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Do professional philosophers have any influence on the daily life of people

Do professional philosophers have any influence on the daily life of people anywhere in the world? By daily life, I mean, even if indirectly, the general public, politicians, economists, therapists, bosses, novelists, and so on?

Perhaps not directly, but by affecting the general cultural climate of the time philosophers do have an impact. For example it may be that the prevalence of utilitarian thinking among moral philosophers has made possible the sorts of developments we often see in politics, economics, therapy and so on. Modern society is often more given to instrumental thinking about itself than was the case in the past, and that could well be linked with the sorts of moral philosophy which today tend to prevail.

Do minute quantities of alcohol consumption enhance or degrade philosophical

Do minute quantities of alcohol consumption enhance or degrade philosophical enlightenment?

I don't know how alcohol affects philosophical enlightenment, but it wouldn't surprise me if alcohol (especially in more than minute quantities) enhanced many people's desire to wax philosophical. Really, you've asked an empirical question; without a systematic experiment, all anyone could offer in reply would be anecdotes. Depending on what's meant by 'minute quantities', the answer to your question might well be neither.

Philosophy is a difficult cognitive activity, and it's hard for me to think at the moment (and I'm sober) of any difficult cognitive activities that alcohol helps me do better. You might find something relevant in these two lighthearted collections: Wine and Philosophy and Beer and Philosophy.

Do philosophers avoid figures of speech in peer reviewed philosphy journals?

Do philosophers avoid figures of speech in peer reviewed philosphy journals? What about in everyday life; is there a lower standard of conduct when talking to non-philosophers?

By "figures of speech", I'll assume you mean something like metaphor. And, if so, then, no, philosophers do not avoid metaphor, at least not entirely. Here is one of my favorite philosophical metaphors, from W. V. O. Quine: "The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. ...It is a pale gray lore, black with fact and white with convention. But I have found no substantial reasons for concluding that there are any quite black threads in it, or any white ones." Quine would later describe that lore as a "web", which has proven very fruitful.

What is true is that philosophers (at least the philosophers I know) try not to settle for such metaphors. One tries to "unpack" the metaphor, and make the underlying point as explicit as possible. But it is, I think, pretty widely appreciated that there is a limit to how far one can go in that direction. Really good metaphors are, as people who work on metaphor say, "inexhaustible", in some sense. There's always more you can dig out of them. That's maybe not true of the metaphor from Quine just quoted, but there are tons of quite striking examples in Donald Davidson's paper "What Metaphors Mean". (There's also a lot of irony there, since Davidson's view is precisely that metaphors have no meaning beyond their literal meaning.)

Why don't analytic philosphers in the Anglosphere take a stronger stand against

Why don't analytic philosphers in the Anglosphere take a stronger stand against continental psychoanalysis which is divorced from medical findings?

The question seems to presume that it is the job of philosophers as such to take such stands, and that seems wrong to me. Whether psychoanalysis is a helpful form of treatment, and for what conditions, just isn't the kind of question philosophers are well-placed to answer. In particular, whether psychoanalysis is or is not consistent with "medical findings" is presumably something one would have to answer by looking into the relevant medical and psychological literature. That's not what a job that philosophers, for the most part, are trained to do.

Are answers to political questions less concrete than answers to questions of

Are answers to political questions less concrete than answers to questions of epistemology? Does this mean that even if 100% of philosophers think that Israel has no right to exist, it is no more valid than if 30% of philosophers agreed to the problem of other minds?

Not sure I follow, but by "concrete" I'm guessing you mean either "objective" or "easy to settle." If you do, then on either alternative I can't see why there would be any difference between the two.

In any case, the way you've put things suggests that nose-counting may be relevant. That's surely wrong. The percentage of philosophers who think Israel does or doesn't have a right to exist doesn't seem to me to tell us much of anything about whether that's the best view of the matter; likewise for questions about epistemology. What really matters are the reasons.

I'd add this, however: most philosophers have spent a fair bit of time thinking about epistemological questions; it's part of their training. And so if most philosophers held a particular epistemological view, that would be interesting and might suggest something about the weight of the arguments. However, most philosophers have not spent much of their training thinking about political philosophy; insofar as we can talk about expertise here, philosophers are more likely to have some expertise on questions about knowledge than on questions about geopolitics. And so I'd be less impressed by the fact that most philosophers held some particular view about Israel than if most of them held some particular view about knowledge.

Hi,

Hi, Is there a discipline within philosophy which deals with how to acquire and hold strong opinions and yet be emotionally detached from those options. This would make it easier to represent an opinion that is being attacked while keeping a calm open mind. Please forgive my philosophical ignorance. Thank you, Michael

Not really, although people in any discipline are used to the idea that the academic ideas one has are likely to be attacked by others who disagree with them. In philosophy as elsewhere many find it difficult to distinguish between attacks on their ideas and attacks on the producers of the ideas, and sometimes these are the same attacks, of course. Promotion, employment and salary may depend on the reception of one's work and so it is not that easy to be detached from how it is regarded by others.

Should we seek to achieve a calm open mind, as you suggest? Perhaps we should encourage more passion in academic life to avoid that sense of placid complacency that often seems to prevail, especially in philosophy.

How are branches ("or fashions") of philosophy created or are they created

How are branches ("or fashions") of philosophy created or are they created without consensus? For example, I see on Wikipedia, a philosophy a mind, a philosophy of science, a philosophy of pain, and so on. But why not a philosophy of the fashion industry, why not a philsophy of simple living and so on?

I agree with Andrew Pessin. If you agree with Plato that

The one who feels no distaste in sampling every study,

and who attacks the task of learning gladly and cannot

get enough of it, we shall justly pronounce the lover

of wisdom, the philosopher.

then, for any x, there can be a philosophy of x, which would be the philosophical investigation of the fundamental assumptions, methods, and goals of x (including metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues).

As Richard Bradley has said, "Philosophy is 99 per cent about critical reflection on anything you care to be interested in".

As to which values of x succeed in becoming an established part of philosophy, I think Pessin has it right: It's a question of how many other philosophers also want to study x philosophically; it's not a question of whether x is somehow antecedently "worthy" of being discussed philosophically. Anything has that worth potentially.

Do philosphers think answers to questions always should mandate a philosophical

Do philosphers think answers to questions always should mandate a philosophical response or do they think there is no such hierarchy? For example, do philosophers think they should have any more say than a politician, a political scientist or a theologian to the answer to the question, "Should there be a United Ireland?"

To say that all questions demand a philosophical response (whatever exactly that is) would be at best a very controversial philosophical view. And a philosopher who thought that philosophers should have more say on large practical questions than anyone else would be hard pressed to justify his or her position. To take your example, the question of whether there should be a united Ireland has many parts. Some of those parts no doubt call for philosophical reflection but some don't. (For example: what people in Northern Ireland and in the Republic actually think is surely relevant; but isn't something we can sort out by doing philosophy.) And even the philosophical aspects (having to do, say, with how we balance competing values) needn't be addressed by professional philosophers; philosophers don't have a monopoly on philosophical thinking.

Of course, there's a more straightforward way to deal with questions of the form "Do philosophers think X?" If X is something controversial (and often even if it isn't) the answer will be "Some do; some don't." But in this case, as a matter of sheer nose-counting, I'd think the answer is "Some may; most don't, and thank goodness for that!"

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