• Gus Lamarch
    Well, as we all know, the analytical philosophy niche has been gaining more and more strength in the West, with its more rational, logical, and technical way of thinking, and that worries me.

    Philosophy creates - and may also come to develop - worldviews that, in part, facilitate the understanding of certain aspects of human experience and existence, as they can simply be fallacies of a crazy man and that would not bring any kind of advance for the booklet of philosophical thoughts. The view that philosophy is responsible for the creation of worldviews has persisted since the beginning of what we call "philosophy" with Thales of Miletus, however, at no time, the construction of worldviews was seen as a priority, as the "philosophy's "commitment" to man. However, with the beginning of the "Enlightment Age", it seems to me that the philosophical thinkers after the 17th century, took for themselves as an absolute truth, that the main duty of every philosopher, was to build - and also to rule, as in the case Karl Marx - and control worldviews. It is no coincidence that, over the centuries, this "tare" with the control of philosophical thought, would become extreme, causing mass protests, revolutionary movements, and even moral, cultural, and social revolutions - Revolutions of 1789, 1830, 1848, 1917, 1923, etc... -. The chaos that ensued in the "century of nihilism", also known as the 20th century, was - directly and indirectly - caused by this more open, less technical way of thinking, less committed to the truth. - Continental philosophy -

    Perhaps that is why, just after the turn of the century, the overwhelming majority of Western thinkers turned to analytical philosophy, which is much more controllable and much less subjective. Perhaps for fear of the chaos that the individual philosophy can bring to the world, perhaps simply because they got tired of the partiality of the continental philosophy, the fact is that, if fully established, individual creativity in philosophy may die, which causes me a lot of concern . Analytical philosophy is useful, there is no denying that, but the purest truth, logic, technique are not the absolute truth. There are those who would take philosophy as science! Absurd!

  • Nagase
    Well, for starters, I think that you vastly overestimate philosophy's impact on the world. The revolutions you cite were definitely not the "direct consequence" of philosophers, but rather the consequence of a complex web of social, economic, and political factors, factos that were in a complex feedback relation with philosophy. To credit the history of the entire 20th century to "Continental Philosophy", whatever that means (is Carnap a continental philosopher? Schlick? Cassirer? Hermann Cohen? What about figures such as Max Weber or Simmel?), seems to me not only absurd, but incredibly naive and borderline idealistic (in the sense of believing that history is solely shaped by ideas---note that I'm not denying that ideas are a factor, rather, I'm denying that they are the sole factor).

    But leaving to the side your faulty characterization of history and of continental philosophy, I'm also concerned about your characterization of analytic philosophy as somehow technocrat. It is true that logic, and the sciences more generally, inform much of analytic philosophy, but that does not mean that analytic philosophy is reducible to a bunch of techniques. Consider, by way of example, Hartry Field's extremely technical account of truth. The details are rather unimportant, but Field defends a non-classical reading of truth (he denies universal validity to the excluded middle) and also an extreme nominalist position in the philosophy of mathematics (for the former, cf. his very demanding Saving Truth from Paradox and for the latter the essays in Realism, Mathematics, and Modality). These may seem as purely technical exercises that are entertained as answers to purely technical problems (e.g. formal versions of the liar), but I think this would be a mistake. Field adopts both views in part because he thinks those are the only views that cohere with a certain outlook of human's situatedness in nature, a certain view of the human capacities for knowledge. That is, the ultimate aim of his philosophy is to try and make sense of our place in the world, even if this worry is not always in the foreground. In other words, technique is not here an end in itself, but is at the service of a broader project, which Sellars once characterized, in a phrase that is almost a cliche now, as "to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term".

    True, it is sometimes easy to forget this ultimate aim and simply concentrate on the latest trendy logical puzzle (this is the inevitable consequence of professionalization, I think, which might be one of the factors which explain why analytic philosophy became dominant in the academic world today). And if you read just journal articles, which are perforce just one piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle, you may leave with the impression that's all professional philosophers do. It would, however, be a rather myopic impression, I think.

    Finally, I don't see what's so absurd with the comparison with the sciences. I do think philosophy is increasingly becoming more science-like, and this reflects the degree to which the many sciences have become more mature and autonomous. For example, in the beginning of the twentieth century, philosophers could more or less ignore the contributions from linguistics (at their own peril!), since it was still a fledgling science. Not so today, when even semantics and pragmatics are rather advanced (in part thanks to philosophers such as Carnap, Montague, and Lewis, not to mention philosophy-inclined linguists such as Barbara Partee, Angelika Kratzer, and Irene Heim). Similarly with cognitive psychology. And as philosophy enters with diverse partnerships with the sciences, it is not surprising that it becomes science-like.
  • A Seagull
    Well, as we all know, the analytical philosophy niche has been gaining more and more strength in the West, with its more rational, logical, and technical way of thinking,Gus Lamarch

    I didn't know that.

    What does analytical philosophy analyse? Presumably it analyses normative values and beliefs that are just as likely to be 'false' as they are to be 'true'. So where does it go from there?
  • jgill
    The future of philosophy may be the past of philosophy, when the natural sciences and philosophy were closer and philosophy was able to keep up with the sciences. In a similar vein, a lawyer who is a philosopher has an edge over a legal philosopher who isn't.
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