The broad range of Chisholm's work, whether it is a discussion on counterfactuals or sense perception and whether it invokes Thomas Reid, all displays an insightful intersection of traditional and contemporary argumentation. Chisholm always proceeded with his work as if he thought that all of the philosophical problems he confronted were among the most worthwhile and engaging problems a person could confront. These questions can cover a wide range of queries: Who am I What am I What are the probability or assurances that I will be able to continue to exist in some way after I die How do I know What can I know How can I know it What would make my life better for me over time What specific aspects would make this world a better place
Chisholm's doctoral dissertation which he did in 1942 discussed extensively the fundamental propositions of empirical knowledge. He had wanted to formulate some general principles that may explain the specific circumstances under which an empirical proposition is epistemically justified.
A scholar, Chisholm gives the respect for reliable sources in the history of philosophy. He also tends to highlight the subtlety and rigidity of ancient philosophical problems. ...
For instance, the components of one's body at this time is very different from what constituted it yesterday. This simply means that all of the cells and the bits of matter constituting the same person are not the same from one moment to the next. (Chisholm, 1960).
The prevailing philosophical opinion on personal identity had equated one's person or self with one's physical body, and personal identity is equated with sameness or continuity of change in one's body. Chisholm claims a different argument since for him personal identity maintains a certain degree of elusiveness. Chisholm's conclusion rests on intuition rather than a simple argument. He stated that the physical body appears to retain its sameness with one's self not because it thinks the same, behaves the same, or expects the same -- but because, as the subject experiencing pain or pleasure, in this respect alone does it look convincingly the same. (Chisholm, 1960).
This is Chisholm's basic formula for self-evident truths: What justifies me in thinking I basic that a is F is simply the fact that a is F. Another related example would be: What justifies me in thinking I know that I am imagining a pale blue sky is simply the fact that I am imagining a pale blue sky. The act of my imagining a blue sky is a state of affairs that is 'self-presenting' for me. He explained that our own thoughts, apparent memories, apparent perceptions, desires and emotions are self-presenting by themselves.
However, it is important to take into serious consideration that not all self-presenting propositions are directly evident. Similarly, one should also seriously consider that not all directly evident propositions are also self-presenting.
In his landmark work, the