Philosophy's Future: Science or Something Else?
Volume 12, Number 2 of Essays in Philosophy
Issue date: July 2011
Submission deadline: December 31, 2010
Editors: Eric Dietrich (Binghamton University, NY) and Zach Weber (University of Melbourne)
It has been well over two centuries since Kant asked, essentially, whether philosophy is possible as a science. What is the answer? Analytic philosophers today talk as if our discipline is a branch of science: We aspire to the rigor of mathematics, the objectivity of physics, the explanatory power of biology, and so forth. But if philosophy is like a science, then it is a science like no other. Philosophical proposals that are hundreds or even thousands of years old are taken seriously in the present, even as it is widely believed that those ideas don't solve their respective problems. No philosophical idea ever dies, and no philosophical idea ever gains full acceptance, either. No other solution-based, intellectual discipline has this property. Philosophers hypothesize answers like scientists, structure arguments like mathematicians, and end up with theories as inscrutable as art. It is time to ask again where philosophy stands as a problem solving discipline-to ask again, have we advanced even one step? Can we?
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