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Encyclopedia > Progress (philosophy)

Historical progress has been a main object of philosophy of history. However, in particular following the Holocaust, the idea and possibility of social progress, which was a main idea of the Enlightenment philosophy, has been more and more put to question.[citation needed] One philosopher who did this was Theodor W. Adorno. Despite this, the possibility of social progress continues to be, whether by personal choice or by ideology, an ideal shared by many. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Philosophy of History is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history. ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ... Social progress is defined as a progress of society, which makes the society better in the general view of its members. ... The Enlightenment (French: ; German: ) was an eighteenth-century movement in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the Age of Reason. ... Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (September 11, 1903 – August 6, 1969) was a German sociologist, philosopher, pianist, musicologist, and composer. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ...


Progress in history has been linked to progress in philosophy, as the philosophy of history was linked to history of philosophy. Indeed, it is common to hear both philosophers and non-philosophers complain that philosophy makes no progress. Whether such a complaint is justified depends, of course, on one's understanding of the nature of philosophy, and on one's criteria of "progress." The history of philosophy is the study of philosophical ideas and concepts through time. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ...


Progress can be conceived as linear, spiral (as in Hegel's philosophy of history), positive ("social progress") or negative (decadence), circular (as in various circular conceptions of history, such as Plato's Golden Age; in this case, it can't really be said to be a "progress", since it invariably returns to an initial original state). Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... See also Decadent movement Decadence refers to a personal trait and, much more commonly, to a state of society. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

Argument for progress in philosophy

If it is conceded that philosophical claims are a function of the sophistication of conceptual distinctions, arguments, and logical tools, and if it is conceded that there has been progress in making conceptual distinctions, in progressing in our sophistication about the nature of philosophical arguments, and progress in logic, then clearly there is progress in philosophy. Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. ...


Those who deny progress because of lack of agreement must take stock of the fact that agreements must be relativized to those who are taking part in the discussion. And, of course, there will be degrees of sophistication. For example, someone who lacks sophistication in symbolic logic is not in a position to discuss an argument presented in symbolic form. Or, suppose that one person accuses the other of "begging the question," and the other responds: "So what?" What is the significance of lack of consensus in this instance? In logic, begging the question describes a type of logical fallacy, petitio principii, in which the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises. ...


Argument for Lack of progress in philosophy

It is often complained that philosophy has developed more slowly than the special sciences, and has not enjoyed the same sort of remarkable and definitive progress seen in chemistry or physics. It is nearly universally agreed (a remarkable feat, amongst philosophers) that this has something to do with the peculiar methods of philosophical inquiry. In particular, philosophy seems to lack the sort of developments that Thomas Kuhn called paradigms—achievements which, by their success, clearly determine which sort of questions are to be asked and what sort of considerations count as evidence for or against answers to those questions. For other uses, see Chemistry (disambiguation). ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Thomas Samuel Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American intellectual who wrote extensively on the history of science and developed several important notions in the philosophy of science. ... For alternative meanings see Paradigm (disambiguation). ...


However, even if it is common to hear that, there is no consensus on the issue -- some philosophers, Marx, Sartre, Barthes for example, do consider that philosophy is historical, i.e. in step with society, a super-structure of it. This amounts to consider the contribution of philosophers of the past as obsolete, or inadequate with respect to synchronic concerns. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ... Roland Barthes Roland Barthes (November 12, 1915 – March 25, 1980) (pronounced ) was a French literary critic, literary and social theorist, philosopher, and semiotician. ... // Sociological concept In social sciences, superstructure is the set of socio-psychological feedback loops that maintain a coherent and meaningful structure in a given society, or part thereof. ...


Kuhn's considerations applied to science, not philosophy, and were sometimes—e.g. by Lakatos—taxed of relativism, an accusation one tried to avoid by resorting to ...progress (e.g. Chalmers). This introduces a circle, which Marx had in fact noticed first. Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) was a philosopher of mathematics and science. ... Dr. Alan Chalmers has been a Visiting Scholar at the Flinders University Philosophy Department since 1999. ...


Optimism, pessimism, and paradigms

But this is where the agreement ends; philosophers differ widely over the exact diagnosis of the situation, and the lesson to be taken from it. They differ, for example, over whether the lack of paradigms is an accidental or an essential feature of philosophy. We might call the former optimists about philosophical progress and the latter pessimists. (Note that being a pessimist about the prospects for philosophical progress is not the same as being a pessimist about philosophy. See below.)


The optimists (such as the early modern philosophers George Berkeley and David Hume) typically argue that philosophy has not made much progress because philosophers have historically used methods that are unsystematic, obscure, confused, or otherwise unsuccessful; but, citing the example of the revolutionary achievements in the natural sciences during the scientific revolution, they argue that philosophers could enjoy the same sort of progress, rather than endlessly recapitulating the same obscure debates, if only philosophers can find an appropriate paradigm and a clear method for their work. The introduction to David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature is a locus classicus of this view; Hume subtitled his book "Being An Attempt To Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects." George Berkeley (IPA: , Bark-Lee) (12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley, was an influential Irish philosopher whose primary philosophical achievement is the advancement of a theory he called immaterialism (later referred to as subjective idealism by others). ... This article is about the philosopher. ... This article is about the period or event in history. ... A Treatise of Human Nature is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, published in 1739–1740. ...


Pessimists, on the other hand, take the lack of progress to be an essential feature--arguing that philosophy must remain without paradigms as long as it is remains philosophy rather than something else. One way of putting the worry might be this: for something to count as a paradigm just is for it to be the sort of achievement that cuts off certain sorts of foundational worries about the essential nature of the subject-matter and the validity of particular methods for studying it; but these sorts of foundational worries are quintessentially philosophical worries. In Kant's words, human reason can say nothing about noumenons, things in itself, but only about phenomena, that is how things appears to us. Human understanding and thus science doesn't concern itself with the foundations of science, but only of its workings. However, in Kant's mind, this only separated dogmatism from critique philosophy: neither sciences nor philosophy must answer questions about noumenons, since this superate their innate capacities. That doesn't mean that it is never worthwhile to set such questions to one side--you can't make any serious progress in physics, for example, while you are still arguing over whether it is coherent to talk about laws of nature. But it does mean that whatever it is you are doing, you are, in an important respect, ceasing to do philosophy. If this is correct, then there is no chance of achieving progress in philosophy by adopting a paradigm—adopting a paradigm can achieve progress in something else, but only by making it cease to be philosophy. Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... The noumenon (plural: noumena) classically refers to an object of human inquiry, understanding or cognition. ... For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ... Look up understanding in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is on dogma in religion. ... A critic (derived from the ancient Greek word krites meaning a judge) is a person who offers a value judgement or an interpretation. ...


Pessimists may also make a historical point about the emergence of the various natural sciences from philosophy. In the ancient and medieval world, nearly all fields of study were considered to be parts of the discipline of philosophy. (This historical reality is still reflected in the institutions of the University, where the highest degree awarded in most academic fields is still the Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy.[1]) The clearest point at which the natural sciences diverged from philosophy proper just was when they adopted paradigms for research--especially the work of Galileo and Newton in mechanics. The critical step here is for the pessimist to argue that the natural sciences separated from philosophy precisely because they adopted a paradigm--that it was in virtue of that change in their direction that they began engaging in scientific rather than philosophical studies. Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated Ph. ...


There seems to be a persuasive case to be made for that point, but even if there is the consideration is not necessarily decisive. An optimist might very well accept everything that the pessimist says about the emergence of the natural sciences--and still disagree with the conclusion. The argument would go something like this: it might very well be that natural scientists stopped doing philosophy in virtue of their adoption of a paradigm during the Scientific Revolution. But that's because they adopted scientific paradigms--the achievements that set the course of their research programmes were experimental achievements. That doesn't mean that there cannot also be paradigms which are specifically philosophical achievements. (That is, an achievement which decisively settles certain foundational philosophical questions for the purposes of a research programme, but which leaves other distinctively philosophical questions open for further inquiry, and which addresses them through distinctively philosophical methods.) They might even point to historical examples of seminal philosophical works which have, to some degree or another, played a similar role to paradigm achievements in the natural sciences--landmark, tradition-establishing works such as those of Plato, or Immanuel Kant's three Critiques, or the ground-breaking Analytic works of Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore. This article is about the period or event in history. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... Analytic philosophy (sometimes, analytical philosophy) is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ... George Edward Moore George Edward Moore, also known as G.E. Moore, (November 4, 1873 - October 24, 1958) was a distinguished and hugely influential English philosopher who was educated and taught at the University of Cambridge. ...


It seems historically unquestionable that these works have played at least some of the roles that Kuhn attributed to paradigms. They did create coherent traditions of research--whether Platonist, Kantian, or Analytic. It also seems that (like scientific paradigms) they achieved this by (1) convincing enough philosophers that the work had decisively settled certain philosophical problems, and (2) redirecting subsequent philosophy into energetic work on a set of specialized questions that the seminal work had left open. Kant's Critical philosophy, for example, was widely understood to put a more or less final end to the debate between rationalism and empiricism by demonstrating that the debate was based on a false alternative. A great deal of post-Kantian philosophy abandoned such debates and redirected its focus toward specific concerns that arise from within the Critiques, such as the foundations of mathematics or the possibility of an intellectual intuition. In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... Foundations of mathematics is a term sometimes used for certain fields of mathematics itself, namely for mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, proof theory, model theory, and recursion theory. ... Intuition is an unconscious form of knowledge. ...


On the other hand, it is another question whether works such as these actually live up--and whether they could ever live up--to everything that Kuhn says about scientific paradigms. Kuhn argues that the history of science is a sort of punctuated equilibrium: when a long period of "normal science" eventually stagnates, and an established paradigm can no longer hold together a coherent tradition of research, progress depends on the establishment of a new paradigm, and a scientific revolution based on this paradigm shift. Once the old paradigm breaks down and the new one is established, there seems to be no going back: the old scientific paradigm is decisively repudiated, and simply becomes obsolete. But does such a picture capture the history of philosophy as well as the history of science? The waxing and waning of philosophical traditions seems to be far less decisive and far more cyclical; if this doesn't cast doubt on the notion of philosophical progress simpliciter, it does at least tend to suggest that lasting progress may be an illusory goal. Similarly, although the works pointed to by optimists have had remarkable impacts in setting research programmes, it's far from clear that the specialized inquiry they inspired plays quite the same role that "normal science" plays in Kuhn's understanding of scientific progress. J. G. Fichte and Arthur Schopenhauer, for example, are sharply differing writers who focused on questions raised by Kant; but Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will or Fichte's dialectical spin on transcendental idealism could hardly be seen as examples of inquiries that close off fundamental questions in order to consider technical problems of application. At most it seems that Kant's work encouraged these later philosophers to do fundamental work in different areas from those that he was taken to have shown fruitless. Punctuated equilibrium (or punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which states that most sexually reproducing species will show little to no evolutionary change throughout their history. ... Paradigm shift is the term first used by Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to describe a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. ... Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 - January 27, 1814) has significance in the history of Western philosophy as one of the progenitors of German idealism and as a follower of Kant. ... Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher who believed that the will to live is the fundamental reality and that this will, being a constant striving, is insatiable and ultimately yields only suffering. ...


Would it have been worth it, after all?

An answer to the question of whether philosophical practice is possible, however, is not the end of the story: it may still leave open the question of whether it is desirable. Those who are optimists about the prospect for philosophical progress have a pretty clear answer: it is, they could argue, just part of what we mean by "progress," that you ought to pursue it if you can get it. But the issue is somewhat trickier for pessimists. If philosophical progress is not possible, then there are two different lessons that could be, and have been, taken from that.


Philosophy as worthless

On the one hand, a pessimist might take the impossibility of scientific progress in philosophy to be a sign that philosophy is a dead-end job—thus, a pessimist about philosophical progress might also be a pessimist about philosophy. The argument goes something like this: scientific progress is what makes an intellectual effort worthwhile; but there is no hope for scientific progress in philosophy; therefore there is no hope for philosophy to be worthwhile. On this view, philosophy is regarded as a sort of pseudoscience which aspires to scientific progress, but which (by its very nature) can never achieve it; and so it is best abandoned in favor of empirical scientific inquiry. Needless to say, this is not a view that most professional philosophers are particularly fond of or comfortable with, but it does seem to have been the consensus of the Vienna Circle positivists towards more or less all traditional philosophical inquiry, although not necessarily to the use of philosophical method to get clear on the logical structure of empirical questions. It is, perhaps, much more popular with professional scientists (as some of the Vienna positivists were themselves), who are inclined to think of philosophy as airy speculation that retards the serious empirical work of science. A typical 18th century phrenology chart. ... Moritz Schlick around 1930 The Vienna Circle (in German: der Wiener Kreis) was a group of philosophers who gathered around Moritz Schlick when he was called to the Vienna University in 1922, organized in a philosophical association named Verein Ernst Mach (Ernst Mach Society). ...


Philosophy as intrinsically worthy

However, this critique of metaphysics, carried on by the first Wittgenstein, in his 1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, for example, has been in return criticized by philosophers, such as Heidegger in his 1927 Being and Time, as a form of positivism or, worse, scientism, which is accused of having decided to abandon the most important questions about humanity and the Being, under the pretext that no definitive answer can be brought to them. Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (IPA: ) (April 26, 1889 in Vienna, Austria – April 29, 1951 in Cambridge, England) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking ideas to philosophy, primarily in the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind. ... Book cover of the Dover edition of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Ogden translation) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length work published by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. ... Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) (pronounced ) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... // Being and Time (German Sein und Zeit, 1927) is the most important work of German philosopher Martin Heidegger. ... // Positivism is a philosophy that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. ... Scientism is a term mainly used as a pejorative[1][2][3] to accuse someone of holding that science has primacy over all other interpretations of life such as religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations. ... In ontology, a being is anything that can be said to be, either transcendantly or immanently. ...


Marxist Georg Lukacs would also criticize, in his book History and Class Consciousness (1923) the Kantian abandon of knowledge of the concrete totality: according to Lukacs, Kant's distinction between noumenons and phenomena lead to the abandon of the knowledge of the historical process, which could be only apprehended, in his eyes, by dialectical materialism. As marxism is essentially concerned with the historical process and the possibility of a revolution, that is of superating capitalism, marxist philosophy, from Marx and Engels to Althusser passing by Lukacs, etc., has discussed at lengths the problems of possible historical progress of philosophy and what would that mean. Althusser, for example, considered the "epistemological break" (separating protosciences from sciences) to apply itself to philosophy itself: the discovery by Marx of a new "continent" of knowledge, History, provided the epistemological break between ancient metaphysics and modern dialectical materialism. However, if dialectical materialism was considered by Althusser as a "scientific theory", this does not mean it was permanently assured of its truth: it is a science, not a prophecy! In effect, Althusser stressed that the epistemological break was not an event, which could be chronologically located (in this or that book of Marx) and thus definitively separated science from ideology. Instead, this epistemological break was a process that had to be endlessly renewed, thus explaining revisionist tentatives to break away from this progress and renew with the old protoscientifical (and "bourgeois") theory, which ignored the social and historical conditions which made human society what it is. Althusser's theory is interesting insofar as, contrary to Kuhn, it does not considers various paradigms to be incommensurable between themselves. In Kuhn's eyes, Ancient's sciences simply can't be compared to modern science, and they have nothing in common. Althusser argues that this amounts to deny progress between modern sciences and ancient sciences, since the cumulative aspect of progress is ignored. However, the cumulative aspect of progress, both in philosophy and science, is not considers by Althusser as obtained "once for all": it is always a political struggle against ideology, which endlessly penetrates science and philosophy. This explains his famous word about the existence of "class struggle inside the theory" itself. Although Althusser's marxist philosophy may repels many people today, his criticisms of the notion of a "neutral science", which followed the Frankfurt School's criticisms of scientifical and technical progress, and his conception of a cumulative although discontinuous "progress" of philosophy represents one of the toughest attempt to think a cumulative progress of sciences and philosophy (both subsumed under the term of "theory") without falling into a plain scientist optimism about a "continuous and linear necessary progress". As in any marxist theory, ultimately theory is dependent on human praxis, and only the rebellion and continuous struggle against the dominant ideology that allows theory, whether scientific or philosophical, to be truly an objective theory. Marxism is both the theory and the political practice (that is, the praxis) derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... Georg Lukács (April 13, 1885 - June 4, 1971) was a Hegelian and Marxist philosopher and literary critic. ... Class consciousness is a category of Marxist theory, referring to the self-awareness of a social class, its capacity to act in its own rational interests, or measuring the extent to which an individual is conscious of the historical tasks their class (or class allegiance) sets for them. ... The noumenon (plural: noumena) classically refers to an object of human inquiry, understanding or cognition. ... For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ... According to many followers of the theories of Karl Marx (or Marxists), dialectical materialism is the philosophical basis of Marxism. ... For other uses, see Revolution (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Marx is a common German surname. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820 – August 5, 1895) was a German social scientist and philosopher, who developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Louis Pierre Althusser (Pronunciation: altuË¡seʁ) (October 16, 1918 – October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... Louis Pierre Althusser (Pronunciation: altuË¡seʁ) (October 16, 1918 – October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... This article or section seems to describe future events as if they have already occurred. ... Chinese poster from the first stage of the Cultural Revolution, reading: Down with the Soviet revisionists in large print, and Crush the dog head of Leonid Brezhnev and Alexey Kosygin at the bottom, 1967 The term revisionism is also used to refer to other concepts. ... // Commensurability in general Generally, two quantities are commensurable if both can be measured in the same units. ... Cumulativity In linguistic semantics, an expression X is said to have cumulative reference just in case the following holds: If X is true of a and of b, as well, then it is also true of the combination of a and b. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... The South African Police Crush Another Demonstration by the Shack dwellers Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, 28 September, 2007 Class struggle is the active expression of class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory (which is more akin to anarchism than communism), social research, and philosophy. ... In mathematics, a continuous function is one in which arbitrarily small changes in the input produce arbitrarily small changes in the output. ... Symbolic Logic - See minor premise Object-Oriented Programming - See Liskov Substitution Principle ... The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. ... Scientism is a term mainly used as a pejorative[1][2][3] to accuse someone of holding that science has primacy over all other interpretations of life such as religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations. ... Praxis may refer to: Praxis (process), the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice Praxis (Eastern Orthodoxy), the practice of faith, especially worship Praxis (band), a Bill Laswell musical project Praxis (moon), a planetary body in the Star Trek universe Praxis Care Group, a Northern Ireland based mental health charity. ... Look up rebellion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses of objectivity, see objectivity (disambiguation). ...


Henceforth, one might draw the conclusion that pessimism about philosophical progress allows for a sort of liberation from the expectations for scientific progress, and thus for a reasoned optimism about philosophy. Philosophers in this camp argue that once we recognize that it makes no sense for philosophy to make scientific-technical progress, we ought to also realize that it makes no sense for philosophy to aspire to it either. In other words, philosophy is not science, and shouldn't imitate sciences. Rather than expect philosophy to prove its worth with scientific-technical progress, and then judge it worthless when it fails to, these philosophers argue that philosophical inquiry must be worthy in its own right. The perceived need for philosophy to prove itself in terms of some sort of scientific-technical progress is often diagnosed as a sort of creeping scientism, and repudiated as a drastic oversimplification of our intellectual life. This may have been the position of Wittgenstein against the Vienna positivists--although if Wittgenstein saw any intrinsic value in philosophical inquiry he certainly didn't think that most people could profit from it. In any case, it was certainly the position of latter Wittgensteinians such as Peter Winch, as well as other contemporary philosophers such as Heidegger. The view also, its proponents argue, represents a "return" to the conception of philosophy and its value found in ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Peter Guy Winch (1926-1997) was a British philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of the social sciences, Wittgenstein scholarship, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


In What Is Philosophy? (1991), Deleuze and Guattari would argue that while science creates percepts and art affects, philosophy creates concepts. These concepts are not answers to existential questions, but a specific way of conceiving the problem. In other words, the accent is not, as in science, put on the answer or explanation given to a specific phenomenon, but on the way the problem itself is posed. An illustration of this may be given by Marx's critique of political economy: bourgeois political economy is denounced as concerning itself with only how the capitalism system works day-to-day, but doesn't poses the problem of how capitalism first appeared, what are the conditions of possibility of this appearance of capitalism and, finally, what are the conditions of its dissolving. Hence, while ordinary political economy is concerned by the so-called "laws of economics", presented as universal (i.e. valid in all times and places), marxism attempts to demonstrate that these principles are only historical products of human history. A historian such as Fernand Braudel, for example, would be more interested in trying to answer the question of why capitalism appeared in Europe and not in China, exploring the historical conditions which made capitalism possible, than describing the "laws of economics". Gilles Deleuze (IPA: ), (January 18, 1925 – November 4, 1995) was a French philosopher of the late 20th century. ... Pierre-Félix Guattari (1930 - 1992) was a French pioneer of institutional psychotherapy, as well as the founder of both Schizoanalysis and the science of Ecosophy. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... This article is about the philosophical concept of Art. ... ... For other uses, see Concept (disambiguation). ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... Bourgeois at the end of the thirteenth century. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Condition of possibility is a philosophical concept first used by Kant. ... For law within legal systems see law. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Fernand Braudel (August 24, 1902–November 27, 1985) was a French historian. ...


Philosophy as instrumentally worthy

Nor do these alternatives exhuast the possibilities: one might agree with the optimists that philosophical inquiry has value, but agree with the pessimists that philosophical inquiry must justify itself in terms of scientific-technical progress to have any value. This may seem to conflict with the shared premise between progress-pessimists that there is no progress in philosophy, but the trick here is to argue that philosophical progress is not the only sort of progress to which philosophical inquiry might contribute. Philosophy is seen as being justified by progress—but not by progress in philosophy, but rather in providing useful tools for making progress in other fields. Since this view values philosophy as a means to an end rather than as an end in itself, we might call it "instrumental optimism" about philosophy, as opposed to the "intrinsic optimism" already discussed. On this view, philosophy is seen neither as a sort of pseudoscience, nor as something radically distinct from the sciences, but rather as a sort of incubator for new sciences -- protosciences. While the intrinsic optimists draw on Plato and Aristotle's writings on the value of philosophical inquiry, the instrumental optimists can draw on another aspect of the ancients' work: specifically, Aristotle was concerned both about "physics" (and biology) and "metaphysics". He didn't really make any distinction between these two fields. Actually, the name "meta-physics" was given by later scholars who meant by this word: what is "beyond" or "after" the study of "nature" (phusis - physics). Thus, "philosophy" ("love of wisdom" in Greek) at that time included both "physics" and "metaphysics". Instrumental optimists thus argue this non-distinction between physics and metaphysics, and point out the historical role that the Ancient's philosophical works played in the development of the natural sciences, and then later the social sciences. From this history instrumental optimists might urge that speculative philosophy can have value as a place for proposing new sciences and new research programmes within the sciences, as well as a critical location for exposing and clearing away confusions that obstruct progress in the natural sciences. Philosophy, then, is seen as a sort of midwife: she does not give birth to any progress of her own, but proves her worth by making it possible for others to bring their progress into the world. Thus, whereas the value of mechanics or biology or psychology is taken to be internal to the practice (i.e., judged in terms of the progress of mechanical, biological, or psychological achievements), the value of philosophy is taken to be external (i.e., judged in terms of its effects on achievements in other fields, such as mechanics, biology, and psychology). This view is congenial to the conception of philosophy, most famously propounded by John Locke, as a sort of intellectual "underlabourer" to the sciences. It is also a view endorsed in various articles by Hilary Putnam, and may be the most popular view amongst contemporary Analytic philosophers--especially those with a naturalistic bent. A typical 18th century phrenology chart. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is an American philosopher who has been a central figure in Western philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science. ... Analytic philosophy (sometimes, analytical philosophy) is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. ... This article is about methodological naturalism. ...


Instrumental optimism is, of course, not without its own difficulties. For example, there's hardly any reason to deny the truth of what the instrumental optimists say about the historical relationship between what some philosophers did and what natural scientists do today. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the ancients philosophers were doing philosophy when they did work that contributed to natural science. Of course, they might have called what they were doing "philosophy." ("φιλοσοφια") But if so, that just means that they meant something more expansive by the word than what we mean by it today, and we might think that there are perfectly good reasons for sticking to the narrower conception of philosophical method. Moreover, whatever the status of their works that eventually contributed to natural science, and whatever the value of those contributions it's very difficult to make a case that the philosophical value is best captured by its contribution to scientific posterity. (Is the lasting value of Aristotle's work better exhibited by his Physics or by his Metaphysics? By his reflections on horse's teeth or on the good life for rational beings?) Aristotle, marble copy of bronze by Lysippos. ...


Critics of this conception of philosophy as being essentially an epistemology (or philosophy of science) dedicated to exploring psychic or ideological blocks which prevent scientifics from making specific hypothesis (such as in Gaston Bachelard's theory) argue that this only reverse the hierarchy between philosophy and science. Instead of philosophy being located on top of the pyramid of knowledge, as in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, it becomes a simple tool for rationalism and sciences. This view has been criticized by certain philosophers, such as Deleuze or Michel Foucault, who declared that Thought couldn't be identified to rationalism, and that irrationalism wasn't to be considered as the contrary of thought (i.e. as madness, which, as Foucault demonstrated, is the product of a historical conception and disciplinary technologies of power). Deleuze, for example, argued that thought, which could take the form of philosophy, arts or sciences, basically created new possibilities of thought and life, and therefore new modes of existence. This liberty of thought was, in the eyes of these French philosophers, the only real "use" of philosophy - although Deleuze mocked the utilitarian view which would assigned to philosophy a specific "use", which could, in his mind, only be ideologically assigned. This joins a critique of science often made, first of all by the Frankfurt School: scientific research only tries to resolve certain problems and exclude others. For example, tropical diseases are not subject to much research, as it is not considerated profitable by the pharmaceutical industry. On the other side, fat or sex-issues are considered much more important, thus allowing for the huge investments necessary to the invention of Viagra. Henceforth, saying something is "useful" only extends the problem to the criteria of this "usefulness": science is often said "useful" because it has "practical effects", which "philosophy" doesn't seems to have. However, is science that ignores tropical diseases in order to concentrate itself on Viagra really is useful? Does it helps to have, as in Aristotle's views, a "good life"? This explains why Deleuze rejected the definition of philosophy as something "useful", and preferred it to be an "opening of possibles", something which made new possible worlds possible. It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ... Philosophy of science is the study of assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, especially in the natural sciences and social sciences. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Gaston Bachelard (June 27, 1884 – October 16, 1962) was a French philosopher and poet who rose to some of the most prestigious positions in the French academy. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Hegels work Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807) is called The Phenomenology of Spirit or The Phenomenology of Mind in English; the German word Geist has connotations of both spirit and mind in English. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... Gilles Deleuze (IPA: ), (January 18, 1925 – November 4, 1995) was a French philosopher of the late 20th century. ... Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher and historian. ... Personification of thought (Greek Εννοια) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Thought or thinking is a mental process which allows beings to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires. ... The philosophical movements of irrationalism and aestheticism were a cultural reaction against positivism that took place during the early twentieth century. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... Disciplinary institutions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Liberty is generally considered a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. ... This article discusses utilitarian ethical theory. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory (which is more akin to anarchism than communism), social research, and philosophy. ... A scientific method or process is considered fundamental to the scientific investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... Tropical diseases are infectious diseases that either occur uniquely in tropical and subtropical regions (which is rare) or, more commonly, are either more widespread in the tropics or more difficult to prevent or control. ... Profit is what is gained, after costs are accounted for. ... This is a list of pharmaceutical and biotech companies that are major manufacturers on global or national markets : Abbott Laboratories Able Laboratories Akzo Nobel Allergan Almirall Prodesfarma Alphapharm Altana (previously Byk Gulden) ALZA, part of Johnson & Johnson Amgen AstraZeneca, formed from the merger of Astra AB and Zeneca Group PLC... For the musical form, see Invention (music). ... // ... ... Aristotle, marble copy of bronze by Lysippos. ... Possible Worlds is: Possible Worlds (play) a play by John Mighton Possible Worlds (poetry book) a book of poems by Peter Porter (poet) Possible Worlds (book) a book by J. B. S. Haldane This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ...


Nor, of course, does accepting the instrumental value of philosophy for other fields require one to abandon the view that philosophy also has intrinsic worth, nor the view that its intrinsic worth should be the primary reason to pursue philosophical inquiry. Some things are valued both for themselves and for their consequences; if the instrumental optimist wants (as some of them surely do) to insist not only on accepting the instrumental worth of philosophy, but also of accepting nothing but its instrumental worth, then she must support the stronger claim that philosophy could only have value in virtue of its contribution to scientific-technical progress in some field or another.


But, if philosophy is like a mother-lode for the nascent sciences, so too like a godmother, philosophy has traditions which can guide her godchildren past ethical and moral quagmires, into which they might stray, to the detriment of their progress.


References

  1. ^ See Jacques Derrida, Du droit à la philosophie (1990, "Who's Afraid of Philosophy?"), which questions this encyclopedian hierarchy which puts philosophy on top of the pyramid of knowledge. According to Derrida's deconstruction, philosophy is no longer the mother-science, thus bringing the problem of the relationship between philosophy and sciences.

Jacques Derrida (IPA: [1]) (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... “Cyclopedia” redirects here. ... Deconstruction is a term in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, denoting a process by which the texts and languages of Western philosophy (in particular) appear to shift and complicate in meaning when read in light of the assumptions and absences they reveal within themselves. ...

See also

Philosophy Portal

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