Is philosophy historical in some special or deep way? Should philosophy make us better people? What method(s) and types of evidence suit philosophy? How should philosophy be written (presuming it should be written at all)? Is philosophy, in some sense, over or should it be? But how might one define metaphilosophy?
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Kant held that What can i know?, What ought I to do?, and, What may i hope? Were the ultimate questions of human reason ( Critique of Pure reason, a805 / B33) and asserted that philosophys peculiar dignity lies in principles of morality, legislation, and religion that it can provide (A318 / B375). According to hegel, the point weakness of philosophy or of the dialectic is to enable people to recognize the embodiment of their ideals in their social and political lives and thereby to be at home in the world. Marxs famous eleventh Thesis on feuerbach declared that, while philosophers had interpreted the world, the point was to change. Defining Metaphilosophy As the foregoing sketch begins to suggest, three very general metaphilosophical questions are (1) What is philosophy? (2) What is, or what should be, the point of philosophy? (3) How should one do philosophy? Those questions resolve into a resume host of more specific metaphilosophical conundra, some of which are as follows. Is philosophy a process or a product? What kind of knowledge can philosophy attain? How should one understand philosophical disagreement?
Aquinas resumed the project of synthesizing Christianity with Greek philosophy - a project that had been pursued already by various thinkers thesis including Augustine, anselm, and boethius. (Boethius was a politician inspired by philosophy but the politics ended badly for him. In those respects he resembles the earlier Seneca. And, like seneca, boethius wrote of the consolations of philosophy.) The word philosophy means the study or love philo of wisdom, and by wisdom is meant not only prudence in our everyday affairs but also a perfect knowledge of all things that mankind is capable. Thus Descartes (1988:. Locke s Essay concerning Human Understanding (bk. 697) connects philosophy with the love of truth and identifies the following as an unerring mark of that love: The not entertaining any Proposition with greater assurance than the Proofs it is built upon will warrant. Hume s Of suicide opens thus: One considerable advantage that arises from Philosophy, consists in the sovereign antidote which it affords to superstition and false religion (Hume 1980: 97).
According to Aristotle, philosophy begins in wonder, seeks the most fundamental causes or principles of things, and is the least necessary but thereby the most divine of sciences ( Metaphysics, book alpha, sections 13). Despite the point about necessity, aristotle taught ethics, a subject he conceived as a kind of political science ( Nicomachean Ethics, book 1) and which had the aim of making men good. Later philosophers continued and even intensified the stress on philosophical practicality. According to the hellenistic philosophers the cynics, Sceptics, Epicureans and Stoics - philosophy revealed (1) what was valuable and what was not, and (2) how one could achieve the former and protect oneself against longing for the latter. The roman Cicero held that to study philosophy is to prepare oneself for death. The later and neoplatonic thinker Plotinus asked, What, then, is Philosophy? And answered, Philosophy is the supremely precious ( Enneads,.3.v a means to blissful contact with a mystical principle he called the One. The idea that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, earlier propounded by the hellenistic thinker Philo of Alexandria, is most associated with the medieval age and particularly with Aquinas.
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Introduction The main topic of the resume article is the western metaphilosophy of the last hundred years. But that topic is broached via a sketch of some earlier Western metaphilosophies. (In the case of the sketch, western means European. In the remainder of the article, western means European and North American. On Eastern metaphilosophy, see the entries filed under such heads as Chinese philosophy and Indian philosophy.) Once that sketch is in hand, the article defines the notion of metaphilosophy and distinguishes between explicit and implicit metaphilosophy. Then there is a consideration of how metaphilosophies might be categorized and an outline of the course of the remainder of the article. Some Pre-Twentieth Century metaphilosophy socrates believed that the unexamined life the unphilosophical life was not worth living ( Plato, apology, 38a).
Indeed, socrates saw his role as helping to rouse people from unreflective lives. He did this by showing them, through his famous Socratic method, that in fact they knew little about, for example, justice, beauty, love or piety. Socrates use of that method contributed to his being condemned to death by the Athenian state. But Socrates politics contributed too; and here one can note that, according to the republic (473c-d humanity will prosper only when philosophers are kings or kings philosophers. It is notable too that, in Platos Phaedo, socrates presents death as liberation of the soul from the tomb of the body.
Still, on Husserls conception, philosophy is both a personal affair and something that is vital to realizing the humanitarian hopes of the Enlightenment. Husserls existential successors modified his method in various ways and stressed, and refashioned, the ideal of authenticity presented by his writings. Another major Continental tradition, namely. Critical Theory, makes of philosophy a contributor to emancipatory social theory; and the version of Critical Theory pursued by jürgen Habermas includes a call for 'postmetaphysical thinking'. The later thought. Heidegger advocates a postmetaphysical thinking too, albeit a very different one; and heidegger associates metaphysics with the ills of modernity.
Derridas deconstructive approach to philosophy (1) aims at clarifying, and loosening the grip of, the assumptions of previous, metaphysical philosophy, and (2) means to have an ethical and political import. Table of Contents, introduction, some Pre-Twentieth Century metaphilosophy, defining Metaphilosophy. Explicit and Implicit Metaphilosophy, the Classification of Metaphilosophies and the Treatment that Follows. Analytic Metaphilosophy, the Analytic pioneers: Russell, the early wittgenstein, and moore. Logical Positivism, ordinary language Philosophy and the later Wittgenstein. Three revivals, normative philosophy including Rawls and Practical Ethics. History of Philosophy, metaphysics: Strawson, quine, kripke, naturalism including Experimentalism and Its Challenge to Intuitions. Pragmatism, neopragmatism, and Post-Analytic Philosophy, pragmatism, neopragmatism: Rorty. Post-Analytic Philosophy, continental Metaphilosophy, phenomenology and Related Currents Husserls Phenomenology Existential Phenomenology, hermeneutics, Existentialism Critical Theory Critical Theory and the Critique of Instrumental reason Habermas The later heidegger Derrida's Post-Structuralism References and Further reading Explicit Metaphilosophy and Works about Philosophical movements or Traditions Analytic Philosophy.
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For Wittgenstein had come to hold that philosophy should protect us against dangerous illusions by being a kind of therapy for what normally passes for philosophy. Metaphilosophical views held by later Analytic philosophers include the idea that philosophy can be pursued as a descriptive but not a revisionary metaphysics and that philosophy is continuous with science. The pragmatists, like those Analytic philosophers who work in practical or applied ethics, believed that philosophy should treat real problems (although the pragmatists gave real problems a wider scope than the ethicists tend to). Rorty goes so far as to say the philosopher should fashion her philosophy so as to promote her cultural, social, and political goals. So-called post-Analytic philosophy is much influenced by pragmatism. Like the pragmatists, the post-Analyticals tend (1) to favor a broad construal of the philosophical enterprise and (2) to aim at dissolving rather than solving traditional or narrow philosophical problems. The first Continental position the considered herein. Husserl believed that his phenomenological method would enable philosophy to become a rigorous and foundational science.
The pioneers of the Analytic movement held that philosophy should begin with the analysis of propositions. In the hands of two of those pioneers, russell and, wittgenstein, such analysis gives a central role to logic and aims at disclosing the deep structure of the world. But Russell and Wittgenstein thought philosophy could say little about ethics. The essay movement known as Logical Positivism shared the aversion to normative ethics. Nonetheless, the positivists meant to be progressive. As part of that, they intended to eliminate metaphysics. The so-called ordinary language philosophers agreed that philosophy centrally involved the analysis of propositions, but, and this recalls a third Analytic pioneer, namely. Moore, their analyses remained at the level of natural language as against logic. The later Wittgenstein has an affinity with ordinary language philosophy.
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