TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 22 2013: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy

    "Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument."

    Dead? No! Among other places, I think philosophy lives TED conversations. However, I have seen many philosophical discussions where the author starts out so esoteric that his arguments are not easily understood by non-philosophers. These authors drift away from rational arguments by obfuscating the material. Consequently, what they know about philosophy is lost because of what they do not understand about communication.

    Another odd characteristic of philosophical posts is that challenges to the validity of arguments is often taken as an attack on personal beliefs and met with emotion responses or personal attacks. True philosophers would welcome such discussion. From the wiki definition "Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument". I think this type of approach to things would still appeal to audiences today.

    'Pragmatic scientific discourse' may not have the intellectual appeal of philosophical arguments to those outside a particular field of study, but scientists do tend to have the capability of defending their arguments based on the truth as they understand it. Scientists generally also try and follow a systematic approach, use rational arguments and logical extensions from what is known to go about establishing order from chaos.

    Pondering is fine, but it seems like the end goal should be to put forward something that organizes thoughts and builds a case for a certain way of thinking. I am not sure some philosophers just don't enjoy continually reveling in the chaos, with no direction.
    • Sep 22 2013: Any good philosopher has respect for science, since all major sciences were birthed from philosophy. i.e. the philosophy of empiricism CAME right out of the philosophical schools of thought.

      So science owed a huge debt to philosophy, philosophy is nothing more as socrates put it 'the love of wisdom' so anyone who shuns science then isn't really any philosopher to take seriously but just a sophist, since anyone can say they are a 'philosopher' but that doesn't really mean anything.

      You should always just look for quality people, whatever label they use to describe themselves is irrelevant. It's always about the quality of their thinking.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.