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

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 15:02:13 MST

From: "Harvey Newstrom" <>
> 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.

Well, in that case, I think we could replace the word "philosophy" with
the term "rational thinking and theorizing." We don't need to hypothesize
that a mysterious substance called "philosophy" somehow operates in
metaphysical conjunction with system design and rational thought.

> 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 see philosophy as a boat to carry humanity from religionism to science.
When the boat of philosophy has carried us from the shore of religionism
to the shore of science, then we can get out of the boat, and leave it
behind. The questions that we asked while in the boat made sense, but now
all those questions are the wrong questions.
As alien intelligence continues to evolve, authority will increasingly
belong to the one who best answers those who question authority.
Meanwhile, increasingly intelligent expert systems continue to feed us
news of the worlds we love, while philosophy keeps conforming to
definitions of philosophers.

> 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.

I think hashing out plausible theories, by any other name (including
"philosophizing"), is still hashing out plausible theories (AKA,
theorizing). I'm beginning to disbelieve in philosophy altogether. Why,
just the other day I heard someone mention "Eastern philosophy" -- as if
philosophy is somehow to do with geography. Imagine... if you plant
philosophers in Madras, India, they philosophize one way; and if you plant
them in Wisconsin, they philosophize in another way.

I don't think this works with science. A scientific experiment will work
the same in India as in America.

> 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.

In contrast, one could use a computer model to simulate all known
variables in a system. This might work better as a way to explore the
possible universe first.

> Expensive experiments are done later after the most likely reality is
> predicted.

Of course, there's only one reality, so we don't need to predict it, but I
know what you mean. Here again, I'd trust scientifically devised tests to
determine the most likely outcome of an expensive experiment.

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

Now look what you've done. τΏτ To frame this position in such a way that
it invites no more questions will be difficult. First, it is not a
position so much as it is an observation. It does no good to say that
philosophy is the art of asking the wrong questions, if (for example)
people go on asking for a definition of philosophy.
By asking the correct questions, one discovers everything.
By asking the wrong questions, one constructs philosophy.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.
3M TA3

Useless hypotheses: consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind,
free will

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