This book elucidates how the so-called “problem of inference,” long a matter of debate among philosophers of logic, epistemology, language, and other domains of speculation, is inextricably tied to the issue of how, in the classical idiom, Knowing is of Being. Motivating this project is an underlying question that guides the discussion throughout: namely, How is it most rational to orient ourselves in thinking about the way that the inferential intelligence articulates the actual? The principal task of the essay as a whole is to think-through this metaphysical question by addressing the Reason (Vernunft) of the act of inference critically and from an onto-epistemological standpoint.
Part I demonstrates how contemporary analytic epistemologies of inference, currently the leading speculative approaches to the topic, and earlier philosophies of inference fail in different ways to account, in sufficiently rational terms, for the Reason of inference—and by that token fail to explicate the onto-epistemology of discursive thought with due cogency.
Part II of the inquiry probes, along onto-epistemological lines, the conceptual logic of inference as act. In the process, Stambovsky reintroduces the notion that the principle of sufficient reason is on a par with that of (non)contradiction—at least in the conceptual logic of inference. Moreover, in an original yet broadly substantiated move the author argues that sufficient reason, so far as it is the signal principle that grounds the Reason of the act of inference, is in the first instance properly a function of formal cause.
Phillip Stambovsky holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a PhD in Philosophy from Boston College. In addition to essays on literary and philosophical topics, he has published three previous books: The Depictive Image; Myth and the Limits of Reason (foreword by Louis Dupré); and Philosophical Conceptualization and Literary Art: Inference, Ereignis, and Conceptual Attunement to the Work of Poetic Genius. Professor Stambovsky lives in New Haven, Connecticut.