chapter  5
The Defence of Closed Circles
Pages 38

This chapter begins with a discussion of the value of knowledge and has ended with a discussion of the value of knowledge. The methodology of closed circles has been advocated and supported by the most diverse people for very diverse reasons. One could not imagine philosophers further apart from each other than Foucault and Wittgenstein. During the last decade, the most sustained and reasoned defence of closed circles has come from Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Rorty's attitude to history is very different from Kuhn's attitude to history. Kuhn begins his study of the history of science with a paradigm of closed circles and then comes up with the discovery that history teaches that scientific knowledge is something practised in closed circles. The enormous difficulty one encounters in determining membership when one is seeking to derive epistemic authority from closed circles far outweighs the initial advantages and the superficial plausibility of according epistemic authority to closed circles.