostensible for the asker (its reference is unknown) and that has the function of uniquely identifying an object; (ii) the satisfaction of curiosity is always in the form of coming to know an object as falling under a concept. This model primarily covers curiosity as our search for empirical objectual knowledge. In my critical refl ections, I explore some phenomena of non-objectual curiosity which are left out or at least not sufficiently explored by Inan: curiosity as the search for explanation and understanding, and meta-curiosity—curiosity about the very representations, i.e. how to conceptualize a certain problem, and what definite descriptions to use in the first place.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Safiye Yiğit Stop and Smell the Roses: Inostensible Propositional Knowledge and Raising the Standard of Knowing
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Ilhan Inan’s book The Philosophy of Curiosity is an exploration of understanding human curiosity and its relation to the use of language. He introduces the notion of inostensible reference (or reference to the unknown) that renders an interesting question possible. He claims that our aptitude for this kind of reference is what enables us to become aware of our ignorance and be curious. For him, there are two ways in which a proposition could be inostensible to a subject: one possibility is when the whole sentence’s truth value is unknown to the subject, the other possibility is when the subject knows the proposition to be true but does not know the fact that makes the proposition true, which he later calls inostensible knowledge. The former case requires an awareness of ignorance to generate curiosity, and the latter case requires an awareness of inostensibility of one’s knowledge to be conducive to curiosity. In this paper, what I would like to do is mainly to draw attention to the often neglected awareness of inostensible knowledge and explore its relation to curiosity. I also claim that, contrary to Inan’s idea that the only way of having inostensible knowledge is when there is at least one inostensible concept in the proposition, there is another possibility of inostensible knowledge, which would correspond to a case in which all the terms are ostensible to the speaker and the proposition is known to be true, but the proposition as a whole is still inostensible. I would like to argue that such an awareness of inostensibility of knowledge is a key step in evaluating one’s epistemic contact with reality and accordingly determining the degree of one’s knowledge on the epistemic scale. I believe this awareness will implicitly raise the standard of knowledge and hopefully foster curiosity, in its broader meaning of caring to know. I will further suggest that the acquisition of ostensible knowledge, which is a form of objectual knowledge of a fact, could also enable the corresponding proposition to be known better by the subject. This claim of mine might be thought of as an attempt to argue for the gradability of propositional knowledge, which has been a controversial issue in epistemology.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
İrem Günhan Altiparmak The Concept of Curiosity in the Practice of Philosophy for Children
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Philosophy for Children is, at its core, an educational movement that started in the 1970s and it is currently practiced in over 60 countries. Rather than teaching children philosophy, it aims to develop thinking, inquiry and reasoning skills by means of intellectual interaction and by questioning both with the facilitator and amongst themselves. Thus it creates a community of inquiry. This movement has created a sound literature within philosophy of education which indirectly relates to issues in meta-philosophy, epistemology and philosophy of childhood. Despite the fact that Philosophy for Children is a movement which is predominantly based on questioning and inquiry, there is little emphasis on curiosity within its literature. This is not surprising because even in philosophy literature the concept of curiosity was ignored until quite recently. Producing the first book-length treatment of curiosity within philosophy literature, İnan provides a philosophical framework on how human curiosity is possible and how it finds expression. The notion of inostensible conceptualization, which İnan has developed and central to his theory of curiosity, could be utilized in order to demonstrate the significance of curiosity within Philosophy for Children. Philosophy for Children sessions are usually centered around a philosophical concept such as fairness, egoism, and identity. In this paper I argue that the in-class discussions in Philosophy for Children practice enable children to realize that the concept in question is inostensible for them. That is, they do not have all the knowledge about this specific concept. In order to explain the concept of curiosity in P4C sessions, I have developed two notions: the first notion is curiosity-arouser, which I utilize to explain how the community of inquiry could better concentrate on and discuss the inostensible concept. The second notion is joint curiosity, which I have developed in analogy to the trans-disciplinary notion of joint attention. Similar to the positive impact of joint attention on child development, I argue that joint curiosity has positive outcomes for children’s inquiry and questioning. I explain these notions in detail by providing examples of Philosophy for Children sessions. My overall aim is to emphasize the importance of curiosity in order for this practice to reach its fundamental aims. The practitioners and those who prepare materials have to take into consideration the concept of curiosity and must equip themselves with an understanding of it.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Aran Arslan Semantics through Reference to the Unknown
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In this paper, I dwell on a particular distinction introduced by Ilhan Inan—the distinction between ostensible and inostensible use of our language. The distinction applies to singular terms, such as proper names and definite descriptions, or to general terms like concepts and to the ways in which we refer to objects in the world by using such terms. Inan introduces the distinction primarily as an epistemic one but in his earlier writings (1997: 49) he leaves some room for it to have some semantic significance i.e., the view that in certain intensional de re contexts whether a term occurring in a sentence is ostensible or inostensible may have a bearing on the semantic content of the sentence. However, in his later writings e.g., The Philosophy of Curiosity, he appears to abandon his earlier thoughts regarding the semantic significance of his distinction. He says: “the ostensible/inostensible distinction is basically an epistemic one.... It is an epistemic distinction that has no semantic significance” (2012: 65). I argue that there are indeed such intensional contexts in which the distinction has some semantic significance, i.e., whether a term is ostensible or inostensible has in fact a bearing on what proposition is expressed by the sentence in which the term occurs.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Nenad Miščević Epistemic Value. Curiosity, Knowledge and Response-Dependence
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The paper addresses two fundamental issues in epistemic axiology. It argues primarily that curiosity, in particular its intrinsic variety, is the foundational epistemic virtue since it is the value-bestowing epistemic virtue. A response-dependentist framework is proposed, according to which a cognitive state is epistemically valuable if a normally or ideally curious or inquisitive cognizer would be motivated to reach it. Curiosity is the foundational epistemic virtue, since it bestows epistemic value. It also motivates and organizes other epistemic virtues, so it is foundational and central for epistemology. The second issue is the one of the fundamental bearer of epistemic value. I shall argue that truth is the primary goal, but that mere true belief is not the fundamental bearer. Rather, the bearer is a relatively minimalist kind of knowledge. Mere true belief cannot be rationally accepted in isolation from a supporting structure. However, any efficient supporting structure introduces further epistemic goods (justification, reliability, anti-luck guarantees), thus upgrading the original true belief. Mere true belief can be neither defended, nor rationally sustained through time, due to isolation. Mere true belief cannot be rationally sustained in the face of a slightest bit of contrary evidence (the Meno insight). Therefore, mere true belief is not rationally stable. Minimal knowledge is, and this accounts for the primary and secondary value problem, and for a relatively undemanding kind of tertiary value.
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Ilhan Inan Afterthoughts on Critiques to The Philosophy of Curiosity
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In this paper I respond to and elaborate on some of the ideas put forth on my book The Philosophy of Curiosity (2012) as well as its follow-up “Curiosity and Ignorance” (2016) by Nenad Miščević, Erhan Demircioğlu, Mirela Fuš, Safi ye Yiğit, Danilo Šuster, Irem Günhan Altıparmak, and Aran Arslan.
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Filip Grgić Apraxia, Appearances, and Beliefs: The Pyrrhonists’ Way Out
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According to the objection of inactivity (apraxia), the skeptics cannot live their skepticism, since any attempt to apply it to everyday life would result in total inactivity, while any action they would perform qua skeptics would be a sign that they abandoned their skepticism. In this paper I discuss the ancient Pyrrhonists’ response to the objection as is presented in the writings of Sextus Empiricus. Sextus argues that the Pyrrhonists are immune to the apraxia objection because it is based on the misunderstanding of their position, that is, on the wrong assumption that they live in accordance with philosophical logos. To live in accordance with philosophical logos includes two things. First, it includes the idea that one should apply one’s philosophical tenets, concepts and recommendations to ordinary human life and use it as a practical guide. However, the only item that survives skeptical philosophy, appearance, is not used in this way: its role as criterion of action is different. Second, it includes the idea that ordinary human life can be, and should be, described in philosophical terms. However, the skeptics refuse to describe their actions in philosophical terms. More specifically, they refuse to describe their actions in terms of beliefs: from the Pyrrhonists’ point of view, the question “Do you have beliefs?” is misplaced, since any answer to it, affirmative or negative, is as credible as any other, since it is about something non-evident.
book reviews
11. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Davor Pećnjak Freedom and Self-Creation: Anselmian Libertarianism
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12. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Adam Tamas Tuboly A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality
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