In defense of philosophy
Posted on January 31, 2012
On Friday I re-posted on this blog an entry I had previously written for the blog Rationally Speaking, titled “Considering Some Objections to Philosophy.” The central purpose of my article was to clear up four major misconceptions about the usefulness and effectiveness of philosophy.
Coincidentally, it turns out the New York Times on Thursday published a similar essay by philosopher Gary Gutting titled “Philosophy — What’s the Use?” So, if you didn’t find my arguments particularly compelling, give his a look.
Here’s a taste:
The perennial objection to any appeal to philosophy is that philosophers themselves disagree among themselves about everything, so that there is no body of philosophical knowledge on which non-philosophers can rely. It’s true that philosophers do not agree on answers to the “big questions” like God’s existence, free will, the nature of moral obligation and so on. But they do agree about many logical interconnections and conceptual distinctions that are essential for thinking clearly about the big questions