Philosophy is pointless, part 1
If you've read this blog for a while, you probably understand that I've got a thing for philosophy - not the gawd-this-is-so-elliptical-do-these-people-ever-have-fun kind of thing, but as the still relevant method of rational brawling near the edge of reality.
If it's any consolation, I suffer just as much as you do.
It is deeply engaged in some way or other with almost the entirety of the remaining intellectual landscape. It is certainly by far the most interdisciplinary of at least the humanities and probably the most interdisciplinary of all the fields of intellectual inquiry. Just think of the range of issues that philosophy has historically and still currently seeks to illuminate. It is philosophy that has struggled hardest and most persistently to spell out the rational foundations of the coercive powers of the state, the duties of human to human, the limits of the scientific method. Philosophy has tried to adjudicate the long struggle between science and religion, to integrate the daunting results of the natural, biological, and cognitive sciences into an uplifting or at least not debilitating picture of the place of humanity, and our deepest aspirations, into the order of things. Philosophy seeks to understand how consciousness and rationality manage to have a place in what looks to be a merely material univers, to understand what human beings can hope to know and by what methods of inquiry we can hope to know it. Philosophy seeks to understand the nature of art, the nature of beauty, the nature of truth, of language, of action, of causation -- and on and on. It is willing to subject any and every bit of received wisdom to the light of critical self-reflection.
The paragraph reminds me very much of a passage in the introduction to the book Dream of Reason about the relevance of the discipline. I'll dig it out for another post.
The "Future of Philosophy" Podcast is here.