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What's the future of Philosophy?

  1. May 27, 2013 #1
    I get the feeling that much of the time, philosophers discuss things that make claims about our reality and how it works. I'm of the opinion that claims made about the natural world that can't be tested are a bit irrelevant, so I typically ignore them. It seems though, throughout the history of some branches of philosophy, the questions they asked were of a scientific nature and eventually "answered" by science, rendering the question a bit obsolete. This makes me wonder what will be left to philosophers as science progresses. I'm not embracing a stone cold empiricist point of view, because I do value the avenues of inquiry philosophy has opened up in the past, but I can't help but think that questions like "How does consciousness arise?" and a few others will ultimately fall within the purview of science, rather than some armchair conversation between men smoking pipes. (Too much of a caricature :) )
    Does anyone have any interesting thoughts on the matter?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2013 #2
    Also, another quick question. Why are philosophical 'theories' rarely required to meet any standards of evidence whatsoever? It seems that if they're talking about our world and how it interacts and such, it should be falsifiable, even if in a modest sense.
  4. May 27, 2013 #3


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    I never have any interesting thoughts about anything, but that doesn't stop me from expressing them. Even as recently as when my father was in university (graduated in 1927), "Science" was called "Natural Philosophy" (although differentiated into physics, chemistry, etc.). In the old days, philosophy referred to anything requiring serious thought.
  5. May 27, 2013 #4
    Now though, there is a pretty clear distinction from philosophy and science as far as I can tell. That's what I'm curious about. Questions about nature are delegated to scientists, although philosophers still consider them as well, but from different perspectives that don't seem to lead to a better understanding of nature. Admittedly, I'm not a philosopher at all so I can't really say I know what I'm talking about. It's just an impression I've gotten from reading up a bit.
  6. May 27, 2013 #5


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    I haven't looked up the definition (and I'm not going to because my dictionary is on the floor under more empty beer cans and pizza boxes than I care to dig through), but to me "philosophy" is a mind-set—a way of thinking about things—that might or might not involve physical principles. That is, however, just my personal opinion.
  7. May 27, 2013 #6


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    There are correct and incorrect ways to discuss philosophy. Here at PF, we don't have staff with the proper training and/or interest to monitor such discussions. We used to have a philosophy section but it was a constant struggle to keep it up to our standards. The signal to noise ratio was tiny.

    For those reasons, we don't discuss philosophy here.
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