Tuesday, March 28, 2017

--- Notes on philosophy ---

Philosophy accepts the hard and hazardous task of dealing with problems not yet open to the methods of science - problems like good and evil, beauty and ugliness, order and freedom, life and death; so soon as a field of inquiry yields knowledge susceptible of exact formulation it is called science.

Will Durant

I have made the comment that philosophy itself is an adventure and even a dangerous one, so I feel compelled to make an account of my philosophical adventures here. I most certainly do not put myself forward as a philosophical role model; I do not feel that others should follow my example. I love diversity too much for that. But perhaps I do feel that others should follow my example, at least in so far that I believe that the inner life is as important as the outer and that what I think, although it may or may not be correct, is important and the consequence of my actions in the world, contingent on my beliefs, lead to consequences that spread out over the world as those proverbial ripples wrought by the proverbial pebble tossed into the water.

So I will prefix each article about my philosophical wanderings and wonderings with the quote I selected in the Philosophical Forbears program to brand me as this particular kind of philosopher.

The quote above is from my favorite chronicler of philosophy, Will Durant, who wrote the immanently readable, The Story of Philosophy.

I would say that philosophy is responsible for two kinds of investigation: rational debate and metascience.

There are important issues that may never be fully resolved. Is abortion ever acceptable? What happens to us after we die and should we even care? Is there a perfect government style? But the answers are important and philosophical debate is how we derive answers to these kinds of questions.

Metascience is the consideration of how we think about different issues. The primary metasciences are logic and mathematics. Those are the languages we, as hominids, use to evaluate real world issues, whether we use them effectively or not. And when we think about moral issues, political questions, or the technicalities of art, we use certain formalisms. Those are in the purview of philosophy.

And, when philosophies lose their subjective nature, they become sciences.

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