I love thinking about and discussing philosophy; I consider it an extremely important discipline.

But: In mathematics, many results have been discovered that are virtually certain to be true, especially over the past 300 years or so. There now exists a veritable mountain of results, with later results built upon earlier ones.

Excluding that part of philosophy that may be said to overlap with mathematics (like symbolic logic and set theory), are there any results in philosophy that have been generally accepted by philosophers as either certain or nearly certain?

Or on the other hand, are there not really any such results in philosophy? Is philosophy nothing more than an endless series of discussions, devoid of widely accepted conclusions?

  • An endless series of discussions, no certainties. One problem is that philosophy did not give itself a broadly agreed upon verification mechanism for claims, like maths or physics did. Without an accepted verification mechanism, how could you hope to reach any consensus or certainty?
    – Frank
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 0:56
  • 1
    Philosophy is more than an endless series of discussions, but not in the direction of mathematics. It is an incubator of options, not results. Options include speculative insights, elaborate systems of positions on multiple issues made coherent with each other, and methodological tools for adapting to new facts and paradigms. Certainty and general acceptance are the last things needed in this sort of enterprise. Future is uncertain and what people accept depends on values in addition to facts. Creativity and variety of available options are as essential as mathematical results.
    – Conifold
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 4:48
  • @Conifold But doesn't that lead to a relativism, meaninglessness and maybe nihilism? Many options for values are created, but no set of values has any claim to authority more than another. Everything becomes contingent. It sounds very post-modern, rejecting universals and accepting the loss of "métarécits " à la Lyotard. It's one view on philosophy.
    – Frank
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 13:41
  • Frank, and Conifold, it is important to include "near-certainties". Because mathematics is the only branch of science (if you will) where certainties exist; whereas in any other science (I'm counting computer science and statistics as aspects of mathematics) all "certainties" in previous eras have been supplanted by newer ones. So, as I see it, full certainty is too much to ask. Commented May 31, 2023 at 20:27
  • @Frank Just because there are many options for value systems does not mean that some are not more feasible than others, and philosophers did flash that out by exploring their ramifications at length. But I doubt that "one true value system" is something to wish for, so value pluralism is perfectly warranted, within bounds. Post-modernism is notorious for its relativism about facts, not values, and disdain for any bounds. Too much salt will kill you, it doesn't mean that putting salt on your salad leads to death.
    – Conifold
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 3:20


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