University of Waterloo philosopher Paul Thagard earlier this month wrote on the website Psychology Today an article in which he discusses what he considers to be the eleven dogmas of modern analytic philosophy. 

For those unaware, analytic philosophy is the tradition that emphasizes the application of logic, reason, and science, and concerns itself with narrower debates (what some consider “hair splitting”). It is contrasted with continental philosophy, which is characterized more by post-modern thought and critical theory, and deals with broader — and arguably more relevant — social and political issues.

That distinction aside, City University of New York philosopher Massimo Pigliucci has his own take on these supposed dogmas of analytic philosophy, which he split into two posts. You can read part one here, and part two here. As usual, Pigliucci has some informative things to say. Here’s a taste: 

Dogma #3. “People’s intuitions are evidence for philosophical conclusions.” 

Ah, intuitions! They have been at the center of some interesting debate already here at Rationally Speaking. I’m certainly with Thagard when he says that intuitions need to be evaluated critically. But intuitions — in science just as in philosophy — are a good initial source of understanding, and the cognitive science literature on the role of expert intuitions (as opposed to a generic, and non-existent “intuitive sense”) is quite clear: if you spend years or decades thinking or doing X, your intuitions about X are much more likely to be correct than a layperson’s intuitions about X. X, of course, can be philosophy or one of its branches. Still, intuitions are the starting point, not the end of the matter.

One down, ten to go …

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