If some madman who hates philosophy found a way to destroy all works of philosophy where-ever they exist in print or electronically stored so the only 'remembrances' of such work are 'with' a few experts what would happen to Philosophy or Philosophers?? If they 'started over' would they come up with the same lines of arguments as before?

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    I think this question, while interesting, is going to prove to be too broad, because it's asking us to speculate about too much. For instance, do we also lose all scientific knowledge (Which is integrated sharply with progress in philosophical understanding)? What else remains similar in this brave new world?
    – virmaior
    Jul 19, 2014 at 7:28
  • One possible question is , is the cited authoritative statements made by some previous celebrated philosopher more important than the actual content of the statements involved. A writer could cite two contrary opinions from two 'competing' authoritative schools of thought. If these philosophical doctrines were both highly regarded yet contradictory wouldn't this be a type of epistomological paradox? Could an amateur come out with a brilliant philosophical idea with no authoritative backing?
    – user128932
    Jul 22, 2014 at 18:08
  • @AsphirDom : isn't it a poor logical retort to respond to a person's arguments with a supposedly subtle ( or not) attack on the person's character or previous criticisms about the person. Are you refering to my other question about the words 'Be' and 'Being'.
    – user128932
    Oct 5, 2014 at 17:10
  • @user128932 I don't see my comment anymore. Poor logic you say? :) 99.9 chance you are right.
    – Asphir Dom
    Oct 6, 2014 at 9:53
  • The comment was something like ; the mad man is already here; there is no chance of this BE or BEING correct.
    – user128932
    Oct 6, 2014 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, all the most successful philosophy eventually disseminates into the larger culture to the point where it becomes inseparably and invisibly integrated with all the productions of that culture (novels, music, organizational structures, etc.). Therefore, destroying all the works of philosophy would not be enough to entirely destroy the philosophies contained in those works --although a great quantity of valuable ideas could certainly be lost that way.

I would go as far as to say that the biggest danger would be, perhaps, that it would immediately become much harder to counter any idea or ideology that was formulated in such a work, but that had already disseminated into the larger society.

  • Speaking in terms of Utilitarianism are there any concepts or principles in Philosophy that actually cause benefitial events or ideas to occur that help people in real tangible ways in their life ; does Philosophy produce real utilizable possibly benefitial results. I imagine Logic does. I saw a book title recently saying something like 'Philosophy can save your life'. Is this an exagertion? Is Philosophy really about molding and arguing about philosophical opinions?
    – user128932
    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:06
  • In terms of directly traceable utility, I'd argue that every science is preceded by a philosopher. Aristotle preceded Physics, Descartes preceded Newton, Turing preceded modern computing. One might also argue that all complex social structures are built on a substrate of philosophy, but the causality is a bit harder to prove in that case. Oct 2, 2014 at 13:11
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    Every science can be commented on and re-interpreted by philosophers but a sciences basic 'building blocks' where initialized by a lot of empirical observations hopefully relevant to certain 'processes' being observed and also theorizing about what's 'going' on with these processes with the goal of making approximate model's for predictions about the processes. This taking in a lot of empirical data and the 'drive' to make 'accurate prediction models' of various observed processes is what can start a science , not philosophical speculations about the observed processes.
    – user128932
    Oct 3, 2014 at 4:47
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    But isn't symbolic logic more like the discipline of Mathematics ; couldn't symbolic logic have developed 'along side' algebraic logic or various abstract algebras or even Category theory that is supposed to be of equal importance to Set theory as a fundamental subject in any science. Also Category theory seems to have no literature stating there is any philosophical theories that are 'foundations' for it. Thought experiments do not seem to be accepted as a real part of science. I mentioned thought experiments on the Physics Stack Exchange and they didn't seem to give them much credence.
    – user128932
    Oct 3, 2014 at 19:22
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    Why are thought experiments considered so controversial? I thought all sciences 'prided' themselves on their experimental foundations and thought experiments were an aside. I myself love thought experiments ( a bit of a misnomer) and think you can 'see' a lot of possible avenues for 'thought exploration' from them; but other scientists would never consider them even close to a foundation. They act as though nothing is accepted unless experimentally verified.
    – user128932
    Oct 3, 2014 at 20:20

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