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Which branches of philosophy are more likely to be made redundant due to

Which branches of philosophy are more likely to be made redundant due to advances in science, and which ones are more likely to endure despite major advances in science? Joe W.

If we could answer your question, we would be able to predict the future direction of science. But science is full of surprises. Moreover, what gets called "science" (or math or logic) and what gets called "philosophy" is to some degree arbitrary. I don't think disciplinary boundaries are very important. What I do think is important is the questions themselves. So why not ask the questions and not worry about whether they are "science" or "philosophy"?

If we could answer your question, we would be able to predict the future direction of science. But science is full of surprises. Moreover, what gets called "science" (or math or logic) and what gets called "philosophy" is to some degree arbitrary. I don't think disciplinary boundaries are very important. What I do think is important is the questions themselves. So why not ask the questions and not worry about whether they are "science" or "philosophy"?

The ancient Greek philosophical schools taught comprehensive philosophies of

The ancient Greek philosophical schools taught comprehensive philosophies of life. For them, the whole point of doing philosophy was to determine how to live well. Why do contemporary philosophers not publish philosophies of life? Has the point of doing philosophy changed? If so, why?

or for another kind of response, you might still ask why many/most philosophers don't publish philosophies of life. You'd have to do an empirical survey there, but i'm guessing that for many, a philosophy of life is too big and hard to construct. Much easier to focus on some relatively narrow problem and work out a sophisticated view on it ... And I bet that professionally the incentive is to do the same. A "philosophy of life" is something that aims to the wider market, the general public, but the professional incentive is to impress the professional philosophers rather than the public. (Alternatively, perhaps many professional philosophers feel pretty confident that the main value in life, at least for them, is the very professing of philosophy -- so they are acting out their philosophy of life even without publishing their philosophy of life ....)

great question!

ap

Some contemporary philosophers do publish philosophies of life. For example, Paul Thagard's "The Brain and the Meaning of Life" (Princeton, 2010)and Robert Nozick, "The Examined Life" (1990). I suggest that you look at the article on the meaning of life in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There is a good bibliography at the end of the article. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning/

This is a follow-up to Miriam Solomon's statement describing philosophy:

This is a follow-up to Miriam Solomon's statement describing philosophy: "Philosophy involves more than deductive logic--it involves the exercise of "good judgment" which in fact we do not understand very well." (june 5, 2014) Can someone tell me more about what this "good judgment" is, please? I studied philosophy in college and I can't recall any of my professors ever suggesting that there was some elusive guiding principle in philosophy beyond what could be articulated...Instead, I was taught that it was about starting with premises and then executing deductive reasoning. Are you now saying that there's something mystical in there that philosophers can't articulate but which guides their work? That seems counter the way I learned philosophy, where the professors seemed particularly intent on articulating things clearly.

I'll just add that, for similar reasons, "good judgement" is equally important in mathematics, and nothing is more deductive than mathematics.

Since I was the one that introduced the concept of "good judgment" I feel I should explain. I am not introducing a mystical concept; just one that we currently don't understand very well. Deductive reasoning is lovely but it doesn't get us very far, as Hume discovered. I am all in favor of articulating good judgment. Some have already begun the project e.g. Nelson Goodman in the "new" (now about 60 years old) problem of induction. Another way of framing the issue is to say that the truth of the conclusion depends not only on the deductive logic used to get there but also on the premises. How do we know that our premises are true? The most we can do is exercise forms of good judgment in choosing them.

I am close to someone with Asperger's syndrome. Do you think Philosophy would be

I am close to someone with Asperger's syndrome. Do you think Philosophy would be a good field for someone with asperger's to look into? Do you think there's a higher prevalence of it among the philosophy community than other disciplines? In reading through responses, it does seem like there are a lot of superficially logical replies that would feel, to an outsider looking in, on the range from emotionally insensitive to passive-aggressive. It seems that the field encourages ruling out replies based on emotion, being purely logical, which would suit an aspie perfectly. Thanks for your thoughts!

You ask an interesting question. If Philosophy was nothing more than deductive logic, then someone with skills in deductive logic but developmental issues elsewhere would probably excel in philosophy. But most people think that Philosophy involves more than deductive logic--it involves the exercise of "good judgment" which in fact we do not understand very well. Good judgment may or may not be absent of emotion: the philosopher David Hume puts emotion front and center in his ethical theories.

We have a very poor understanding of autism spectrum disorders (indeed the diagnostic category of Asperger's has recently been removed from the DSM). It used to be thought that people with autism lacked emotion; that is generally speaking not true (although the emotions may be different from those of neurotypicals).

On rereading your question, perhaps you see a correspondence between some philosophers' apparent detachment and some autistic behavior. There may be an overlap here but I doubt that it goes very deep (that is, I doubt that a shortcut to doing philosophy is to have your autistic friend do it).

You ask an interesting question. If Philosophy was nothing more than deductive logic, then someone with skills in deductive logic but developmental issues elsewhere would probably excel in philosophy. But most people think that Philosophy involves more than deductive logic--it involves the exercise of "good judgment" which in fact we do not understand very well. Good judgment may or may not be absent of emotion: the philosopher David Hume puts emotion front and center in his ethical theories. We have a very poor understanding of autism spectrum disorders (indeed the diagnostic category of Asperger's has recently been removed from the DSM ). It used to be thought that people with autism lacked emotion; that is generally speaking not true (although the emotions may be different from those of neurotypicals). On rereading your question, perhaps you see a correspondence between some philosophers' apparent detachment and some autistic behavior. There may be an overlap here but I doubt that it...

Can anyone become a philosopher at any age? If not, what are the IQ and age

Can anyone become a philosopher at any age? If not, what are the IQ and age requirements?

Anyone and everyone can become a philosopher by asking questions about knowledge, existence and ethics. Being a philosopher is like being a writer--democratic in that the opportunity and the identity are available to all, but tough in that making a living at doing it is a privilege that most societies only support for a few people.

Anyone and everyone can become a philosopher by asking questions about knowledge, existence and ethics. Being a philosopher is like being a writer--democratic in that the opportunity and the identity are available to all, but tough in that making a living at doing it is a privilege that most societies only support for a few people.

Feminists often allege that their is something especially sexist about

Feminists often allege that their is something especially sexist about departments of academic philosophy? What would you day about this charge? One criticism of philisophy is that it doesn't allow any consideration of the subjective aspects of existence which are essential to feminist theorizing. They argue that philosophy as it is practiced excludes any possibility of addressing important questions of identity. An overly narrow concept of objectivity leads to erasure and marginalization of aspects of experience and this narrowing reflects the privilige of an overwhelmingly white male profession. What are your thoughts on that?

There are two issues here: whether or not philosophy departments are sexist, and whether or not philosophers devalue "subjective" reasoning. You seem to be more concerned about the second issue, so I will address that. It is true that many philosophers (male, female and trans, sexist and non-sexist), especially those of an analytic bent, are devoted to a general and abstract conception of objectivity. Such philosophers are usually willing to acknowledge that experience is particular/subjective, and that different people have different experiences. There is a good deal of room in their positions to acknowledge different social identities.

It is true that some feminist philosophers, such as Sandra Harding, critique general and abstract conceptions of objectivity, claiming that they are supported by an underlying white male middle class partiality. Some non-feminist philosophers (especially in Continental and pragmatic philosophy) also reject general and abstract conceptions of objectivity.

There are two issues here: whether or not philosophy departments are sexist, and whether or not philosophers devalue "subjective" reasoning. You seem to be more concerned about the second issue, so I will address that. It is true that many philosophers (male, female and trans, sexist and non-sexist), especially those of an analytic bent, are devoted to a general and abstract conception of objectivity. Such philosophers are usually willing to acknowledge that experience is particular/subjective, and that different people have different experiences. There is a good deal of room in their positions to acknowledge different social identities. It is true that some feminist philosophers, such as Sandra Harding, critique general and abstract conceptions of objectivity, claiming that they are supported by an underlying white male middle class partiality. Some non-feminist philosophers (especially in Continental and pragmatic philosophy) also reject general and abstract conceptions of objectivity.

Hi

Hi It seems to me there is a striking similarity between Economics and Philosophy. It's hard to find the words, but I feel like the 'same parts' of my brain are being used when I am trying to solve a philosophical problem (generally) and when I think about a problem in economics (and this isn't the case in other Arts subjects). It could be because the problems in economics overlap with problems in philosophy but I feel there's more to this intuition (something methodological?) than that. It is no surprise many prominent philosophers contributed greatly to the field of economics (JS Mill, Hume, A Smith, Marx, etc) and Philosophy/Economics majors score closely in standardized tests like the LSAT. Is this an impression that is common amongst professional philosophers?

You make an interesting observation about yourself that is important to contextualize. You find a similarity between the kind of economics you are learning and the kind of philosophy you are learning. I dare say that if you were reading Jean Paul Sartre you would find different "parts of your brain" involved! If you are learning the analytic philosophy literature and rational market economics perhaps what they have in common is abstraction and generality? Many prominent philosophers contributed greatly to many fields (biology, physics, psychology), not only to economics. I'm skeptical about any special relation between economics and philosophy.

You make an interesting observation about yourself that is important to contextualize. You find a similarity between the kind of economics you are learning and the kind of philosophy you are learning. I dare say that if you were reading Jean Paul Sartre you would find different "parts of your brain" involved! If you are learning the analytic philosophy literature and rational market economics perhaps what they have in common is abstraction and generality? Many prominent philosophers contributed greatly to many fields (biology, physics, psychology), not only to economics. I'm skeptical about any special relation between economics and philosophy.

You make an interesting observation about yourself that is important to contextualize. You find a similarity between the kind of economics you are learning and the kind of philosophy you are learning. I dare say that if you were reading Jean Paul Sartre you would find different "parts of your brain" involved! If you are learning the analytic philosophy literature and rational market economics perhaps what they have in common is abstraction and generality? Many prominent philosophers contributed greatly to many fields (biology, physics, psychology), not only to economics. I'm skeptical about any special relation between economics and philosophy.

I believe it was Hume who made the point that reason cannot motivate us, only

I believe it was Hume who made the point that reason cannot motivate us, only our feelings can. Supposing that's true, I have a far-flung conclusion that seems to follow from that: when the panelists on this site choose which questions to answer, they're motivated by some emotion, not by reason. But doesn't this corrupt the purity of the logic of the answer? Perhaps not necessarily so, but isn't it likely that of the 2,600+ questions a good number have been tainted? How is it not the case?

A mathematician might find his feelings engaged by certain questions. Sir Andrew Wiles was passionate about Fermat's Last Theorem from the age of about ten, I believe. (Say, by contrast, that he took little interest in statistics. Perhaps statistics even disgusts him.) Does any of this "corrupt the purity of the logic" of his (rather long) answer to the question how to prove Fermat's Theorem? No, it just powered his interest in mathematics. Besides, why isn't it possible to be inspired and motivated by a thought or an ideal? The ten-year old Wiles had the thought, 'I will prove the Theorem', and this motivated him and engaged his feelings - and the grown-up Wiles did prove the Theorem. The purity of his logic was perhaps even assisted by his passion.

In writing this answer I am motivated by the desire to help non-professional philosophers with their philosophical questions. That desire does not influence the answer that I give, it just motivates me to give some answer or another. Or: in writing this answer I am motivated by the desire to point out that emotions should not be thought of as ipso facto "irrational" or "unreasonable." That desire is connected with the answer I give, but may or may not have influenced it. Or: in writing this answer I am motivated by the desire to appear on this website. Again, that desire does not influence the answer that I give. Or: in writing this answer I am motivated by the desire to attack the philosophy of David Hume. That desire is connected with the answer I give, but may or may not have influenced it.

Hi, this may seem very strange but what do you love about philosophy (not

Hi, this may seem very strange but what do you love about philosophy (not specific areas, I mean essentially)? What is it to you? Please answer! Oooh I'd be so interested. I'm not trying to waste anyone's time!

I used to be very interested in the philosophy of mind. And the fascination was in trying to understand how our ordinary talk about the mind ("folk psychology" as we sometimes say) fits together with what explorations in neurobiology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence tell us.

These days, I spend most of my time thinking about the philosophy of mathematics. And again the fascination is trying to see how technical work in various areas of logic (and set theory, category theory, etc.) interrelates and throws on questions about the nature of the world of mathematics and our knowledge of it. How does it all hang together?

Some of us just like plugging away at pretty narrow areas of enquiry (doing specialist neurobiology, or the technical work in some area of set theory, say): others among us get gripped by the project of standing back a bit and trying to fit things from a number of narrow areas together into bigger pictures. The American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars said that the task ofphilosophy is the latter, to explore “how things in the broadest possible sense ofthe term hang together in the broadest sense of the term.” That remarkis often quoted by philosophers, I guess because it chimes with how alot of us see what we are up to, and what grips us about the enterprise. Certainly, that's how it is with me.

What I have always loved about philosophy is its openness to questions, including foundational questions. It's where you can take all the "deep" questions from other disciplines that active practitioners sometimes don't have time for, unless their discipline is at a sticking point. I don't love all of philosophy, but I continue to enjoy the points where it engages with other disciplines and can make a difference to them.

Is it normal after reading philosophical material to feel like you've been blind

Is it normal after reading philosophical material to feel like you've been blind for some time of your life? I'm asking this because I was never interested in anything that had to deal with philosophy. After I read some philosophical material I felt like I didn't really know anything. Not only that, but my views on religion have changed. It's almost like I've lost my faith after I read some topics on philosophy. Is this normal or more of a personal experience?

Years ago when I entered the field of philosophy I might have written exactly the same thing as you. Doing philosophy (well) means being willing to challenge those things previously taken for granted. This is exciting (eye opening) as well as, sometimes, troubling. If you are the only person you know who is doing this, it can also be lonely. I suggest that you find some philosophers to talk to.

Years ago when I entered the field of philosophy I might have written exactly the same thing as you. Doing philosophy (well) means being willing to challenge those things previously taken for granted. This is exciting (eye opening) as well as, sometimes, troubling. If you are the only person you know who is doing this, it can also be lonely. I suggest that you find some philosophers to talk to.