Via the latest philosophers’ carnival I learn of a recent kerfluffle, started here, and continued here over the usefulness of philosophy and I can’t resist throwing my $0.02 in.
One thing that I have little patience with is the view that dismisses philosophy all together. The view that there is no progress in philosophy is itself a philosophical view. The view that all knowledge is scientific knowledge is also a philosophical view. When people say that philosophy is a waste of time they invariably mean one particular way of doing philosophy is a waste of time. This is clearly illustrated by people like Richard Feynman who spend a lot of time denouncing philosophy in general when a closer looks reveals that he was pissed off about the method used by particular philosophers (that he happened to encounter). This is also born out by the anti-philosophy comments at the linked posts. If you do not like thought-experiments, analysis of ordinary language, or scholastic proofs for God’s existence that is fine, but that is not the same thing as not liking philosophy.
Philosophy is unavoidable. You cannot even say why it is worthless without actually doing some philosophy; that is part and parcel of its suckiness. I think it was Aristotle who first voiced this sentiment, (though I can’t seem to find the passage any where in my Barnes anthologies)…anyways. Deal with it.
Wow; I thought that “I’ll stop eating meat when animals have civilization” was the most ignorant thing I have ever heard, but I have a new challenger…
“First, please skip the “equal rights” bit. [Gays] have the same rights as anyone else. Marry someone of the opposite sex and you get those rights. –Anonymous Religious Zealot/Bigot
Wow! I mean, just…wow! What else is there to say? Ignorance is mighty powerful!
Over at RC’s quick poll Genius says
Well – Given this thread and given a week has passed – I suppose we can consider my curiosity satiated.
To which RC responds
Well, we were interested in the conditional question how others would respond if they were to carefully read all those exchanges. Since nobody bothered to do so (understandably enough), we’re simply left with our own judgments. That’s good enough for me — (though securing a widespread consensus would have been even nicer, naturally) — so I guess it’s time to close this thread and move on. Here’s hoping I do a better job of avoiding online interactions with idiots in future.
I agree that we were interested in responses from people who had followed the debate, though I am less sure that people did not do this. The couple of people who did respond seemed to agree with my point, and this seems to have been enough for RC to dismiss these people as idiots. Also I tracked a lot of hits on the posts in question and there was not the wide-spread condemnation of my position as idiotic that RC clearly expected. This in itself seems to suggest something about the nature of RC accusations against me (he of course appeals to his reader’s politeness, please! Politeness didn’t stop people from voicing criticism of Genius’ comments (this post seems to have been deleted for some reason) in a stern yet polite way).