Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Value of Philosophy

Philosophical Inquiry

I see philosophy as the primordial soup from which ideas arise. Some are good, some are bad, some are merely laughable. But it is all worth it for the few good ideas that arise.

Scepticism (note the "c") was a good idea, even if it has been denounced throughout human history by the powers that be and their mindless followers. Scepticism taught us that the dogmatism with which the dishonest addressed epistemic ground zero was a ruthlessly and epistemologically bad idea, and indefensible. Humans are still struggling with this today.
The modern version of scepticism is scientific skepticism (note the "k"). It doesn't have the all-inclusive scope of philosophical skepticism, but for the work for which it was was intended, it serves.
So, if you ask me what good philosophy is, my answer is that without it, nothing new in human thought ever arises.
Logic, in recent decades, has been under attack, replaced in modern curriculums by "critical thinking" (which is anything but). This is an attempt to try to stop logic from putting a stop to internally inconsistent nonsense of new dogmas. That was part of logic's purpose after all, to put a stop to nonsense, so it had to be decimated or redefined to permit the nonsense.
Of course logic had its own issues. In my view logic is not the impartial path to truth that most envision it to be. It is prescriptive, with "true truth values" being good and "false truth values" being bad. Also, the "maps on to" links between analytic logic and synthetic reality can be as strong or as weak as we wish, and that is unfortunate. Also, the initial hope of logic being the pathway to new and novel truths didn't quite pan out as hoped. This is to be expected since all the information in any argument is already present in the premise(s). This is fairly obvious now, but it took humanity a few hundred years to start to figure that out. We are still working on it today.
So, is philosophy valuable, even today? I say it is, because we still need to keep that primordial soup bubbling to get new insights an ideas. What - do you imagine we understand all there is to understand now? We imagined that at every age in human history, and we were always wrong - always. Investigation requires deep intrusion into held and sometimes difficult ideas and for that we need the detachment of philosophical inquiry.

Fortresses of Nonsense

Today (and of late), we do philosophy like we are building and fortifying towers, every brick painted and designed to keep anyone within or without from asking if the ground is secure, or if the structure inside is sound.

More often than not, the mortar is corruption or irrational normative nonsense, and the stones' shapes and paint are prescriptive dogma - demanding orthodoxy of belief through the command force of language (perlocutionary force).

Our struggle as modern thinkers is to keep the relentless mind-washing (seductive lures or polarizing rhetoric) of loud and shining prescriptive dogma from all sides and angles from dulling our critical faculties and/or our will to inquire.

The question about the value of philosophy is an expression of surrender - of our bowing to the dogmas that surround us. I do not ask this question - I already know the answer.