TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is Philosophy dead?

Was it buried beneath pragmatic scientific discourse? Stabbed through the heart by the stake of probability. Is there any room for conjecture in the button down business of modern scientific thought? In the world of proof, what is the point of pondering?

I sometimes chuckle and think philosophers and theologians are off in a corner somewhere playing chess, while the scientific community is haphazardly reinventing our reality.

Is there truth in the evident, or are we chasing our own tail?

progress indicator
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2013: Philosophy, by definition, is "a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means....learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts".

    I suggest that as long as there are people exploring, pondering, evaluating with imagination and creativity, then the practice of philosophy/philosophizing will live on:>)
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2013: As long as there is a mind that asks a question, no.
  • Oct 17 2013: Is Philosophy dead?... No, it's just be reduced to 140 characters.
    • Oct 20 2013: Aristotle, Armstrong, Anscombe, Austin, Aquinas, Bain, Baldwin, Baudrillard, Bergson, Bhattacharya, Block, Broad, Carey, Chalmers, Churchland, Cho, Chomsky, Dennett, Dharmakirti, Davidson, Descartes, Dretske, Goldman, Heidegger, Hofstadter, Hume, Hurley, Husserl, Fodor, James, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Merleau-Ponty, Minsky, Moore, Nagel, Nietzsche, Parfit, Plato, Putnam, Popper, Rand, Rorty, Ryle, Searle, Spinoza, Socrates, Turing, Vasubandhu, Wittgenstein, Zhuangzi...

      That's only 50 characters. :-)
  • thumb
    Oct 13 2013: One thing for sure is philosophy will never die. Whether we know it or not, it is part of us. Everywhere and anywhere philosophy exists. Philosophy is not just the thoughts of the great philosophers of old but it represents any human being's perception of life, as long as we are alive philosophy will live on.

    Philosophy is what makes you as an individual, the thoughts and ideas you represent form your perception of life and that is your philosophy of life. What you believe in forms your philosophy of life and it determines how you live life here in this world. So if your philosophy is based on some people or you let other people shape the way you think, you would live their philosophy as imposed on you. Philosophy is your belief and we live according to our beliefs. Beliefs give birth to our thoughts or ideas and whenever we express ourselves we do so because of what is in our belief systems. Hence the famous words of one of the greatest philosophers to ever dawn this earth, king Solomon, "As a man think so he becomes." you become your philosophy.

    As ideas continue to drive the world, it goes to show that you can never kill philosophy because that is where ideas come from. Most nations now are under the democratic system, and that system was once a philosophy in the greatest Greek's philosophers and they decided to implement their ideas and came democracy. My country now South Africa and many others that use this system are actually being run by dead's men philosophy. So whether we know it or not, philosophy runs through us and we are part of it. Just like politics, if you decide not to partake in any election because you say you don't like politics, guess what, it will continue affecting you, whether you take part or not because it is the system that runs your country, it runs you whether you like it or not, politics by virtue becomes part of our lives, so is philosophy. If you decide to stop engaging your mind, you will live by somebody else's mind.
  • Sep 28 2013: Interestingly enough while thinking about your question, I realized I didn't have a very clear understanding of what philosophy is. Asked to articulate it, I would have stumbled badly. Isn't philosophy the very root of all human endeavor beyond 'I am hungry', 'I need shelter' and 'I want sex?'

    Math, physics, psychology, art, biology etc. These fields all are just tools we use to answer the questions raised by philosophy. That we asked these questions at all half of what makes us human. That we also turn the results to practical use is the other half.

    Take any category of knowledge and reduce it to its parent category - you will end at philosophy. Its even a game on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Getting_to_Philosophy

    So I am guessing your real concern is that you feel the conversation of 'pure' philosophy is being drowned out by the noise of 'practical' philosophy. My rebuttal is that the philosophical conversation is ongoing and healthy. The world of proof you worry about in your question is a sign of its success.

    The 'pure' philosopher is a only harder to hear because he/she is surrounded by a uncounted millions of colleagues all seeking the answers to his/her questions with the tools at hand.
    • Sep 28 2013: I hafta concur... well said about philosophy being a parent category... hee hee...
      i'm an Edward Abbey fan too...

      one further thought...
      practical philosophy is the "normal state of human associative thinking" and pure philosophy is the act of imagination that is both question and revelation, beyond practical thinking

      goethe was cool...
      • Oct 2 2013: I like the quotes...though I would argue imagination is a revelation in search of a question. In other words, pure pattern play unconnected to linear reasoning. The subconscious unfettered by the ordering (limiting) behaviour of the conscious mind.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2013: "Philosophy is the mother of all sciences"

    I don't think it's dead, but contemporary philosophy cannot go without feedback from the sciences.

    On the edges of our knowledge (which keeps on expanding) have dire need of philosophers.
    But are the philosophers there? Ior are most of them playing the proverbial chess...
    • Sep 27 2013: At one time, "science" and "philosophy" were the same thing. The idea that they are somehow separate is very new and may turn out to not be correct. I'm reminded of someone I knew who told me that Mathematics is the "purest" of the sciences. I asked him what "contaminated" all the other sciences--reality?
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2013: :-)
        I would consider math as part of logic (or logic a part of math, depending on the definitions)... I don't think it is a science, as it is not (at least directly) based on observation. Although evidentialists would claim math also came through observation and a lot of abstraction...

        I think that it's difficult to excel at all sciences and philosophies, as it has become quite a huge field... hence the separations I guess.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: Its True, Philosophy is the mother of all sciences... Science is only an offshoot of philosophy. That’s why we still go on giving PhD’s to scientists – PhD in chemistry, PhD in physics, PhD in mathematics – but PhD means doctor of philosophy.
  • Sep 25 2013: I remember the time when my high school philosophy teacher told the students,
    ”I don’t buy psychology. It’s only a deceptive tool for understanding people’s minds.
    I disagree with psychologists saying even love is ultimately all related to science, hormonal effect or something. That disrespects philosophy in essence.”
    I know, he was being a little too stubborn at that time; but at the same time, he did make a point.

    I love philosophy; and I’m interested in learning how to read people’s minds through some basic psychological knowledge I happen to get from books.

    I’ve always thought there’d be a way to mix those two concepts together,
    But now I realize that just sounds good in my ears, ultimately, bound to be questioned at some point.

    As long as people like you questions the era of science—if you will, there’s always a future for philosophy. It’s probable that they can’t get along with each other, but it’s possible to keep those two perspectives alive and gives each one a chance to rebel.
    Philosophy and Psychology, both can exist and thrive on this earth unless our skepticism entirely disappears.
    • Sep 25 2013: If that is what your philosophy teacher said psychology teaches, then your philosophy teacher merely revealed his ignorance of psychology. How are people coming to believe the flat-out lie that philosophy and science are somehow opposed to each other? Philosophy is not just airy-fairy empty prattle. There have always been very empirical philosophers, and there is a great deal of philosophy that is very rubber-meets-the-road. Likewise, anyone who claims that "science" directly provides answers to all the old moral, metaphysical, and other philosophical questions is very rare.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2013: I always thought Wisdom, Perception and Intelligence by definition are 3 COMPLETELY different concepts when it comes to Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science, respectively. Yet they get mixed up, and interchanged, mistakenly as one for the other, all the time. Can be frustrating when even those with intellectual tact, fail to grasp basic grammar rules, and definitions.

      If the Scientists stop parading like dogmatic assholes, maybe most people would embrace their "Philosophy" (nothing more than logical postivist, relativistic, physicalism crap) with open arms. Science to me will not find out everything as to how life began, to me that is within the realm of Philosophy, the questioning of the "Past" while Science's job is to figure out the "Present" and both can help guide the "Future".

      Though I must mention for some reason we hail ourselves as gods when it comes to knowledge, this greatly, overlooked, anthropomorphic, deification of our simple identity as a species, is what I find most dangerous now.

      Have we now, not just lost Intuition, but Humility as well, in regard to own place in existence??????
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2013: Saying philosophy is dead is like saying thinking is dead. Is thinking dead ?? I don't think so.

    What does lie underneath the science, if not philosophy in its broader meaning ?? But If you take philosophy in its narrow sense, or try to corner it by focusing upon this or that conjecture or idea which might have failed or not have been proven yet, then you might live in the illusion that philosophy is dead. If you take philosophy just as an academic subject which is to be discussed just within the corridors of the University of Heidelberg and alike, then you might reach the conclusion there's no need for philosophy. This type of concept about philosophy is usually the typical Western concept.

    You ask something like, what is the Truth. But this is a wrong question. The beginning question should be, "what is untrue ??". Because the Truth, if there's anything like that, it must be very hard to understand in our normal way of thinking. If it wasn't, then the humanity would have already revealed it. So the way to approach the Truth is NOT by directly decoding or cracking it, but by being smart to it by indirectly approaching it. It's within our mind's capability to identify the untrue in its broader context (relative, etc). By elimination of the untrue one gets slowly closer to the True.

    Also it seems when you say reality you mean only to the physical or external reality. But what about the internal reality ?? The Reality each one experiences is composed of the both realities -- External (physical) and Internal (psychological, emotional).

    Einstein had already laid the Science and the Religion on a solid common basis, that is the everlasting Human urge to grasp the sublime (Book: Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein).
  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: It lies with rock 'n roll among the old souls... :)
    • Oct 20 2013: ...the poetry of purpose. :-)
  • thumb
    Oct 20 2013: Not dead, just ignored. We live in a society coveting money and nothing else, thus thinkers are utterly ignored by the general public. This is among the principal causes of the social decay we are witnessing over last 30 years.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2013: I would say - no.

    Philosophy is 'love of wisdom', within wisdom lies knowledge. As long as there are people inclined to ask profound questions about our existence, the nature of it, the nature of thought and why we ask those questions, philosophy will not be dead.
    Besides - philosophy is not and should not be viewed as confined to thought of ancients who chose socratic discourse instead of orgies and all those who built upon their thoughts in later eras. The ancient thinkers made attempts at explaining the physical reality as well, more or less successfull. There would be no geometry without Euclid, but the ideas that everything that surrounds us is made up of four elements is long forgotten, we now have a table of them. What I'm trying to say is that scientific and philosophical pursuits should be and often are intertwined.

    Here's what a philosopher has to say:

  • thumb
    Oct 2 2013: What is truth? What constitutes evidence? How much evidence is needed to believe something? Are beliefs formed based on evidence alone or something else? How do we know what we know? What does it mean to know?

    Those are all philosophical questions. Whether we talk about science, knowledge, or religion, we cannot escape these fundamental questions regardles of our attitude towards philosophy.

    It seems to me, however, that philosophy does not answer these questions. These questions do not have a definite answer because they are circular: knowledge about knowledge, beliefs about beliefs, proof of proof, how confident are we that our estimate of probability is correct (what is the probability of error?). And so on. The role of philosophy seems to point out these questions, not to answer them.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2013: Arkady....you are full of questions...I love it!!!

      I agree with you that philosophy often creates more questions, rather than answers. To me, philosophy is an exploration....pursuit of wisdom, as the definition states. So, perhaps as we go in the circular exploration, we sometimes assimilate snippets of information which may feel like answers?

      Perhaps it depends on how deep one is willing and able to go with any philosophical discussion, which determines how much wisdom we gain....or not?
  • Oct 1 2013: Philosophy is not dead it is just not what it once was. In Ancient Greece philosophers were the scientists of thinking
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2013: I don't think we will ever be in a situation where everything is proven and there is nothing left to ponder. As long as people continue to wonder, question and discuss, philosophy will always be alive, thankfully.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: Hi Tess....looks like your first comment in TED conversations.....welcome!

      I LOVE your philosophy...."Do it with passion or not at all".

      One of my favorite life philosophies is...."If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem", so I bring passion with me when seeking solutions:>)
      • Oct 2 2013: Colleen - I respect the intention of the quote you mentioned. The nagging question is... Who decides what the problem is? In a sense the statement is asking for unquestioned compliance.

        Do you know the source of the quote?
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: Sorry Gord, although I've seen this quote used many times, I have never seen credit to an author. I just did a quick search and cannot find anything about origin.

          I embraced it years ago because it "fits" for my life adventure, and I don't perceive it to ask for "unquestioned compliance".

          In my perception and use of the idea, I interpret it to mean that when we see something that appears to be a "problem" in our world, rather than complaining about it and waiting for someone else to "fix" it, we do whatever we can on whatever level is possible for us as individuals, to change the situation.

          For example: I recognized violence and abuse in our world, so I volunteered at a shelter for women and children, facilitated sessions with incarcerated offenders of violence and abuse, and guest lectured at the Univ. on this topic for years.

          I witnessed corruption in local governing boards, so I was a whistleblower for one situation, and I got appointed to those boards to help contribute to change.

          I perceive a fear of death in our society, so I volunteered at a terminal care facility and do hospice care to support people in dealing with death. Do you understand my interpretation and use of the quote?

          Simply complaining about a situation, without contributing to change, doesn't make much sense to me. I often hear people complaining about our government, and they don't vote or participate in the system in any way. That, in my perception, is contributing to the problem. People complaining about the new health care system and spreading inaccurate information, tells me that they do not fully understand the information, and are not willing to explore further than their own thoughts, beliefs and preferences. In my perception, using inaccurate information contributes to fear and insecurity with the system.....more a part of the problem, rather than part of the solution....make any sense?
      • Oct 2 2013: A wonderful interpretation Colleen. And it seems to embody the ideals of the original speaker...

        It appears the words were spoken by Eldridge Cleaver. He was a writer and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: Thanks Gord! I've heard of him but was not familiar with his life story.....I just read about him......interesting adventure....most of which I do not support!!!

          I still didn't find anything about that quote, or when/how he used it. Where did you find that information?
      • Oct 2 2013: I found it here...


        And I checked to see if I could find the quote here...


        And here...


        But I haven't found a context for the quote.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: LOL! I just found it here:

          So you probably saw another very similar one on the same site?
          “You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem.”
          ― Eldridge Cleaver

          I haven't found a context yet either.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: LOL - update!
          May NOT have been Eldridge Cleaver.....

          I can't seem to transfer the link....here is what it says...
          "Who coined the phrase you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem?
          In: History, Politics & Society, Famous Quotations [Edit categories]
          While Eldridge Cleaver is often cited as having coined this phrase in a 1968 speech, Charles Rosner, a renowned advertiser and marketer from the 60s through the 90s, actually wrote "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" for VISTA as a recruitment slogan in 1967."
      • Oct 3 2013: LOL ... a social activist repurposing capitalist propaganda. Seems appropriate. ;-)
      • Oct 3 2013: I have been a professional troubleshooter for decades. There have been many times when "the solution" is found by poking holes in proposed "solutions" until one is found that remains airtight. The problem is that, the statement is used to actually mean "Whoever does not mindlessly and blindly obey and adore whatever I say is a bad person."
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2013: Oh my goodness....you sound very familiar Bryan.....LOL!

          Everyone has their own interpretation of everything....I'm sure you know that:>)
  • Sep 25 2013: Why do you create a false dichotomy? "Pragmatic scientific discourse" is a branch of philosophy. Probability vs. certainty is a central question of metaphysics and epistemology. Modern scientific thought is all about conjecture? What science have you done to have such a cartoonish view of science? What philosophy have you studied to have such a view of philosophy as being weak-kneed?
    • Sep 25 2013: I'm simply participating in the TED community Bryan. The site encourages individuals from diverse disciplines to ask questions and share their perspective. Curiosity and an open mind are the only prerequisites.

      In regard to your questions…

      "There’s a kind of immanence of the hyperreal and we are caught in it: there’s a kind of confusion of the negative and positive poles, there are no longer any intellectual positions in the traditional sense. There are no longer any positions of knowledge or evaluation which are outside of the hyperreal, and it’s that fact which constitutes the end of critical analysis." - Jean Baudrillard

      "When we try to examine the mirror in itself we discover in the end nothing but things upon it. If we want to grasp the things we finally get hold of nothing but the mirror.  This, in the most general terms, is the history of knowledge." - Friedrich Nietzsche

      I don't believe philosophy is "weak Kneed". I question whether the accelerated pace of innovation and the pressure of an increasingly competitive marketplace has made philosophical discourse dispensable? And if so what are the consequences?

      I don't profess to be an expert. I'm only following my curiosity, like so many others on this site. If you are seeking a peer discussion I suggest an academic forum.
      • Sep 26 2013: Your response is remarkably weak-kneed. TED is a public forum, which means discussion involves people of all walks of life, experience, and education. Why be offended if someone is able to formulate a statement and actually is familiar with more than one field? Blandly "sharing perspectives" without being willing to hammer things out is appropriate for a cozy little kaffeeklatsch that amounts to nothing more than an echo chamber.

        Regarding the quotes:
        Baudrillard: That's really just his opinion. A statement that amounts to "there is no knowledge or possibility of knowledge" is just another dogma that cannot be substantiated. All that can be substantiated is that M. Baudrillard hasn't found it, and he's so egotistical as to conclude that if he can't find it, it can't exist.

        Herr Nietszche is also running up against the dogmatic retreat from the Tropes of skepticism. When all his attempts to impose dogma have failed, he concludes that, therefore, all dogma must be false. In an attempt to soothe his own ego, he has claimed that knowledge cannot be had.

        If ten trillion people cannot figure something out, that does not mean that it cannot ever be figured out, only that it has not been figured out ten trillion times. This is the ultimate limit of inference. The legitimate inference that can be drawn from the ten-trillionth failure is not "it is impossible", but "application of the means previously used did not work". Impossibility of knowledge has never been proved, only failure to rigorously verify it.

        Ultimately "nesciam" (I will not know) is just another dogma, as (un)sustainable as "sciam" (I know). All that appears to be sustainable from a fully rigorous standpoint is "nescio" (I do not know). Try finding a copy of Peter Suber's excellent essay "Classical Skepticism Issues and Problems".
        • Sep 27 2013: You mistake weak-kneed for someone who is trying to be respectful and find common ground. Though I understand you may not consider receptiveness important. Which, of course, is a damaging position to maintain in a personal relationship. Fortunately, I don't know you.

          You marginalized one of the preeminent philosophers of modern times with a patently cliche response you can find on the most trivial forum.

          "That's his opinion" WOW! I'm done. But please, if you at sometime feel humble enough to actually respond to the initial question (which was a question, not a statement). Please do.
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2013: "Philosophy"? What is that?

    Sources used are acknowledged by quotation marks only, not cited, for typographical economy.

    1. The word English word "Philosophy" has its roots in the Greek φιλοσοφία "love of wisdom", from φίλος - "beloved" + σοφία - "wisdom". Who initially introduced the word is unlikely to ever be known; Anaximander and Pythagoras were evidently early exponents.
    2. Immediately the question of what constitutes 'wisdom' arises. I posit it arises out of the innate drive of all organic entities to survive. To this end, there is a concomitant requirement to live a 'good' life … "eudaimonia" ("εὐδαιμονία"); a life in which human activity is directed by awareness of what, in any circumstance, is the optimal course for survival.
    3. Broadly speaking this gives rise to three immediate questions:
    i) What is the nature 'human life' that it should survive? In particular, is there more to human existence than corporeal existence; is there an 'afterlife', a 'soul' or other non-physical realm?
    ii) What are the temporal dimensions that need to be taken into account? Should assessments allow for the instantaneous circumstances, those of the medium term time-frame, or the perceived long-term possibilities? And how are 'short', 'medium' and 'long term' to be understood?
    iii) "… the optimal course for survival", of whom? The individual, or a group with which the individual identifies affiliation?
    4. The exercise of determining how best to address these concerns constitutes 'philosophy' and 'philosophising'; something that all human beings capable of 'self' awareness do - whether consciously or not. 'Philosophy' may be described as the formalised, socially determined, outcome.
    5. Methodology is always predicated on what makes 'sense' to an individual. However what is conceived of as 'sensible' is highly variable and ultimately depends on the individual's 'experience' in life.

    In short PHILOSOPHY IS NOT DEAD, nor is it likely to be any time soon.
  • thumb
    Oct 22 2013: Science seems to have the attention, but it can not go beyond this physical world. Our minds are on a different, higher level.

    I think it is because science is taking this world literally and religion is taking the Word literally, that now there has been a Second Coming. This will unite both realms into one existence. This will develop into a world as the title of a book "The Natural Basis of Spiritual Reality"
  • Oct 21 2013: I think philosophy is alive, though buried beneath all of the strange mind-bending that have been invented in its name throughout social media and the web. It used to be that philosophy was a serious subject, enough to prevent the common man from letting strange words emanate from his mouth without the authority of actual comprehension. This is no longer the case, one can spend just a few minutes online and there are countless Aristotles and Platos, each claiming to be a student of this and that school of thought. All of a sudden, you can't throw a pebble into a crowd without hitting a philosopher. I believe that philosophy is alive but it is in danger of being diagnosed to death, philosophy has become viral and people who don't catch the bug are getting sick of it.
  • Oct 18 2013: Philosophy is not dead. It has just been over-looked by our society of idiots. We do not think as much as we used to. We rely on other to answer our questions for us. WE need to start learning again and projecting our own ideas.
    • thumb
      Oct 19 2013: "Thinking is hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few people indulge in it" (Henry Ford)
  • Oct 14 2013: H.Arendt aveva predetto che il secolo XX sarebbe stato il tempo del pensiero, ma non della filosofia perchè il compito del pensare è appunto la fine della filosofia. G.Gentile aveva dapprima sentenziato che il pensiero è tutto o niente.
    Tuttavia è con il linguista S.Ceccato che forse per la prima volta in tutta la storia dell'uomo si è risaliti alla radice della biforcazione: filosofare e non filosofare, individuando nel filosofare un errore di pensiero, di consapevolezza di come la nostra testa lavora. Invero noi pensiamo magicamente poichè la nostra testa è ancora una scatola nera. Ceccato ha messo in musica il verso seguente:" Filosofare è bello, non farlo è più bello ancor..."Thanks Gold
    • Oct 20 2013: "filosofia isolata dalla vita, e la vita isolata dalla filosofia, ma sono due modi identici di arretrato fallimento culturale."

      Eccellente pensiero.
      • Oct 20 2013: Caro Gord, mi sforzo di comprendere la Sua espressione:"Filosofia isolata dalla vita e la vita isolata dalla filosofia", ma incontro qualche difficoltà teoretica. Semplificando: il filosofare è un modo storicamente determinato di pensare (Grecia, Vsec.A.C.), che è diventata una tecnica di argomentare sulle parole per stabilire il potere dell'una sull'altra, ma è possibile continuare a pensare in modo diverso -e non solo con uno sguardo diverso!-. Mentre la vita è lo stato di attenzione che si aggiunge ad uno stato di attenzione, che, in quanto tale, può essere messa in rapporto alla filosofia -tant'è che c'è stata una filosofia della vita- oppure lasciarla senza rapporto, ossia isolata. Il fallimento culturale dell'Occidente, caro Gord, ha la sua causa in un difetto di scientificità nelle questioni che riguardano l'uomo. Thanks Gord.
        • Oct 20 2013: Sono d'accordo. Nella scienza passato servito l'umanità. Era un'utilità di qualità del pensiero. Oggi la scienza sembra definire ciò che la qualità che dovremmo abbracciare.

          Interessante. (grazie Google Translate. :-))
  • thumb
    Oct 13 2013: The death of philosophy would also mark the redundancy of physics and science, because they would then be answerable exclusively to their own questions. Science would then become "scientism" - a closed, elitist, fundamentalist branch of science, only interested in what it alone thinks.

    Prof Stephen Hawking's quote, stating that philosophy: "...has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics" only emphasises this closed insularity.

    On the other hand, physicist Neil Turok is quoted as saying "It is time to connect our science to our humanity, and in doing so to raise the sights of both".

    If Turok is right, then philosophy is far from being dead.
  • thumb
    Oct 13 2013: I think the old philosophers were just rambling and we just took it to heart . Now days with all the social networks , and twitter everyone thinks they have something great to say . The more voices being heard seems to devalue the the ones that might make a difference .
    If everyone had twitter or facebook back in the old days when Aristotle and the like were alive his words might not have been so worthy . He might have just been lost in the crowd .
    • Oct 13 2013: You raise a good point: many voices = potential lost messages of value. This brings to mind a question for all to consider: "Would you be able to recognize truthful, progressive, valuable and desirable insights and understanding if author identity were removed from all works---books, education assignments, magazine articles, letters, movies, poems, and all other expressions?"

      The desire for truth and personal growth is what powers people. This is a worthy philosophical point.

      Philosophy is not dead; it may be sleeping in some people, but leaders know questioning is valuable. Keep philosophy in life for reconciling what is known with the questions about the unknown! Keep up curiosity in your life to think about the many concepts presented here.
  • thumb
    Oct 10 2013: philosophers die but philosophy lives on
  • thumb
    Oct 5 2013: You have to clearly define what you mean by the term "Philosophy". Others have touched on this, but let's be clear.

    If you consider "Philosophy" to be an elite group of old men, sitting in a library sipping their tea while pontificating about what is true then this may be a dying way of philosophy. If you see philosophy as a process of questioning established "truths", using logic and reason to think critically about established ideas, philosophy and philosophers are still quite alive.

    Philosophers are not mere "pie in the sky" thinkers. Descartes established the famous premise that proved his existence, "I think therefore I am" which many considered the basis for modern philosophy. Many believe that Descartes philosophy heavily influenced western culture, it's thinking and behaviors that we are separate entities functioning independently in a world of other individuals.

    In 1997, "Commons of the Mind" was published, authored by Annette C Baier. This philosopher set about to show that Descartes conclusion, "I think therefore I am" did not establish that we are individual entities, rather in fact Descartes ability to make such a statement was a result of all of the collective knowledge, skills and abilities of all of those he came in contact with and learned from previously. Perhaps "we think therefore we are".

    Philosophers like Baier exert a great deal of influence on politicians, sociologists, and writers. We may not know these individuals as a household name, but their philosophy is not dead. We see their ideas influencing the world for generations after they leave this earth.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2013: I agree with those who have examined philosophy and found it to be comatose. It appears to lack relevance to the here and now. To study philosophy is to study history, with the focus on philosophers and their schools, camps, teachings, treatises and ideas. But rarely do we see a connection to the world at large during the philosopher’s lifetime. I also agree with those who’ve observed that philosophy has become highly specialized—we consider the “philosophy of” something. Thus it may be only to the extent that a highly relevant “something” may be suitably linked to the "philosophy” that the discipline may be kept breathing.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2013: "Who am I and why am I here"... That's about the extent of my philosophical acumen. But, I am a pragmatist. So, in answer to your question.... It may be. It has been relegated to corners of libraries where old guys ( and ladies) sit around pondering.. And why is that?.... No money in it.
    Steve King can write a book about some nasty dog that bites cars in half and sells a million copies. The best modern philosopher writes a book and he can't sell it to even every library.
    In my experience, no one has time or wants to take the time for pondering.. OK, over stated but, it's mostly limited to those academics in the library.
  • W T 100+

    • +1
    Sep 28 2013: Are you asking this question because of what Stephen Hawking recently said?
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2013: Short answer...."No, I answered the question."
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2013: Philosophy is not Dead but Philosophers are declining in numbers, Being practical is what making people attracted toward Scientific methods.
  • thumb
    Sep 25 2013: I don't believe that philosophy is dead or will die in the future just because of science. I believe that science and philosophy goes together. Philosophy comes first before scientific thought. When we ponder something we tend to seek more, we tend to seek proof if what we have ponder is connected with reality, we find solution to problem and that's where scientific thoughts will enter.
    • Sep 27 2013: Science begins with noticing the world around you exists. So does philosophy. Neither comes before the other. It is not possible to do one without the other. Science without philosophy is empty measurement. Philosophy without science is intellectual wanking.