Empiricists are supposed to be defenders of the truth-conducivity of natural science, but Locke's skepticism about real essences sits uneasily with his self-conception as an underlaborer
clearing the ground for scientific inquiry (pp.
When I spend any time at all with Chardin, I think of what the shade of Achilles says when Odysseus seeks to console him for having died: It is better to be alive, even as a poor, landless underlaborer
in the service of another man, than king over "all the perished dead."
That view is influenced too much by the old idea of philosophy as underlaborer
, clearing away the muddles.
For Wilshire, this view of the philosopher as a Lockean "'underlaborer
' to the empirical scientist" is anathema.
For the lack of a positive metaphilosophy demonstrating the meaningfulness and autonomy of philosophy -- which, Donagan thinks, could consist only in a strong commitment to a priori methods, truths, and knowledge -- epistemically starved philosophers have returned faut de mieux to Locke's model of the philosophical underlaborer
. Donagan ends by suggesting that, on the contrary, some sort of reworking of Kantian doctrines on a more realistic basis is the only acceptable way to go: "In some ways, our task [as analytic philosophers] is like the one the nineteenth century left unfinished: that of reinterpreting Kant within the realist philosophical tradition, of finding a way of having Kant without his false Copernican revolution" (vol.
Comparing Dewey and Fuller, Remedios reveals Fuller's project as a place where philosophers, as social epistemologists, can claim their roles as intellectual arbiters and leave their roles as scientific underlaborers
. By reimagining the role of philosophical inquiry, one may make explicit Remedios' latent answer to the question of "why" Fuller's social epistemology.--James H.