Category Archives: Critique of philosophy

Discussion: A Human Perspective and its Limitations

It seems that any philosophy and any theology that humans advance will be limited by our concepts and categories of thought; and further it seems that our language and concepts developed in a context of a natural, physical world. So, even when someone dreams up gods, ghosts, and purely spiritual realms, there’s a sense in which that persons is limited to those categories of thought (many based on our physical existence and physical acts)

Remarks on a few philosophers’ misconceptions

One can issue explanations (scientific, neurological, psychological, quasi-psychological) of the processes (neural processes, workings of the sensory faculties) which under lie sense perception. These result in analyses or breakdowns (e.g., reducing things to neural processings) of the processes that underlie a person’s perception of the world. It could be called an “examination of the machinery the makes perception possible.”
But nothing about this work refutes the common-sense proposition that we perceive (see, hear, touch, taste, smell) aspects and objects of the real world.

Over-reaching when we promote philosophy

Rebecca Goldstein over-reaches on behalf of the relevance and effectiveness of rational argument and the role that philosophers – with their rational arguments — played in bringing about an end to slavery and the plight of women (regarded as second-class members of society). Like with Yanni’s grand statement, so with Goldstein’s declaration of rational philosophy being the starting point of humanitarian developments, when we test the grand statement against the actual social and historical developments we find much reason for doubting and rejecting them.

The humanitarian movements that have helped to bring about the end of the institution of slavery have included social, historical, and economic forces not at all philosophical in nature; and have been executed by different people of different backgrounds, most of whom were not inspired by the “theoretical moral arguments” of some philosopher or other.

Body Snatchers; Learning outside the Field; and Big Tent.

I was struck by the similarity between such Dualist campaign to downgrade physical views of human beings and the story of aliens who snatched the bodies of human victims and replaced them with strange facsimiles. Of course, it may not appear that dualists and spiritualists are out to snatch away one’s body and replace it with an alien likeness….But they do seem intent on reducing the human body-brain to mere matter-in-motion, a primitive form of material existence that cannot support the complex and high level of activity that we justifiably credit to our corporeal nature.

What is philosophy good for?

So, besides possibly being a great intellectual adventure, what is philosophy good for? Maybe the answer is that it is not worth much, if you’re the type of person anxious to act in resolving our many social and political problems, or if you’re the type who wants to go about earning a fortune and acquiring power. (For such types philosophy is likely a waste of time.) But if you’re the type of person who is not satisfied with society’s standard answers to difficult question and if you’re the type of person who has advanced from childhood (where parents prop up you in your walking and the experts do your thinking,) and you desire to walk on your own and think on your own, then maybe study, reflection, and interaction in philosophy is the thing for you. Maybe philosophy is good for something after all.