Re: Philosophy: It doesn't suck so bad we can't ignore it

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Mon Jan 01 2001 - 14:36:26 MST

"J. R. Molloy" <> wrote,
>If philosophy is the art of asking the wrong questions, the art of
>answering the wrong questions probably constitutes an allied art. While
>the-art-of-asking-the-wrong-questions is not as wrong as the art of
>priestcraft, I think it's more wrong than
>the-art-of-asking-the-correct-questions, IOW, the scientific method.

Sorry, I got or read these messages in the wrong order. I just got
this one after I had already sent out my critique of your definition
of philosophy. The above paragraph helps a lot to give me a clearer
definition about what you mean about asking the wrong questions.

It almost seems to me that when defining "wrong" questions, you are
assessing the usefulness of the method for finding answers. You rate
scientific method as most useful, philosophy as not useful,
priestcraft as worse than useless, etc.

Perhaps philosophy is useful in designing a system of ideas or
theorizing a possible system of ideas, but only the scientific method
will discover actual existing systems in the universe or confirm the
validity of any proposed system.

Now that I think I am getting a clearer picture of your assessment of
philosophy, I think your statement makes a lot more sense.
Philosophy may be "wrong" for certain purposes, but for designing
software, applying law, discussion ethics, debating methods, starting
a futurist movement, etc., it may be a useful tool.

I agree with much that you are saying. However, I don't think you
are aware of how much philosophizing is done in science to hash out
plausible theories. Once a consistent theory is proposed, it is then
investigated. The rules of logic, deduction, consistency, and
Occam's razor are used to explore the possible universe first.
Expensive experiments are done later after the most likely reality is

Would it be more accurate to frame your position as being that
philosophy without the testing of science asks useless questions?

Harvey Newstrom <>

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