Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008 by Mitchell Aboulafia

By Mitchell Aboulafia

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G. Schultz 2002). A wide array of human brain imaging studies have documented that the regions of the frontal cortex are tied to uncertainty, to uncertain expectations. g. Critchley et al 2000). Uncertainty is often linked to risk and arousal. There are other measures linked to the activation of these cortical sites. Conversely, contexts that tend to decrease autonomic expression tend to decrease responses to uncertainty (Damasio 1996). Humans are blessed with evolved brains that ponder the meaning of things, hypothesize and then generate explanations that are cumulative, elaborated, extended, and sometimes discarded.

25. See A. G. Cairns-Smith, Genetic Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982) 26. Compare J. J. C. Smart, Philosophy and Scientific Realism (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963). 27. See Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations; and Arthur C. Danto, “The Artworld,” Journal of Philosophy 61 (1964), pp. 571–584; and The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981). 28. See for a more sustained account of Danto’s theories, my Aesthetics: An Unforgiving Introduction (Belmont: Wadsworth, forthcoming in 2009).

Thought is 46 JAY SCHULKIN embodied in action, not a spectator in the stands. Truth may be what is agreed upon, contingent by a community of inquirers, or what settles overtime, but in the give and take Dewey suggested that we live with “warranted assertions” (Dewey 1938). g. Simon 1962, 1982; Cherniak 1986; Kornblith 1993; Clark 2003). But, as it is inevitable, change takes place, including scientific change from experiment and experience. These were basic to the new sciences that were evolving – the Romantic vision of science liberated from the scholasticism and rationalization of the past.

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