Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Philosophy -- My Kind Of Philosophy -- And Science

There is no strict, precise definition of philosophy which is generally agreed upon, and as a philosopher, I'm fine with that. Philosophers often contradict each other, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that, because, unlike physicists, philosophers are not always concerned with objective and quantifiable things.

However, if a philosopher contradicts the science which is current in his time, then that's just bad philosophy and ignorance of science. A philosopher is not required to stay current with physics, but if he's not current about something, he shouldn't comment on it. ("Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein) ("When one isn't qualified to speak on a certain topic, one really ought to STFU about it." -- my translation)

Occasionally a famous and well-respected scientist will diss philosophy. Recently I discovered that back in 2011, Stephen Hawking had declared that philosophy is dead. And my first response was very negative. But, again: there is no strict, precise definition of philosophy which is generally agreed upon. So it's kind of hard to tell just exactly what Hawking was declaring to be dead. And until and unless I know exactly what Hawking meant -- what exactly is there to get upset about?

I realize that by reconsidering my attack upon Hawking, and by many other things I've written in this blog, I may have lost any hope of the support of many contemporary philosophers. And you know what? I'm fine with that too, because most of those philosophers who will be inclined to denounce me and call me names are not doing the same sort of thing I am. I'm the sort of philosopher I've often described in this blog: someone who reads a lot of other philosophers, plus fine authors in other genres, and is very interested in the arts, and defines himself by being very specific about where he agrees and disagrees with earlier philosophers. And the philosophers I read -- Sartre, Wittgenstein, Russell, Nietzsche, Hume, Spinoza, etc, etc -- were the same kind of philosophers. Which is far from the only kind of philosopher there has ever been. Which is just fine with me.

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