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Criticism of academic philosophy

This is perhaps in general too harsh and ... completely unfounded, but perhaps certainly true to some extent at least some of the time, and philosophers should be able to deal with criticism anyway, so I’m not too worried.

The most unprofound people I have ever met have been professors of philosophy, precisely because they think profoundness can be achieved with a set of quotes and a degree. Their error was that they assumed what they say is profound because of their position, they replaced the search for truth with a search for respect, and so they ceased to think deeply about anything, comfortable in their esteem that their degree gives weight to their claims. There are of course exceptions, but by and large my experience with universities is that the philosophy teachers and students are the last people to go to for interesting discussion.

As for the "analytic" tradition, a bit of understanding of mathematics renders most of this body of knowledge trivial, quaint at best, certainly not relevant. Just repeating in words what mathematicians have known for quite some time now about the use of symbols, and the peculiarities of axiomatic deductive systems.

The greatest error in academic philosophy is the disassociation that occurs between "philosophy" and life. Since academic philosophy is already a packaged life, and there is little capacity to interact significantly with the academic environment, "philosophy" becomes something apart from real life, like any other job. This attitude has been adopted by the public as well, and so the attitude of the day is to not think deeply about anything because it just leads to trivial, quaint and irrelevant things.

My last major criticism is that the academic philosopher puts publish before truth, and so falls into the trap of pursuing things, not because they are the deepest puzzlements in their life, but because they think they can publish their line of argument on this detail or that.

A more formal approach to the irrelevance of academic philosophy in society today, is that whereas the scattered institutions humanity accumulated in logic, mathematics and science could be condensed into single specific intuitions of a basic principles—non contradiction for logic and math, and induction for science, and so agreement and advancement was possible in these areas of knowledge—the scattered intuitions humanity accumulated about ethics, humanity failed to find a basic self evident principle that would prove the bulk of the intuitions, and remove the chaff (such as deductive errors, paradoxes, in math, and superstition in science). A principle that if accepted would either entail the bulk of the intuition of the good and potential indefinite precision from there, and to not would entail total incoherence and inability to function, as we see with those that dismiss non contradiction and induction.

Many attempts were made, but they were either incomplete (could not resolve the details of any specific situation, or can resolve some but not others, or are agreeable in one area but absurd in another) or, contradicted the bulk of the intuition of goodness (such as dismissing the idea of good all together; as there are always those who are always anxious to jump from “the problem hasn’t been solved yet†to the revolutionary “the problem cannot be solved!†). For the first case incomplete theories just lead to endless quibbling and arguments without ever getting anywhere (as to go somewhere some agreement is necessary, as is seen in math and science), and in the second case it fundamentally contradicts what people generally intuit when they confront the world (it is easy for someone in isolation to say “good†does not exist, it is quite another for those who experience some of the world).

Since ethics is the only relevant thing in itself, all other thoughts, knowledge, and disciplines simply tools that allow intentions to be carried out effectively (or at all), and academic philosophy hasn’t offered anything more profound than what people already had (we can’t really agree … in the end ... it would seem), nor even seems to be concerned anymore about ethics (focusing instead on philosophy of mind, and other esoteric areas), people slowly started to dismiss what philosophers had to say (especially when they started to just go further and further into obscure problems of which people aren’t all that dissatisfied with their intuitive solutions to).

Since any political proposal must be base on an ethics, the state in politics simply reflects the state of ethics.

General economic theory should hold for all intentions, and so, having made no advancements in ethics and politics, people tried to go backwards and derive a politics and then somehow an ethics from whatever certainty could be found in economics (the same attempt has been made from science). This of course just compounds the confusion in all three fields, since the attempt is impossible, the point of economics being the attempt to find the logistical, energy, statistical, etc. rules that would hold no matter what one’s intentions are (intentions cannot then by definition be derived from this inquiry). The only way an attempt is possible is to make unwarranted assumptions in economics to somehow force the predesired politics and then from there somehow argue or just assume that to pursue this "necessary" political theory is ethical (Marxism and free market capitalism being good examples).


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