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Moreover, it is not possible as it is within empirical domains to accommodate superficial complexity by means of simple principles at a more basic e. Reactions to this impasse have included a variety of theoretical proposals. Some philosophers have been led to deny that there is such a thing as absolute truth.

Some have maintained insisting on one of the above definitions that although truth exists, it lacks certain features that are ordinarily attributed to it — for example, that the truth may sometimes be impossible to discover.

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Some have inferred that truth is intrinsically paradoxical and essentially incomprehensible. And others persist in the attempt to devise a definition that will fit all the intuitive data. Instead we should begin, he thinks, by recognizing as mentioned above that our various concepts play very different roles in our cognitive economy and correspondingly are governed by defining principles of very different kinds.

Thus possession of the concept of truth appears to consist in an appreciation of that triviality, rather than a mastery of any explicit definition. The traditional search for such an account or for some other form of reductive analysis was a wild-goose chase, a pseudo-problem.

Truth emerges as exceptionally unprofound and as exceptionally unmysterious. Philosophical problems typically arise from the clash between the inevitably idiosyncratic features of special-purpose concepts — true, good, object, person, now, necessary — and the scientistically driven insistence upon uniformity.

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Moreover, the various kinds of theoretical move designed to resolve such conflicts forms of skepticism, revisionism, mysterianism and conservative systematization are not only irrational, but unmotivated. The paradoxes to which they respond should instead be resolved merely by coming to appreciate the mistakes of perverse overgeneralization from which they arose. And the fundamental source of this irrationality is scientism.

Our craving for generality has [as one] source … our preoccupation with the method of science. I mean the method of reducing the explanation of natural phenomena to the smallest possible number of primitive natural laws; and, in mathematics, of unifying the treatment of different topics by using a generalization. Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer in the way science does.

The basic criticism of Wittgenstein's logic of language

This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness. I want to say here that it can never be our job to reduce anything to anything, or to explain anything. These radical ideas are not obviously correct, and may on close scrutiny turn out to be wrong.

But they deserve to receive that scrutiny — to be taken much more seriously than they are. Yes, most of us have been interested in philosophy only because of its promise to deliver precisely the sort of theoretical insights that Wittgenstein argues are illusory.

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