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Susan Haack

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Susan Haack (born 1945) is a professor of philosophy and law, and is currently on the faculty at the University of Miami in Florida. She has made significant contributions in the fields of philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.

Born in England, she is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge. Haack held the positions of Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge and professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick, before taking her position at Miami.

Haack's work is well known, having been reviewed and cited in such general interest publications as the Times Literary Supplement, as well as many more specialized academic journals. Among the books she has written are Deviant Logic (1974), Philosophy of Logics (1978), Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate: Unfashionable Essays (1998), and Defending Science - Within Reason Between Scientism and Cynicism (October 2003) ISBN 159102117. Many acclaim her skill as a writer and speaker as highly as her philosophical insights. She compared the practice of science to solving a crossword puzzle and wrote a play "'We Pragma­tists ...': Peirce and Rorty in Conversation" comprised entirely of quotes from both philosophers and performed the role of Peirce. She has written for the Secular Humanist magazine Free Inquiry.

Her major contribution to philosophy is her epistemological theory called foundherentism which is her attempt to avoid the logical problems of both pure foundationalism (which is susceptible to infinite regress) and pure coherentism (which is susceptible to circularity). She illustrates this idea with the metaphor of the crossword puzzle. An oversimplified version of this proceeds as follows. Finding an answer using a clue is analogous to a foundational source (grounded in empirical evidence). Making sure that the interlocking words are mutually sensible is analogous to justification through coherence. Both are necessary components in the justification of knowledge.

Haack is an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, a past President of the Charles S. Peirce Society, and a past member of the U.S./U.K. Educational Commission.

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