I sometimes become confused about the relevance some developments in philosophy. The real world is largely materialistic and pragmatic, whereas some philosophical developments seem very abstract, almost like philosophical novels, rather than truth theories (compared to the developments in science).

For example, post-structuralism. What impact does post-structuralism have other than being and intellectual armchair exercise? I find that it perhaps serves no practical purpose for humans. Or does it serve some?

Philosophy of science is more understandable than the other subfields. Because it's discursion done around natural/formal science, which in the past has proven to be very useful.

closed as off-topic by Conifold, Joseph Weissman Apr 3 '18 at 21:11

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that push a personal philosophy with no question beyond "am I right" or "what do you think" are off-topic here as this is not a blog. It's ok to express unique opinions, but you must have an actual, answerable question to go with them." – Conifold, Joseph Weissman
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Is this a question? Because it reads like a rhetorical condemnation of post-structuralism with "am I right" attached. Post-structuralism served as a support for research in humanities and recent social movements (new left, racial equality, feminism, etc.), how "useful" it is depends on one's outlook, I suppose. But you could find out about that by googling. Thing is, one can seamlessly replace "post-structuralism" in your post with "pure math". – Conifold Apr 3 '18 at 20:09
  • Consider just directly posing the problem you’re having with post-structuralism, hopefully with pointers to research materials that have proved confusing or unhelpful. (As-is, this does read like a poll: who thinks philosophical research is useful? which just seems cynical.) – Joseph Weissman Apr 3 '18 at 21:11
  • The question involves two different questions with some personal philosophy taken for granted. I'd just say this, first I think you need to edit and separate the two questions ("developments in philosophy" and "social acceptance of philosophy", check if it wouldn't create duplicates for existing questions). Second, I'd advice you to not propose a question with some a priori philosophy taken for granted, and try to ask it more objectively. Do present your personal thoughts on the matter to help us understand your meanings, but don't take them for granted. I'd gladly reopen the question then. – Yechiam Weiss Apr 13 '18 at 11:28
  • Recently I have been thinking, that it is a kind of sparring, that uses exercise debates to practice tools and methods. Which become useful when in a moment of wider debate or discussion, where being able put things concisely, coherently, with references on request, can perform a kind of social therapy against bad ideas. – CriglCragl Apr 13 '18 at 17:19

Quantum field theory, with its strange problems of the identity of a particle is hardly materialist and pragmatic. String theory, with its extra dimensions and its paradoxical dynamics at tiny scales is even less so. And the comparable domains of mathematics, like the study of infinite ordinals are just as silly as Critical Theory or post-structuralism. But the problems are just not solved. We want to know how things with very little practical application work out in detail. We want to have an understanding of whatever we can manage to understand.

Picking on the silliness of philosophy, which in many ways addresses far harder problems, is just bias. There is still no materialist, pragmatic solution to issues of real morality, that does not just throw out the problems it doesn't like. Theories of value like post-structuralism are attempts to build an understanding of why we choose the judgments that we do, how those evolve, and why we bother. You can go ahead and simply adopt a solution, but to find one that actually works, in detail, is not a trivial endeavor.

The fact that they don't come together without a ton of fluff and nonssense should not open them to bizarre accusations. There is a lot of fluff and nonsense involved in caring about the mass of the Higgs boson, and imagining that the strange patterns created by that huge ring in Europe will tell you anything is really just more nonsense, taken out of context.

  • Regarding moral, I see it "the other way". That moral philosophers are formulating too-abstract-to-be-real moral philosophies and building artificial problems around them that never exist in the real-world "as they are formulated". That is, ethics is too abstract, the reality much, much more complicated (think of all the circumstance-dependent factors to ethical decisions). Then again, it's also true that "normative" ethical behavior is a "higher form of sociality" for humans. If the natural circumstances become rougher, then humans will become more survivalistic and less "rationally ethical". – mavavilj Apr 6 '18 at 5:50
  • @mavavilj Your perception is totally off. All those dilemmas are things we face in more nuanced and less immediate terms in reality. We make up silly puzzles about murder, because we want to make it easy to see what would be considered right without arguing it out. But we face the same kinds of puzzles in reality, just about economic issues or racial disparity or some more complex setup. Ethics, as discussed, even by the most evolved theories is constantly oversimplified. I think you are just biased against thinking. – jobermark Apr 6 '18 at 14:34

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