closure principle

Closure (philosophy)

Closure is a philosophical description of the world put forward by Hilary Lawson in the book Closure: a story of everything (Routledge, UK, 2001). It is an attempt to provide an account that overcomes the problems of self-reference inherent in other philosophical systems. The theory of closure provides a new vocabulary with which to do this. In so doing it manages to provide a way of holding the world without need for a recourse to truth.

The resulting framework offers solutions to the central questions of contemporary philosophy: the character of language and meaning, of the individual and consciousness, of truth and reality. It has consequences for the understanding of the sciences and also accounts for the need and desire for both art and religion. It provides a new description of the organisation of society.

For a more succinct treatment of similar problems, consult "The View from Nowhere" by Thomas Nagel.

In Epistemology

In epistemology closure is the principle that if a subject S knows that p, and S knows that p entails q, then S can thereby come to know that q. Most epistemological theories involve a closure principle and many sceptical arguments assume a closure principle, arguing for instance that if you cannot know you are a not a brain in a vat, then you cannot know that you have hands. On the other hand, some epistemologists, including Robert Nozick, have denied closure principles on the basis of reliabilist accounts of knowledge.

External links

  • The Epistemic Closure Principle at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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