Removing the Head, or Destroying the Brain: Part XII
And so we reach the Midnight Hour of the series that never dies.
I spent some thought regarding how I should try to sum this up. I considered posting illustrative quotes from supposedly serious works of philosophy. Then I considered citing other people’s thoughts on the matter. I even briefly considered writing about my experiences with a college professor who was also the department head of philosophy.
Ultimately I rejected those options.
It seems to me that the best course of action is simply to ask you, the reader, to determine what value academic philosophy creates. Sooner or later any argument must be evaluated by the individual. Now’s good. Here’s fine.
I have occasionally heard claims that philosophy is the driving force behind scientific development, that even the act of questioning philosophy is philosophy, that it is literally all-important.
Quite simply: no, it’s not. I’ve never been able to trace the supposed arrow of causality proceeding from developments in philosophy to developments in science. If anything, the trail runs the other way: philosophy plays catch-up with the implications of discoveries made in the sciences.
No one in their right mind would suggest that the various sciences have had no useful output, because even a moment’s consideration brings up countless examples. Even when they don’t seem to have any practical purpose, they produce knowledge about the world.
What has academic philosophy produced? What difference does it actually make?