• Banno
    19.2k
    https://survey2020.philpeople.org

    I just became aware of this. A new survey of 1785 English-speaking philosophers from around the world on 100 philosophical questions.

    Turns out you are probably safe to cross a bridge with a philosopher, who will most likely be an atheist and a socialist and will pull the leaver on the trolly.

    Extended mind comes out in front by a fair margin, the Chinese Room does not understand Chinese, philosophy is mainly about conceptual analysis.

    Non-skeptical realism remains far ahead of idealism.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    A new survey of 1785 English-speaking philosophersBanno

    Why is the year 1785 considered special? :chin:

    :cool:
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Very droll.

    More philosophers were agnostic than structuralist or constructivist with regard to mathematics, but 38% think the continuum hypothesis determinate, 29% think it indeterminate, and 27% are undecided.

    Is there any similar survey of mathematicians? The comparison might be amusing...
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Is there any similar survey of mathematicians? The comparison might be amusing..Banno

    I'm not aware of any, but there may be. I've never associated with a fellow mathematician who had more than a passing curiosity about the CH. Set theory and transfinites in particular were not applicable to our studies in complex analysis. From what I've seen on arXiv.org there's not a lot of current interest in this subject.

    Determinate? Well, you can tack it on as another axiom to ZFC I suppose.
  • T Clark
    10.3k
    I just became aware of this. A new survey of 1785 English-speaking philosophers from around the world on 100 philosophical questions.Banno

    As I went through the questions and answers, my main thought was "Geez, no wonder people think philosophy is bullshit."
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    Was surprised by the overwhelming majority of people who believed in a priori knowledge. Though I bet, with a few questions, the majority could split up (a priori in relation to a posteriori, or a priori as defined, or a priori as general structures of the brain(EDIT:) or a priori as in "what else could math be?"...)
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    Yeh, in general, people aren't creative enough to see the connections between the abstract questions philosophers ask and the lives they live.

    But people have beliefs on these things -- just usually indistinct. Philosophers, on the whole, prefer more detail than most people care for.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Much the same might be said of any academic survey.
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    Yeh, true.

    People who like detail more than most people like detail more than most people... :D Fair enough.
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    "Post-modernism - worth a mention or ignore completely?" Ignore.

    "Any philosopher living in the last seventy years - name-check or not bothered?" Nah.

    Still, interesting for what it's worth.
  • Hanover
    9.1k
    I just became aware of this. A new survey of 1785 English-speaking philosophers from around the world on 100 philosophical questions.Banno

    You're getting old my friend. You talked about this a year ago

    here..
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    An obscure reason to keep your weight down, if you need it, is that if you stay slim then you will be safe on bridges where some disaster is happening below that might be prevented by a fat person being pitched over the edge by a philosopher who unluckily and perhaps mistakenly holds the view that it's the right thing to do.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    . . . . . fat person being pitched over the edge by a philosopher who unluckily and perhaps mistakenly holds the view that it's the right thing to do.Cuthbert

    I think this needs a thread elucidating this important train of thought. Why might a philosopher think this is the right thing to do? If she is an analytic type it could make sense, provided she is also into foundations of mathematics. But if she be in ethics, then that is a whole other can of worms!
  • Banno
    19.2k
    That was the 2009 survey...

    But yes, I am getting old.
  • javra
    1.9k


    It always struck me as odd that a bunch of numbskulls oblivious to the fact that a train is about to hit them should be rescued so as to live and reproduce in favor of killing an individual that, in one way or another, has no evident stupidity to speak of. … A kind of Darwin Awards handed to those who so select for the human species’ gene pool.

    p.s. I should add: that whole intentional killing of a person thing aside.
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    I think the point (whimsy aside) is to distinguish the original trolley problem, where deaths are caused incidentally to saving lives, from a situation in which a death is caused deliberately in order to save lives. I flip the switch on the trolley, knowing that people will die (though more will be saved). Is this morally different from pushing a man over a bridge and killing him deliberately in order that more lives will be saved? One defence of abortion grants that the fetus is a human being with full rights but that in order to save a woman's life the death of the fetus is incidental, because (as it happens) the woman's life cannot be saved without sacrificing the fetus. An objection to this defence is that the distinction between killing the fetus incidentally and killing it deliberately is a distinction without a moral difference. It's a curious cartoon of a fat man on a bridge but it is, as the saying goes, a thing.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I flip the switch on the trolley, knowing that people will die (though more will be saved). Is this morally different from pushing a man over a bridge and killing him deliberately in order that more lives will be saved?Cuthbert

    No, it's not morally different. No more than would be pulling the trigger of a gun - flipping its switch, so to speak - so as to accomplish the same result via the same means. One could even address the pushing of red buttons so as to launch nukes with the same overall intent.

    Whimsy aside, though we all like to believe people are all of equal value when we intellectualize, in our everyday lives we judge very differently - and maybe, at least at times, this for good reasons. Making things other than a simple numbers game. For instance, most would consider it ethically wrong to cause the death of one Einstein or one Gandhi so as to save a thousand Hitlers (neo-Nazis excluded). In many versions of the trolley problem (such as the one where a person is pushed off of a bridge), what can be known beforehand - all else being equal - is that one would sacrifice an innocent bystander to rescue a plurality of people that give no heed to the sounds of an approaching train while standing on train tracks. Here is a question of relative value, including that of merit, rather than one of strict numbers.

    But adjust the trolley problem's parameters and the ethical issues drastically change: e.g., five captive people tied down to train tracks by some assailant vs. one bystander. It's still a question of value - is the value of the five captives more than that of the one bystander? - and here it seems far more appropriate to deem "yes". This despite there yet being a lot of unknowns in terms of who these people are. But we live with risks in the choices we make all the time.

    Btw, while a different thread might indeed be appropriate for this topic, as jgill says, I'm not prepared to start one.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    I think this needs a thread elucidating this important train of thought.jgill

    I already did that for another of your stray ideas, achieving nothing.

    ...a bunch of numbskulls oblivious to the fact that a train is about to hit them...javra
    The origin of what is now called the trolley problem is an article by Philippa Foot , the point of which was to draw attention to the Doctrine of Double Effect. seems to be aware of it's place in relation to discussions of abortion.

    Foot's article, in the link above, is immediately followed by Anscombe's quibble. At stake was the logic of intentionality, but now the argument is used to amuse neophytes.

    (I've no objection to discussing this here rather than in another thread.)
  • jgill
    2.6k
    I think this needs a thread elucidating this important train of thought. — jgill

    I already did that for another of your stray ideas, achieving nothing.
    Banno

    As you well should. A joke. :cool:

    To achieve nothing on TPF is refreshingly consistent. :wink:
  • Banno
    19.2k
    To achieve nothing on TPF is refreshingly consistent. :wink:jgill

    One might do worse than not to add to the net total of confusion hereabouts.
  • DingoJones
    2.7k
    Hilarious how many major philosophical inquiries are pretty close to an even split despite being discussed and debated for centuries.

    So academic philosophy is a complete joke. Roger that.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Why should that be a surprise. Any topic on which there is general agreement would not be interesting enough to include in the survey.
  • DingoJones
    2.7k


    That depends on the purpose of the survey. A survey doesnt have to be philosophically interesting ( assuming thats what you mean by interesting) , generally their purpose is to inform. In this case, more like expose.

    The fact that even the trained professional philosophers are split fairly evenly on virtually every philosophical query makes it an academic parody. What then does philosophy offer? To what purpose is academic training in philosophy if they offer the same lack of conclusion as a layman?
    Those so trained speak with a totally disproportionate amount of confidence on these topics given how little definitive conclusions the academic apparatus actually offers.
    I wonder if perhaps academic philosophy is going to turn out to be the last religion to die. Murder/suicide?
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    What then does philosophy offer?DingoJones

    Ways of clarifying questions to which there is going to be no indisputable answer. Ways of weighing up the costs and benefits of coming out firmly on one side or another. Ways of understanding the confusion that underlies some questions before rushing into giving answers.

    A philosopher who fights confidently and consistently for an untenable position is also doing a service by showing up the epistemic cost of a theory. This is part of what Austin meant in paying tribute to the philosopher who makes a "first-water, ground-floor mistake".

    There are plenty of places to go for undisputed answers to difficult questions. E.g. sign up for Twitter and block everything you disagree with. Job done.
  • DingoJones
    2.7k
    Ways of clarifying questions to which there is going to be no indisputable answer. Ways of weighing up the costs and benefits of coming out firmly on one side or another. Ways of understanding the confusion that underlies some questions before rushing into giving answers.Cuthbert

    All of which are accomplished with careful thought, academic philosophy isnt necessary.
    Its not like there are a minority of disputes like in other fields, its all but one of the major issues philosophy is supposed to address! Centuries on some of these!

    There are plenty of places to go for undisputed answers to difficult questions. E.g. sign up for Twitter and block everything you disagree with. Job done.Cuthbert

    Its not about an undisputed answer, I understand that dissenting opinions exist in all areas of study.
    Look at this study/poll, its an even split on the majority of issues. It shows that academic philosophy is the mastabatory exercise of wishy washy airheads that the public at large has always taken it for.
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    Centuries on some of these!DingoJones

    Millenia. I'm thinking about Athens. The philosopher can be seen as a wishy washy airhead, as you say - Thales falling into a well because he's looking up at the stars. Another stereotype is the philosopher as undermining common sense and received wisdom and morality - Socrates corrupting the young by questioning accepted values. A third image is of the philosopher as an intellectual conjuror and trickster - the Sophist, able to persuade us that black is white. Perhaps there is room also for the one who is a careful thinker - and the world will be a better place when the rulers become careful thinkers or careful thinkers become rulers (to adapt Plato).

    There is yet another category, which is the philosopher living their philosophy of the good life - the sage, prophet or mystic. That is very out of fashion, although I would cite Peter Singer as a great example of the rare breed.
  • DingoJones
    2.7k


    I agree, that is why ive attempted a distinction between all of that and academic philosophy.
  • Banno
    19.2k


    Trite.

    Can you locate a similar survey in some other discipline, and so demonstrate that there is no similar bifurcation?

    Again, and as acknowledged by the editors, the choice of questions is arbitrary. it may well be set to find those that have toughly equal presentation on both sides.

    If you would maintain that this is something more than a bias in question selection, you will have to do some more work.
  • DingoJones
    2.7k
    Can you locate a similar survey in some other discipline, and so demonstrate that there is no similar bifurcation?Banno

    No need for a survey, such is the obviousness of the examples in other disciplines. We would first have to agree which other disciplines are fair comparisons.

    Again, and as acknowledged by the editors, the choice of questions is arbitrary. it may well be set to find those that have toughly equal presentation on both sides.Banno

    So the survey is the joke. I see.

    If you would maintain that this is something more than a bias in question selection, you will have to do some more work.Banno

    I dont think its out of line to take the survey at face value. Maybe it shows nothing of value, but if its arbitrary and biased and you decided to share it then maybe you have some work to do.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    :confused:
    Whatever.
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