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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?

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    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:>)
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    Sep 23 2013: As long as there is a mind that asks a question, no.
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      Sep 23 2013: It is wonderful to see the return of that thoughtful Monkey!
  • Oct 17 2013: Is Philosophy dead?... No, it's just be reduced to 140 characters.
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      Gord G

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      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. :-)
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    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.

    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...
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        Gord G

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        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.
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    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?
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        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.
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      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.
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      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??????
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    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).
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    Oct 20 2013: It lies with rock 'n roll among the old souls... :)
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      Gord G

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      Oct 20 2013: ...the poetry of purpose. :-)
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    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.
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    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:
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    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.
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      Oct 3 2013: 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
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    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.
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      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:>)
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        Gord G

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        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?
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          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?
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        Gord G

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        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.
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          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?
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        Gord G

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        Oct 2 2013: I found it here...,5753,-1859,00.html

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

        And here...

        But I haven't found a context for the quote.
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          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.
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          Oct 2 2013: LOL - update!
          May NOT have been Eldridge Cleaver.....

          I can't seem to transfer the 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."
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        Gord G

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        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."
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          Oct 3 2013: Oh my 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?
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      Gord G

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      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".
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          Gord G

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          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.
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    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.
  • 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.
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      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
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      Gord G

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      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.
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          Gord G

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          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. :-))
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    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.
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    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.
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    Oct 10 2013: philosophers die but philosophy lives on
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Sep 28 2013: Are you asking this question because of what Stephen Hawking recently said?
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      Gord G

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      Sep 28 2013: No. It started with Baudrillard, regressed to Nietzsche, then twigged a memory of my first comment to a TED talk by Damon Horowitz. It then incubated while working on a writing project, and sprung to life after my third glass of cabernet sauvignon.

      At least that's what I recall.
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    Sep 28 2013: Short answer...."No, I answered the question."
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    Sep 27 2013: Philosophy is not Dead but Philosophers are declining in numbers, Being practical is what making people attracted toward Scientific methods.
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    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.
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    Sep 25 2013: No ! it is not and never be...

    The reason behind Philosophy is the 'Mysteries' and our curiosity to know to reveal these mysteries. I am sure neither mysteries gonna reveal it self nor we humans gonna find out. Thus Philosophy will always be alive. :)
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    Sep 22 2013: Nope, not until humans go extinct....
    But we won't have to wait too long.... as human extinction is just around the corner...
    Stay tuned..
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      Sep 23 2013: Is philosophy dependent upon humans in order to be alive?
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    Sep 22 2013: "Philosophy: n. The search for understanding of values and reality using chiefly speculative rather than observational means." Using this definition (which makes a clear distinction between the Scientific Method and Thought) I argue that thought itself depends upon Philosophy. If Philosophy is dead, so is imagination, so is curiosity, so is activity itself. Philosophy is alive and well in the active minds of Mankind. QUOTE: "Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity."--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, 1919.
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      Sep 23 2013: At the risk of going up against a giant in philosophy, I take issue with Wittgenstein. I think philosophy is the activity of advancing the living body of doctrine of philosophy. Such body of doctrine is shared among those practicing philosophy.
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        Sep 23 2013: I think Ludwig was saying Philosophy does not consist SOLELY of a body of doctrine, but as active, ongoing application in life of that doctrine. He certainly did not deny that doctrine is an essential component of philosophy.
    • Sep 25 2013: The definition you cite is just plain kooky. The ancients certainly did not exclude observational means from their philosophy. Why should we?
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        Sep 25 2013: The definition does not say "exclusively". It says "chiefly". If phenomena can be observed then it should be subjected to the Scientific Method. But if the search cannot continue without speculation then let the Scientists abandon and the Philosophers will trudge on in search of Truth and understanding. Does that sound "kooky" to you, Bryan? Thanks.
        • Sep 25 2013: The scientific method is a philosophical method. Empiricism is a school of philosophy. Excluding philosophy to the realms of "speculation" sells philosophy short. Likewise, scientists speculate all the time--the terms "brainstorming" or "hypothesis generation" are used, but it's still speculation.
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        Sep 25 2013: Speculation serves only as a stepping stone to experimentation in the Scientific Method. No mature, proper Science is based upon speculation alone. (Yes, that means quantum theory is not mature, proper Science). You may accept the revision of the Scientific Method to accommodate QT, but I do not. I say QT should accommodate the Scientific Method, or it should be called Philosophy, not Science. By the way you are wrong to say I propose "excluding Philosophy to the realms of speculation". Did you read my previous response to you?
        • Sep 25 2013: Speculation without any attempt at application is nothing better than a momentary amusement.
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        Sep 25 2013: I agree. Where did the idea of "Speculation without any attempt at application" come from? I know I didn't say it because I don't believe Philosophy precludes application, rather it seeks it.
  • Sep 22 2013: Before we had the word "science" the people who did the same work and studies as modern scientists were called "natural philosophers". Scientists do ponder about their findings. They find one thing, and another, then ponder on what new conclusions they can come to after learning their current conclusions, and develop a theory. If finding A is true, and finding B is true, then what is the logical C theory, based on A and B?
  • Oct 21 2013: Philosophy can never die as long as we humans think..... as long we humans exist.... When humanity perishes, so will Philosophy.
    "I think therefore I am."
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    Gord G

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    Oct 21 2013: Apparently the heart of philosophy is still beating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone.
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    Oct 21 2013: Hi Gord,

    I read somewhere last century that philosophy had been replaced by semantics .. and that ended up as neuro-linguistic-programming ..

    So now it's sort of like Frank Zappa saying "jazz is not dead - it just smells funny."

    These days, my take is this:

    Science cannot replace philosophy, because philosophy sets the pioneering framework over which science can progress.

    Philosophy asks the questions - no questions - no science, and no sense of time .. and no desire to be alive.

    Very subjective stuff.

    But here we all are - each a subject.

    I really can't say with any kind of authority - this all might change. We might all start being objects.
    But I don't think so ;)
  • Oct 21 2013: "Life is a fried calamari." ........... Philosophy is alive and well.
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    Oct 21 2013: There are three fields on the earth Economic and Sociology and Philosophy. These fields can't die until human is present on earth. Only these field can change their nature.
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    Oct 20 2013: science is a guesstimate...
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    Oct 20 2013: philosophy is a matter of opinion...
  • Oct 20 2013: Science has gone beyond philosophy. With the very very small to the ever so distant. What need does quantum mechanics have for philosophy. Once we left the realm of the macroscopic what needed is there for philosophy in science?
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      Oct 20 2013: Ha. When has science passed up philosophy in moral? When has science passed up philosophy in controlling of one's appetite for good means to an end? Science only provides proof of what is true or not true. It is a tool for philosophy.
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    Oct 19 2013: Philosophy has branched out into different categories. Physics, biology, psychology...
    The branch that got to keep the name focuses on the study of litterature, Dostoievski mostly.
  • Oct 17 2013: Before answering that we must establish what Philosophy means to us. Everyone has detailed that, more or less, so I will state what it means to me. The Greek words Philos and Sophia mean Love for Wisdom and that's what it means to me too. Now, with every question that is posed there may or may not be an answer but the human mind will nonetheless seek out an answer, be it right or wrong. With every answer that we find, there are 20 other questions that form. A well-known modern philosopher (forgot his name) said when he was a kid he dreamed that he would grow to be knowledgable by learning all that there is in the world. On his deathbed he said he only has more questions than he did on that day as a kid. So for me, philosophy can be utilized to eradicate ignorance as Socrates once did by questioning piety. But the Greeks studied in Kemetic (Ancient Egypt) universities and that culture blended philosophy, science and spirituality. So once you find your own truth, be it grand or not, there is no need to question. I enjoy learning and seeking wisdom but to me, philosophy is dead because I have found my truth and all that is to be gained now is the joy of experience. Logic and reason limits the experience by attempting to be rational. Be wild, be free. There is no need to think because all which is true is engrained in your being, your consciousness, your nature.
  • Oct 17 2013: Philosophy, the art of questioning reality. Nowadays people only accept information they think they need and applies to their lives and dismiss any other form of general knowledge. You don't know what you miss out if you don't know what you're missing out exists. Without knowledge of a world outside of their own, people simply accept their reality and function within its safe confines.

    We're all philosophers, we all have questions about life and the possibility for change within life, most of us are just too scared to ask questions out loud in fear of embarrassing ourselves. You don't need to go to school and earn a degree to earn the title of a philosopher. All you need is a functional brain, a curious mind, and a decent vocabulary to express your thoughts. Why think about the war in Syria and its possible repercussions on your life when you have to go catch up on your favorite episodes?
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    Oct 17 2013: Thanks for raising the question, Gord. I think philosophy is dying because people don't talk to each other. They talk at each other. If ever there is engagement, it is to disabuse the other of his wrongness. It's as if it is taboo to doubt in public. Philosophy concerns questioning, not answering. Science, someone said below, is all we need because it gives us more to consume. Philosophy helps us give things away. Where's the cash in that? It's time for those of us who still believe in philosophy to stop wondering whether it exists and prove that it exists by resisting the current trend. Not by arguing against it, but acting against it. Where there are answers, inundate the field with questions. This takes thought and consideration and willingness to make mistakes, even seem an abject fool, because those who fear, denigrate, and marginalize philosophy like to think of themselves as the caretakers of the mind's highest truth; and they have all the tools on their side to mesmerize everybody with simplistic ideas supported by massive amounts of intricate technical information. Against that, reflection and serious thought feel like a fast in the desert. How do you argue the value of a poem? You can't argue it exactly, but you can try to cajole people into its field. Notice these kinds of efforts and support them, or try it yourself. I really don't think the enemies of philosophy are the zombies their rhetoric makes them sound like. They just are, in this department, inattentive and sloppy, because all their attention is on technicalities, which of course can be very captivating and beautiful. I'd say the only way out of it is through it, in a sense, in the vortex of that obsession is the very escape from it. In doubting and questioning, one can't be too obsessive, obsessiveness is the technical science game. Never say a thing that is not absolutely airtight right or wrong. It is to be a child without any rebellious impulses.
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    Oct 13 2013: It's not dead yet, but soon. It will die with the extinction of humans..... which is closer than we think....
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        Oct 17 2013: "Enlightenment isn't about imaging figures of light, but about making the darkness conscious". Jung

        Vivid, so bring forth your solutions and don't be a meaningless Pollyanna. Real solutions in real communities with real people please that address all the threats of extinction. If you can....
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      Oct 19 2013: Hi Craig,
      By "extinction of humans" do you mean we will all suddenly evolve such that we will start behaving like the higher beings of consciousness that we actually are, thereby making the current level of humans a historical memory like Neanderthal man? Or extinction of some other sort?
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    Oct 13 2013: Some people have to experience things for themselves and some just cant see the truth .
  • Oct 13 2013: Prominent science writers such as Atkins and Hawking claim it is but this says more about their ignorance of philosophy (and philosophical aspects of their own thinking) than it does about the contemporary status and health of philosophy. A discussion of this very question can be found here in this article "What Have the Philosophers Ever Done For Us?
  • Oct 13 2013: Indeed,as a student,I always thought that philosophy was essential to appraise the world,to think twice before acting or reaching a conclusion,to calmly address personal and social,political or economic problems....Then,one day ,my enthusiasm was dampened as I stumbled upon an article by French thinker Jean Francois REVEL.He explained that philosophy arose from men s desire to make sense of the world without resorting to religion.Some early thinkers,notably Thales and Herodotus,had a passion for observing nature,and founded philosophy on the rejection of myth......For the next two millenia,philosophers oscillated between two conceptions of knowledge: One emphasizing concrete observation and the other,general theories of a deeper reality................................................................................................This,REVEL argues,changed with the birth of modern science! Philosophers then faced a difficult choice..1)..Focus on their core metaphysical activities and drift towards brainy triviality...2)...Embrace empiricism which was tantamount to winding up the business.REVEL used to teach philosophy and the book marked the end of philosophy for him .................................As for me,I resigned myself to reconsider what philosophy could encompass and given the huge number of possible answers I knew that I would have to be patient!
  • Oct 13 2013: I believe, as many other posters have said, that philosophy will never die as long as humans are alive. Philosophy asks many questions which science is just unable to provide an answer to. For example; in metaphysics (where do we go after we die?); ethics (how should a member of society behave?); aesthetics (what is beauty, and why do we perceive it?) or politics (how should our societies be structured?); and probably many more I can't think of right now.

    However, philosophy has lost ground to science in some issues. It would pretty much be a silly thing now for a philosopher to ponder how the world, nature or our bodies work. And sadly, these were once philosophy's greatest and most fundamental questions: what lies out there in space? how did the universe come into being? what is the world made of? why do we catch diseases, and how can we be cured? Science has managed to make us understand our world, and based on empirical evidence - not just on rational (unprovable) conjectures.

    In summary, philosophy is not and will never be dead. But from a pragmatic point of view, it completely lacks the usefulness of scientific investigation. Philosophy just can't give you a definite answer to anything. Mind you, scientific discoveries are fallible, yes. Yet those theories which stand firm for a long time and seem able to predict our reality accurately, are the best humans can get to a definite answer. Anyhow, asking yourself philosophical questions is part of our nature. And to me, that makes philosophy worthwhile - it makes me feel human.
    • Oct 16 2013: You start with a bang by asserting that philosophy will never die!.....But to die,it must exist .Is there such a thing as philosophy?............I contend that philosophy is nothing more than the brain at work to guide and protect the human being.It thinks ,analyses,ponders,arbitrates among several courses of action,sorts out information provided by past expériences and the five senses......You remark that science is unable to answer metaphysical conundrums but metaphysics can t do any better.While philosophers keep blabbing on for hours about such mysteries as how could the universe emerge from nothing,what is the meaning of life,will the big bang be followed by a big Crunch and other niceties of the same calibre,science is forging ahead exponentially providing better lifestyle ,more consumption,more spare time to cultivate the mind,more values,to make salient discoveries,to reduce working time enabling men to engage in varied pursuits.To conclude ,I d say that science and only science ,from the cave men to the Greeks ,to our present day
      • Oct 19 2013: Yes, I admitted that philosophy is not useful to acquire new knowledge. As you expressed, it is about putting your brain to work.

        But while it can do no better than science, who will consider metaphysical questions, if not philosophy? As of now, it seems that science can't have an answer to everything. And as long as those questions keep coming up, humans are in their full right to ponder and analyze those issues. In other words, they are free to philosophize.

        Let me remind you that in spite of opposite evidence, there are still many religious people who follow their own philosophies. I'm not saying science is deceptive or anything, but like it or not science can't and will probably never resolve humanity's fundamental "conundrums". If we had all the answers, then there would be no more religion, or any kind of philosophy for that matter.
  • Oct 12 2013: the synonym of philosophy in arabic language is wisdome- if philosophy dead its mean that wise people are dead,if we claim that,then who controle the world??????
    i believe that your question is nt a new one immanuel kant had asked the same question before i believe that philosphy alive inside evry one of us & evry one is a philosopher .
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    Oct 8 2013: NO SIR.
  • Oct 6 2013: Teapots are sometimes visible and invisible. My wife sometimes is also invisible, Does it mean I then cannot prove or disprove she exist? As far as I am informed even Russel himself did take distance from his flying teapot. Then, when most philosophers talk about proving or disproving God they always have the premise or starting point of reasoning God has to be proved in a material way. In other words: when 'God' is not to experience by our senses we cannot know if 'God' exists.
  • Oct 6 2013: There are a lot of questions at topic in philosophy. To take some of the most important: What is reality, what is truth? What is thought, what is mind? What is the role of the human being in universe? I can think of every person being a philosopher but it takes some action, some special action for that person. A thinking human is by definition not a philosopher, allthough everything a thinking person thinks could be science. This way it has beeen science the earth was considered to be flat and some people thinking humans are some lost alliens from some far away planet and other people thinking humans are the outcome of ape evolution. Philosophy however is a search for the atmost truth, not a personal truth, but 'The Truth' When we consider philosophy is dead this means the real surch of Philosophy is dead. I think in the mainstream it is dead wich means : there is no real searching going on in the mainstream philosophy, most philosophers are lost in rationel illusions.
  • Oct 6 2013: Philosophy is science and science still is philosophy.What we dont understand is that the modern science we pride ourselves with because of its credibility and its wide range of applicability is nothing but an extension of philosophy.
    I dont believe that philosophers are people with white flowing beards who sip tea and play chess and occassionaly stare at the sky.Every person is a philosopher and his philosophy is his 'science',which has been tested an applied in his realm of as long as sane human beings exist and they think,philosophy will live on.
  • Oct 6 2013: Science and philosophy both can give knowledge and so awareness. So they are not in contradiction with eachother. Science however mainly turns it focus, if not all, to material matter where philosophy is , I would say: one level up. The problem with philosophy is that there have been many philosophical statements that provide illusions of thruth - about reality. Kant, by example, made the big mistake to build a philosophy on certain dogmatic assertions wich he made at the very outset of his philosophy. And in modern times people very much like to repeat the flying teapot of Russel, wich was a bad example to proove we can not know God exists. To compare the question of existence or non- existence of God by using an example of a teapot, - of wich we know they exist - flying - of wich we know it exists - in circles - of wich we know they exist - around the sun, - of wich we know it exist - is no question of dealing with the existence of something but dealing with the location of something ( of wich we know it exist - the teapot ) Then we have this famous premise of Descartes that we think proved his existence and which many consider the basis for modern philosophy. I am sorry but this is dead wrong. At the moment 'I Think' I am not there in thinking but loosing my self in real thinking. As long as I stay with my self I cannot realy enter that other where I like to become aware of. With all these false statements one should not wonder why philosophy, in the mainstream, is dead.
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      Oct 6 2013: I thought the invisible flying teapot example is to illustrate that just because you can not disprove gods or invisible teapots, it's not a compelling argument.

      Don't know how many times I have been not being able to disprove an invisible god or goddess is an argument in favour of this belief, you also can't disprove invisible teapots, fairies responsible for gravity, ghosts,Zeus, unicorns etc.
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    Oct 5 2013: I strongly believe that science and philosophy are not contradictory. Philosophy is by no means disappearing. I think it is simply taking a new form. Philosophy comes from the greek words φίλος (philos)+ σοφία (sofia) and means "likeness of wisdom". I think that no matter by which means we are examining the world (scientific or philosophical) we are interested in discovering the wisdom in it. To me, Science is a form of Philosophy and Philosophy is a form of Science.
  • Oct 5 2013: Looking at the question I would say: To some people philosophy is dead, to other people it is not. Philosophy is something people create. When there would be no philosophers there would actually be no philosophy. Then we could merely report that one time there has been philosophy. So philosophy exist when its done. To an individual philosophy does exist in reality when he or she is philosophing. This happens as a mental reaction to an experience where this experience is questioned with the desire to become more aware by questioning it. - Out of this we can also question the 'philosophy' of 'philosophers', since their 'philosophy' can also be an experience - Becoming more aware is attributing to the value an individual can have as a human. A value not only for him or her self but also to the world. Science is questioning the given material world to get and have more awareness of this material world. Philosophy is questioning the questioning of the world to see where it does or does not contribute to the value of being a human in this world. (?)
  • Oct 5 2013: Bryan Maloney,you are a very limited individual. You should continue to repeat what you read verbatim. Otherwise the truth in someone else's thought will be truly obscure as you try to comprehend the world around you.
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    Oct 3 2013: Hello Gord,
    I think that maybe you have a questionable assumption in your introduction. You state that philosophers & theologians are off in a corner somewhere "... while the scientific community is haphazardly reinventing our reality". I would count the scientific community as playing chess along with the philosophers and theologians.

    So who reinvents our reality then? Answer: the engineers, construction- and factory-workers. Why? Because they actually build the technology that makes the changes, not the scientific community. The scientists can pontificate all they like along with the philosophers and theologians, but it is actually miners who dig out the raw material, engineers who process it and builders who build it who actually change the technological environment which we then perceive as our new reality.

    It is assumed that technology is "merely" applied science., ie: all the interesting philosophical questions about technology are answered in the subject of philosophy of science. Wrong! Why? Because science is effectively theoretical technology. Technology is primary over science. If a dog gets run over by a car, it is killed by a piece of technology, not by the science of vector forces.

    Science is in fact just another philosophical world-view; indeed it is more than that - science is just another cult-religion with its high priests/shamans and manipulators of meaning, its rituals to gain favour for funding research, its dogmatic articles-of-faith in how things work (even though they are regularly proved incorrect), and its labeling of certain groups as heretics because they have dared to question the rule of science- especially in the fields of medicine and food production.

    To answer your question: Scientific 'truths' are here today, gone tomorrow; they prove nothing except they are transient. Which leaves philosophy still to keep the world alive and open and pondering the mysteries of life - that's if technology doesn't kill us all off first!
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    Oct 3 2013: I suggest science can inform philosophy.
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    Oct 3 2013: All my pleasure, Coleen :)
    To see your ideas in comments is the possibility to discover new world :)
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      Oct 3 2013: Dear, kind is my pleasure as well:>)

      I believe that we (humans) are all here on this earth to help encourage and support each other in our life journey...we are all teachers and students in the life is one of my life philosophies, which I enjoy practicing:>)
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        Oct 4 2013: Great words! Jorney, practice, philosophy structure - all`s together. Agree! :)
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    Oct 3 2013: It's just too many new things confuse them, but philosophy will never die. As a person with a mind will always keen on finding himself and his world.

    "Philosophy is dead" is what Hawking said. He means that nowadays physics has already come into some area which previously belonged to philosophy.
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    Oct 2 2013: Colleen Steen, I learnt Eastern and Western philosophy and also several neuroscience etc researchs. All things based on words instead of core experience represents in a particular part of human brain which could be far from life experience. I read in paleopsychology and phisiology that second signal system suppresses the first signal system. It means word-based part of human brain may work rather aside from reality generating self-sufficient constructions.

    Eastern philosophy made ensurance from it by 2 ways: meditations and statement that everything codes by words is just a finger points to Moon but not Moon itself. Western philosohly as I know it has not such ensurence.

    That`s why I suspect several ideas seems complicated in words is just uncorrect constructed and may be clearly illustrated by images and others tools. Language is an obstacle sometimes. It needs to be corrected by another tools ans so be more flexible.
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      Oct 2 2013: Thanks Anna,
      Language can indeed be an obstacle to understanding at times....I agree with that idea!

      I assume this is a response to my question..."Are you saying that we sometimes do not understand or apply the ideas generated with philosophizing?"

      Are you aware of the feature which allows us to answer directly to a comment, rather than going to the top of the page? See the little red "reply" in the right top corner of the comment? It keeps the comments in sequence:>)
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        Oct 2 2013: Thank you for understanding, Colleen,
        yes it was the answer. I founded uncorrect to say just "yes" or "no" so I hope the explanation shows the meaning.
        May be it is good to consern the issue closes to your question: In case we do understand and apply the ideas of philosophizing, is it ecological to real life or not? Ecological thinking in strategic mode with system understanding.

        That way it`s possible to found a brunch of philosophy better die then alive although some people understand it and even apply to real life.
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          Oct 3 2013: Thank you too is enjoyable to exchange ideas with you:>)

          I notice that you applied the philosophy regarding the "reply" feature.....well done my friend:>)
    • Oct 3 2013: "The map is not the territory." You are familiar with Afred Korzybski? But let us go further back than this. Likewise, Kant and Hegel would certainly have stated that a symbol is not the object symbolized. Western philosophy has long recognized this--indeed, it recognizes this so strongly that it sees no need to point it out.
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        Oct 4 2013: Unfortunately such things recognized once isn`t enough. Philosophy based on words only tends to bejust a map without any territory at all, being a self sufficient thing like computer games. Being inside a good rendered computer world people recognized it as a special kind of territory, not a map, the far from real life is the best... Good for films like "Avatar" (however it has simple human philosophy).

        It could be an indicator of philosophy: when people starts to make new maps with whole enthusiasm, playing with words, but without practice, it could be a game with mapping so philosophy comes to be artificial and probably dead.

        We told about philosophy generally.
        • Oct 5 2013: In the West, the tendency is called "ivory tower". The problem has been known for a long time, and philosophers like Bentham, Wittgenstein (later), Pierce, and Moore. However, while influential, they are not the dominant trend among professional academic philosophy faculty.
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    Oct 2 2013: It was reference to "One hand Scientists are saying "It's all in your head"" by Derick Collins as an example.
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    Oct 2 2013: In a world of insecurity, there is no room for philosophy, because it is crowded with fear. The philosophical discourse can only be entertained by a mind that is free; the neurotic will seek security in established paradigms.
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    Oct 2 2013: May be it is time to pure philosophy from difficult words which makes separation. The core of philosophy can`t die because it`s the core of life. But it covers by too much things mentally never concerns to reality and so it lost power.

    Power of life is a criteria to separate living creatures from dead corpses and the same to philosophy.
    Also philosophy operates with uncorrect language sometimes. I don`t mean special languages like sanskrit, it`s terms. But in modern life we have everyday intuitively understandable examples from our technology like internet. It should be used to describe internal processes better then tens and hundreds old style descriptions.

    Philosophy have a chance to be the real base of life if it will enter to that life in clothes our life could recognize.
    • Oct 2 2013: Given that academic philosophy is practiced primarily by old men who likely sought out the career in part because of distaste for technology, this will not happen for a long time.

      That being said, Wittgenstein's work is very good to read in regard to the "problem" of philosophy in the present day.

      "That fellow isn't insane, we are merely doing philosophy."
      "Dont, for heaven's sake, be afraid of talking nonsense! But you must pay attention to your nonsense."
      "A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes."
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      Oct 2 2013: Anna,
      I think I agree:>)

      You say..."philosophy operates with uncorrect language sometimes"..."Philosophy have a chance to be the real base of life if it will enter to that life in clothes our life could recognize."

      Are you saying that we sometimes do not understand or apply the ideas generated with philosophizing?
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    Gord G

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    Oct 2 2013: Thank you everyone for your well considered responses. I find it very interesting that almost everyone has stated they don't believe philosophy is dead (though some hint it may be wounded).

    Hopefully I don't sound glib but ....

    If it's not dead...has it suffered the fate of the elderly? Has it been deemed irrelevant?

    As expressed by many, it's certainly relevant to everyday discourse, but is it relevant as a compass for scientific exploration? I often fear the myopic advancement of utility and commerce has stripped philosophy of relevance.

    The majority of philosophical debate appears to lack the momentum of the physical sciences. I would also be so bold as to say it has been relegated to a position of rationalizing decisions made in the natural sciences.

    I ask this because I feel philosophy is unquestionably an important aspect of our future happiness. Yet utility seems to govern political hubris in a world of entitlement.
    • Oct 2 2013: Give the man a prize! He has won the game! Yes, philosophy as such, if one limits "philosophy" to "What is done by people who go around in an academic setting saying they are doing philosophy." has been relegated to irrelevance, and it has done it to itself with its ever-more obsessive navel gazing.

      For a time, I corresponded with some "philosophers" (academics with degrees and actively working on or having professional publications in a field that calls itself "philosophy"). I did so because they purported to be specializing in a philosophy of biology. Okay, I figured, it could help me. I was astonished at how fundamentally ignorant these professional "philosophers of biology" were of biology. Not only was their knowledge of the majority of the field restricted to nothing better than what could be had in a few undergraduate "biology for non-majors" courses and the popular press, they had absolutely no idea at all of how biologists do their work on a daily basis! And these were the people who had appointed themselves to develop a "philosophy of biology". While all were familiar with Dr. Popper--a physicist, only some were familiar with Dr. Mair, a biologist. I watched them wrangle for weeks over how biologists would answer a question. I told them that, from the point of view of a working biologist, the question was a non-starter. If their hypothetical "swamp man" was biologically and behaviorally indistinguishable from a "real" human, then as far as biologists were concerned, if you didn't have actual evidence of his thoroughly unique and unusual origin, he WAS a real human, or he would be so close to human that it was not an issue for biologists to decide. This was an actual revelation to them.
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      Oct 2 2013: Gord and Bryan,
      I agree that in some respects philosophy seems irrelevant. Do you suppose it is because we have in some ways separated the practice of philosophy/philosophizing from reality? Your story of the "philosophy of biology" seems to reinforce this idea Bryan. In other words, we (humans) are doing a lot of philosophizing, and failing to apply what we learn, ignoring what we may learn, and/or separating the philosophies in such a way that it is not relevant to reality?
      • Oct 3 2013: In the 20th century, natural science as such completed its secession from natural philosophy. Philosophy faculty were faced with either the prospect of having to learn the methods and information of various sciences or separate themselves from the sciences. As more pursuits adopted a scientific method of some sort or other, the philosophical aspects voluntarily ghettoized themselves, perhaps in a misbegotten attempt to seek "purity", unsullied by the hurly-burly of measurements that might be imperfect or models that might only fit more-or-less but were good enough to try out for now.

        So, philosophy divorced itself from reality. It created puzzles to which there might not be any possibility of solution and then convinced itself that its fiction-based puzzles were better representations of reality than the "incomplete" observations of science. By this time, science had left "philosophy" (actually, mostly a sad and weak parody of philosophy) behind. This is unfortunate, because robust philosophy that is willing to incorporate modern knowledge could do a great deal of good and prevent things like Simplified and Dumbed-Down Nietszche for Morons (aka "Objectivism") from being such a widespread infection.
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          Oct 3 2013: Thanks I said....I agree with the ideas as they were developing on the thread:>)
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    Oct 1 2013: Without the telescope, without the microscope and before the discovery of micro reasons for untimely death, philosophers had a lot of thinking and explaining to do, but they had so much personal latitude.

    I think the 20th century's discoveries dumped a whole load of new information into the mix and more is still coming--it's overwhelming. It's difficult to sketch a system with so many moving and changing parts. For the same reasons, we don't have definitive economic manifestos anymore, nor monotheistic domination, nor descriptions of family, nor typical life plans.

    I'm not sure why scientists can't be philosophers too--is that what you mean? I think they are an integral part of the team. This journey is getting hectic, and I think we are in the craziest period of change ever. Philosophy isn't dead, it's just been knocked on its a$$ for the time being.

    I also think that philosophy was "easier" (?) in homogenous societies where generalizing was easier. They run the risk of getting it wrong for quite a lot of weirdos now. lol
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      Gord G

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      Oct 2 2013: "They run the risk of getting it wrong for quite a lot of weirdos now"

      Weirdos have always existed. They populate the distant regions of the perceived norm. The label has always been a form of control. I think some people fear the aspects of their psyche that they have pushed aside in favour of conformity and a comfortable life.

      It's not that they fear deviation. It's that they're afraid to consider it.
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        Oct 2 2013: I wonder if there has been a philosophy about pluralism? The invention of America and personal freedom might have been the last philosophizing society has done at a high level on respecting the right to be an individual. It's been a 250 year struggle to actually enact.

        Today I watched this famous Frontline documentary on how easily outliers get the shaft

        I also recently learned that Thomas Jefferson was like, only 32 when he founded a country based on respecting every last individual. But that he was a slave master himself etc. probably set the wrong tone.
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          Oct 2 2013: Good point Genevieve! Most of the men who signed the documents which said all men are free, owned hundreds of slaves, and at that time, wives were legally considered property of the husband. The philosophy seemed to be good...all men are free... but they didn't put it into practice. What is philosophy without applying it to the life experience?

          "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice".
          I totally agree with this quote by Ernest Holms - "The Science of Mind"
  • Sep 30 2013: Before we had the word "science" the people who did the same work and studies as modern scientists were called "natural philosophers". Scientists do ponder about their findings. They find one thing, and another, then ponder on what new conclusions they can come to after learning their current conclusions, and develop a theory. If finding A is true, and finding B is true, then what is the logical C theory, based on A and B?
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    Sep 30 2013: Philosophy is alive but paralysed. But the idea that one has to keep askings questions whose answers are "there are no answers"; this is a burden that is boring for the 21st century mind.
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    Sep 30 2013: Philosophy is alive but paralysed. But the idea that one has to keep askings questions whose answers are "there are no answers"; this is a burden that is boring for the 21st century mind.
  • Sep 30 2013: At first glance I thought it would be important to define modern science. I suppose simply quantifying publications would allow us to speak to specifics - albeit generally. What part does philosophy play in publications? I should think a large part. Quite simply put, can you have science without philosophy? Or more directly - can a proof ever really be proven? That's a bit circular. I think the real problem is consumption. Most people don't think abstractly or theoretically. It's easier to consume publications - that way we accept not knowing everything. This also helps us to "move forward". It's important to consider the role education plays. One does not learn to think philosophically, but we must learn to think in terms of modern science.

    my 2¢
    • Oct 2 2013: First, in science, there is no such thing as "a proof" in the mathematical sense. In science, there is only "failure to reject the null hypothesis" (frequentist) or "support for the hypothesis at a level of X" (Bayesian), or some mixture, but never proof. It is always a matter of "It fits for now, more more than less, for the moment."
      • Oct 2 2013: I'm not sure that physics would be very valuable without mathematics. I think science is normally regarded as a method to obtain knowledge. I'm sure that in a specific context that statement makes sense to you.
        • Oct 3 2013: I did not say that physics should not use mathematics. I said that mathematical "proof" is not valid to apply to the sciences, since the sciences are ultimately based on empirical evidence. The closest that one can get is a "prediction" based on logical application of current theory. But this is still not "proof". It still needs to be tested by measurement, and no measurement is 100% infallible, thus, "proof" cannot be attained in the sciences. What physics have you done, professionally? I'd love to see your papers.
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    Sep 30 2013: Thanks Colleen! I love your philosophy too, so true, especially in these difficult times.
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      Sep 30 2013: Thanks Tess:>)
      A little tip to keep comments in sequence.....You can reply directly to a comment rather than going back to the top of the page. See the little red "reply" in the upper right corner of my comment? Try it:>)
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    R H

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    Sep 30 2013: God I hope not. (no pun intended)
  • Sep 30 2013: Hypertheticall. If you were a scientist and learned that genetically we are all programmed to see the world differently and therefore it was pointless and probably erroneosto offer your opinion, should you do it?
    What if this fact alone is worth propogating?
    What if you have found a way in which nearly every single human could benefit simply by changing their individual interlectual objectives. Should you tell? Should you only tell if asked?
    A well known philosopher thinks you have an obligation to spread the word. I am still not sure but if you are familiar with what the word philosophy meansI can assure you that it is definately not dead.
  • Sep 29 2013: Have you ever seen a high tide that was not followed by a low tide?
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      Gord G

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      Oct 2 2013: Hard to gauge the depth of the water when someone is sipping champagne on the deck of their yacht. ;-)
  • Sep 29 2013: Well...your philosophy in communication needs work. I had to scroll to find the context for your statements. It would seem to me that you are as contrary as the supposed scientific community. That alone leads to an uncertainty in our progress - something to "ponder". I think it is important to articulate thoughts as simply as possible. I notice that as my mind works to simplify a thought I learn more about the topic.
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      Gord G

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      Sep 30 2013: Scott - I composed the question so that it would be open to interpretation. It wasn't my intention to be abstruse or contrary. I wanted the question compelling enough for people to respond, without it being overtly opinionated. Admittedly it's a difficult line to walk.

      That said, I find the diverse view points expressed fascinating.
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    Sep 29 2013: That's not ignorance, because at times like these, modern Psychology contradicts the "Philosophy of Mind" in fact I find the notion of the "Mind" as an outdated, very overrated concept, as much as the one it succeeded, being the "Soul" not saying we can't define either, but where to begin, and does Consciousness have ANYTHING to do with it, or is this merely a nonstop, contextual, circular logic game of Semantics?

    One hand Scientists are saying "It's all in your head", however what of your Eyes? They are before your brain for a reason! How your Vision is, differs from how your "Mind" sees things, though they're both connected. However I believe Philosophy needs a very much, active revival in the classical sense, the constant fallacies made by all the greats in the past, including all these Pseudo-Intellectuals, now in modern times is unchecked, it all pretty makes all things, cit and absolutely dry, not even to mention a wild goose chase in the ultimate sense. Where is the passion, sincerity, and honesty, for the enjoying the dialogue as a conversation? It appears rhetoric, and total bias has taken over what was once the foundation for all we once revered as "sacred" on life.

    (New Atheists like Lawrence Krauss, and Sam Harris come to Mind (no pun intended), yet they dabble in neologism garbage all the time to try to one up anyone having a normal response to their philandering as if anyone who's not an expert in their fields, with an idealism challenging their own, so easy to reverse-indoctrinate as a "proper" course of action, when you're famous and have publicists, is that not the Argument From Authority from their behalf?).

    I love science, but skepticism nowadays appears to have no clear direction, of heading anywhere, well............ NOT certain of. And these people say "Think for yourself", how can anyone these days, it's nearly an impossible feat, yet I try to everyday, without losing my dignity and sanity as a human being.
    • Sep 29 2013: The eyes are, anatomically, an out-pouching of the brain. We only consider them to be "separate" for the sake of convenience.

      As for modern "skepticism", it has nothing at all to do with science, except as something to blindly worship. Most working scientists don't bother to be "skeptics"--it requires adopting too much dogma that isn't immediately useful. If they don't need to answer a question, they simply don't answer it.
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      Oct 2 2013: May be it needs to put all information, statesments etc in right context. When Science tell "Everything is in our heads" it meanshow our brain works. When Philosophy tell the same it means "You can change the world by own changes" or thousands another things, depends of the purpose and spmetimes on speaker. It is not a contrarities but different contexts reflects different levels of life and different purposes too.
      • Oct 2 2013: Science doesn't say "Everything is in our heads."
  • Sep 29 2013: Philosophy is very much alive. It is true some branches have cooled into stunning artifacts, glimmering accross the ages. However, its evolution did not end with the death of the Truth, rather Lady truth's rivers diverged into two fruitful and active disiplines.
    Metaphysics gave birth to the skeptics, no wonder she has been silent. The skeptics acted to create a diverge, a gourge if you will endulge the analogy. One the one side, Kant carved into the very essence of the world and made room for the natural philosophies to flurish. On the other side, Neitzsche decried the truth, that the god of Truth had died.
    Kant may have tried to contribute to the moral fibers of the world, and it is undeniable that many ethicists value his analysis as a sacred logic of undeniable wisdom, but his real contribution was making the case for what became the scientific method. He postulated the necessity of probabilistic understandings of the world as it will probably functionally work. He made room for the American Pragmatic to disregard any higher meaning or truth and to embrace the cold calculated functionalism which is rampant today.
    On the other side Nietzsche advanced the realm of philosophy into the realm of the individual. He made room for existentialism, for the exploration of living a life for the sake of experiencing the divine dance. It was this vein of thought that furthers even today our understanding of personal responsibility to have a fulfilling life and to treat the other with respect and dignity. The basis of modern morality may be intellectually based on the Kantian/Darwinian traditions, but is hugely influenced by the passionate love for living and the ethics of humanism which predisposed the Continental traditions.
    So dont say Philosophy is dead. She lives on in every scientific or medical breakthrough that improves your life. She lives on in the physiologist that suggest you find a higher meaning to work for. She lives in your embrace of friendship. She lives.
  • Sep 28 2013: Is philosophy dead? I don't profess to being scientifically endowed, but I also don't believe that philosophy is scientifically based either; but does it exist? Of course it does, it has existed from the dawn of intelligent life and it will exist as long as intelligent life exists. Let us ponder for awhile.
    THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY has the longest migration journey of any of its species. It migrates from North America to regions in the centre of Mexico. It's a journey of 2500 miles. The first generation dies on the journey and it is left for the following generations to complete the migration. The following generations have to complete a journey that they have never done before. Their only means of survival is their genetically coded DNA which lies dormant until the time to migrate comes near. After reaching their destination it again goes into dormant mode waiting for the next time it will be needed for the journey back.
    We all experience this dormancy when we sleep and dream. We dream of things that cannot be explained by every day experiences. Is this a dormancy that all life has inherited from over 4 billion years ago? If so then it must be as important today as it was then. The subconscious works 24/7 never stopping. It absorbs our daily experiences for an average of 16hrs a day then processes them for 8hrs while we sleep. In the greater scheme of things the subconscious part is more important than the conscious part.
    Searching for the meaning of life will always be there to tempt us and keep philosophy ticking.
    • Sep 29 2013: Actually Science is Philosophically based. Science as you know it today, began as a field of philophy known as Natural Philosophy. Only after Kant did it really diverge, in the mind of the community, as a distinct discipline.
      • Sep 29 2013: Thank you for your reply. You are right of course, philosophy is based on science; what I was trying to say was that it is part of human erudition. Allow me to leave you with another dilemma. The DNA that allows a dormancy to act in occasions when it means a matter of life or death,(Migration.) Because all life posses a dormancy similar to that of the Monarch butterfly,(Described in my first letter,) this may mean that evolution is by a natural design and not random that science would have us believe.
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    Sep 28 2013: By this, I mean there are a variety of sates of vitality, a continuum... So what is the minimum requirement to be alive
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    Sep 28 2013: What is it to be alive?
  • Sep 28 2013: Philosophy will only die if we can answer the unanswerable questions, which will not happen because it is impossible
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    Sep 27 2013: will die if the reason dead only.
  • 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. The statement that amount 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".
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    Sep 25 2013: Your issues are with the philosophy practiced in scientific realms of academia, research, paradigm-shifting and the communal forces that guide, maintain and operate within the norms of mainstream science.

    It's like you're mad at the politics of science, and there are politics on even how to use philosophy, i.e. logic is the most important part of philosophical discourse for scientific knowledge, so most emphasis goes there, the rest of what philosophy is, get dragged behind. Along with the politics of logic, are grants, publishing and collaboration possibilities.

    It has made a long tradition that has unconsciously became a pragmatic-coherence in peer review procedures. And, hey, those men are proud of it too. Many of these same proud men revolutionized what it means to be a "freethinker" or "new age thinker." Yet, pride, does make one forget their short comings.

    I agree that philosophy is dead within major scientific-academic-societies, to an extent, but I do not agree it is dead because it is in our general thinking, to be existential, to have to start with ourselves in order to think about anything else, is normal.

    Perhaps a long the line, after years of being or having the/an official citation on the theory or research at hand... Most of those scientific minds became jaded existentially and forgot the elements of the individual are effecting the results of research and data and theory.

    Need to hope that collective consciousness thing is legit - either celestial or culture evolution.

    Philosophy isn't dead, but the lesson we can take from academia and especially science is the requirement of indexing common phrases to continue to use to exchange thoughts. For the ironic example, existentialism lexicons.... there are so many!

    There needs to be some order to the chaos, we just need to remember as a social-being we make the order with other beings in social networks.
  • Sep 25 2013: The scientific method is a philosophical method. Empiricism is a school of philosophy. Excluding philosophy to the realms of "speculation" sells philosophy short. Likewise, scientists speculate all the time--the terms "brainstorming" or "hypothesis generation" are used, but it's still speculation.
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    Sep 25 2013: Keith,

    Me thinks you have taken and drunk the cool aid.....

    Science today is the same as politics.... we have the best money can buy, pure and simple. .
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    Sep 25 2013: Mark, can I try to answer some questions?

    Interesting! May we define philosophy as attempts to reconcile material with spiritual realities?
    * Philosophy is something connected with our lives, example, languages, and value.

    What is philosophy to a person adamantly concluding there is nothing spiritual or there are no spiritual realities?
    * There is spiritual reality. Spiritual aspect can be understood as steam.

    How is philosophy useful for persons who adamantly conclude all answers might be found in science and material studies but cannot explain everything, as you say? Yes.

    Mysteries abound! Who will find the answers or the pathway to answers without philosophy? Yes.
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    Sep 24 2013: No. We relate philosophy with critical systematic approach and a reliance on rational argument ... does this still occur ... yep ... most often in the guise of addressing basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group.

    There is truth in the evident ... as a example .. History is available for us all to study and learn from. History accurately displays the cause and effect ... However as we fail to learn from History we are also indeed chasing our own tails and repeating history and tragic failures. In the past Philosophers would have asked us what did we have, how was it obtained, how was it lost what are the impacts and can it be regained if desired ....

    Just a thought ... but philosophy spans time ... we now live in a yesterday, today, and tomorrow society.

    I wish youb well. Bob.
  • Sep 23 2013: If you are prompted to think so due to what you see every day, you are seemingly right. Philosophers used to discuss their topics not only in order to understand the reality around them, but also to act and change what was wrong. Today, if somebody keeps on doing the same thing, we can't realise it because nothing effectively happens or change. However, it is argued that "Reason" is the faculty which belongs to human race and let people get thoughts and concepts raised in their mind. I am confident that this is still so and, luckily, nobody can change this condition. What governament, politicians and peoples do with the thinking, the conceptions and the results of philosophy does not absolutely depend on the strenght of the philosophy or its existence, but only on their willing to take them in consideration
  • Sep 23 2013: Philosophers are people, who admit they know nothing, but explain everything.
    Scientists are people who know everything but cannot explain anything.
    • Sep 25 2013: Interesting! May we define philosophy as attempts to reconcile material with spiritual realities?

      What is philosophy to a person adamantly concluding there is nothing spiritual or there are no spiritual realities?

      How is philosophy useful for persons who adamantly conclude all answers might be found in science and material studies but cannot explain everything, as you say?

      Mysteries abound! Who will find the answers or the pathway to answers without philosophy?
      • Sep 25 2013: Mark, I don't concern myself with spiritual things except to say I believe in God and have seen the evidence. I only believe in philosophy that is logical to me and can be explained. I have no faith or religion. I also do not believe in science that can not be proven. As far as I am concerned if there is no proof it does not exist to me.

        My original comment was meant to be joke but the more I rewrote it the more truth it took on.
        • Sep 25 2013: Therefore, the need for philosophy!
        • Sep 25 2013: No science can be "proven". All science is provisional and temporary. As I explain to collaborators: All models are ultimately wrong, but some are temporarily useful.
    • Sep 25 2013: Why spread such lies about science? Scientists certainly do not claim to know everything. Science wannabes and cheerleaders might make this claim, but scientists don't.
      • Sep 25 2013: Like I said it was originally meant to be a joke. In my own experience the scientists that I love and admire the most (Einstein, Tesla, Newton & Da Vinci) all admit they know nothing. It takes years of work and experience to discover that but without it they get nowhere.
        • Sep 25 2013: And what of the actual working, professional scientists of your direct acquaintance? What are their fields and beliefs?
      • Sep 25 2013: Bryan if you have some information you think I would benefit from, send it over. What have you published? Maybe I am missing some important discovers that you have made. Enlighten me.
        • Sep 25 2013: And what of the actual working, professional scientists of your direct acquaintance? What are their fields and beliefs? I can be found in PubMed, mostly working alongside DK Lahiri.
        • Sep 29 2013: Most of scientist I ever met are egocentric, extremely biased, and have no clue about life outside of the lab. The argument is pointless. There is no science without philosophy, same as there is no theory that cannot be disproved at some point. Empirical evidence has the value, but it cannot be systemically studied without philosophical idea. The subject of discussion is nonsense. Interestingly enough, Bayesian and classical statistics have philosophical discourse, not mathematical.
      • Sep 25 2013: Bryan Maloney I will have my professional working scientist friends check out your working professional scientist colleagues, friends, relatives and accomplices and if I find anything that interests me I will get back to you.

        I've read part of your resume and I'm happy you are doing great work with Alzheimer's which I am beginning to suffer from also but you may want to lighten up a bit, sometimes a spoon works better than a hammer. I am retired and on disability but I have been studying computers and how the brain functions since 1967. I have no degrees or interest in them and yet I have been teaching everything from children to Professors to Buddhist monks for most of my life. My interests are varied like yours and my principles based in philosophy.
        • Sep 25 2013: I will take your refusal to directly answer my direct question as a sign of fundamental ignorance on your part of how scientists actually think.
  • Sep 23 2013: I don't kno but where it dead you just revived it with this philosophical question.
  • Sep 23 2013: Everyone lives a philosophy, but not everyone talks about it.
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    Sep 23 2013: Never.
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    Sep 23 2013: By the literal definition of "philo-sophia," there is a lot of evidence that yes, the love of wisdom is dead. In several areas of life, we know better, but don't do better.
    As far as the discussion of ideas to refine our understanding - well, that's what we're doing right now, so no, philosophy is not dead. If anything, this is coming from a former philosophy major, pure left-brain person - if anything, we focus on it a little too much (the whole "logic is the best route to knowledge/wisdom/understanding" bs story). We're at a point now where simplifying is long overdue. Silence is just as important as sound, and we live in the most overstimulated era this world has yet seen. Taking a step back and giving our minds a break is becoming more and more mandatory every day.
    It's great to discuss ideas, but at the end of the day the only thing we truly need to focus on is what are we doing and why are we doing it, both as individuals and the collective. Hate to say it, but logic alone can only reveal, at BEST, 50% of what life has to offer. We need to put equal focus into the opposite side as well, if we truly are "lovers of wisdom."
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    tan vu

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    Sep 23 2013: i think perfect equality is dead, is that right? that apply for everyone
  • Sep 23 2013: Philosophy is an abstract, but reasonable, thought which may not be based purely on facts or can be used for application or production of tangible goods or services that humans could rely on in their daily life. As humans become more and more relying on complex materialistic life enjoyment, they must demand more quality/reliability in the goods or services they use. It follows that the processes of cost-efficiency, quality control and safety verification are the must for the sake of life improvement. Thus come the scientists.
    I don't see that the larger role of the "scientific community" spent on human life quality improvement has any real CONFLICT with philosophy. I wouldn't say that this trend is good for the human culture or civilization, that's just the reality of human life style change.
    I used to play chess many years ago. I remembered at one time, the former chess champion; Gary Kasparov, played one game against all world chess players in an open game on the internet. At the time there are many chess players enthusiastically follow the game all days and nights. I wonder if such popular following could be replicated today. Philosophy is not dead, but it does shrink in size because of the shift in our cultural trend, which is irresistibly marching "forward" (or perhaps backward in your definition?)
  • Sep 23 2013: Philosophy is more alive than ever, with the new topics we have today, philosophy is a renovated sport. The very bases of our knowledge, what we used to believe are now trembling, now we have to much to think about our nature, with the advent of of the artificial intelligence, the cloning, what we know about genetic, the possibility of control so many things. And if you think it doesn't worths to, we still haven't solved about, god, death, evolution, who we are, etcetera.
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    Sep 23 2013: Philosophy is a human construct, isn't it?

    Or was it invented by the dolphins? I forget...
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      Sep 23 2013: Is it? It could well have been invented by any species I believe.
  • Sep 22 2013: philosophy is alive and well ... everywhere (homage to Huey Lewis and the News) - 8>))
  • Sep 22 2013: Philosophy is necessary as a theoretical foundations upon which all science and even certain mathematics are built upon. Its is most definitely vital and even contains a fair bit of pragmatic value.

    The things is though, that foundation the sciences are built upon doesn't exactly need a degree to be appreciated and applied. This is why purely philosophical studies are seen as superfluous--overspecialization if you will, beyond the pragmatic.
    A wiser approach is to combined philosophy with some other form of study, hopefully something that has a greater value in the job market.
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    Sep 22 2013: I think philosophy is so alive these days, it's more exciting than ever. People like Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Graham Hancock, Rupert Sheldrake, and many others are pushing the boundaries of philosophy forward. I mention Hancock and Sheldrake specifically because they have infamous TED talks available in TED's "naughty corner".

    To answer the question of whether we are chasing our own tail, I offer the following philosophical observation which I wrote:

    "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, the other trees hear the sound of one hand clapping."

    In other words, we certainly can end up chasing our own tail. That happens sometimes.
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    Sep 22 2013: philosophy is the skeleton of our life. Anything you are doing,any thought is emerging,has slightly connection with philosophy if not closely. Philosophy is the combination of all science and logic, religion and life wisdom,you cant live your life wisely ,prudently, creatively and productively without philosophy.
  • Sep 22 2013: Philosophy is alive and will always be as long as mankind exists. Here's why; Philosophy pervades mankind's existence, it is essentially foundational so Science in essence springs up from Philosophy, Maths Springs Up from Philosophy and most disciplines do too. It's easy to claim that philosophy is dead in an age where you don't have to think for yourself; all your answers are a 'Google Search' away so you can live without it. But all modern innovators who break boundaries in all fields are Prolific Thinkers who have asked questions and set out to answer them, they are intuitive and philosophical in their approach regardless of the field, Science or otherwise. I'll give you a great modern example, David Z Albert is the Frederick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy and Director of the M.A. Program in The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University. He is the author of "Time and Chance," "Quantum Mechanics and Experience," among others. Is this not the coexistence of Philosphy and Science? Albert argues that "There's another branch of philosophy of science that takes up questions that arise within particular scientific theories -- the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, so on and so forth, and actually gets its hands dirty in the details of the structure of these scientific theories in order to try to help with problems that are often essentially scientific problems, but whose solution calls for an unusual degree of sensitivity to philosophical questions... So philosophy of science, like I say, when it's healthy, is a matter of focusing with a certain level of philosophical sensitivity and sophistication on questions at the foundations of physics." Think about this, it goes beyond physics...
  • Sep 22 2013: Good question. I blogged about this once before (on my own personal blog) and hence couldn't help but comment here! I know the "Philosophers" out there might take this with a pinch of salt, but the truth is Philosophy AS WE KNEW IT ONCE is no more. That said, i would like to agree with Robert Galway here, when he says, philosophy today is pretty much everywhere. But i would like to kind of delve a little deeper into this change that Philosophy as a subject has undergone. I know nobody likes to mention it, but a lot of people have looked down upon people who chose to go the "philosophic" route. People said there is not merit in this argument; there isnt evidence enough to prove his thesis or even better "it's all in the head" when it comes to philosophy. But look at where we are today? Look at the shift in thinking the greater world has undergone. From being a subject, field of study once to becoming a part of the way we look at anything - philosophy has come a long way. I would like to close by saying that if we develop a systemic approach of looking at issues, problems (inside the home or those that could cause world wars) and look at rational ways of solving them - it's all the philosophy this world would ever need.
  • Sep 22 2013: Philosophy is not dead . But it is the very basic and core thing which sharpens once mind,logic and reasoning power. Many scientist who have made great discoveries ,inventions,theories in the past were philosophers. By merely studying science no one can become a scientist.In India philosophy is called as Darshan Shastra, which means to observe,watch,see and vission through the mind.
  • Sep 22 2013: I hope not.
  • Marc J

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    Sep 22 2013: Anymore, thought itself is dead to a large extent. Most of our schools do not teach critical thinking which is necessary to promote philosophy and other similar pursuits. So, is philosophy entirely dead? No. But, it is stymied.
  • Sep 22 2013:

    "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.