Re: Science and Philosophy

Dan Fabulich (
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 19:39:31 -0400 (EDT)

On Mon, 6 Sep 1999, Joseph Sterlynne wrote:

> If philosophy defines the terms used in science what, then, is the means by
> which these philosophical arguments are made?

This is a question within philosophy, if I ever heard one. In fact, this is one of the fundamental questions of the philosophy of language.

> It seems that all
> philosophical questions ultimately become translated into scientific ones.
> This is readily apparent if one looks at the philosophy of mind literature
> today.

Philosophy of mind literature probably collapses. Philosophy of ethics doesn't. Philosophy of language/logic doesn't.

> But what is the argument that this is not happening or will not
> happen to that more general truth-searching or -defining sector of
> philosophy? That, too, is translatable into empirical terms. If you want
> to know the conditions of truth you have to know what the knower of truth
> knows. So you have to know the construction of the knower.

And you're trying to tell me that this argument is scientific or empirical somehow? This is philosophy, through and through; what's more, it's non-empirical philosophy. Can you provide an experiment which could prove/disprove the claim that "to know the conditions of truth you have to know the construction of the knower"? If not, then this claim cannot be proven empirically, which ruins any argument that all philosophy collapses into empirical science.

> For philosophy
> to judge the foundations of logic it must use some formal system. Which
> logic does it use?

Again, your entire argument is squarely within the philosophy of language/logic. In arguing that philosophy is somehow subordinate to science, you fail to take note of the fact that the whole idea of "logic" is fundamentally philosophical, both in nature and in origin.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings