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50718Re: self thread unraveling

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  • Jim
    Jan 31, 2010
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      Hi Polly,

      You write:

      "Philosophy of Mind is philosophy about what? It is only philosophical speculation about philosophical speculation. It is totally ungrounded nonsense.

      Discovering patterned relations of cause and effect is hardly the domain of philosophy. At best, philosophy can expose hidden assumptions and flawed methods used in inferring cause/effect relationships. But ironically, philosophy has utterly failed to expose such assumptions about how the world works. Rather the opposite is true. It has been left to the scientist to exorcise the a-priori demons of god, self and mind from a world-view conceived by
      philosophers with their eyes closed."

      I like your style and clear expression, but I disagree with your negative assessment of philosophical achievement.

      I agree with you that philosophy can help us clarify our thinking and exposes hidden assumptions and inconsistencies in our thinking. But I think philosophy can achieve more than just this.

      Philosophy, at its best, takes note of science, but explores those areas of existence which are not reached by science.

      Philosophy as well as science has exorcised superstition and irrational belief down the centuries.

      As far back as the Ancient Greeks, Democritus was arguing there were only atoms and the void, and theism was challenged from the sixteenth century onwards by such philosophers as Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and later by Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Alfred Ayer and Jean-Paul Sartre.

      Of course if you believe that all truths can be revealed by science, then your anti-philosophy stance can be justified. But scientism and atheism are both philosophical positions, so science itself cannot justify these positions.

      I agree it is up to science to tell us how the world works at the mechanical level, but given human beings are capable of altering the world, philosophy can help us think about how the world ought to be. (IMO)

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