Sunday, April 30, 2006

Views of philosophy (II)

Another view of philosophy, one which I will attribute partially to Ken Taylor (Although, I am not sure if he adheres to this. It has partially come out of things he's said and I use a phrase by him; that's why I'm partially attributing it to him), is to use a problem to mark off a region of logical space and walk through all the solutions to the problem in that space. When considering a problem, one should exhaustively canvass the solutions to see which has the greatest number of theoretical virtues in addition to providing the best solution to the problem at hand. This conception of philosophy has its charms. It makes it clear what the problems are. It can also be a bit tiring to write or read because there are usually so many options to go through. Does this view of philosophy leave anything out? I am inclined to think that if philosophy were like this as a whole, it would leave Wittgenstein out completely. Whether this is a bad thing I set aside. It also doesn't seem to work well with holism. If I'm a holist about something (meaning, scientific theories, truth, etc.) then lightening the theoretical burden in one area of my theory will (usually?) require me to lean more on another part of my theory. This view of philosophy also would have the potential to miss overarching insights and connections. If I am working on a particular problem with a particular set of possible solutions, then there is a very good chance that I will not notice the similarities to another problem or a different area of philosophy, e.g. the connections between mind and language or the reprecussions of agency theories on ethical theories.

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