40

It's essentially impossible to offer definitive proof on the matter, but it's extremely unlikely that Socrates was merely a figment of Plato's imagination. The primary evidence in this regard is the fact that multiple independent sources make reference to him in various ways. For example, the philosopher Xenophon of Athens was a student and admirer of ...


31

"you'll be hard-pressed to find a serious philosopher who takes Ayn Rand seriously". Why is this the case? This is the case because Rand offered very few philosophical arguments. I actually do not know of any particular arguments she did offer, but I will assume that she at least attempted to offer some. Is her work lacking rigor? In the analytic ...


30

Ayn Rand isn't well liked because her work doesn't fit into the mold of what academia deems acceptable philosophy. This makes perfect sense when you understand that Ayn Rand's view of philosophy is different (she wasn't trying to meet the standards of academic philosophy). Rand views philosophy as an indispensable component of human life, while academics ...


29

The short answer (tl;dr) The relevant historical context to answer your question is the long quest of logic to provide foundations for all mathematics. Zermelo's axiomatic set theory displaced contenders like type theory and won the race early on, because logicians in this tradition developed metalogical tools (model theory, proof theory) to investigate ...


28

After a bit of searching, I found some promising leads (and quite a few consistent descriptions) which suggest that Russell thought Gödel's results were of cardinal importance, but misunderstood their implications. In particular, he thought that Gödel's result essentially entailed that Peano Arithmetic was inconsistent rather than incomplete; but ...


27

I think you may be mistaking the kind of critical questioning demanded by philosophy for a kind of cultural insensitivity. The two aren't the same--although of course some philosophers are culturally insensitive. Philosophy is about finding out the truth and philosophers use a variety of methods, methods from the natural and human sciences, as well as ...


25

'The ancient Greek philosophers' is rather a wide reference class. We don't really know enough about the historical Socrates to be sure about his views on the traditional gods. Plato In the Republic Plato removes from his educational curriculum all unseemly stories about the gods but my impression is that he does this, not because he believes in the gods ...


20

There are a number of interlocking reasons. First, as you point out, she wrote fiction, not philosophical papers. Second, she did not appear to engage in any substantive way with the prior philosophical work done on the subjects that interested her. Her only connection to the philosophical tradition (writ large) is what we can charitably call a highly ...


19

Here is Cantor in his own words (from his influential 1887 letter to Weierstrass): "I begin from the supposition of a linear magnitude ζ which is so small that its product by n , ζ · n, for every finite whole number n however great is smaller than unity, and then prove, from the concept of a linear magnitude and with the help of certain propositions from ...


19

It exists. It is called meta-philosophy. It includes topics such as the definition and scope of philosophy, the methods of philosophy, and the role of philosophers.


18

I'd go with Simon Blackburn's Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (Cambridge University Press 1999). Here's the blurb: This is a book about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice. It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Think ...


18

Here is an example of philosophy helping a breakthrough in mathematics (in differential topology). The breakthrough happened last year, the philosophy that helped it come into existence happened 200 years ago, via a formalization suggested in the last two decades. A long-standing open problem in differential topology and in mathematical physics was the ...


18

I am of Indian ancestry but 3rd generation in America. I have been exposed to both East and Western philosophy/science in my family life but exposed to Western science due to my graduate school training. I identify far more with the Western approach culturally but I hope I can provide some insight. Cultural, academic, and scientific standards have shaped ...


17

Dawkins and Hitchens aren't particularly philosophically sophisticated. Dawkins often attacks straw man versions of theistic arguments. (Search on this site for some discussion why his understanding of Aquinas's arguments for the existence of God miss the mark.) Further, they utterly fail to take into account criticism of their own epistemology. One crucial ...


17

There is a non-philosophical component to this which I think the other answers touched on, but did not quite get to. The years leading up to Socrates' trial were hard on Athens. Athens had just lost the Peloponnesian War against its long-time rival Sparta, and Sparta had installed the Thirty Tyrants. Though their rule only lasted 13 months, it was extremely ...


16

I'd say it started around the 1950 and got off the ground around 1980 ;) That is to say, the divide as been introduced as a fighting word from the beginning; it is more about asserting the divide than about giving an adequate picture of the philosophical landscape. And it is really not advisable to do proper history of philosophy by using fighting words! ...


16

Is it that New Atheism isn't philosophy? Yes -- it is not a philosophy; wikipedia describes it as "a social and political movement" first associated with Sam Harris, an American writer who holds a B.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D in neuroscience but does not practice either professionally in the sense of having academic tenure. Harris's works appear to be ...


15

I think there's a simpler explanation for why Rand is generally ignored in academia. She loathes Kant (presumably would also Berkeley and the British Empiricists) and defines herself in perfect opposition to him. She refuses to even acknowledge the possibility that he might be right, and takes all of his questions to be ridiculous and evil pseudoquestions. ...


15

Peter Kreeft has written a book on this very topic. Would He give a lecture at Harvard, or engage in a long Socratic dialog in Plato's Academy, or write a critique of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason? Obviously not. And everyone knows that. That is "trivially true." In another sense, Jesus was a philosopher, but this second sense is also trivial. ...


14

Let me give you a historical background first. Until the end of 19th century logic was almost exclusively associated with Aristotelian logic, the syllogistic. This logic did not have quantifiers, or even propositional variables, in other words it was too weak to support even arithmetic, let alone the rest of mathematics (Chrysippus, an ancient Stoic, and ...


14

You can see: Irving Anellis, The Genesis of the Truth-Table Device (2004) as well as: Irving Anellis, Peirce's Truth-functional Analysis and the Origin of the Truth Table (2012). Before Bertrand Russell (Harvard logic course: 1914) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (Russell and Wittgenstein's manuscript dated 1912; see also: Tractatus (1921), 4.31 and 4.442 for ...


14

Logical positivism does not deny human emotion. It simply reassigns its role. Ethical, aesthetic or religious judgements, for example, fulfil the role of expressing or eliciting emotion - and not, emphatically not, of truth-bearing. Since ethical, aesthetic and religious judgements definitely occur and since, equally definitely for logical positivists, they ...


13

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an extensive article on category theory and its philosophical implications. On the significance of the theory, it says that: Category theory challenges philosophers in two ways, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. On the one hand, it is certainly the task of philosophy to clarify the general ...


13

The Stoics were continuum theorists, the Epicureans were atomists. These are conflicting positions. The Stoics upheld bivalence for propositions, the Epicureans seemed to be happy to give up bivalence for future contingents. These are likely to be conflicting positions. (I say likely, since the Epicureans did not subscribe to the Stoic theory of propositions ...


12

Yes, philosophers have made some recent contributions to other fields. And just countering gross generalization with gross generalization, I believe it is generally far from true, as Aaronson suggests above, that philosophers working right now on applications to other fields are ignorant of those other fields. A few preliminaries: I'll answer about the ...


12

Nothing directly attributed to Thales that has come down to us, but Aristotle does mention four views in his books: The earth rests on water. (De Caelo) Water is the archê of all things. (Metaphysics) The magnet has a soul. (De Anima) All things are full of gods. (De Anima) Aristotle inteprets this in several ways: Archê is Aristotle’s ...


12

Nietzsche mocked German idealists at length, but I think calling him a materialist is a bridge too far, same as for all his anti-Christianity it is not clear that he was an atheist. He inherited his metaphysics from Schopenhauer, transforming his World Will into will to power, who can be seen as irrationalizing Hegel's Absolute Geist with a side of that "...


11

Your question is answered (and questioned) in Ayn Rand: Academic reaction on Wikipedia. The article gives reasons why many academics have dismissed her work. It also notes that other academics have taken her work seriously. (As for the point about fiction -- Rand also wrote nonfiction (though not any academic papers that I'm aware of). And writing fiction ...


11

I think that's a fair description of what is happening in analytic philosophy. I'm not so sure about continental philosophy. There are, it seems to me, roughly two varieties of philosophical thought: Concept clarification Concept creation The first variety is certainly forced to eventually, as you out put it, 'reconcile [its] theories with mankind's great ...


11

Monism does not necessarily posit that there is one thing that is the whole so much as everything is really one kind of thing. Just to give one quick example to show it's less crazy than you think in modern thought. Many of todays leading scientists and quite a large percent of philosophers are materialists. Materialists are a type of monist as they ...


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