When a field of study becomes large enough, its size “may impede the rise of new ideas,” according to Johan S.G. Chu and James A. Evans, in a new paper, “Slowed canonical progress in large fields of science,” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (more…)
In a recent interview, Scott Soames, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, offers up a description of philosophy. It’s a version of one in his recent book, The World Philosophy Made. (more…)
While outsiders appear reluctant to challenge leadership within a field when the star is alive, the loss of a luminary provides an opportunity for fields to evolve in new directions that advance the frontier of knowledge. (more…)
One type of evidence that some claim is relevant to determining whether there has been progress in philosophy is whether philosophers have converged on answers to philosophical questions. (more…)
“What subjects are now being confronted at the frontiers of philosophical inquiry, breaking from the familiar philosophical concerns of canonical figures like Plato, Locke, and Descartes?” That was a question raised recently by the editors of “The Masthead,” a new member-based media program at The Atlantic.
Instead of gauging progress by asking what “we” philosophers agree about, one should ask whether someone who wants to do philosophy is in a better position to do so today than she would’ve been 10 or 100 or 1000 years ago? The answer is: certainly. (more…)
Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen (GMU) asks, “has there been progress in philosophy?” His answer: “there is significant and ongoing progress in philosophy, we just don’t always name it as such.” (more…)
“How do you respond to those who wonder whether philosophy questions can ever be really answered once and for all and who therefore conclude it’s a waste of time?” (more…)
Does philosophy make progress? Daniel Stoljar, professor of philosophy at Australia National University, thinks it does, and he defends that idea in his new book, Philosophical Progress: In Defence of a Reasonable Optimism. In the following guest post,* he presents one kind of argument for his view. (more…)
“The main thing is to be aware of how many of the students have only a very narrow background, and the pre-talk is a good opportunity for you to bring them up to speed on the existing literature,” .
“I don’t know any of the existing literature for this talk,” said the visitor, without a hint of embarrassment. (more…)
In a recent interview, Shalom Chalson, an undergraduate studying philosophy at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) asks Frank Jackson (ANU; currently visiting at NUS) about the prospects for change in philosophy: (more…)
“Since science took its modern form in the seventeenth century, it has been one long success story.” By contrast, we philosophers “don’t seem to have progressed much in the two and a half millennia since Plato wrote his dialogues.” That’s the conventional wisdom, as described by David Papineau (King’s College London) in The Times Literary Supplement. But if there’s ..
A reader writes in with the following concerns:
The results of this election have substantiated some feelings I’ve been having for a while. For a few years I’ve been planning (not without a lot of consideration and some hesitation) to go to graduate school and play my cards with the hope of entering academic philosophy. Now, however, it is harder for me to see th..
My current work on racial inequality and social justice—and to a lesser extent my earlier work—takes me into areas of knowledge outside of what we teach and learn in philosophy classrooms. In the last six years or so I have co-authored multiple works and grant proposals with an economist, sociologist, social psychologist, lawyer, and a historian. I have written wi..
When I look back at the projects I pursued during my career, a certain pattern becomes evident. In several cases I was drawn to an idea, or a theory, that had been declared dead. In each case, when I looked at the death certificate, it seemed to me that the victim deserved to be resuscitated. I devoted myself to this project of bringing the dead back to life.
Just going to put this on the table:
Question: You work in the field of the philosophy of religion. Are you a religious person and do you think philosophy of religion can be done by people who aren’t?
Answer: Let me take your questions in order. I am a Christian; I was brought up in a Christian family; and I’ve never really wavered from that worldview. I defin..
Bryan Frances thinks that there are several indicators suggesting that we’re at the start of a “golden age of philosophy.” These indicators include:
- Much greater knowledge of the individual empirical sciences plus the attempt to use them in approaching philosophical problems
- Much greater knowledge and use of formal sciences such as math, logic, formal semantic..
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. — Max Planck
In a recent paper, “Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?“, Pierre Azoulay (MIT), Christian Fons-Rosen (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), and Josh..